Things I Used to Eat v. What I Eat Now

I’m in Texas, y’all, and I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I am a long way from giving up meat. At least once a week, both before this new way of eating and after, I hit a bbq joint.

I used to eat a stuffed bbq baked potato. No butter or sour cream, but cheese, chives, and brisket on a giant potato. Healthy, right?

That potato was the secret killer in that meal. This being Texas (as I’ve said), the bbq joints go for BIG potatoes. Lose It tells me that a 3″ to 4 & 1/4″ baked potato, with skin, has 281 calories and 63 grams of carbohydrates.

Now, a dollar bill is 6″ long, which comes in handy for measuring all kinds of things, including baked potatoes. I’m not kidding you when I say that most potatoes at the various places I’d go were in the 6″ range.

So, at a minimum, I was looking at ~300 calories just from the potato alone, plus the equivalent of at least 4 servings of carbohydrates. Add in the bbq sauce (which undoubtedly had a bit of sugar), the calories from the meat and cheese (all protein, but still, beef brisket isn’t low-cal) – hard to have that as part of a reasonable day’s eating.

These days, I aim for 4 servings of carbs over the course of the whole day, max. When I go for bbq, I get 2-meat plate, sauce on the side or no sauce at all, and cole slaw. True, the cole slaw often has a higher fat content than I would get from home-made, but we try to hit a couple of joints that make their own and keep it light-ish. And, if I get beef brisket, I try to pair it with a leaner option, like chicken or turkey. It all tastes just as good, as long as you know who has the best pits, and the carb bomb has been successfully diffused.

And, I’ll point out that I have been eating like that fairly regularly and have continued losing weight while feeling full.

Not everyone wants bbq all the time. I used to swing through Smoothie King, especially in hot weather, to grab a Light & Fluffy. Again, to be mindful of “health,” I’d get it without the added honey and turbinado sugar. That meant I was getting bananas, strawberries, and orange juice.

Fruit – health, right?

Rarely did I order the small size. More often, I’d go medium, rationalizing that I was using this for my meal. How does a 32 oz. no sugar, no honey Light & Fluffy rank nutritionally?

  • 442.5 calories
  • 114 grams of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 1.5 grams of protein

That’s worse than the potato. A 12 oz. regular, full-test Coke has only 39 grams of carbs. A serving of carbs = 15 grams, so that smoothie was over 7.5 servings in one cup.

I also now aim for ~20-28 grams of protein at each meal, so clearly, I wasn’t getting that at all. True, no fat, but at what price?!

Now, I eat fruit in very limited quantities, mostly just one serving a day, sometimes, two. I always pair it with protein. Pairing carbs and protein protects you from carb/blood sugar spikes.

Some people may be able to eat more fruit than that each day, but not me. If I do have a smoothie, I bulk it up with greens of some sort for lower-carb fiber, and Greek yogurt for protein.

Mostly, though, I just avoid smoothies. If I had to order one now, I’d get yogurt added, although I’d want to know if the yogurt had added sugar.

I see that Smoothie King has some low-carb options that use protein mix, but notice that the strawberry flavored one, for example, lists only two ingredients, neither of which are actual strawberries. Now, I kicked off my weight loss by using a medical food/protein product, so I am not saying I’d never pick that willingly, because obviously, I did. Still, now, I’m trying to make sure to eat real, whole, unprocessed foods. I might rather splurge on actual fruit, or supplement it with protein powder, than go back to protein powder and nothing else as a regular part of my diet any time soon.

What did you used to eat that seemed healthy but was actually sabotaging you?

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9 Responses to Things I Used to Eat v. What I Eat Now

  1. OMG I love thinking about this because BOY WAS I A HORRIBLE EATER about 10 years ago! I remember when I was little I wouldn’t even eat pasta if it had the tiniest sprig of parsley on it!!!!!! I would throw HUGE tantrums when out at restaurants and my parents would die of embarrassment. LOL. Nothing green ever passed my lips. Oh and one time I even RAN AWAY FROM HOME because my mom made salmon for dinner! Ironically enough, I now am obsessed with salmon and cannot go ONE DAY without it! Ah ha ha ha ha ha! Oh man, I have issues.

    • Andie says:

      I nearly fell over in shock when a 4-year-old family friend of ours told us he liked pink fish – meaning salmon. You could not have paid me to eat it as a child, but now, I eat it as often as I can get it.

  2. kalima123 says:

    This was a huge one. We live right near a Chili’s and used to get takeout once a week. I like their Quesadilla Explosion salad a LOT and thought, hey, it’s a salad, how bad could it be? Really, really bad! “Eat This, Not That” has the salad/dressing coming in at over 1,000 calories and that’s without eating the tasty quesadilla part. So sadly have said farewell to that and pretty much everything at Chili’s. They get a super low score in the “healthy restaurants” section of the book. Luckily I make a vanilla fig balsamic gorgonzola baked chicken that ROCKS! Paired with a big side of veggies and don’t miss the carbs one bit!

    • Andie says:

      Chili’s and Cheesecake Factory – I’d eat at McDonald’s before either of those. My group is going to go out to dinner so we can practice healthy ordering, and someone suggested Cheesecake Factory, knowing it would be a challenge. I was ready to skip it if we picked it – it is just not worth giving a restaurant like that any business. Your baked chicken sounds amazing.

  3. kalima123 says:

    Sorry, just saw your Ticker. Super congrats on the 72 lost – and you’re trucking along to get off that last 20. Great work!!

  4. Shonnie says:

    It is amazing what people think is healthy. If I eat a high calorie salad it has avocado’s and some form of protien. I have one major gripe. I got to a restaurant and order a skinny salad–which is under 490 calories and then they add SUGAR to the dressing. Talk about make you GAG when you are not used to eating that mess! uuhhhhgggg!

    • Andie says:

      I always forget about the things they can put into oil & vinegar to muck it up. I bought some little plastic squeeze bottles that are supposed to be used for soy sauce in bento boxes, but have considered that I could use them to take single shots of dressing into restaurants.

    • Janet says:

      Well, I guess it depends on where you come from, here in Germany some dressings do also contain sugar or honey and I personally really like the honey mustard dressing. Well, I think there where a few occasions, when I thought what I was eating was generally considered healthy and upon checking all the ingredients I was rather shocked. Unfortunately I react instantly to carbs and my weight goes up big time whenever I eat carbs.

  5. I used to get the sizzling fajitas salad (with steak!) at El Torito (a Mexican chain restaurant here in So Cal), thinking that I was making a smart choice because it was mostly vegetables and because the dressing was a vinaigrette and not creamy. Apparently it had something like 700 or 800 calories per serving in it. Terrifying!

    Smoothies are definitely deceiving. A lot of my friends have been “juicing” recently and raving about how great they feel living off juice, and all I can think about is ALL THAT SUGAR that’s going into their systems. Sounds like you’re making the right decisions about what to eat and when and how it makes you feel, which is about as intuitive as eating can get I think.

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