Fit for Life: Be Aware of Calories

Saturday, June 16, 2018


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The nicer weather is here, and a lot of folks eat out more frequently. You see the posts on social media of people sitting on a patio somewhere with the frosty cocktail raised high.

Eating out is fun and all, but if you are not conscious of what you are eating, your gains in the gym will come to a halt.

The last time I ate out, I added up the potential calories.

Many people are unaware of how many they are consuming, so I am going yo give you a few examples of how calories add up when you dine out.

When you sit down you order a drink.

Let's say a glass of wine.

Ok so let's start adding.

That's 80 calories of sugar on an empty stomach. Great way to get the insulin in your system out of control.

Because you do not want to get tipsy you reach for the bread, but you are health conscious so you opt out of the butter for the healthier olive oil, which still carries 120 calories per tablespoon, so about 2 of them will seep into the bread. Add 40 calories just for the bread.

So with a conservative figure 1 glass of wine 1 piece of bread w/ oil = 360 calories before you touch a utensil.

And I say conservative because after the first drink, inhibitions get weak, and spiked blood sugar causes excessive hunger, so one piece of bread or drink is unusual.

When multiple couples dine, usually appetizers are ordered family style. Unless everyone is health conscious, there is a good chance some pizza or calamari will be ordered, but you order a salad, dressing on the side.

Figure another 120 cal worth of oil/dressing, some blue cheese crumbles, and the salad, plus just one bite of something, a taste even, and that brings the appetizer round to a modest 200+ 360 pre-appetizer =460 calories going into the dinner round.

Now we are primed and ready to eat, but trying to be fit requires sacrifices, so you shoot for the healthy omega 3'and order the salmon with quinoa and vegetables.

As healthy as it is we still need to add 157 cal per 4oz piece of fish which is about 1/2 order in most places, and quinoa carries 170 calories per 1/2 cup, and cooks are more concerned about taste than calories so the olive oil runs rapidly in the kitchen adding hundreds of calories to a meal.

So let's figure 450 calories on dinner + the previous 460 and now we have 910 calories if we pass on dessert, and many people eat out more than once a week.

That is 1/2 of a lot of people's daily requirements on one meal.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not a big calorie counter/ pincher, and I advise people to up the quality of their food first, and in most cases they lose weight, feel less bloated/inflamed, eating quality food.

I won't start counting calories until results hit a plateau, but I always recommend grazing and spreading them out amongst 5-6 feedings, not 1 or 2.

When you consume these many calories in one sitting, you will gain weight.


And I just detailed someone ordering with some concept of healthy food. THIS IS A MODEST ESTIMATE of a meal in a restaurant.

I want to make it clear that I am not trying to deter you from eating out and being social, because there are many good ones here, I am just trying to create awareness as to where your calories are hiding and remind you to pay attention to small details to live healthier.   

So go out and enjoy food, just don't kid yourself about the amount of calories you are eating, and be aware of how fast they add up.


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Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one.


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