A salacious (well actually, a salad) problem

As many of you know I have been very successful since returning to WFPB eating. I’ve lost about 125 lb, am at a normal BMI for the first time in my life, my HbA1c blood sugar dropped slowly over time from a dangerously high 12 to a completely normal 5.5, my doctor took me off of blood sugar medication over a year ago now, my cholesterol is amazingly good, my blood pressure is great, etc. All is good. And I don’t feel deprived at all on this diet.

And while my doctor (and my friends) all say I don’t need to lose any more weight, and to be honest I’m at a weight I never thought I would ever get to, I’m still not quite satisfied. My weight the last 3 months has hovered between 72 and 73 kg (about 159-160 lb). I think I would like to get at least into the 60s. My stomach still sticks out some, and while I may fit in M or L American size shirts, by Japan standards I’m still an LL, or depending on the brand an LLL. It would be nice to be slim someday, if that’s in the cards for me.

It’s been bothering me that my weight loss has stalled. In addition to WFPB (whole food plant based) eating I log my calories rigorously (or so I thought) in MyFitnessPal. Today is my “streak day” 3,123.

Usually when somebody gets stuck with weight loss the main reason is over optimistically underestimating calories. As I like to say, “Calories count, whether you count them or not.” I flat out don’t believe you can avoid taking into account calories. Or I should say at least I can’t. Maybe some people can.

Anyway, I decided to review my calories and, to my shock, I found I’ve been way underestimating the calories in my salads for a couple of years now.

Usually I have 4 or 5 large bowls of salad a day: with each meal, after my dog walk as a snack, and maybe an extra one. It’s at least 4 bowls a day. I have them before each meal (for lunch sometimes as my full lunch) and it’s become a comfort food snack to me.

I’ve been listing them as 89 calories each in my log. But I recently started adding a small 40 g package of salad corn to them (41 calories right there) and decided to add it all up today:

  • Bag of mixed salad greens, 30 calories
  • Small cucumber, 10 calories
  • Tomatoes, 24 calories
  • Salad corn, 41 calories
  • One T flax seeds, 40 calories
  • A few mushrooms: 15 calories
  • My homemade salad dressing: 50 ml soy milk (30 calories), some grated ginger (negligible), 1 T nutritional yeast (20 calories), 1 T balsamic vinegar (12 calories)

The actual total is … 222 calories! But it’s so delicious!

Anyway, if I have just 4 salads a day that means I’ve been eating over 1,000 calories a day just with my salads and I’ve been off by (222 – 89) * 4 = 532 calories a day. More when I have 5 salads a day.

That would be 3,724 calories a week. Or representative about 1 lb a week that I could have been losing.

Basically I’ve been on maintenance somehow, naturally. Some people might say, “What’s wrong with that, really?”

Anyway, I need to rethink what I’m doing, or just accept that this is my permanent weight.

I’m not sure what to do. I really hate to give up the salads. In addition to them I have potatoes with breakfast and dinner, and some mixed cooked vegetables with my lunch. And some days I’ll have one bag of frozen blueberries for a dessert.

My really delicious soy milk based salad dressing alone is 62 calories. That adds up to 1,736 calories/week (equivalent to almost ½ lb that I could be losing. It’s so tasty though. 🙂

Any thoughts? (Other than intermittent fasting. I’m not going there.)


A salacious (well actually, a salad) problem — 3 Comments

  1. I totally understand! I too found i constantly underestimate my calories and when i entered into cronometer the numbers told me why i was not losing weight.

    Potatoes if your eating because your hungry. High satiation.

    I agree with you wanting to lose more – a lean stomach is a great goal, as we both know most older japanese men do NOT have a belly.

    It sounds like you only have to either fully drop two of the salads a day, and retain the other three that you love, or modify the salads to be 100 cal less.

  2. Yes, probably right. I also adjusted some figures in my post just now. I just made breakfast and was actually only using 50 ml of soy milk, not 100 ml.

  3. Just a quick followup. After making a few of the minor changes I mentioned – mostly doing a more accurate counting of the salad calories and reducing the large salads with dressing to 3 a day instead of 4 or 5 – my weight loss has started moving again! In just 5 days my weight went 73.0, 72.6, 72.6, 72.0, and this morning, for the first time in my adult life, 71.8 kg = 158 lb.

    That means a total weight loss of 57.2 kg = 126 lb. And my BMI is down to 23.7.

    For some snacking, instead of my large salad bowl I might have either some plain cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, or a sliced up raw carrot with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. So I still always have something to nibble on.

    The change I made was relatively small, and has not been a problem with satiety, and proved yet again that, “Calories count, whether you count them or not.”

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