Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eating Yourself To Death for Dummies

I went to the doctor recently because of some swelling in my legs I've had for the last few months, it seems like a manageable issue and he gave me a couple of things to do, one of which is to keep my sodium level around 2,000 milligrams a day. Eating a low sodium diet lately has been great, but pretty hard. I have been fairly surprised how hard it is to consume so little sodium, as well as how crucial eating fresh food with barely anything canned and eating very little condiments has ended up being.

In any event, I was thinking about sodium while I ate my dinner tonight, and I started mulling over the fact that I must have really been eating a lot of sodium when I was actively binging. Well, long story (somewhat) short: I ran the numbers.

Now, I have listed the food I used to eat to myself many times, and I think I've even talked about one of my binges on this blog, but today was the first time I ever looked at the various nutritional elements of a day...the way I used to eat.

So, a quick note: the example shown below is typical (the food choices changed daily, but the below sample is standard) of how I was eating for the better part of the last 10 months, and, with the exception of the "1st Dinner" (roughly 700 calories), and with the inclusion of a whole fifth of vodka, nightly, (roughly 800 calories), the way I had previously been eating for the last 3 years.

Without any further adieu, I give you a rare glimpse into a very typical day of an actively disfunctional, morbidly obese man, tentatively titled: "Eating Yourself to Death for Dummies".

Breakfast - Nothing.

Lunch -

Taco Bell:

  • 1 Cheese Quesedilla
  • 1 Beef Grilled Stuft Burrito - w/Baja sauce (a creamy pepper sauce)
  • 2 Grilled Chicken Burrito - w/creamy avocado sauce
  • 2 Half-Pound Cheesy Double Beef Burritos w/Baja sauce
  • 1 Side of Baja Sauce
  • 1 Extra Large Raspberry Ice Tea


  • 2 Double Cheeseburgers w/mayo
  • 1 Large French Fry
  • 1 20 Piece Chicken McNugget
  • 3 Packets of Ranch Dressing
  • 1 Large Milkshake

1st Dinner (I would eat with the family so as to appear normal, then sneak a 2nd Dinner into the house):

This would always vary obviously, but a quesedilla w/chili beans, a serving of Spanish rice, and a salad w/caesar dressing would be a fairly regular example.

2nd Dinner -

  • 1 Full Can of Pringles
  • 1 King Size Reeses FastBreak Candy Bar
  • 1 Foot Long Subway Melt Sandwich on white w/extra cheese and extra mayo
  • 1 Foot Long Chicken and Bacon Ranch Sandwich on monterrey cheddar w/extra cheese and extra mayo.

So there you go, though the foods differed from day to day (other days lunches would be a similar amount, but from Burger King & Jack in the Box instead, and other dinners would be a couple of pizzas from Dominoes instead, etc,) that is a very accurate example of a day...the way I used to eat.

Now for the numbers:

Daily Grams of Fat: 600

Daily Milligrams of Sodium: 23,000

Daily Calories: 11,000

Six hundred grams of fat, twenty three thousand milligrams of sodium, and eleven thousand calories: daily.


That blew my mind.

Thankfully, I never have to eat that way again, and, by the grace of God, I never will.

I look forward to time passing, and to my health continuing to improve, and to those horrible numbers becoming memorials to an increasingly distant era of self destruction.

I look forward to seeing those numbers collecting dust, only serving to mark the death knell of that era because it was then that I was given another way, I was given another chance...

and I took it, and never looked back.


  1. wow - wow... I never had the guts to actually examine what I ate (still eat sometimes).
    but you made it very, very clear what huge act of self destruction it is.
    thank you so much, that opened my eyes even more.
    you rock!

  2. I don't think I want to know how much sodium I eat...even still. I notice I go through the salt shaker rapidly.

  3. Amazing. Good for you on really examining what was going on for you.

    I hope the sodium reduction helps.

