Workweek Eating While Dieting

Meals can be a challenge when you are trying to lead a healthy life and still be a productive member of society during the workweek. I’ve been told by a certified nutritionist that five to six smaller meals a day with an emphasis on breakfast are optimum for kicking your metabolism into gear. I’ve never been a grazer, but this nutritionist gets paid very well to know a lot about healthy eating and I get paid very poorly to know how to be an unsuccessful writer and what time the liquor store closes…so I took her words to heart.  

Breakfast is usually pretty simple and consists of a couple pieces of fruit. Eventually I’ll add things like granola or yogurt when I’m closer to my goal but for now I’m keeping it simple. Breakfast used to be a hangover, two cups of coffee, three aspirin and avoiding human contact. I like the new breakfast routine much better, with the ancillary benefit of people not mistaking my eyes for two tomatoes floating in bowls of buttermilk.

Pre lunch I try and carry things like hard boiled eggs, cut fresh vegetables, a slice of cheese or some unsalted nuts. By now I’m feeling a bit hungry so this is a welcomed snack. This used to be an opportunity to grab a bag of chips, candy bar and a soda to get through the rigors of sitting in a car seat and talking on a phone.

Lunch, my urge to swing into a fast food joint used to be stronger than the urge for Wildebeests to migrate through alligator infested rivers in Africa. When I absolutely have to do fast food I get the garden salad (I stay away from the meat and cheese) as almost everybody offers them now. I’m careful with the dressing and carry a bottle of hot sauce and mix half the dressing (usually ranch) with an equal amount of hot sauce. The added spice level makes the salad satisfying. Remember the idea isn’t to become full from lunch but rather, to satisfy the appetite.

Pre dinner is a snap and I go back to fruit or nuts as they’re quick and easy to keep around. I used to not eat during this time of day because I was still stuffed from lunch. Instead I would use this time thoughtfully to decide which gut-bomb casserole I’d make for dinner and ponder the wonders of elastic waistbands.

Dinner I try and multitask; I make just enough food so there’s barely enough for lunch the next day which keeps me from hitting the aforementioned fast food restaurant. I’ll also cook up hardboiled eggs, extra meats for salads or cut fruit for fruit salad. I try to get all my kitchen stuff done at the same time so the only excuse to go in there is for water or making sure The Cat hasn’t gotten into my whiskey again. With a little bit of prep work and planning, eating healthy during the workweek is fairly simple…and it beats making excuses as to why my ass is the size of a Buick. 

 

Week 9: Lost 47 lbs (For my European friends that’s 21.3 kg or a small boy with a bad haircut)

 

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Yup, five o’clock shadow and goatee… but at least I was having a good hair day.

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Friends, Advice and Dieting

I’m typically a good listener, especially if the conversation centers on illicit sex acts between two married adults who don’t happen to be married to each other, or where to buy cheap booze. Then I started dropping some weight and now the conversation seems to be centered on me, and how I could be doing better or eating this or that. I love my friends and family I really do, but when it comes to eating and exercising nobody knows me better than me.

Losing weight and staying on the healthy path is hard enough without hearing the do’s and don’ts from amateur dieters. I tell people I’ve cut out nearly all carbs except fruits and legumes and they get a look of horror on their face and I get: “I couldn’t live without pizza or pasta, you shouldn’t do that because I did and I ended up binging!” First off, I didn’t say I was never going to eat those types of foods ever again, I said I’ve cut them out as in, for now. Just because you can’t live without something doesn’t mean I can’t either. If I need to have a slice of pizza that bad I need a twelve step program, not a slice of extra cheese extra pepperoni.

“You need chia seeds!” Everybody’s got an angle on what I need to be eating. I’m up for trying most foods but I’m a simple man. I have nothing on my walls except for a couple Ansel Adam prints I was given by a kindly woman friend, because she thought it made the place seem “less serial killer like.” I’m not looking to complicate my kitchen. Most nights it’s a simple protein and some vegetables that I can easily attain without the help of Google and a copy of “Getting Food Through Customs For Dummies”. Right now I’m keeping it simple, because it works for me.

