Posted by: innerpilgrimage | October 17, 2009

I Went to Tombstone, A.T., and Survived My Diet Plan

Days until my 40th Birthday: 59
Days of Abstinence from Compulsive Eating: 3

Yesterday was a big day. It was the first time I had eaten out on my diet plan, the first time I had gone to Tombstone, and the first time I used the ADA plan exchange to calculate my foods (because the food pyramid is incomplete unless one eats ConAgra-corporation pre-fabricated food).

First, I am adjusting my plan to one of my own making based off the 2005 USDA Food Pyramid. It generally keeps me under-calories for the day and gives me a lot of wiggle room for small portioning mistakes and bites of non-nutritious snacks. I strongly believe that a person can stay on-diet if they try to follow a caloric guideline yet are allowed to have some room for the things they enjoy especially.
Because I have so much trouble with how the pyramid computes a serving, I started looking around and found a site that referenced to The ADA’s Exchange Lists for Diabetes, based off of the Food Exchange List from the Obesity Education Initiative by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute from the National Institute of Health (Department of Health and Human Services). After thinking about the relative values, I was able to determine this 2,000 Calorie diet after fudging with the math so I have

Grain: 600 calories or 6 ounce equivalents.
I am putting potatoes, pastas, and starchy vegetables in this category, though beans are not being put into this category (despite being high in carbs). They have approximately the same protein as meat and the food pyramid puts them in with proteins. Since I don’t actually eat fully land-based animal proteins (I eat fish and shellfish and I like cacadre very much), I’m going to treat them like a protein instead of a starch.

Fruit: 120 calories or 2 cups equiv.
One serving is about 60 calories, give or take a little. Some fruits are less and some are more. I think I should bump it up to 150 calories (75 per serving) and drop discretionary calories to 420, since fruit is better and I tend to pick higher-calorie fruits. Well, at worst, I can roll that over into my spare calorie cache.

Vegetables: 125 calories or 2.5 cups equivalents.
I based this from some messed up math between the Food Pyramid and the exchange information. The Food Pyramid has carrots at 1:1 ratio (whereas salad greens are a 2:1, and some others are all over the place). Based on the OEI Food Exchange List and the Food Pyramid data, I decided a half-cup serving should max out at about 25 calories. A serving of spinach varies wildly, but it’s about 8-10 calories per cup, depending on the source of the nutrition data. The Pyramid has a leafy-green serving at 2 cups, my Trader Joe’s Spinach Leaves has one serving at 3 cups (and 30 calories), and it’s chaotic. But . . . 50 calories max per cup is a good place to start serving-wise, since a lot of them are calorically less. I just looked up onions and they are 64 calories per cup and raw green peppers are 18 Calories per cup…. lots of work to do to create an equivalent servings list from my Nutrition Facts sources, but I think I will be okay. If I watch my vegetables, I can figure out how to balance them so they fit well into my “reasonable portions” concept.

Milk/Dairy: 300 calories or 3 cups equivalents (100 calories per serving, halfway between skim and 1%)
Cottage cheese gets put in here, as does yogurt. Anything over that 100 calories per serving is just plain fat when it comes to dairy, and fat gets rolled into discretionary calories. I initially set it at 110 calories, to accommodate 1% milkfat, but that milkfat really does need to be a discretionary calorie thing.

Proteins: 412.5 calories or 5.5 ounce equivalents (max. 75 cal and 5g fat per ounce equiv, pref. 35 cal and
Okay, an ounce equivalent of beans is 0.25 cups, which falls well within the maximum 75 calories per ounce rule.

