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Calorie counting and zero/low calorie beverages | August 29, 2011

I’m sure you’ve heard someone snark about someone in a fast food joint ordering a greasy burger, a large french fries and a diet soda, acting all superior and judgmental, and pretending they’re the first person to say that (wasn’t it part of someone’s stand up comedy routine?)

I’ll admit I used to chuckle at the irony (unlike rain on a wedding day, Canadians, this is irony) of that, but you know what? It makes sense and it works.

The success to my weight loss (50 pounds in 5 months) is a simple two-part plan – more exercise and counting calories, sticking to a goal designed to help me lose weight. Again, you cannot argue with my success. On a regular “active day”, I’m allowed 2100 calories. At 3-5 meals and 1-3 snacks, that adds up pretty fast.

I’d rather drink zero calories, or as few as possible, during the course of most days, and save my calories for food. If I can eat 2000 calories and drink water, Splenda-sweetened iced tea and/or diet soda all day, that’s way better than having to “budget” calories for my drinks.

Example – 12 ounces (one can) of Pepsi (sorry, I prefer Pepsi to Coke) is 150 calories. Today, I had 12 cups of water during the day (8 at work, 4 during my work out at the gym.) On the way home, I stopped at Five Guys Burgers and Fries for a special treat – I had the calories budgeted for it, so why not? A bacon cheeseburger and regular fries is 1540 calories, so I decided to go with a zero calorie drink, but I was TIRED of having water, I wanted something with flavour, and didn’t have any iced tea made up at home (or any Kool-Aid, I also make that with Splenda.) I tried a sip of diet coke and coke zero, and while I didn’t find them as heinous as I have in the past, they’re still not for me. (I can do Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, and several of the Publix diet sodas that I’ve tried with no problem, so far.)

But they had Gold Peak Unsweetened black iced tea, so I gave it a shot – and it was good! I got a 32 ounce cup, drank at least four ounces, so 36 ounces of Pepsi would have been another 450 calories (and I only have 476 left in my daily goal, even after all that food – since I did extra physical work, I’m allocated extra calories for the day.)

Again, I did 12 cups of water today – in non-diet soda, we’re looking at 1200 calories.

So, remember this – sticking to diet drinks or water or low calorie drinks and eating non-diet foods DOES make sense. I’m not eating all diet food – I’ve cut back on the worst offenders as far as calories go (burgers, red beef, sausages, pasta), but by no means have I cut them out of my diet – and I never will. I’ve upped my fruit and salad intake (which never was bad in the first place.)


Posted in Food, Weight Loss


  1. yep.

    gold peak is good. mcdonalds unsweeteened – terrible (and their sweat tea is so good makes me question how much sugar is in it)

    other things I like – if you can get in canada – mio shots (portable little flavor shots to add to water)

    sobe lifewater

    glacau vitaminwater, but only the zero cal ones

    coffee with skim milk and splenda is pretty low cal

    Comment by J. — August 29, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    • I haven’t tried the mio shots or the lifewater or vitamin water yet. (I’m not in Canada, that was a playful poke over the Alannis Morrissette song, Ironic.)

      I tried coffee with Splenda, but it didn’t quite work for me – so I do use sugar for my coffee still (and I’ve been drinking primarily skim milk for the past eleven years – only time I drink anything else is I’m out/at someone’s house and they don’t have skim.) But coffee is part of my daily routine, as well as a treat for me, so I don’t mind budgeting the calories for that.

      Comment by Terry — August 29, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

      • there is a big difference there – like 100 -150 cal or so depending on how much sugar/size of coffee. When I switched from regular soda to diet a long time ago, I went cold turkey from soda for a few weeks and then was quite happy when I went to diet (I’ve gone off soda now about 95%)

        Comment by J. — August 29, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  2. i’m trying my best to go off soda. it’s hard. but i don’t need it, and my body is better off without it.

    Comment by Mari Adkins — September 9, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    • I go through phases – right now, I’m on a soda phase, where I drink as much soda as I do water about half the days. A couple weeks ago, it was more 75-90% water each day and the rest soda. However, when it comes to soda, I’m drinking 85% diet soda (yay, 0 calories), and the other 15% regular. (The sad fact is that I’m too poor to afford anything more expensive than water, soda, etc.)

      Comment by Terry — September 9, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  3. i hear you about being too poor. me too. 😉 when i was growing up, my grandmother let me have an occasional soda as a treat. and i stayed that way until late 1995. then i developed an emotional eating habit, and everything went downhill from there, as they say. i’ve been drinking diet rite, though, since it came out, but i’ve been limiting myself to one soda every other day. my body doesn’t tolerate aspartame, so i stick with splenda. but yeah, sometimes water gets bland. 😦

    Comment by Mari Adkins — September 9, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    • Growing up, soda was a weekend thing, or special occasions during the week (sports event, dinner out – eating out was a big deal, even if it was just fast food) or birthdays, etc. So, of course, once we got old enough to drive or buy our own while out, my brother and I became soda addicts. 😉

      I, too, am an emotional eater. When I was younger, it was no big deal – had the metabolism of a white dwarf star – but once I got into my mid 30s, metabolism slowed down. I’ve been 200ish (give or take) since 2000, but working physical jobs helped keep any weight gain in check.