I appreciate people trying to help, especially if they have a record of keeping weight off and/or leading a healthy lifestyle. What I find difficult are the people telling me how to be healthy, while wielding a bucket of KFC and unable to tie their shoes without getting winded. Know Thyself… If you’ve set parameters stick to them and ignore the masses. It’s good to be open to new ideas and advice, but you’re the one doing the hard work and sacrificing. It’s your life, it’s your body, and you know what will work for you and what won’t. Keep pushing, you’re doing great.

Week 8: Down 44 pounds after starting the week with a 3 day plateau… (Europeeps, 44 lbs is equal to 88 containers of kip sate salade with a side of friet & Mayo, I capitalized Mayo especially for my Dutch friends who put mayo up there with oxygen on the list of most important things to have. )

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Breakfast for me…. even though I have a friend I adore who insists I eat oats…more specifically, her special oat recipe. 😉 It’s all good M… I’ll be fine until lunch.

Plateaus in Weightloss

What happens when you step on a scale three days in a row and you’re going nowhere?! Nothing. What do you “do?”… Everything, just differently. I think when you’re doing all the right things like eating well and exercising you have certain expectations that the end result will be weight loss every day. Just as you have expectations when you buy a lottery ticket you’ll be telling your boss to piss up a rope. Sadly, it doesn’t always happen. I’m just glad my boss is an understanding guy and next time I’ll check the ticket first.

When it comes to weight loss your body has a fun way of pitching curve balls, and it’ll make you want to swing your bat at the bathroom scale. I think it’s only natural to become frustrated and angry as you denied yourself that bite of a bacon slaw dog your bastard workmate offered, and you were tied to the treadmill like a monkey to a crack dispenser. I try to look at these plateaus as an opportunity.

I didn’t lose anything, so what?! There are any number of reasons why this happened but that’s not for you to figure out. You just keep treating your body right and it’ll eventually respond in kind. I use it as a motivational tool to do something different in my workout routine, and eat differently. I have a friend Madelyn who will be proud to know I took a day and ate vegetarian. I haven’t been a vegetarian for a day since my mother fed me strained peas and sweet potato in a high chair.

Your body finds ways to regulate things when done over time and it’s up to you to keep your body guessing. You have to change things up by adding something new or taking something away in your workout routine.  When it comes to dietary changes it’s a good idea for me to keep changing things. Lack of change leads to boredom and ultimately it can lead to poor decisions. When I get bored I’m that kid in the sandbox who leaves his Tonka truck in lieu of a cat turd.

When should you switch things to affect change in a plateau? Well I can’t tell you when, but I know when it’s time for me. I know when I didn’t do enough in my workout. I know when my diet or portions were poor. You can’t fool yourself and If you can you’re a fool. Working for a healthier you is not a fool’s errand. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment and self-control. If you’re thinking you can trick lie or connive yourself into better shape, you my friend may as well get in the sandbox and play with that cat turd. 

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I was that bastard workmate and this would have been a typical meal for me. These are natural casing Essem hot dogs with spicy Asian slaw and applewood smoked thick cut bacon on split top New England style rolls because the store was out of Martin’s Potato Rolls…Aaaaamen. Now put down the candy bar and do some crunches.

Food Pushers vs Dieting

The best part about my new deal is having total control over what I do for exercise and what I put into my body in terms of food. It’s really kind of liberating to know I have the power to say no when considering healthy versus non-healthy choices. That said there are some folks out there who are going to try to be helpful, in the same manner Bernie Madoff was helpful in holding on to other people’s money so they didn’t spend it foolishly on things like retirement accounts. I lovingly refer to these people as food pushers.

