How much energy is in your Saturday night takeaway and is it ruining your progress?

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

I've been tracking my calories this week as I want to keep an eye on how much I'm eating... I do it every now and then just to remind myself of portion sizes and making sure my energy is in balance. But I do love a KFC on a Saturday night (or a Chinese takeaway, or fish and chips, or McDonalds... you get the idea! I love my takeaways!)

So I just thought I'd share the content of my takeaway dinner tonight, (see below) as an example of where secret calories lie. It's a good illustration of how it can affect our goals when trying to manage our weight when we think 'just one takeaway won't hurt'.. as the calories can soon add up and just one takeaway at the weekend can really undermine the progress we make during the week, if we're not aware of just how much energy we're actually consuming.

In my mind I had estimated maybe 700-800 calories so going through this exercise of adding the food to myfitnesspal was quite an eye opener...I certainly didn't expect it to be over 1200 calories. It's a bit like money, we can underestimate how much we've spent until we write it down and add it up! I was shocked!

To put it in context, my calorie goal at the moment is around 2000 per day, and this was NOT a big meal, portions were not large, my plate was not piled high, so I really didn't think it would add up to that much! (These are accurate quantities by the way) And I haven't even started on the wine yet!!

So I'm going to be way over 2000 today. Beans are at the bottom because I almost forgot to add them in... that's another thing it's easy to do - forget things we've eaten and so not account for them in our decision-making... I could do a whole other post about that!

Of course, it all depends on what our goals are. It's fine if you are on a slow path, and can accommodate a few treats here and there, by cutting back on other days, and so being able to enjoy it without feeling guilty, (as we really shouldn't feel guilty about what we eat!) but if you're trying to get quicker results then this is really not going to help and of course having them MORE than once a week is even less helpful. It's so important to be AWARE of what's in our food, as it helps us make better decisions in line with our goals, and to have realistic expectations. If you don't want to give up or cut back on the takeaways, then is it better to lower your expectations about how quickly you will lose weight?

As it's Saturday, as I'm not trying to lose weight and as I don't eat like this all the time, it's fine, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm certainly not feeling guilty, as it will balance out over the week, but if I was trying to lose weight, I'd be having to make some serious choices about what NOT to have. Maybe just the one piece of chicken, or maybe no fries, and the corn or coleslaw, or beans, not all three, and no dessert. If I was trying to stick to 1200 calories a day, that would have been my entire day's allowance gone in one meal if I didn't make some adjustments!

It's all about the trade-offs - what do we need to cut back on in order to get the results we want?

Key takeaway ( 🤣 sorry!)

It is really important to know, and pay attention to, how much energy is in our food as it really can make the difference between achieving or not achieving our goals. It's all about making sure that our behaviour is in line with our expectations, and that our expectations are realistic! So if you want a takeaway every Saturday night, have one, enjoy it, and don't feel guilty, but just make sure you know how much energy is in it, how it will impact on your progress and consider what trade-offs you might need to make with what you have. Trust me, it can be done!

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