Yesterday was a big day. Mentally for me I felt like I was in a good place to try a day of eating like the old me. The me before the fitness and health journey. A lot of people throughout the day said I was brave because this would give them anxiety. I guess it’s brave, but for me food doesn’t cause that kind of anxiety.
There was a period over the summer that it did. This hadn’t really been my way of thinking before. I had mostly accepted that some days would be great and others wouldn’t, but at the time I was given the impression that if the scale increased then it was a problem and my “reverse diet” wouldn’t have food added to. The reverse had already gone slow and with surgery in the middle of it, it took a while to even get out of my deficit. Something I know and see now since I’ve had time to reflect back on it.
I’m finally back to me when I thought cupcakes could help me make gains in the gym when paired appropriately with chicken and veggies for dinner. I wish all of those who have the anxiety that fear instills that one day you can find peace with this demon.
The plan. I started my morning off by making JP his typical waffle Wednesday stack. It was very sad. I’m a creature of habit and I really do like my waffle stack. I was kind of upset that I wouldn’t get to partake.
Before I ate – I weighed myself- 135.0 pounds. I also shared my waist measurements on Instagram – waist: 25.5″. I believe it’s important to note these measurements because a lot of people who have issues with food or disordered eating will find themselves weighing or measuring as the day goes on. They want to see how bad the “damage” is in many cases.
The problem with measuring throughout the day is that food and liquids go in faster than they come out of the body – they have weight. If you drink 24 fluid ounces of water it’s obvious that you will be heavier on the scale, but it’s not true weight. With food consumption it’s the same thing. Also, with food consumption you need to be mindful of factors other than if you pooped that day – yes, I said poop. Sodium in foods is important to look at because if your sodium intake is higher than normal or just slightly different on a given day that may cause water retention. Water intake also impacts water retention. Check out this article about higher carbohydrate diets and water retention. This is also will explain why I dropped my carbohydrates for today’s day of eating like my new normal.
So here is a photo of my weight to start the day.
If we’re going plan a day of eating like this correctly, some things are just going to be out of order. In college, foods weren’t necessarily labeled as breakfast, lunch or dinner – they satisfied something else. So, since the place I was getting my breakfast was closed at the time, I started my day with a small apple pie. Yep, sugar and sweet. I mean people eat doughnuts right? It’s like the same thing…
These can be found at a gas station or by check out at the grocery store. They’re a dollar a piece, which makes them a decently cost effective snack, however, nutritionally these take up about 25% of the average person’s daily calories (if you use the recommendations from the CDC for the average 5’4″ female).
This was less than filling and I was actually kind of pissed that calories and macros were wasted on this, but part of this day is about showing what the foods I used to eat. It’s also to show you what they actually do for you. This, while it tastes good, didn’t fill me up and that made me really want breakfast – a real breakfast.
Meal 1: apple pie
Nutrition: 400 calories, 17f/ 61c/ 3p
After JP left for work, I got ready for the day and headed out to find my breakfast. In college, the cafeteria had a plethora of pancakes and waffles… nothing close to what I eat now healthwise – these were the buttery ones that you imagine from IHOP. There were a lot of breads and bagels and breakfast sandwiches. There was a locally owned bagel place that made these amazingly awesome sandwiches. Maybe as big as my face. For easy tracking, I went to a chain here in Worcester called Honey Dew – coffee, doughnuts and bagels. Think Dunkin’, but not Dunkin’.
There was a sign in the restaurant that said they now sold bagel sandwiches with double bacon for an extra 50 cents over the normal bagel sandwich. Well, after getting my bacon, egg and cheese on cinnamon raisin – I know why.
Meal 2: bacon, egg and cheese on a cinnamon raisin bagel
Nutrition: 590 calories, 21f/ 75c/ 25p
Slightly disappointed in this breakfast sandwich because of the lack of egg and bacon. The bagel is excellent, and I really love bagels. At this point, I had about 32 ounces of water in my system. That is one variable that I kept to my normal today. As a lifter, it’s important to drink water to flush out toxins that can build up in our muscles like lactic acid. It’s important to stay hydrated anyway, but my normal now is about 160-200 ounces a day. If I dropped that for this experiment then I would have other issues aside from water retention in the morning.
I did start to develop a headache on the left side of my head, toward the back behind my ear. That kind of sucked. I know that was because of the large dose of sodium I gave myself before 9:30. Continue on…
After I had my sandwich, I stopped at Starbucks for my old normal in college. We had a Starbucks on campus and between my 9:30 and 10:30 classes MWF, I would stop for a grande iced caramel macchiato. I have since learned that they clearly had no idea what they were doing because a Starbucks macchiato has the espresso and milk separated, not mixed like I had been used to. The barista was less than happy when I tried to explain my order. I did have to substitute the 2% for almond milk so I wouldn’t have an immediate upset stomach. That was another variable I allowed.
Meal 3: caramel macchiato sub 2% for almond milk
Nutrition: 240 calories, 7f/ 34c/ 10p
This was a lot sweeter than I remember. I felt like I was drinking a milkshake. The calories in this drink are equivalent to the breakfast I made for myself on Tuesday – which was oats with peanut butter. So I can eat a meal or have a drink. That’s eye opening in itself. It shows the choices that we make for ourselves every day.