      Over the past 18 months, I’ve had another relationship end, became unemployed for 13 months, my mother passed away, and am only working part time now and struggling with bills and trying to keep my house. So, not working (and only moderately working out at the gym) and still eating the same way (plus more for dealing with the stress) led to me becoming 252 pounds back in March – and one day I weighed myself and that was the wake up call I needed. Started counting calories, got a new workout regimen designed, and it’s been going great so far.

      Comment by Terry — September 9, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  4. yeah my biggest thing right now is my blood pressure and that i’m pre-diabetic. i’ve got to get my act together! i’ve been doing better – i figured out how to cram all of our food into the pantry (it’s a small pantry), so there’s no food just laying out in the kitchen. because if it’s there, i’ll pick it up and eat it just because it’s there. :eye roll:

    Comment by Mari Adkins — September 9, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    • My hardest days are the days I stay home all day… and sometimes I do that to conserve gas, but I still need to either get back to walking 4 miles on days like that, or just budget better to afford a gym trip or something on those days.

      If I stay home and don’t exercise (another facet of my changing goals is that I have to start exercising at home, I’ve got a couple workout DVDs that I need to view and use to design a home workout… it’ll make it better for me), I end up sitting on my ass for most of the day and eating more than if I am more active. Again, I suspect it’s an emotional response.

      Comment by Terry — September 9, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

      • i’m a full time homemaker so here i am. lol that makes it worse, i think. some days i just kinda putter about like an old woman. 😉 i need to get my bicycle out and start riding it again, clean the dust off, put air in the tires .. all that. and taking walks. but i’ll admit, i’m a weeny when it comes to heat and humidity. i don’t leave the apartment when the temps are over 80* unless i absolutely have to. kentucky is summer is just … horrific. there’s really no other way to put it. LOL (i’ve heard kentucky summers compared to vietnam)

        Comment by Mari Adkins — September 9, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

    • (can’t reply to the comment below, so replying to the parent one again. stupid blog.)

      I’ve been in KY during the summer, and yeah, the heat is bad – but we’ve got you beat on the humidity. I can’t afford to be a wimp on heat/humidity, so the past few years, it’s been very uncomfortable during the summer for me at home – can’t run A/C, so it’s open doors and shirtless (thank god I got skinnier, I was a bit embarrassed to go shirtless at 252 pounds!)

      Comment by Terry — September 9, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

      • ugh … humidity sucks lolol

        i get nervous riding my bicycle. i get all 250# of me up there, then i wonder if anyone, *anyone* is thinking, “what’s that big lady think she’s doing?” i like to think it all evens out. the bicycle is bright fire engine red – and it’s a *big*, man’s “sit up and beg” style. i love it. 🙂

        Comment by Mari Adkins — September 9, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    • At least it’s a big, bold man’s bike – you probably don’t like as outré as you think you do. (And, honestly, let ’em think what they want – their opinions don’t matter, right? Just yours and the ones you choose that matter. If I worried about others, I wouldn’t go shirtless now – I’ve still got a little bit of a gut going on, but 5-6 months ago, I hated looking at my own belly and would have kept a shirt on, no matter how hot it got.) But it sounds like a great bike. (I have a bike, but don’t like riding it around here too much – if I’m biking for exercise, I wanna be able to ride long distances at a good speed and not worry about idiot drivers, and well, not here.)

      And, yeah, I hate humidity. It sucks the energy out of me – that’s why I’m acting so giddy over on Twitter right now about the rain – literally, my mood has dramatically improved just from the cooler air and the sound of rain, and going out in it was like a religious experience for me. I’m totally the opposite of the people who have Winter Blues – during the summer, the heat/humidity sucks the life out of me. During the cooler months, all 3-4 of them we get, I’m a totally different person.)

      Comment by Terry — September 9, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

      • you’re probably right, but i have a bit of agoraphobia. makes it rough sometimes – it’s gotten a lot better since i started on prozac last year, but bits linger. this bike was given to me. someone had given it to him – but he’s 6’10! he can’t ride a bike! LOL i hear you on idiot drivers. mostly i ride around our apartment complex and asked permission to cruise around the parking lot (big) of the baptist church behind us. i wouldn’t dare bike out on the street. not here.

        my manpal @theferretthimself gets SAD in the summer. so do a handful of other people i know. it’s really not as uncommon as i once thought. it makes sense really – otherwise it’d be called WAD, right? 🙂

        Comment by Mari Adkins — September 9, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

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