This week’s series of posts chronicles how I lost 40 lbs. Each day is dedicated to a different aspect of that process. Today’s post is part 3 of 5, and it covers how I established an eating routine and how (and when) I broke it.
So what is my routine?
I wake up each morning and weigh myself. I used to loathe weighing myself, so I didn’t unless I went to the doctor or whatever. I then successfully avoided that cognitive dissonance by not going to the doctor anymore either, which is even worse. But I literally dreaded the thought of going to the doctor simply because I didn’t want to weigh myself. That’s moronic.
So I weigh myself just to keep myself on track.
I always eat breakfast, and it’s usually something simple like a cup of Greek Yogurt, or a serving of cereal like Raisin Bran Crunch, Peanut Butter Cheerios, or Special K. If I get hungry mid-morning, I have Kashi bars in my desk that are disorientingly delicious, or I keep a Tupperware full of unsalted roasted almonds and have a few of those. I used to eat Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches and giant peanut butter sandwiches and bagels slathered with cream cheese and shit in the morning. One of my favorite things to eat was a “Hawkwich,” which is something invented from a contestant on a pro wrestling reality show called “Tough Enough” that was on a decade ago. A “Hawkwich” is two blueberry Eggo waffles with peanut butter in the middle. I’d eat these fairly regularly. How could I have possibly gotten fat?
For lunch, it’s a frozen Smart Ones meal about half the time. The other half is generally a tortilla wrap with turkey, cheese, lettuce and some sort of sauce (all kinds of mustard are 0 points, and so is Frank’s Buffalo Sauce! Condiments are your friend!) a bag of baked chips, and sometimes a string cheese. I mix those two meals up with one of those gourmet salads from the uppity place near my office or the healthy Asian bowl place across the street. It’s always a satisfying lunch, and I’m rarely hungry in the afternoon.
For dinner, Kristin and I usually marinate pork chops or chicken breasts, make some brown rice, and put together a salad. I’ve upped my vegetable intake a lot, which is in part thanks to watching the judges score Chopped dishes on Food Network, and reading this guy, who is awesome and hilarious. I also discovered Sriracha, and that has made everything taste better. I take care with what I make, and therefore I enjoy it a lot more. Kirstin makes a chili that’s 6 points per serving, and when winter comes, crock pots make for amazing food that pack outrageous value for your weight loss plan. Pinterest (I know, what?) is a weight loss fiend’s best friend.
The only thing remarkably different about dinners before weight loss and during was that now I drink a lot less during the week, if at all. I used to pound probably 3 or 4 beers a night. That certainly had its benefits (drinking is fun!), but holy shit will you pack on the weight that way.
This is my basic routine, and it works for me. I’m not pissed off about what I’m eating, or perhaps more accurately, what I’m NOT eating and what I could be missing because I’ve gotten smarter about how to cook. My food tastes better, my stomach is far less upset than it used to be, I have more energy, and most importantly, I look better. VANITY.
What’s key is that while your routine is important, it’s not your whole fucking life. Life is still worth living. There is still beer to be drank, barbecue to be eaten, and ice cream to shove in your face. I eat better, yes, but I don’t fret about eating the shitty stuff either. I just do it less. A lot less. I make my routine my life, so I have room to enjoy the bounty of good stuff that will never stop existing.
Portion sizes are everything. As I wrote in the Epicurean post from 6 months ago, I used to just mindlessly shove food in my face until I wasn’t shoving food in my face anymore. I had no thought about how much to eat, or why I was even eating in the first place. Once I paid attention to portion sizes, everything got a lot better. Quick anecdote:
Our favorite sandwich place in Fort Collins is the Pickle Barrel. Kristin, Jason and I have all lost a bunch of weight over the course of the year, and we found ourselves together at the Pickle Barrel. And all of us got through half of our delicious sandwich and sort of realized together we didn’t want to finish it. So we all got our sandwiches wrapped up and ate them later. I suspect if Kristin, Jason and I from 7 years ago saw this, they’d punch us in the face. Or call the police, because who the fuck are these people?
I still go out for pizza. I still love Mexican food. I still drink a shitload of beer. That stuff is all fantastic. It’s just not what my diet consists of night after night after night the way it used to. What’s great about Weight Watchers and the resultant lifestyle change that accompanies it, is that when you blow yourself up over a weekend, like when we all trekked down to Austin for Geek Bowl and loaded up on breakfast tacos and barbecue and FUCK YEAH~AUSTIN!, for instance, you know how to get yourself back on track and not lose any ground.
I worked really hard the week before Austin eating right and exercising a shitload, and saving all my points because I knew I didn’t want to track points while I was down there. I just wanted to enjoy myself. But I also knew I didn’t want to get completely derailed, so I built in a bunch of room on the front end, and since I’d worked that hard, I didn’t want to undo it, so I eased off the gas while I was down there too. I still mouthfucked that chocolate covered bacon, sure, but I didn’t totally lose my mind.
Once you establish a new routine, you become proud of the results, and suddenly eating the way you used to doesn’t even seem as appealing. You want to keep pushing in the right direction because you know how much sweat equity you’ve put into getting the results you want. It’s a weird thing to experience, but that’s what a lifestyle change is, after all, and that’s what we’re going for here.
But again, life is still worth living, so if you feel like having that bacon cheeseburger and fries one night, do it. There is no clock on this weight loss outside of whatever arbitrary one you created yourself. I wanted to lose 40 lbs. by the end of April. I missed that by three and a half months. Do I give a fuck? Not one fuck. I’m happier I enjoyed myself. I still made it. And here I will stay. That’s a lifestyle change.
Tomorrow: Exercise is largely useless for weight loss, but do it anyway.