Don´t mention the C-word!

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 calorieunawareness, 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..

2015-03-31 14.44.34

Do you have any comments or experiences in this area? Please share.

Author: Camilla Hilbrands

Camilla formed the company At Work A/S in 1992 at the age of 20 and has been active as a wellbeing expert ever since. She has followed and been involved in creating the development within health and wellbeing in the workplace from its modest beginnings at the start of the 1990s, and she has, among other things, been an expert at National Centre for Workplace Health Promotion (Nationalt Center for Sundhedsfremme på Arbejdspladsen). Camilla is an experienced leader, teacher and speaker and spends most of her time developing and arranging courses and concepts that aim at increased wellbeing for individuals and groups. Creativity, honesty and social intelligence are Camilla’s strong points, and in addition to this she is known for her passion for and book about pancakes. Her focus is basically resource-oriented and innovative and her tal and workshops are based on the most recent research in the fields of positive psychology, neuroscience and behavioural science. Camilla is an informal and humorous speaker, and with her solid professional background she always leaves her audience with aha moments and specific tools they can use straight away. Camilla is an active participant and networker at various conferences, including TED conferences, and in addition to this she has been enrolled as a member of Richard Branson’s “Change Makers and Rule Breakers”, and she is a strong supporter of the motto: Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s