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Yesterday we needed to be out of the house while our landlord met with the AC repair man so my husband and I went to the California Pizza Kitchen for lunch. We had never been there but their menu seemed pretty amazing and offered a lot of vegetarian options. I worried slightly in the back of the mind (the part that I’ve gotten really good at silencing when it’s convenient) that pizza wasn’t the best idea but then I thought – hey – MODERATION – don’t deny just don’t abuse.

While eating, my husband and I discussed any number of things, remarking on how scrumptious our food was, etc… the topic eventually drifted to what it was that made pizza “bad” for you.

I wasn’t really sure but I tried to sound knowledgeable – like I’m really more on top of my weight-loss game than I really am – and mused that it was probably the processed grains and cheese. I wasn’t really sure at all. My husband dutifully nodded and agreed that this sounded reasonable to him too and we continued to eat.

To my benefit I only ate 1/2 of my pizza, saving the rest for today’s lunch. I only ate a small amount of bread before hand, and I drank only 2 glasses of tea even though we sat there for about an hour (normally I would have had 3 – 3.5 of soda, not tea). Surely that’s not too bad as a whole, right? (Wrong – keep reading)

We got a call that the AC had been fixed when we were out and when we came home, it was 81 (down from 85). Elated with the relief of processed air, I found myself motivated to finish the laundry, pick up a bit, and work on some business stuff. I felt a new spring in my step.

But, as I calculated the calories from dinner (as I sat finishing the rest of my “desert-Dr. Pepper”) I realized that I really haven’t been committed to the calorie counting/monitoring like I should be. I have only logged three out of the last seven days for starters and most days I didn’t bother to count up the calories at all except for vague assessments here and there (generally when I choose B over less healthy A so as to boost my feelings of attentiveness).

I really need to start doing this again, right? Everyone always says that keeping a food log is really one of the most significant things you can do to monitor your weight because it makes you self aware and – in the past – it’s one of two things that has really worked for me in attempting to loose weight. (Back in 2006 I lost 27 lbs over 3 months by doing the Ali diet sans pills – who wants anal leakage anyway?) But right now, and especially when I’m working full time, counting calories seems like the anti-strategy. It’s exhausting, confusing, and often misleading.

So, as I was finishing my crunches, I threw in some other random exercises to strengthen my core and use muscles that aren’t typically put into the game that often – I kept reviewing my daily intake throughout and started wondering – how bad was that pizza anyway?

Lets see what my California Pizza Kitchen outing cost me:

  • Mediterranean Focaccia (split 1/2): 330 calories, 3 fat grams
  • Roasted Artichoke and Spinach Pizza (1/2 of pizza): 478 calories, 8 fat grams
  • Raspberry Iced Tea (2 glasses): 140 calories

Total Meal: 948 calories and 11 fat grams…

Not horrendous compared to what I normally consume but not a really wise choice either – it’s sort of like “the lesser evil” – the lesser evil is still EVIL. Honestly though, if I’d just not eaten the bread and had water instead of tea it would have been much better in terms of weight-loss-compatibility.

Armed with that revelation – and adding that count to the 750 calorie dinner I had (A Quorn brand veggie burger on sourdough bread with organic cheese puffs and a Dr. Pepper) – I felt like I am doing everything wrong (not to mention I failed to eat breakfast!). So, I turned in with my iPad and surfed WebMD for some valuable information that would help me feel more on top of things – more together.

So, is that pizza really “bad” – in short – my research says no, the pizza I ate today from California Pizza Kitchen is not “bad” for me… Pizza in general can be bad if it’s made with the wrong kinds of things but fortunately, CPK does a pretty good job at getting pizza right. The pizza I ate had a whole grain crust, Fontina cheese in addition to Mozzarella and Parmesan (and very little cheese total), and fresh veggies. It wasn’t homemade but it wasn’t Dominoes either.

I then took a bunch of quizzes like the “Fat Facts Quiz,” the “Best and Worst Foods for Belly Fat” quiz, and the “Weight Loss Do’s and Don’ts” quiz. I scored poorly in the “Fat Facts” quiz with only a 60% correct score, slightly better in the “Belly Fat” quiz with a 71%, and my best at the “Do’s and Don’ts” quiz with an 82%.

I did better than I thought and I got quite a few questions right, surprising myself with what I’ve retained (and then obviously ignored) over the years. But, I still was kind of lame. I need to up my game if I’m going to make this work.

I also looked up more about calorie counting. While it worked for me in the past – that was during a different phase of my life, I’m not so certain it’s right for me now. I wanted to find out what other ways there may be to monitor what you eat without the endless hell that is the calculation and meticulous tracking of little numbers.

WebMD offers a couple of great solutions to this problem, suggesting that calorie counting is not the “only” way to go, and offered some advice that resonates more with my current state of mind.

I plan on doing some more research latter this afternoon to see if I can’t come up with something that will work for me – even if it’s a hodge podge of miscellaneous bits of advice from different sources… maybe after lunch – I plan on eating the other half of my pizza.

With its whole grain crust and 478 calories, my remaining half pizza will not bankrupt me today if paired with water and an applesauce cup. I’ll still be around 550 which seems sensible enough but still probably not a good habit to get into in the long run.

(And, today was measurement day – I’ve lost my first 2 lbs – updates in my blog page “My Progress and Measurements“)