My Favorite Egg & Cheese Sandwich

by Lisa Emrich Patient Advocate

How many calories do you need to eat to maintain your current weight?

The American Cancer Society has a nifty calculator to help determine the answer to that question.

When I use 270 lbs as my current weight and choose either of the following activity levels, I get these results:

  • If I chose - "Sedentary: Activities of daily living only (dressing, cooking, walking to and from the car, etc.). No purposeful exercise."

Then the answer is - "You need approximately 3682 calories per day to maintain your current weight, based on your current activity level."

  • If I chose - "Light Activity: Activities of daily living, plus the equivalent of walking 2 miles (or about 4,000 steps) per day."

Then the answer is - "You need approximately 4295 calories per day to maintain your current weight, based on your current activity level."

Well, I can tell you right now that it will be a very long time before I am able to walk 2 miles due to increased fatiguability and the limitations multiple sclerosis has placed on my endurance. Not impossible eventually, but right now I'm thrilled if I make it 1/4 mile after having ridden the exercise bike and worked some weight machines at the local reccenter. And to be completely honest, I haven't done any of those activities recently.

If hypothetically using 240 lbs with a sedentary activity level, 3273 calories are required to maintain weight for a female. If hypothetically using 210 lbs, 2864 calories are needed and if using 180 lbs, 2455 calories are needed. Notice that each difference of 30 pounds in weight requires only 409 calories difference in daily consumption.

Did you know that it takes a "deficit" of 3500 calories to lose ONE pound?

The American Cancer Society's recommendation to lose weight:

  • "To take off 1 pound per week, you need to create a deficit of 500 calories per day. You can do this by eating 250 fewer calories a day (for example, cut out a 20-ounce bottle of regular soda) and burning an extra 250 calories through physical activity (for example, walk for 2.5 miles). Another way to cut back on calories is to watch your portion sizes."

Since I can't yet walk those 2.5 miles, I'd rather look to food to provide a reality check and some inspiration. I wondered what my favorite quick meal added up to in calories and fat. Here are the details for one fabulous Fried Egg & Cheese Sandwich. (I used to find details on the fried egg.)

  • Fried Egg, 1 large egg; 90 calories; 7g fat; 0g carbs; 0g dietary fiber; 6g protein

  • Kraft Sharp Cheddar Singles, 1 slice; 60 calories; 4.5g fat; 2g carbs; 0g dietary fiber; 4g protein

  • Arnold Oatnut Whole Grain Bread, 2 slices (= 2 servings); 240 calories; 5g fat; 44g carbs; 4g dietary fiber; 8g protein

  • Kraft Miracle Whip Dressing, 1 Tbsp; 40 calories; 3.5g fat; 2g carbs; 0g dietary fiber; 0g protein

So let's see what the caloric damage is for my favorite Fried Egg & Cheese Sandwich -
430 calories; 20g fat; 48g carbs; 4g dietary fiber; 18g protein

Yikes That seems a lot for a tasty little sandwich. But then again, I haven't been looking at calories and fat content so this is all a bit new to me.

What if I substituted the 2% Milk version of the Kraft cheddar singles, Miracle Whip Lite, and a low-calorie whole grain bread?

  • Fried Egg, 1 large egg; 90 calories; 7g fat; 0g carbs; 0g dietary fiber; 6g protein

  • Kraft Sharp Cheddar 2% Milk Singles, 1 slice; 45 calories; 3g fat; 1g carbs; 0g dietary fiber; 4g protein

  • Arnold 100% Carb-Counting Whole Wheat Bread, 2 slices; 80 calories; .5g fat; 18g carbs; 5g dietary fiber; 5g protein

  • Kraft Miracle Whip Lite Dressing, 1 Tbsp; 20 calories; 1.5g fat; 2g carbs; 0g dietary fiber; 0g protein

Lisa's Fabulous Egg & Cheese Sandwich -
235 calories; 12g fat; 21g carbs; 5g dietary fiber; 15g protein

Now that's a little bit better!! 200 calories less for the same sandwich.

OK, so what I need to do now is start a food journal to see what kind of calories I have been eating on a regular basis. It's hard for me to believe that I might be consuming over 3500 calories per day routinely, but I won't know if I don't take an honest look at it.

Information is power, right? Well, it's time I gather my powers...and journal.

January 17, 2010
Weight: 270.1
Blood pressure: 130/79
Pulse: 67

Lisa Emrich
Meet Our Writer
Lisa Emrich

Living with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid Arthritis, Lisa Emrich is an award-winning, passionate patient advocate, health writer, classical musician, and backroad cyclist. Her stories inspire others to live better and stay active. Lisa is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers. Lisa frequently works with organizations in support of better policies, patient-centered research, and research funding. Lisa serves on HealthCentral’s Health Advocates Advisory Board, and is a Social Ambassador for the MSHealthCentral Facebook page.