Discretionary Calories: 450 calories
This is where I put jams and coffee and the occasional candy and the bites of food and the candy and the occasional beer. I had to have discretionary calories. People who don’t have them seem to tend to binge. It’s a horrible place to be, facing a mistake. Last night, my discretionary calories saved me . . . I had 2 1/2 cup equivalents worth of milk available to me (about 250 calories worth) and I had cottage cheese. I mis-thought about how many calories it had and ate the whole serving, which my husband and I estimated was about 2 cups. I knew I should have only eaten one cup, but I thought, “well, I should have enough dairy points”, thinking even a whole-fat cottage cheese wouldn’t be so bad. Each cup of cottage cheese I ate cost about 225 calories (possibly 216, possibly 232, since I thought it was large curd, and not small curd). Well, one cup at 225 calories burned the balance of my 2 1/2 servings of milk. I was able, with my discretionary calories (which I generally just hold aside), to slide that 225 calories extra cup in with a tablespoon of potato salad (about 25 calories), that 1/6 of 1/6 of an no-sugar added apple pie (about 50 calories), and the three pickle spears (15 calories, which I ate instead of the potato salad). That was 315 calories total, and had I only ate the single cup’s worth as I had initially intended to do, I would have only used up 90 calories of it and had been happy.
I tend to underconsume my spare calories by about half officially, which means if something ends up with a little butter after being on the grill, it’s okay.

For the rest of it, I look at Nutrition Facts labels (available all over the web) and base my serving size by average calorie per serving equivalent.

Well Tombstone, A.T. (Arizona Territory, as many of the souvenirs said), was a cross between Placer and Old Sacramento. The touristyness of Old Sacramento was there, but the quality of storefronts on Allen Street is really hit-and-miss. Some sell local quality product and local-branded souvenirs (like in Old Sacramento), and some are “antique” shops selling Old West midden (like in Placer), and some sell dimestore junk from China (like every tourist destination). It is a hardcore tourist destination which really could take a lesson from the Renaissance Fair. Having a permanent costumed troupe walking the streets would do wonders for it, creating a time-out-of-time Western feel to it.
I have always wanted to see the OK Corral (as a kid, I thought western frontier history was cool) and I recently wanted to see the Bird Cage Theater. I have to say out of total guilt that it was because of my one-time love of the Sci Fi Channel Series, Ghost Hunters. Unfortunately, now that Grant has a compulsive problem with faking everything (probably under pressure by the channel to produce results for ratings), I don’t really like it. Jason only seems to get really pissy when Grant fakes it really badly. I still like GHI because Barry freaks out over everything, just like Brian “Dude, Run!” used to do (I still use that as a meme). Even if there’s no ghost, watching Barry is worth it. Being freaked out by just being so Irish is entertaining, especially when they had that one British guy on who agitated Barry something fierce (it hasn’t been that long since Sinn Fein lay down arms, and Northern Ireland is still not free).
We took a stagecoach ride, too. And I saw a prostitute’s crib and was asked by one of the actors what “a lady like me was doing in a place of ill repute like that”. And I said, “Reading.” What else was I supposed to say? Dude is in a costume (he looked like Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday from the movie, and he was a good half-foot shorter than me.



  1. I realized that even though I gave up soda and non-100% juices I was still lacking in the water department so what I’m doing now is the following:
    I fill up 4 .5 liters water bottles and make sure I drink them all by the end of the day. I also drink water right when I wake up and after every meal.

    This way I have built-in water drinking into my daily routine and it doesn’t feel like a shore anymore. Plus I feel better since I started (could be in my head though).

    • I agree about the water thing. I have a 32 oz Nalgene bottle that I try to drink two of daily (it’s a liter if I fill it all the way). I haven’t been as fastidious as I have been about my water intake, but I think I might go ahead and add it to my food plan–a minimum amount of water daily. Also, if I’m really neutral about what I want to drink at a restaurant, I will ask for water and say that I haven’t decided what I want to drink yet. Nearly every time, the water is really what I’m craving, and I will drink several glasses of it.

      The feeling better is real; if you don’t have the water to flush out your system, the stuff builds up. Plus, I know I tend to eat (and crave) more, and a lot of that stuff I am eating/craving more of is junk food.

      Nice to have you stop by, Monica!

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