At this point, I was excited to be heading home because my head and heart rate were garbage. My resting heart rate was clearly higher than it should be or higher than my normal. I could feel it as I was sitting and as I was moving around. I threw back another 24 ounces of water when I got home, which put my total water intake at 56 ounces by 9:20. I still had cotton mouth, but totaling the sodium – I was over 2,000mg at this point in the day. The CDC recommends not consuming more than 2,300mg of sodium in a day and here I was already at that point.
I did weigh myself when I got home and from the pie, sandwich, coffee and initial water my weight was 138.6. I felt slightly uncomfortable, but not terrible. After I went to the bathroom around 9:15ish, my weight was 137.2.
This kind of fluctuation is important to note because like I said before everything you consume during the day has weight. And again, it goes in a lot faster than it goes out. This isn’t true weight gain, but the visual of the scale can screw with us. Trust me, I know the scale freaks a lot of you out, and that’s why I’m also showing you what happens during the day. It used to freak me out too.
I got some work done and watched The Lion King. I love me some Disney. I also put on Fuller House season 2… if you have seen season 1 and have lowered your expectations you should watch season 2. Anyway, I felt it was time for a snack because in college that’s what I would’ve done. I would’ve looked for something in class or something to munch on while I studied. So bring on the candy.
This is a huge killer – calorie dense, not nutritionally dense and easy to consume a lot of it.
Meal 4: box of peanut butter M&Ms
Nutrition: 440 calories, 26f/ 46c/ 8p
This little box is actually two servings, but back then I wouldn’t have cared enough to eat only half and put the rest away for another time. Or better, find a friend to share with like I do with JP. I know some of you question how I can eat only half of a candy bar and give him the rest or put it away for a different day, but it’s because of this. I look at the amount of fat and ask myself is this worth it? What will I be eating later. Food should be an experience, but I could eat these whenever I want, so to me it’s not worth eating the whole box.
New Cristina’s way of thinking wasn’t in play yesterday so I ate the whole box. It took me 25 minutes and that’s kind of pathetic, but they just don’t taste as good as I remember. I also was still battling the slight headache and drinking water.
Around 12:30 I decided to adventure out for lunch. In school, lunch was around 12:30/1 pm so I kept with this tradition and found food. Even today, my normal lunch time is between 12 and 1:30 depending on how the morning stays with me.
My cafeteria, like many other cafeteria’s offered only the most glamorous of food options. I’m not blaming – I could’ve hit the salad bar, but I think we agree that it also doesn’t matter how much lettuce is on your plate if you negate it with 3 or 4 servings of Ranch dressing… for reference, one serving of Ranch dressing is 2 tablespoons – 145 calories, 15f/ 2c/.3p… I know many people aren’t just using one serving. Anyway, this was available to me and it was easier to just get a burger and fries then think about what other better options there may be.
Meal 5: little bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onions, mushrooms and mayo. little fry. regular size Coke Zero.
Nutrition: 1,008 calories, 61.5f/ 79.5c/ 35p
I brought my scale with me so I could weigh out the fries. A serving should weigh around 233g, but my portion was only 118g. So I was able to track half the calories. Helpful, but also not realistic. Many around me had overflowing bags of fries and didn’t just eat what’s in the cup. Back then I ate what was in the bag too, not just the cup. I save about 250 calories by only having half the fries for a serving.
I’m not going to pretend that I don’t eat burgers, you know I do. You saw Allie and I split a burger in Boston, you saw JP and I split one in Cambridge. Both had the most ridiculous of toppings, but that’s not a daily occurrence.
Five Guys is my FAVORITE fast food burger place, even now. I actually had this same burger from them a few weeks ago, but I chose to not get fries. The burger at the time was worth it. I was on point with my eating for the rest of the day, but I knew I was going to be a little high in calories and nutrients than the other days. I accepted that I wanted the burger, I wanted that experience. Yesterday however, I thought about what old Cristina ate. She was wrong about those fries. They were less than good. I have had wayyyyyyy better. I could’ve done without them. A few of you said they can be hit or miss – well this one didn’t even come close to the target.
I went to Target to walk around and not be such a bum for the day. It was my rest day and I think doing it on a rest day is important because I wasn’t working out when I was at my heaviest. I wasn’t making an attempt at all.
I did notice that I was starting to feel warm and my face started to feel flushed. I looked in the mirror and the bridge of my nose and cheeks were red, very noticeably red. Total water at this point was about 104 ounces, I picked up a bottle at Target since mine was empty. I drank more when I got home and by dinner time I was at 168 ounces.
I got home and watched a little more Netflix and 3.5 hours later, I was starving. So I headed back out and grabbed my next meal.
