This is my typical weekday breakfast.
- 2 ham & egg white whole wheat breakfast burrito (115 calories each)
- Yogurt (150-175 calories, depending on flavor)
- Quaker Oatmeal To Go bar (220 calories)
- Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Almond bar (160 calories)
- 2 cups 1% milk (200 calories)
Yeah, you’re right. That’s a lot of calories. 960 today, and that’s going with egg whites instead of whole eggs and 40 calorie tortilla shells instead of the usual 110. Eating like that, it’s a wonder I don’t weigh a ton! But I don’t. In fact, I’m struggling right now to keep my weight above 150 lbs.
For years, my weight held pretty steady in the 160 lb range. We eat pretty healthy meals most of the time anyway, so I pretty much ate as I pleased and didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. I seemed to burn about what I ate and kept things on a pretty even keel.
Then….a while back, I decided to track my food for a few weeks. When I did, it opened my eyes to a couple of things.
First, I wasn’t getting nearly enough breakfast to compensate for the calories I burned in my morning activity. Depending on which calorie calculator you use, the number comes in between 1,250 and 1,700 calories burned by riding or running/riding. For example, today, I used the most conservative calculator and it told me that the 28.75 miles and 110 minutes I rode on the tandem and on my morning commute burned 1260 calories. It’s no wonder that before I added the 2nd burrito and the oatmeal and almond bars I was getting hungry within an hour of breakfast.
The second thing it showed me was that I was compensating with a lot of empty calories. Dr. Pepper and sweet tea, to be exact! I figured there were a lot worse vices to have, but those calories weren’t doing me a lot of good.
Based on what I was seeing, I decided to do a couple of things…
- Limit my intake of Dr. Pepper to 1 can a day. Actually, I ended up cheating on this a little. I do limit my intake of regular Dr. Pepper to one can most days, but usually have a can or more of Dr. Pepper 10 during the day also.
- Eliminate the potato chips from my lunch and replace them with applesauce and fruit.
I’ve been successful in doing those things, but the challenge has been to replace those empty calories with more nutritious ones. Let me tell you, it’s pretty hard to do sometimes, as evidenced by the 10 lbs I dropped like a rock. To do so, I’ve had to go back to tracking my food. At the end of the day, if I’m coming up short I’ll whip up a smoothie or have a bagle with peanut butter and jelly to load on 300-400 extra calories in one shot.
I wish I could tell you that I feel a lot better or that I run and ride a lot faster, but honestly, I can’t tell any real difference. I do know that I feel a lot more “in charge” of my hunger and nutrition since I see the impact of everything I eat now. It’s also very satisfying to know that all those miles I’m racking up on Saturdays are “bonus miles” that can be paid off in ice cream!