What I eat now vs what I ate before

I do love a chilli. Probably too much actually.

I tend to eat more of it than I really should (it tastes soooooooo nice though!) and yesterday was unfortunately no exception.

The trick with chilli (I realised only within the last few months after a friend pointed it out) is to start cooking the spices immediately upon starting the dish. I hadn’t realised up until then just how different chilli powder, paprika and cumin taste when you fry them with the mince and onions for a while. Only after this do I add the chopped tomatoes and garlic – just before the spice mix starts to burn and the onions are softening.

Everything else after that can just be slung in randomly and left to simmer for a while.

We can probably all agree that maybe I’m a little obsessed this week with numbers. It will come as no surprise if we do that today I’ve also looked up the (as close as possible) calorie values of the speed food too to get a TRUE idea of what I ate yesterday afternoon.

I had two identical bowls of this chilli – which was frankly unbelievably delicious.


Chilli con Carne

  • Kidney beans – (‘Free’ food – 128 kcal)
  • 500g 5% fat beef mince – (‘Free’ food – 610 kcal)
  • Can of chopped tomatoes (80kcal)
  • Half a tube of tomato purée (92kcal)
  • 1x red pepper (20kcal)
  • 1x green pepper (20kcal)
  • Mushrooms (15 kcal)
  • 1x red onion (40kcal)
  • Bunch of broccoli (50 kcal)
  • 2x cloves of garlic (8 kcal)
  • 1 beef stock cube, cumin, paprika, chilli powder, salt, fry light

In future I think I’m going to buy a smaller 250g pack of mince – or maybe halve the 500g one (which is probably cheaper) and freeze some when I buy it so that I’m not tempted to overdo things. If I’d done that last night then my evening meal would have been 300kcal less than it was.

This meal is a great example of how ingredients (even low fat and free foods) can quickly add up – and the total approximate value of it is 1063kcal – which comes to around 2/5ths of an adult male’s RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of calories.

I have to admit it’s been worthwhile totting all this up because it goes some way to explaining a couple of weeks where I’ve had slower than expected losses. On top of the above ingredients when I cooked this in previous weeks I’d also started adding chick peas (since they’re a free food) to the mix which I now realise added around 300 kcal!

As you can see I am re-thinking this choice and yesterday left them out…

Since I vowed to try something new every day this week I added a different ‘healthy extra’ to my usual evening treat.

Bran Fibre.

Although I’ve always liked this cereal I’ve not eaten it for well over a year – mostly because I stopped buying milk. It’s slightly higher in calories than oats but made a nice (filling) change –

Late evening dessert (475 kcal)

  • 1 banana (90kcal)
  • 250ml fat free yogurt (145 kcal)
  • 50g Sainsburys Bran Fibre (This is a SW HE or 7.5 syns – 170 kcal)
  • Frozen fruit (grapes & blackberries + a few small cherries) (50-70kcal approx)
  • 100ml cold water
  • Cinnamon

I also had 3x apples (188 kcal) as snacks during the day.

Daily total – 1726kcal (approx)

On the exercise front I was roughly around the same ballpark – with Apple Watch reporting around 100 active kcal less than I ate burned for the day. Overall though the total calories still seems more than enough.

I’m still not sure I believe these numbers however.

I walked 17,143 steps and 8.42 miles yesterday. Just under six of these miles were spread over ‘workouts’ where my average pace was around 19.4 minutes per mile over variable gradients. At every possible opportunity that presented itself I consciously chose a hill or a long route instead of a shorter or flatter way.

With this in mind does 4,696 kcal burned sound right to readers?

Are other people who exercise with a device like this getting similar results? I really don’t know whether to treat it as gospel or a rough guide. As the ‘normal’ level for a man is supposed to be 2500 this seems almost fictionally high sometimes.

(author stops, goes away, does other things, can’t stop thinking about this and then comes back some hours later with another thought)

Out of interest I just looked back at when I first put my Apple Watch on in mid September 2015. I was quite surprised to see that I appeared (when I was going to work in an office) to sometimes be burning around 7500 total calories per day with what I remember was minimal movement.

My watch didn’t know my exact weight at the time (neither did I until April 2016) but it did know what my heart was up to – suggesting that the extra 10 stone I carried everywhere back then made even simple tasks a big event.

Since I remember how exhausting and uncomfortable even sitting in an armchair could be back then (I’m deadly serious – this is no joke – sometimes it hurt to sit still and just breathe) maybe this is true…

(Author steps away once more for an hour or so – but can’t stop thinking about these numbers and past habits. Frankly they’re driving him mad. He starts typing again.)

It does beg the question however ‘How can I have been so overweight and yet be burning so many calories?’ After I looked back at this insane number I started to wonder exactly what I used to consume in a day.

I was burning THREE TIMES the adult male RDA back then, so why was I still fat?

I’ve occasionally added up the syns of certain items – but never the total calories of what might have been in a typical day in September 2015 – which was way before I gave up drinking and started Slimming World.

Although I can only do it from memory I decided to try and map out an average day from back then. I’m honestly not exaggerating for effect. I sat and thought about what I did all the time and wrote it down – removing some things that seemed out of place or that I didn’t regularly have.

It’s pretty gobsmacking – and if I’m honest more than a little upsetting. It makes me angry now to think back to what I was doing to my body all the time.

Way to work (1130kcal)

Sandwiches eaten at desk (1725kcal approx)

  • 6 thick slices of hand cut bread (usually this was half of an in-store supermarket bakery 800g wholemeal loaf) (952kcal)
  • Benecol light spread – I guesstimate approx 20g (64kcal) per slice (total 384kcal)
  • Two packs of 125g ham – 290kcal
  • 3x tomatoes (67kcal each) and cucumber slices (10kcal) – (201kcal)
  • Two packets of Mccoys crisps (multipack ones are 141kcal each) (282kcal)

Evening meal (1595kcal)

Snacks and drinks (3023kcal)

  • Sainsburys house Soave 2.25l (I would typically drink all of this – per 125ml Soave is approx 79kcal so it totals 1422kcal)
  • 200g ‘sharing’ bag of Doritos (894kcal)
  • Ginsters large Cornish pasty (707kcal)

Total (if I didn’t have an evening takeaway instead of a ready meal) – 7473kcal

So – maybe Apple Watch isn’t so off base after all.

For probably the first time I can see the reality of my daily intake back then, and compare it with how hard my body (particularly my heart) had to work with all that weight just to get into the car and drive to a job where I sat down all day long.

Thankfully internet project lettuce is my current fixation, not project sausage and egg Mcmuffins. I don’t ever want to eat another Mc anything again as long as I live.


7 thoughts on “What I eat now vs what I ate before

  1. I’m not at all surprised that you were theoretically burning so many calories at your heaviest weight, given the stress that you must have been putting your system under. It’s like carrying round on your shoulders an average sized woman, all day, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep, keeping her on your shoulders as you climbed stairs, got up from chairs, made food, cleaned house and so on. No wonder you have such impressive energy levels these days, and are achieving so much in your fitness!

    Liked by 1 person

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