Mom’s had a few checkups recently – these are her regular checkups plus her post-cancer surgery ever-6-months-for-the-rest-of-her-life full body scan checkups.  In her regular checkup, her doctor told her that her blood pressure was a little high and he’d like to see her lose a couple of pounds.

This resulted in her calling to tell me what he’d said and to complain: How can I lose 3 pounds?

She knows I’ve been losing weight and how, so I just repeated what I’ve been doing: Counting calories.

On one of her days off, she decides to cook a couple of turkey pot pies for us for dinner, calls me to tell me her plans and I say ok.  Now, I know the calories of the pot pie’s she buys (Marie Calendars) – one of em is around 1200 calories!  It’s huge.  I resolve in my own head to only eat part of it so I can save some calories for a snack/dessert after.

When I get home, she is upset.  She bought a smaller pot pie for herself than she bought for me.  After reading the nutrition label, she found that her pot pie was at 590 calories where mine was at 620 and this upset her because she thought buying and eating the smaller one would be good for her weight loss, but since it wasn’t that big a difference, why not just get the bigger one?

Who out there can tell me where she went wrong?

If you said: Servings per container, you’d be right.

Mom read the label, but only part of it.  Let’s take a look at an example nutrition label:

click for a larger view

As you can see, they always start with Serving Size and Servings per container, in this case, 2.  Well, the larger pot pie is also 2 servings, so you have to double the calorie count.

This made mom blink.  She also felt a little better, but then boggled at the fact that the larger pot pie has 1200 calories in it (well, YEAH, all that creamy sauce inside plus the crust?).

I think this is a pretty common mistake and one I’ve made myself on more than one occasion.  Example: I really, really wanted some tea.  I decided to get one of the bottles of tea from the quickie mart.  I glanced at the label, saw that it was 60 calories and moved on.  Bought it, started drinking it – then I realized I hadn’t checked the servings per container – 4 servings per bottle! That shit had more calories (240) than a Mt Dew! (170 for a can)

I’ve become a lot more conscious of how many servings per container now.  I think mom will be too… 😉