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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Being Frugal, but with Calories

Last week, as you know, I had to spend $110 on shoes.  It was a budget-buster for sure, but it was needed to ensure that there wasn't a bigger, joint-related budget-buster in the future.  Let's say that, after spending all of that money, we also went out for a fancy dinner on Tuesday, bought a new TV on Thursday and took a quick weekend-getaway to Disney - you'd think I was crazy!!!

Well, it's the same thing with calories.  So what if your office had cake for Secretaries Day (excuse me, Administrative Professionals Day)?  Why does that single slip-up make you feel it's okay to say "fuck it, I already screwed up" and then eat pizza and cheeseburgers for dinner the rest of the week?

If you look at calories the same way you look at money, I'd bet you would rethink a lot of what you eat.

The general recommendation for us is 2000 calories per day. That is 14,000 calories per week.  If you want to lose a pound per week, you need 3500 fewer calories per week, which is only 500 calories per day. Sure, you can starve yourself, or you can create a 500 calorie deficit with diet AND exercise.  If you burn 250 calories via daily exercise AND  you skip the 16oz Grande Vanilla Latte* from Starbucks, you have successfully created that 500 calorie loss (and probably saved a bunch of money, too!)

*Disclaimer - I don't drink coffee, so I don't even know if this IS a latte!
 However, we don't live in a perfect world and Lord knows I don't exercise every day. What I DO do, is to look at my caloric intake as a WEEKLY thing, rather than a daily thing.  Sure, we all have "oh crap, I blew my diet" days. I had one on Tuesday.  Our office celebrated Secretaries Day with cake and ice cream. I didn't go crazy, and only got ice cream, but it was still a 200-calorie splurge that I hadn't budgeted for, so it put me over my daily calorie limit.  However, because I could deal with it from then on, I ate a bit less for dinner the next few nights to compensate for that splurge.  I'm back on track with my calorie budget and didn't let a little splurge (don't call it an "oops" - that makes it seem like a bad thing) get in the way of my success.

On the flip side of this, I want to also say that, if you KNOW there will be a party coming up, or something that you want to eat that is hi-calorie, budget for it!  You know that vacation is expensive, so you budget for it. Food is the same way.  If I know that on Saturday, we are going out to eat at Cracker Barrel, I plan on eating lighter the entire week and splurging on Saturday.  It works both ways, folks.