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Ignorance is Bliss if Bliss is Obese and Miserable

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Really great blog! Thanks for sharing.
    1775 days ago
    Awesome blog; I also stepped out of the ignorance phase into enlightenment. We popped into Applebee's quite often for dinner. I typically paid more attention to the calories but not the sodium content. I was shocked to see how much sodium their meals contained. I'm a more discriminating diner now and have been doing much better with "pre-planning" where we are going!

    emoticon emoticon
    1775 days ago
    Working in a brew pub I always find it interesting to see what people order and eat. Our burgers are 1/2 pounders and they come with about 1/2 pound of steak fries. We have wings, calamari, crab and artichoke dip, crab cakes etc for appetizers. It is common for folks to order several drinks, appetizers and a meal. I'm always perplexed by how they get away with it.. now I know. They get away with it because they are not facing reality. Myself? I've been there done that too and the results weren't pretty.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1775 days ago
  • SHERA8805
    Knowledge is power and amazing the amount of calories in some restaurant food.

    Great job on your journey and keep up the hard work.
    1775 days ago
    I can totally relate!! It's amazing once you actually look at the nutrition info and realize how much junk we were dumping into our bodies.

    1776 days ago
    Loved the title of the blog - I have learned over the years that an awful lot of things like potato skins, and rich drinks have WAY too many calories. I love the potato skins but when I make them at home, I reduce the fat, calories, and impact and they still taste good but are much healthier. I like when the calorie, fat, carb, and protein content is available either on the menu or at least online or in handouts. I can do a better job of planning my treating out. Even my son, Ed has taken to saying he would really rather eat at home instead of eating out because HIS blood sugar and weight are impacted when he eats out.
    1776 days ago
    I adore the title of this blog!! It's a real catcher!... and the blog didn't disappoint.. I've been shocked that once I committed (fully) there's no place I can't go and find something nourishing to eat.., I may have to deviate from the menu a bit.. but no problem..

    Best to you!
    Sexy ShamROCK Sheriffs
    1776 days ago
    Your title also attracted me to your blog. We still like to go to Applebees every couple of months for lunch, but now I get a salad from their low cal menu. SP has taught us all so much. Thanks for the blog. emoticon
    1776 days ago
    Great blog and a great title. It's really profound to realize that going out to eat can be a true land-mine.

    emoticon emoticon
    1776 days ago
    Yup, ignorance will kill you, maybe not right away but down the road and around the bend.

    It never ceases to amaze me how quickly I can forget how big, or is that how small, a serving size is supposed to be, to be healthy.

    Thank you for sharing this blog.
    1776 days ago
  • KACAR51
    Awesome blog!
    We all have eaten "mindlessly" at one time or another in our lives! I don't go out to eat much any more (monetary reasons, not weight reasons), but when I do, I opt for healthy options! I don't even "want" to eat the way I used to! emoticon
    1776 days ago
    Great title and great insight! The day will come when healthy choices will be natural! Knowledge is power!
    1776 days ago
  • TML-2012
    I totally agree! My biggest surprise was pecans. I was munching on a bag being totally healthy I thought. Then when I entered it into spark people I nearly fell off my chair as it was 700 calories.
    1776 days ago
    This is so true, thank you. I have learned the hard way about making better decisions and now I look things up ahead of time. When I find options I like I save it to the notepad on my phone so I will have it later.
    1776 days ago
    First off, the title is hilarious! Second, you are totally right. It's eye-opening when we actually take the time to look at some of these stats! It makes eating out a big challenge! I'm glad you got it worked out and are now being healthy - you'll see many successes now!
    1776 days ago
    I agree. I can go pretty much anywhere and make a well informed decision. I also am not afraid to ask if they will make something the way I want it. I figure they need to earn my money. *If they won't. I go somewhere that will
    1776 days ago
    Haha. Loved your title. So true. When don't take responsibility for our actions it's easier to say the outcomes are not our fault.
    I noticed that whenI stopped the excuses I started seeing great results.
    1776 days ago
  • EOWYN2424
    I don't even there step into Carl's Junior now! The burgers there are HUGE! I don't even go to McDonald's that often now, do you how many grams of sugar are in their burger buns? I mean, the buns alone!!!!
    1776 days ago
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