Running Deficits

This is one in a series of food photo diary posts in which I track my food in pictures. I’m also counting my calories. Read all about it in this post or click here to view my calorie intake in a nifty spreadsheet.

No wonder bodybuilders load up on protein shakes – it’s hard to run a calorie surplus when you rarely eat out, avoid processed foods, and simply do a little bit of movement every day. So it would seem that I’ve stumbled upon the secret to burning more calories than you consume: eat whole foods moderately, exercise a little bit, and commute on bike or on foot. Not only will you lose weight, but you can also afford daily treats like full-on cream, sugary jam, pumpkin pie and full-fat Greek yogurt.

I think I need to take better advantage of this treat allowance.

Diary for Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Calories in: 1577
Calories out: 2097
Deficit: 520 (whoops)


Vegan buckwheat crepes filled with cottage cheese and topped with fresh fruit, blackberry jam and soured cream

Cottage Cheese Crepes

Calories: 300
Protein: 14
Fat: 5.3
Carbs: 56

Breakfast #2

Brown no knead bread, toasted, topped with honey and cottage cheese. Served with a cup of decaf.

Cottage Cheese and Honey on Toast

Calories: 177
Protein: 10
Fat: 4.7
Carbs: 24.2


Grilled tofu sandwich with chickpea salad and mixed leaves

Tofu Sandwich

Chickpea Salad

Calories: 424
Protein: 21
Fat: 16
Carbs: 50


Banana Yogurt Smoothie

Banana Yogurt Smoothie

Calories: 209
Protein: 15
Fat: 2.3
Carbs: 36


Black Beans and Rice with Cabbage Slaw. Followed by yogurt, strawberries, and rooibos tea for dessert (not shown).

Rice and Beans!

Calories: 468
Protein: 25
Fat: 5.5
Carbs: 83

Diary for Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Calories in: 1687
Calories out: 1877
Deficit: 190 (not again!)


Bircher Muesli with Yogurt and Fruit

Blue Bircher Muesli

Calories: 321
Protein: 10
Fat: 8
Carbs: 56


Yogurt with homemade blackberry jam, mixed nuts, and a cup of tea.

(I skipped the apple.)

Emergency Snack

Calories: 170
Protein: 16
Fat: 4.2
Carbs: 17


Avocado on Toast with Chickpea Salad and Raw Veggies

Chickpea Salad with Avocado on Toast

Calories: 395
Protein: 13
Fat: 16
Carbs: 55


Brown no knead bread, toasted, topped with honey and cottage cheese.

Cottage Cheese and Honey on Toast

Calories: 204
Protein: 7.7
Fat: 3.5
Carbs: 37


Lentil bolognese with Whole Wheat Pasta, Bread and Salad.
No photo of dinner – I still don’t have the guts to photograph my food when eating with new people. I went to a dinner/workshop with the Open University. For cafeteria food, the OU rocks. They always seem to have something vegan, and it’s the kind of food I’d make for myself at home. My calorie estimates are a total guess.

Calories: 600
Protein: 26
Fat: 8.3
Carbs: 83

9 thoughts on “Running Deficits

  1. Kristina

    I’m a longtime fan of your blog, but I’m a little confused by your recent calorie counting posts. How can it be that you are eating more calories than you expend but still coming up with a caloric deficit? If you eat 2097 calories (“in”) but only expend 1577 (“out”), then you don’t have a deficit at all. Rather, you have a surplus of 520 calories, meaning you ate 520 calories more than you needed that day. Or…am I missing something?

  2. Monica Shaw

    Hey Kristina… no I’m the one who’s missing something. I had the Calories In and Out switched. =P Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    And Tanya, glad you like the meals!

  3. Sagan

    You know how to make a girl hungry. One of the best things about healthy eating is how much you can eat without gaining just because it’s all so good for you! Also I love the new look of your website.

  4. Monica Shaw

    Thanks, Sagan! Yes, eating lots is one of the best benefits of eating well. =) Provided you love veggies, of course. And thanks for the props on the website… I still have some work to do on it but it’s coming along!

  5. Amy

    Can you clarify about your 170 calorie snack of yogurt, jam, and nuts? Your photo shows a large portion of almonds and decent sized portion of yogurt (I think, unless that’s a miniature apple!). How can that be only 170? I find nuts really add up fast, though I know they are very nutritious.

  6. Monica Shaw

    Hi Amy! Sorry about the confusion on the nuts! That’s a container of “emergency nuts” I basically always have with me, but I rarely eat the whole container. I usually just have ~5-10 nuts. Also, I think I mentioned in the post that I skipped the apple (I took the pic when I packed my snack, but not when I actually ate it!). Also, the yogurt was that 0% fat stuff so super low cal… 150g has 78 cals. The 6 nuts had about 42 (you’re right, the calories do add up). The jam had about 35. Add 15 cals for the milk I had in my tea and you get 170. =)

    But yeah, nuts are great… but I do try to go easy on them. I’ll often chop them up or use slivered almonds to make them go further.

  7. Amy

    Thanks for your reply! I am working on ways to portion out the nuts (and raisins, another dense food I enjoy)–it seems like one food where underestimating quantity would have a big effect if you are aiming for a deficit.

  8. Monica Shaw

    So true, Amy – it’s easy to go overboard with nuts. But it’s worth keeping them around. Most nuts are full of the good fats, not to mention protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. I think a “small handful” is a good rule of thumb. For me that’s about 6-10 almonds… about 50 calories or so.


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