THE STAPLE FOR MANY COLLEGE STUDENTS….I know I don’t need to explain this one
Meal 6: pizza: white pizza, veggie pizza, buffalo chicken pizza
Nutrition: 808 calories, 33.9f/ 91.8c/ 33.9p
*I used estimated nutritional information from Domino’s Pizza nutrition
I was more excited about the vegetables on the veggie slice than the pizza as a whole. I had some veggie things on my burger, but I hadn’t had any veggies the whole day. Sadly, the buffalo chicken pizza was terrible. JP has had it before and loves it. This was one of my favorites in school and it was just awful. The chicken was hard and it wasn’t as hot as I like my spicy, heat things. The white pizza was excellent. Cheese is such a guilty pleasure – this was the one thing I was truly concerned about for the day. I was nervous that it would make sick I would have to stop. I knew that if I started to get really sick that I would stop and I would still prove a point. Thankfully no bellies were truly harmed during consumption.
The veggie was amazing and loaded with all of the peppers and onions I could’ve hoped for. The overall pizza experience was disheartening, things tasted differently than I remembered, but when you change your eating habits your taste buds change too. Foods you believe you find comfort in aren’t necessarily that food anymore.
I was just under 200 ounces of water when I approached my third meal. Taco Bell. This was one of those runs we would do when were studying or when we were drinking. Yep, that literally means I had two dinners, but I didn’t think of it that way. Food in college was a to be social as well as find comfort when being emotional. You’re not actively thinking about what you were going to eat as far health, it was about not missing out on hearing a joke.
Meal 7: two beef chalupa supremes + soft taco + diet soda
Nutrition: 930 calories, 51f/ 79c/ 35p
I couldn’t even finish this. The chapulas were hard and the side of mouth. It’s like when your food attacks. Fucking terrible. The taste of the chalupa shells, however, was exactly like I remembered them. Deep fried and almost buttery. The insides lacked. I don’t think that’s changed from before, but I wasn’t paying attention before. I wasn’t making my own taco and burritos at home either to know what good tacos taste like, what quality vegetables taste like. The regular sized drink was what would be considered a large at other establishments and I barely touched it.
I drank another 24 ounces of water before bed, which put me to 236 ounces for the day.
Here are the stats:
Calories : 4,416
Apple Pie: $1
Bagel sandwich: $3.73
Starbucks caramel macchiato: $5.62
Five Guys little bacon cheeseburger and little fries + regular drink: $13.03
Antonio’s Pizza by the Slice 3 slices + bottle water: $14.80
Taco Bell 2 chalupas + soft taco + regular drink: $12.45
And my weight at the end of the day: 140.0
The cost is important to note because nothing pisses me off than the excuse that eating healthy is expensive. You can shop the sales, you can buy in bulk. You can get store brand. You can coupon. I spent enough money to buy about a week’s groceries for me and JP in just one day on food that didn’t even keep me full.
The CDC releases new dietary recommendations every five years. The latest version was released in 2015 and will expire in 2020.
Here’s some of the recommendations:
- added sugars should take up less than 10% of your calories
- saturated fats should take up less than 10% of your calories
- consumption of sodium should be less than 2,300mg
For caloric intake the CDC used for reference a man that is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 154 pounds. The reference woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 126 pounds. This is pulled directly from their 2015-2020 report:
Estimates range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men. Within each age and sex category, the low end of the range is for sedentary individuals; the high end of the range is for active individuals. Due to reductions in basal metabolic rate that occur with aging, calorie needs generally decrease for adults as they age.
I’m 5’4″ and my old eating habits were no where close to these recommendations. Even today, I loosely follow these guidelines. The fiber guideline is very important and I am mindful of that. I also pay attention to sodium loosely and my water levels. While not every person will fit the reference body they used, these guidelines are still important to consider.
Making healthy choices can be tough. Sometimes you just want something deep fried and covered in chocolate. I get that. Small changes got me to where I am now. Those small changes built on each other and became bigger changes. The person I am today is more than just physically different that the person I was 5 or 6 years ago. Mentally I have grown with how I set goals for myself and how I approach a problem. My decision making process is different – I can step back and ask myself what impact will a meal have on my goals, my day, whatever. Sometimes it’s worth it. It’s worth the experience or sometimes the belly ache. But a lot of times, I know it’s not and I can say nope, not now. Moderation is important to me and that’s why I macro count.
You saw that I ate a days calories in the first three meals, but nutritionally, I wasn’t going to be fueled and my goals wouldn’t or couldn’t be supported with those macros.
This day of eating is what happened years ago, before I cared about my health before I was mindful. I know a lot more now about food and nutrition and exercise than I did then. A bad day now doesn’t compare to a bad day then. I’m not saying that a bad day now isn’t valid – of course it is. I’m saying that our bad days or binges evolve just like we do. If you feel like you over did it or felt out of control, maybe out of body – you are 100% valid in your feelings, but I also hope that you will step back and think about what it used to be like. Think about how you processed through a problem. Did you even question reaching for something external to satisfy something internally?
Growth and transformations come in so many forms. Just because you can’t physically measure something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or isn’t real. I mean, children believe in Santa and people have their religious beliefs.
I hope that one day more people have the ability to look back and realize that they aren’t bad people because they made a poor decision in the moment. It makes you human. It happened and you need to accept that, but what are you going to as you move forward?