Saturday, July 13, 2013
My husband and I used to make a habit of ending our Friday nights - after a long work day / slow to get out of the house - at Applebee's for drinks and half off appetizers. We always paired it with something else so that we somehow managed to saddle up to the bar somewhere between 12:30 and 3:00am, ordering our usual. Mine was a Jack & Diet and an order of potato skins; my husband would order a 7&7, buffalo wings, and mozzarella sticks. We typically split the sticks and had at least three drinks a pop.
Applebee's stopped serving potato skins in December so it was easier for me to say it wasn't something I wanted. Then, in January I joined SP and started my healthier journey. We haven't been back since, though my husband has asked once or twice. So when we were tossing around ideas for this weekend, I thought I'd browse the Applebee's menu and its nutrition to see if half off apps would ever be an honest reality for me again. After all, half off - do you know how much less the bill is at the end of the night? HALF!
Potato Skins are 1400 calories, 100g of fat, and 1940mg of sodium. That explains a lot. I was eating those like twice a month. At least. Jack is only 78 calories a shot, but the sweetness is what makes it so easy to order 3,4, even 5 drinks. I was eating in the upwards of two days worth of calories in a single, late night outing. And I wonder how I gained so much so fast?
This has happened before. A few years ago I made a half-hearted attempt at losing weight and looked up the nutrition for Dunkin Donuts Coffee Coolattas - a tasty frozen drink that I was helping myself to almost every afternoon on the way home from work. It's 730 calories in case you are still stopping for a large, frozen, sweet, caffinated, pre-diabetic beverage like I was. I never had a coolatta again. I thought that was wise. I enjoyed it in ignorance, but once I knew I couldn't swallow it despite my never losing weight on that adventure. I replaced the coolatta with Wendy's Frosty because I didn't know what nutritionally it had in store. It was cold, refreshing, and hit the emotional spot at 560 calories. Technically I did lessen my calories from the coolatta, but I still wasn't being honest. I wasn't willing to educate myself.
This is not to say that I am a wreck when I go out to eat. I make educated decisions and enjoy myself as well as my company, but I do not allow the idea of ignorant bliss to justify poor decisions. When I was heavier I would order the messiest combination of cheese, grease, starches, and sour cream I could find on the menu and savor every bit. Not because I was hungry or it had anything to do with the people I was with, but because I couldn't control what was in it so I could just pretend like nothing would happen as a result. In fact, I don't even think I was enjoying who I was with so much as the idea of smothering more food in sour cream. And yet when we would go into the city (NY) I made educated decisions because the nutrition is sitting right next to the item. I couldn't will myself to order something clearly labeled as a three day caloric intake (yes, even overweight I knew what my range should have been). I couldn't dine in ignorance and so I didn't.
I'm writing this more as a means for me to remember this. Not knowing what you're eating once in a while is life. Choosing to never know what you're eating is nutritional ignorance, which feels great emotionally for a while, until you're standing on a dusty scale on New Year's Day wondering how you went from being a Division 1 athlete to obese and absolutely life-less.