At a recent annual physical, I was discouraged to see that despite a healthy diet and more frequent trips to the gym, I was gaining weight (the unwanted, non-muscular kind). “How could this be?” I asked my doctor.
Dr: [glancing at medical record] Let’s see… oh, you’re turning 40 next week.
Happy Birthday! And welcome to your 40-year-old metabolism.
Me: For real? Doesn’t reaching my target A1c count for anything metabolically?
Me: Here’s the thing: I don’t want to gain weight.
Dr: Great! Do you count calories?
Me: (Pause) No. I don’t count calories.
Dr: Have you ever counted calories?”
Me: No. I count carbohydrates.
(She’s my endocrinologist. She knows I count carbohydrates. And fiber. She knows I consider exercise. And stress. And how much sleep I got last night. And what time of the day it is. And what day of the month it is. Every. Single. Time. I. Eat. Calories? Hell, no!)
Dr: Okay, so from now on you’ll count carbohydrates and calories.
(I’m sorry, did you not hear everything I just thought?)
Dr: You get 1,500 calories per day. 50% carbs / 30% protein / 20% fat. Got it?
(Damn you, slowing metabolism, how dare you take more fun out of eating?
But… I don’t want to gain a pound a year either.)
Me: Okay. I’ll do it. I’ll get an app.
That night I downloaded LIVESTRONG’s Calorie Tracker app and played with it for way longer than I should have. It's pretty cool. It incorporates a large database with nutrition info for most of the foods I eat. There’s a place to track exercise. At a glance I can see progress toward my daily calorie threshold. I like this app! It’s going to help me reach my goals. It’s even going to remind me to drink water. Awesome.
The following week, my schedule was dreamily predictable. I exercised, ate, worked, and slept at consistent times. I had complete control over the carbohydrates in my meals. There are were no unexpected twists, no curve balls. It was the perfect week to be a carb-and-calorie-counting diabetic.
But, really, who has weeks like that? Life is full of schedule-wreckers. Within three weeks I had fallen off the calorie-tracking wagon. And yet, I like Calorie Tracker and continue to reference it for counting carbs (and the odd calorie).
But as far as a strategy to prevent weight gain, it’s more time in the gym for me.
And maybe I'll consider drinking my coffee black.