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I would bet that for most of us the last few weeks have been pretty busy. We’ve been running around like crazy, taking care of last minute errands and finishing up our holiday shopping. While I was out running my errands this past week, I noticed something that hadn’t really struck me before. It seemed to me that no matter where I went, there was food. It was everywhere. So I started taking notes. I wrote down every place I’d been and what food had been there. Because it got me to thinking: if I had actually eaten everything I’d seen, how much damage would I have done?
Here’s my list:
•Dry cleaners: donut holes. I don’t know about you, but a trip into the dry cleaners takes me maybe 2 minutes. Certainly not long enough that I need refreshments. One donut hole, about 90 calories
•Antique store: sandwich cookies and coffee. Cookies and coffee might make you want to linger longer, but I’d hate to see coffee stains and cookie crumbs on all those treasures. Coffee with cream and a cookie, about 150 calories
•Pharmacy: assorted candy. I’m just picking up a prescription, but while I wait I could be having my fill of candy canes, caramels and chocolate marshmallow Santas. One chocolate Santa is about 150 calories
•Another antique store: gingerbread man. See #2 above. One gingerbread man, about 250 calories
•Bank: hot cocoa. When I go to the bank, I want to get in and get out. Hang around and sip on cocoa? I don’t think so. One cup of hot cocoa, about 125 calories
•Yet another antique store: spiced apple cider. Do you see a theme here? Hit enough antique stores in one day, and you can easily skip lunch. One cup of apple cider: about 120 calories
•Hardware store: buttered popcorn. I came in for paint, but when I walk in I’m face-to-face with the popcorn cart. It’s hot, it’s fresh, it’s buttery. And it’s got a lot of calories. 1 small bag buttered popcorn, about 250 calories
•Candy store: free samples. Yes, I was there. I picked up some candy for my mother-in-law. But I need a free sample like a hole in the head. 1 Chocolate candy = 175 calories on average.
Doesn’t look like much, does it? Especially spread out over the span of a week. But if I had eaten everything I’d seen, I would have taken in an extra 1310 calories—almost a whole day’s worth of calories for me—and added an extra 6 ounces of fat to my hips.
Next time you’re out, take note of how often you find food in unlikely places. And if you’re tempted to pop something into your mouth, think about this: if you take in just 300 extra calories a week, you’ll be carrying an extra 5 pounds by the time the holidays roll around next year.