It is a great day for a family reunion, lots of folks in attendance, sun is shining, lots of fun, tons of food and plenty of people making sure you tried their “world renowned” (fill in the blank) that you love so much every year. My mom is from a traditional French-Canadian Catholic family of fifteen from northern VT. This is where summers were spent outdoors trying to collect as much from the garden to can where hopefully it would last through the winter, or apparently what my grandfather thought of as…breeding season.

I love all my aunts dearly so let’s put that on the table first. They are a batshit crazy lot who tell it like it is without hesitation (in a house of fifteen people if you’re not heard you go hungry) but would do anything for you. This works well until you get them together, add “their” food to the equation and try explaining about your “dietary change”. It’s like explaining quadratic equations to a two year old except the two year old would come back with, “aww all this new math is shit, go ahead and do some simple addition and you’ll be fine.”

Looking at my choices I have two, garden salad and corn on the cob. The meat every year is decided on by a committee  and apparently the committee doesn’t meet very often because it’s been hot dogs and hamburgers since Van Halen put out Jamie’s Cryin some 35 years ago. I’m ok with just salad and corn on the cob, but this is going to be harder to slip by family members as they take pride in their lovingly prepared baked beans, cole slaw, chop suey and other family favorites. I myself love them but they just don’t cut it in my world right now.

Look, not everybody has food pushers in their lives but when you do, be a better friend to yourself and just be up front and say no. This is a test, a test you already know the answer to so it should be a slam dunk one hundred percent with a gold star. The downside is if you get the answer wrong not only is it a fail, but you also get reminded of your failure when you’re cleaning mustard stains off your shirt. Wish me luck at the annual crazy convention!

 

Week 7 and feeling fine total lost thus far is 40 lbs. (For my Euro-friends that’s one of those rental bicycles and 6 herring minus the onion and mayo)

Stress Anxiety Depression vs Eating Healthy

Stress, anxiety, depression… are things people handle in a variety of ways. One major way is eating, and by eating I mean dipping strawberry Pop Tarts into marinara followed by chocolate sauce chasers. Rarely have these emotions driven someone to stuff a crown of broccoli in their face. Over the past weeks I’ve seen all three emotions rear their ugly heads and it made me question for a moment, is what I’m doing worth it? The answer is yes.

Luckily nothing life threatening or family related is involved, so the variety of emotions I’m dealing with are fairly low in terms of severity, more like daily work/life related struggles. That being said they are things that in the past would make me deep fry a baby Ruth in tempura batter, wrap it in a Twinkie bun and stab my mouth. This time I’ve looked at it differently and decided to deal with these matters positively.

First off I decided peering into a refrigerator in times of crisis held nothing but failure, poor results and feeling awful. I thought about reaching for a bag of carrots or pepper slices and although they’re healthy options, they weren’t problem solvers. The problem was thinking I could deal with emotion with my mouth instead of my mind and body. I reasoned that to get my mind and body involved I had to do two things, think positively…and exercise. “Really Pav, Think Positively?! “ I know two months ago I would have punched myself in the face for saying that but dammit, it’s good advice.

Imagination is a funny thing; well my imagination is a funny thing. It has the ability to react to negativity in a negative manner by providing scenarios which result in dragging me down a rabbit hole and filling the opening with concrete. This time I used my brain and reason, they came up with some not so “end of the world” scenarios. I’m still waiting on a few outcomes but I’ve surrounded myself with enough positive people to make the wait/weight bearable. Even if the worst happens, it’s still better than where my imagination would take me.

Exercise, I know the word has the ability to trigger these emotions, but if you think about it sensibly it also has the ability to relieve them. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, the brain’s “happy pills.” It also releases endorphins during vigorous sex…just saying. It’s meditation in motion so whether playing tennis or, eh hem….something else; I’m taking my mind off day to day issues. Regular exercise improves sleep and self confidence which will help alleviate stress, anxiety and mild depression. In the end my problems may not disappear, but my mind and body will be better able to deal with the outcomes.