How does Calorie-awareness affect what and how much you eat? Does it have any affect at all?
On my trip to California my travel companions and I had interesting experiences with calories, and the “in your face” listings of calories on menus.
When we arrived in California we all knew, that maintaining our weight would be a challenge. The concept of Vacation-fat is not strange to us, and it is a term widely used I Denmark.
Pretty fast we agreed on not mentioning the C-word. There should be no talk of calories! Not in the way that we would just eat without any thought to the consequences, but almost…
Staying unaware of the (huge) amount of calories in the (big) servings of food we where offered in restaurants and diners turned out to be a challenge we had not seen coming.
A lot of the menus we where handed had listings of calories on them. And even though we are all pretty well educated, and all work with health related issues and therefore have a lot of knowledge about nutrition – we where still surprised!
We where surprised at how many calories was actually in some of the servings! A breakfast containing 1200 – 1500 calories was not that uncommon. And knowing, that a woman of my size only needs about 2000 calories per day, that was a bit frightening.
But mostly I think we where surprised, at how these listings actually affected what we ate, and how much.
Needless to say, that calories are usually not something you find on Danish menus.
I personally chose the “Healthy alternative” when possible, and I usually did not eat everything on the plate. I also cut down on the in between meals, so that I would have enough calories to spend on the main meals.
I think, that my rationale was, that with the amount of calories being brought to my attention in this way, deciding to not mention the C-word, and dwelling on the calorie–unawareness, made no sense! There was a limit to how much denial I could get away with – even when visiting California.
As a result I made it through the week without gaining any weight. And I still had a good time, and ate a lot of good food. Including pancakes of course.
The opinions of my travel companions differed a little. One found that the listings of calories gave us an unhealthy focus on how much, and what, we ate. But all in all I think that we all used the information in a good way.
I should add, that in Denmark we are not used to serving sizes as big as the ones we saw in California! And also meals usually don´t contain such huge amounts of sugar, as Pancakes with syrup for instance. So should we have had to guess the amounts of calories in a serving, I think we would have underestimated quite a lot. Who would ever be able to guess the amount of calories tucked away in this nice serving of pancakes..
Do you have any comments or experiences in this area? Please share.