Day Fifty - Analysis Part One: Nutrition


For those of you who like facts and figures, here are some rough calculations I did about my pasta adventure this year. I'll be splitting this over a few days, because it's a lot of info, and I need to be gently weaned off my blogging habit lest I go cold turkey and get "blogger's shakes".

Today, I'll present some stats about my nutrition! What happens when a (physically) normal 27-year-old eats nothing but Olive Garden food for 49 days in a row?

One of the most frequent things people asked me on my dates was how much weight I gained. The answer is: some, but probably not as much as you'd think. Let's do the numbers!

Weight on October 5, 2015: 56.0 kg (~123 pounds)
Weight on November 23, 2015: 57.2 kg (~126 pounds)

Gaining three pounds over two months isn't exactly something to strive for, but if you're on a reverse-Atkins diet, I think you're doing alright.

The Never Ending Pasta Bowl Diet
Over the 49 days, I ate 102 meals at Olive Garden - 49 lunches, and 53 dinners. Occasionally I'd double-book an evening to work with my dates' schedules, or just because I was particularly hungry. The numbers following are all averages, and not exact.

My lunches were with coworkers, friends, acquaintances, etc, and were not blogged about. Consequently, I typically ate the same thing every time:

Lunch Calories
Two breadsticks280
Three salads with croutons, no dressing300
Four Coke Zeroes0
Entree: Penee, Marinara, Chicken Meatball820
For a grand total of 1,400 calories per lunch. Again, these are averages and estimates. OG portion size is not perfectly consistent, and some days I ate more or less.
Dinner Calories
One breadstick140
Four Coke Zeroes0
Three salads with croutons, no dressing300
Entree: Random pasta, Random Sauce, Random Topping1160
For an average of rougly 1,600 calories per dinner.

Dinners are trickier to calculate, because each entree was different. The only significant change from a calorie perspective was removal of one breadstick (-140 calories) and the replacement of the Marinara sauce with alfredo-based sauces (2/3 of the time) and Chicken Pomodoro (1/3 of the time). This simple change averages out to be an increase of about 340 calories a day (!) and I suspect is the cause of my weight gain.

Total Calories Consumed
So, using those numbers, we'll do some quick math.

49 lunches at 1,400 calories each: 68,600 lunch calories
53 dinners at 1,600 calories each: 84,800 dinner calories
no snacks, desserts, breakfasts, or non-OG food of any sort
153,400 calories (~3,130 per day)

That might seem like a lot, since the nutrition guidelines on the back of most food advise you to stick to around 2000 calories a day. It seems like much less when you realize this would actually be a restrictive diet for most of us Americans.

I want to stress this point: I never exercised solely for the purpose of exercising. I find exercise extremely boring and avoid it whenever possible, as is evident by my puny girl arms. However, I have a fairly active job and I biked to and from the Olive Garden regularly, so it balanced out, mostly.

Let's wrap this up. Why didn't I get gross and super fat like that asshole from Super Size Me?

Calories In, Calories Out
"Health" as a general category is really complicated! I definitely don't fully understand it, and don't claim to. But weight gain and loss is simple physics - matter/energy can't be created or destroyed. Fat doesn't magically appear on your body, and if you do work (in a physics sense, that is; exerting force on other objects) the energy that you expend likewise must come from somewhere.

Simply put, if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. The reverse is, of course, also true. It really is that simple: the laws of physics do not allow any other way. It doesn't matter if you eat big macs, neverending pasta bowls, boiled broccoli and lean chicken, or cabbage soup. Calories in and calories out is the only thing that matters in the context of simple weight change.

Thanks for reading this long as heck post! Tomorrow I'll write about the financial side of the Pasta Pass.

<< Previous: Day Forty-Nine: MirandaDay Fifty-One: Analysis Part Two: Budget Next >>
Sign In or Register to comment.

Pasta Combination Selector