Reality Check

I have chosen to call this REALITY CHECK because everyday my reality is checked by the experiences of my clients, friends and even myself. My goal is to bring you “reality checks” that will help you learn more about the choices you make as you strive to reach your health and fitness goals.

Here’s my own very recent reality check. Last week, my friend Lise and I went to PF Chang’s to meet and catch up on our lives. I love this restaurant, so I willingly scrimped earlier and saved up some of my calories for the day. I ordered my favorite dish, “Chang’s Spicy Chicken,” with brown rice. The menu said the chicken was “lightly dusted and stir fried,” and with brown rice, I figured I was making a reasonably healthy choice. At the end of our lunch, Lise and I decided to split the “Great Wall of Chocolate” cake. I knew it was a splurge, but I love this cake and thought I ‘d be smart with my calories over dinner. Boy was I wrong.

I went home and logged on to the PF Chang’s website, and much to their credit, they list all the nutritional info for the items on their menu. To say I was shocked is an understatement! I added up my calories… the chicken had 990 calories, the brown rice, 325. And I figured my portion of the 1,883-calorie cake was about 804 calories.

Total those numbers up… and I realized: I had consumed more than 2,100 calories in one sitting.

Let’s put that in perspective: The nutrition plan I follow allows for 1,497 calories per day. So in one day – for one meal I went over my goal by 600+ calories.

Now, I have run hundreds of nutrition programs, and trained clients for thousand of hours. I’ve traveled the country teaching and lecturing to other fitness professionals.

How could I have been so off base on the calorie content? Well, I found out it’s surprisingly easy, when you eat out. You just don’t know how the food’s prepared; so my reality check was in when you eat out, proceed with caution.

If you asked me today if I would go back to PF Chang’s, my answer would be absolutely. However, next time I’ll ask the waiter to put half of my meal in a to go box before he brings it to me so I can avoid the temptation to over eat. As for the Great Wall Of Chocolate, you bet I’d order it again. But I’ll probably save it for my birthday… and split it with five friends.

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