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Calorie Counting

My wife has recently stated calorie counting in order to trim off a few pounds and maintain a healthy weight. She’s logging everything she eats; keeping track every little calorie.

As you’d expect, there’s an app for that.

The app makes it easy to log any and all calorific intake, as well as any exercise done in order to keep on track to hit a weight goal. It has a database of food stuffs which can be added to by users so the chances are whatever you’ve eaten is on there, and a recipe function so you can mark the calories on the ingredients of a meal you’ve made yourself. It’s quite a nifty little app.

When she first started out, I was very supportive, asking if bogies were on the food list and if sex was on the exercise list (note: they aren’t, but you can add them).

However, seeing how calorific some foods are and how quickly those calories add up, I started to get curious as to just how many calories I was putting away in a day. Just curious, of course; I treat recommended daily calorie intake amounts the same as I treat speed limits – as a reference figure, not anything that needs strictly adhering to.

For a while I was contemplating downloading the same app my wife was using, so see how much of a calorie hog I was. I had a few reservations about it though; for a start I’m only reasonably sure that I put away a ton of calories, and knowing me I’d see the allowed limit as a target to be exceeded, not an upper limit. Also, I don’t plan on making any actual changes to my diet – I just want to see what’s what. That means that if I make one of my ShakeAway-style milkshakes that contains a few scoops of ice cream, maybe 300ml of milk, and a whole slab of Cadbury’s Caramel, I’d end up leaving a whole load of temptation on the recipe database for those who are doing serious calorie counting for serious health benefits. Well okay that wasn’t an actual concern, more of an added bonus. Same as adding sex or bogies to the database.

Anyway, I eventually went ahead and downloaded the app. Even telling it I wanted to lose an arbitrarily small amount of weight it still said I had to eat over 2,100 calories in a day.

Of course, such is the way when you have something new, you want a legitimate excuse to use it, so for a while on the first afternoon I was looking around for things I could eat to add to the log.

Unfortunately, that first evening was also the day of Eurovision, where we had a small ‘make your own pizza and shout at foreigners on the television’ party. My pizza – a six cheese, chicken and pancetta number – accounted for (and admittedly this is on slightly rough estimates on how much went into it) no less than 2,500 calories on its own. And that’s without the small garlic pizza we had to start, the slice of cheesecake that followed, and of course the drink. And what I had for lunch.

All told, I apparently exceeded 4,000 calories on my first day. When I logged it the app said if I carried on like that I’d put on almost 9kg (1.3 stone) in 5 weeks, if I lived that long.

The six cheeses on the pizza, if you were wondering, were mozzarella, spicy cheddar, Danish blue, Cotswold, goat cheese and Camembert. A pizza so awesome I’m sure I’ll be talking about it for a while.

Fortunately, two days later I spent the day helping some friends move home (in my first draft that said “some family” rather than “some friends” but reading it back I realised it sounded like I stopped and helped a random family on the street move their worldly possessions from a skip rather than, you know, my sister- and brother-in-law), and burnt far more calories then I ate, resetting the balance a bit and making me realise I actually appeared to have started caring about the calories I was ingesting.

Caring about, yes. Not actually reacting to, however; I overate by various amounts from a couple of calories to almost a thousand over the last week. But at is turns out, I’m still one of the bastards you really really hate who can eat what he likes and still not put on any weight.

Maybe that’s why, after a little over a week, I got bored of the app and went back to the old ‘how fat do I look in the mirror?’ technique.

By Rob

Photographer. Filmmaker. Writer. These are all things I would be if I was only a little better at them (and did them more often).

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