09 Mar

Nutrition information at restaurants

There’s a great article at Rudd Sound Bites regarding a topic near and dear to my heart: Healthy Choices and the Need for Menu Labeling. The author of the article (Marlene Schwartz) stopped in at a Panera Bread for a supposedly-healthy meal. Once Marlene found nutritional information for Panera’s meals, however, she received a rude surprise:

When I got home, I looked up nutrition information on a few different website to get a better sense of the calories in some typical lunches. I went on the McDonald’s website, looked up a Big Mac, and was stunned to see that it was only 540 calories and 29 grams of fat. I could have had that and a small fries (250 calories), and I would have still come in under the 800 calories of my supposedly healthy meal at Panera’s.

This is a problem that I’ve run into myself (for example, with Einsten Bros. Bagels Power Bagel). It’s very difficult to tell how healthy/unhealthy something may be just by looking at it, or by guesstimating the ingredients. Without access to nutrition information about the meals one is having, even an educated guess is impossible. It’d be almost more effective to order something at random.

It is possible to choose a meal that is more nutritious, of course. And I’d imagine that Marlene received many more vitamins and nutrients from her meal at Panera than she would have from a Big Mac combo meal. But nutritious meals need not come at the expense of calories. It’s possible to have a very nutritious meal for far fewer than 800 calories. Hell, it’s probably possible to do so at Panera Bread. But it’d be a whole lot easier to make smart choices if the nutrition information is front-and-center.

There are some restaurant chains that are working on this, or are actively providing nutrition information in an easy, convenient form. For example, Subway normally has signs up listing the nutritional information of their subs and their breads. Noodles & Company has brochures at the front of the store listing out information for each option. Other chains need to do the same thing.

04 Mar

Weigh-in for March 5, 2007

Weight: 329.5
Difference from last entry: -3.5
Difference from 2007 starting weight: -6

YAY! The very first words that I said when I saw the scale were “YAY! YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!” Not just because this is a pretty darned good bit of weight loss this time around, but again because it was the result of a lot of hard work on my part. I’ve been forcing myself to be more selective in what I eat. I’ve been forcing myself to not grab any old junk food at whatever store I happen to be in at the time. Which is actually quite hard work. I didn’t realize it until I walked into a Target the other day and started planning which aisles to go to to get the best candies. I realized what I was thinking and literally gasped!

Fortunately, I had my anchor with me. I reached down, grabbed it in my hand, and told myself, You just don’t need to do this! Just buy what you came here for. No snacks, no food. And somehow, I did just that! I have also been much more conscious about meal choices (for example, getting a bagel with low-fat cream cheese and tomatoes on it, instead of a full bagel omelet sandwich). Unfortunately, I am still going out to eat too much. But at least I am making better choices.

I am now more than half-way to my first goal! This is starting to get exciting. 🙂

01 Mar

More bad news about sleep apnea

There’s no surprise here, but SLEEP has published another study linking obstructive sleep apnea with cardiovascular disease (via medicalnewstoday.com):

“There is abundant physiologic evidence implicating OSA in perpetuating, if not inticing, heart failure. In addition to their association with systemic hypertension, OSA-related stressors, including hypoxemia, increased sympathetic drive, acute surges in blood pressure, and mechanical effects of intrathoracic pressure swings, have varying effects on myocardial oxygen supply and demand, particularly in the already compromised heart,”

All I can say is: HOLY SHIT! It’s not like I’m not headed towards major cardiovascular problems as it is, because of my weight and lifestyle. But my battle with sleep apnea is going to make things worse? That’s some bad, bad news!