Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Healthy Choice?

This morning, I was getting ready for work, and again, I heard something disturbing on The Today Show. However, this time it wasn't about Tony Danza.

See, I, like many women out there am in a constant struggle with my weight. I've been this way since high school. In high school, it was I weighed too little, and my family was worried I was purposely not eating. In college, it got a little better, but then in law school, I ended up gaining quite a bit of weight, which put my health at risk. I fell into a pretty bad depression my first year of law school, and I didn't get out of it until later in my third year. This caused me to eat pretty badly and make some poor decisions with respect to my health. However, after rather shocking blood work results in my third year of law school, I became determined to eat better and exercise daily. I ended up working out every day and eating a more balanced diet, less sweets and carbs, and I dropped 25 pounds in a few months. I've kept most of that off since then, though it does fluctuate every now and then. I still work out like a fiend, even though the eating better has its good days and bad.

However, like many women, I still am not pleased normally when I look at myself in the mirror. It's possible I see a distorted image of myself when I look at myself, but I don't know...I always beat myself up for being too fat or not skinny enough. It's hard. I know it kills T to hear it, too, because what I see in the mirror is not the same thing at all that he sees when he looks at me. It's just tough. A constant battle that I know I'm not alone in.

So where am I going with this? OK, yes, I know...dieting. We all do it. And with some girls, it starts really really young. I remember when I was in fourth grade I started thinking about it after I heard someone on TV say that to lose weight you should eat only salad dressing that you can see through like Italian dressing. So I was neurotic about it, and it drove my parents crazy. At age 10, isn't that sad? There's a whole industry surrounding the whole diet market and losing weight. Like many, I do eat those diet meals they sell in the grocery store, too, Lean Cuisines, Smart Ones, and Healthy Choice meals. I had to do that during law school when I had to stay on campus until about nine at night, so, to avoid buying out and spending that money, I would just heat up a lean cuisine with a salad. It worked. I still eat them for lunch when I'm too lazy to get anything else or don't have leftovers around. They don't really taste good, but they serve their purpose.

I did realize that these meals are packed with sodium which does wonders for your blood pressure and heart (note the sarcasm), but I wasn't totally against these meals until I saw this segment this morning on The Today Show. Apparently the labels on these meals I eat regularly are not correct. In fact, many of them are way off. Meals were randomly tested from each brand to see if the fat grams and calories on them are, in fact, correct. What they found was that some of the brands were actually lower than what the advertised (Healthy Choice being the big one), but some were much more than advertised. The shocking one, if you click on the link, is the Sweet and Sour Chicken from Smart Ones. The fat grams are 350% off (they advertised 2 grams of fat and 220 calories). And apparently, the FDA has told them that there is a 20% allowance for numbers to be off on labels. It blows my mind that they can put numbers on labels that are, in fact, incorrect. So many people rely on those labels when making their food purchases at the store and choices in caloric intake for the day.

After watching today's segment I'm 100% turned off from buying these meals in the future. There are just too many things wrong about them. Sodium intake and now the calories and fat grams listed are on the product are off. What gives? It's frustrating, too, because for the past few months, T and I have been making a concerted effort to eat healthier and make the right choices in food and exercise. We've been getting organic produce delivered to our house weekly, working out daily, and watching our calories, etc. In the spirit of continuing that healthy eating, I am not cutting out these frozen meals from my lunch routine. I just can't support companies that falsely report numbers like that. I want to make this decision for the good of my health.

I don't usually get on my soap box people, but this morning, when I saw that, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Sorry for my ranting here this fine Wednesday morning...I'll be back tomorrow sans soap box, promise!


  1. WHY? I mean, this has been a bit of a pet peeve with me for years: WHY DO FOOD COMPANIES LIE? Do they not have parents, siblings, children? Do they not care what goes into their foods? Do they not get pissed off when they're lied to? Do they not want accurate information any time they make a purchase? WHY?!

    Sarah @

  2. Dude, you've got me! I don't understand why they would give out incorrect information and put it under the label of diet food. But that story really turned me off of ever getting food like that again...

  3. I have a freezer full of these meals. I am single and live alone and sometimes it is just easier than going to all the effort of cooking a full blown meal. And I DO rely on the fact that I think I'm getting low calorie intake. This is just insane!


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