On why I hate numbers

Monday, February 25, 2013

I've never been good at math. Okay, that's kind of a lie. I was good at math until, like, Algebra 1. Then I totally stopped understanding and continued to battle through high school math (and, blessedly, only one semester of college). So, numbers and I don't really agree. 

I came across this video today from an about.com email I receive weekly. It's an unsettling reminder why we essentially can't trust calorie counts on menus, or, even packages. 

In the event that you don't want to watch the six minute video, it essentially follows a man in New York eating what he would normally eat in a day. What he thought was around 2,700 calories of food ended up being more like 3,200 calories worth of food -- which is like eating two extra Snickers bars or one extra Quarter Pounder with cheese without even knowing it. See? Unsettling.

It's frustrating to me that people can be trying to do the right thing and eat the right things and yet they could actually be shooting themselves in the foot. I'm glad that more restaurants are posting calorie counts, because I think it's important that people are aware of how much they're consuming, but if the counts aren't right, they may actually end up doing the opposite. I remember the last time I was dieting, I made sure to eat every calorie in my allotment for the day. So, what I thought was 1,550 calories probably ended up being a lot more. I'm glad I'm at a point where I don't need (or want) to count calories, but I still think it's unfair that food companies put out false information. 

Speaking of numbers that lie (I'm on a roll now!), I would also like to take issue with the calorie counts on cardio machines. For example, yesterday I used the elliptical for 30 minutes. The calorie count on the machine would have me believing I burned over 700 calories (which, if this were true, I would solely use the elliptical for ALL of my work out needs), when in reality, I know it was something around 1/4 of that amount. When I was using a Body Bug, I think I used to burn around 160 calories for 30 minutes of working out. It's easy to see how people can underwork and overeat without even knowing it! The numbers... they lie! 


  1. I'm pretty sure the numbers on my scale lie too, LOL! Somehow they never lie in a good way.

  2. SO true, Sherry! Darn those lying scales! If they're going to lie, they should at least be kind!

  3. That's why I wear my heart rate monitor when I work out. I know there is a defect rate but it's calculated at only 10-15%. I still think counting calories is better than not paying any attention to it at all. Just like the 2 Dunkin' Donuts he showed in this video. I had no clue that was 500 calories...and I actually ate 2 today!! Ugh. That's not normal for me so I'm not worried but I should've looked it up before hand. Oh well!

  4. I totally agree, Annette! I think it's hard to really know what we're burning, but a heart rate monitor is probably the most accurate!


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