  4. There are definitely many times when I matched this kind of day.
    An all day food fest.
    Many times I'd do the Costco binge and buy all my favorites that looked ok to anyone looking in my cart thinking I had a family or was perhaps entertaining but I'd go home and eat a third to half of everything and you know how big Costco pkgs are at one sitting and nosh the rest of the day and repeat the next day with the rest. Oh and with diet pop ... always the diet pop. :D
    For the months before I restarted (again) I was eating fast food for all my meals but just one fast food meal entree each meal instead of several (most days) I felt rather virtuous when I'd go to Subway and order an assorted though :D
    It's no wonder we didn't just drop where we were, eh?
    Because of being in denial, I never actually wrote a day's "food" intake like this down to see the calories or sodium content.
    I'm really shocked my body hasn't turned on me any more than it has to tell you the truth.
    I agree with you about it being difficult to reduce sodium intake unless you eat a whole foods diet. ... I stick to fresh or frozen veggies & fruits and add my own salt but probably still too much.
    And yes, the condiments ... it's an eye-opener all the salt & sugar in each of these.
    I'm sorry if I missed it but have you posted what you're eating now typically?

  5. I'm so happy you're back here with us, I love reading your posts. I love that you are so honest too. I remember having days of eating and eating, I've never added it up. I'm sure I would be shocked. Glad you are headed down the road again. You can do this, you are doing this. It's all about believing in ourselves.

  6. Oh my! I cannot imagine how you fealt after typing all of that out! The best part is now you know what you were doing to yourself, and have the will power to change it.

    I'd say stock the house with lots of fruits and veggies to comensate for the times when you're really hungry. I think you will fill hungry a lot more beacuse you will have less food in you, but if you grab some healthy snacks, you should be golden!

    Project Hot Mommy

  7. wow, you made me take a step back and really look at myself. I never really thought that I had a problem but I really did. I'm scared to really take a strong look back but I applaud you for sharing this.

  8. I'm a recovering saltaholic. It is amazing what cutting salt can do. I use so much less now that others are salting my dishes, but I am not. Weird.

  9. I daren't do the maths on one of my eating days over the last 20 years - would probably be about as bad.

    So relieved to not be doing it any more and so glad for you and your new healthy lifestyle!

  10. So brave. And, after having some scary heart issues, I had to cut the sodium too - I'm under 1,500 mg/day. It has helped so much with portion control and just feeling healthier overall. Good luck... you are so strong

  11. If you are in denial, this post is a great reason never to sit down, figure this out and actually write it out. But we're not in denial.

    Once you know, you can't ignore it. Great post dude. Now I have been guilted in to watching my sodium tonight at dinner.

  12. Good on you for the courage to write that! Sodium is one of my many downfalls. I try to eat whole foods and that helps...even if you salt it, you won't reach near the amount of sodium in canned stuff.

    Nice, and eye opening. Thank you for posting.

  13. Sometimes I disillusion myself into thinking I'm okay on sodium because I don't salt stuff after it's cooked. My dad's one of those people who will put salt on, grilled cheese, I look at him and think "Jesus, all that sodium!" Very rarely will I even LOOK at the sodium on a label since my eyes are trained to go CALORIES, FAT, that order, then give the yes or no like the other numbers are just there for scientists and astronauts.

    But looking at your little list up there and realizing how many common denominators there are with my own daily food lists is more than a little alarming. Guess I should start reading the rest of those stinkin' numbers. Thanks for the lesson!

  14. OMG...I am SO glad you have stopped eating like that.

    You are doing so great now and are such an inspiration to me.

  15. I relate. Especially on the "second dinner" except I would do a "pre-dinner" around 2:30 before the kids got out of school: a whole, supersized Big Mac meal and a 3-pack of cookies. It truly was eating ourselves to death. No more.

  16. Been there...done that....and it took guts to post it. Good for you for purging. So glad neither one of us are no longer killing ourselves with food. Here's to a brighter tomorrow! :)

  17. I think there are a lot of us out there with food addiction who indulge in the hidden dinner. I would eat dinner by myself at 6 or 7 and then with my husband when he got home after 8. I have a lot of trouble finding middle ground. I can be "perfect" and lose weight quickly and I can overeat and spend every day gaining. I don't know how to maintain for the life of me. It's a bitch knowing this will be a struggle for my entire life.

    I appreciate your honesty about the binging. There are a lot of us out there who do it who feel shame on a daily basis.

    I can binge on foods I hate. That's how I know I have an addiction. Right now I am abstaining, but I take it day by day.