Eating Without Information

This week I had a session with my client, Lauren. Lauren told me that while she had a good week, one day she ended up going way over her allotted calories. Lauren was at a new vegetarian restaurant with her friend and they ordered several different dishes. Back at home that night when she sat down to retroactively track her calories from dinner, Lauren was surprised to find out the number of calories in the food she ate. All those extra calories caused her to be 500 calories over her goal for the day!

In session, I asked Lauren why she waited until the end of the day to track her calories, instead of looking up menu items and tracking them before she ate. Lauren told me that because it was a “healthy” vegetarian restaurant, she thought that the calories wouldn’t be too high and that ultimately everything would work out fine. Lauren fell into the same trap that so many dieters fall into – putting a “health halo” on certain foods and assuming that because something sounds healthy, it’s probably low calorie. And while a lot of the dishes she ate that night weren’t very high in calories, the major problem was the quantity of food she ate. Eating a lot of low-calorie foods eventually adds up. And extra calories are extra calories, whether they come from vegetables or brownies.

woman eating bowl of foodLauren and I decided to label that mistake as “eating without information,” meaning eating something without first finding out how many calories it has. We discussed the fact that if Lauren had an extremely severe peanut allergy, she would never think of consuming a new food without first checking if it had peanuts in it. Or, if she was a vegan, she would never order a dish without first asking whether it contained animal products. In these other scenarios, she would never consider eating without information.

Lauren made the following Response Card to help remind her of this concept:

Don’t eat without information! It’s not okay to eat something new without first finding out the calories, just as I would never eat something without finding out if it had peanuts, if I had a peanut allergy.

There are many traps that dieters fall into that sometimes seem unavoidable, but eating without information is usually an avoidable trap! If this is something you’ve struggled with before, consider making a similar response card to remind yourself to make sure you have all the information before you eat something new.

1 reply
  1. Martha johnson
    Martha johnson says:

    This was a very good article. I like the comparisons used. I also like making the cards as reminders. I love everything CBT. That is why I am taking all the online classes. It works.


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