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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Lesser Man Project: Week 2

Here it is, week two. I topped out at six pounds by Saturday morning and I couldn’t believe that. I’ve seem to either reached a plateau or just negated the work I did because I’ve been hovering there since then.

I’m actually lucky to have not gained it all back this past weekend. It was a pretty bad one. It’s always hard to do the right thing when you don’t have the time to do it. Friday night, my father-in-law’s band played a set at the American Legion in Scottdale, PA. That meant rushing around to get things done in order to be there for an 8PM start. I was good for lunch, having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with my usual light yogurt and Diet Pepsi. On the way home from work I had my usual snack, a gala apple. Then nothing else until dinner.

I was the designated driver so I had to drive us all there, including my father-in-law and his friend. We had one of my wife’s piano students watch our daughter for the evening which would last well past midnight. After picking up her dinner, a pizza from Fox’s, I found myself desperately craving a piece, but I was good. However, after dropping off my father-in-law and unloading the equipment, my wife and I headed to McDonald’s for a quick bite. It was nearby and would be quick. So, I made up for that craving. I wasn’t too bad. I had a small diet coke, small fry, and a grilled chicken sandwich. In fact, I only had one beer in the first hour and drank a couple of Diet Cokes the rest of the night.

Saturday was a different story. We needed a small but, quick lunch in order to get some stuff done. I opted for some breakfast sandwiches at Sheetz. Usually, I’ll get extra cheese on it, but as part of the new plan, did without. For dinner, one of my wife’s friends wanted to go out with us and suggested a place we’ve never been to. We drove everyone to Indiana, PA, to visit Fire Mountain. It’s a buffet like Ponderosa or Old Country Buffet. It wasn’t bad. They had carving stations and salads and desserts. Figures, I’m trying to change the way I eat and we go to an all you can eat buffet. I had a piece of chicken, not breaded, some regular salad and seafood salad, breaded shrimp and a couple of other items. For dessert I had a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream and a small piece of chocolate cake. I could have been much worse, believe me.

Sunday, we had a late dinner that was more snack-like in nature. The Steelers played New England on Sunday night… and lost. We decided to have taco dip, Tostino’s Pizza Rolls, and a plate of cheese and crackers. I couldn’t help but have a two servings of the taco dip and pizza rolls. It’s amazing how good bad food can taste when you are cutting back. And I mean “bad” as in “bad for you.”

Monday, I had the leftover pizza from Friday night. Two pieces of pizza never tasted so good but since I’m used to eating four or maybe five, it was a short lived decadence. You know the rest of my lunch, yogurt and diet pop, and an apple for the ride home. That night was another night out.

I never really looked at how bad we’ve eaten until I started documenting it. I mean, we eat out a lot. I can count on one hand the times I’ve eaten dinner at home in a week. I’d still be able to give you a Boy Scout salute along with that. There’s no excuse other than we don’t cook a lot and with my wife teaching lessons until almost 7pm there isn’t a lot of desire to do it afterwards. I’m going to start looking into some crock pot stuff that I can do.

Monday would have also been my mother-in-law’s birthday. We would normally have eaten in on a Monday, but seeing as how we would have definitely taken her out to dinner we decided to continue that tradition. Persichetti’s in Jeannette was one of her favorite places but they are closed on Monday’s. Our normal Tuesday night stop is Zackel’s in Claridge so we opted for that Monday and Persichetti’s on Tuesday. In honor of my late mother-in-law, I had a Reuben. It was pretty good and light on the Thousand Island dressing. I had about four or five fries from my daughter’s plate and my diet drink.

Tuesday’s lunch consisted of my wife’s leftover Italian sub, which was half of a half with no dressing. The usual additions were present, light yogurt, Diet Pepsi and gala apple. At Persichetti’s that night, I had a house salad with house vinaigrette, a small piece of bread with butter and a turkey club. Normally, I would ask for extra Miracle Whip, but didn’t. It came with a small soufflé cup full and that was it. I also had a half of a piece of garlic toast at my wife’s insistence.

Today should an overload as I will be eating my wife’s left over spaghetti. She had the sampler, last night, which consisted of a piece of small portions of lasagna, gnocchi and spaghetti. She left half of the spaghetti and lasagna and I’m making that into two days worth of lunch. Today, the spaghetti and tomorrow, the lasagna.

Along with the observation about how bad I’ve been with eating out, here is what I’ve also noticed.

  • Cereal is lasting me a lot longer but milk is going out of date before I can drink it.
  • I’m not as hungry as I used to be. There are moments I feel really hungry before dinner but they are almost forgettable.
  • I found a particular pair of pants that I stopped wearing because I assumed they wouldn’t fit. They are smaller in the waist than my normal ones and they don’t have any give, whatsoever. They fit now. They may have always fit, but they fit better than I thought they would and they were falling down, too.
  • I’m having to throw a lot of food because I’m not eating it. Leftovers are taking forever to get rid of and I’m stretching them into one or two days worth of lunch.
  • I feel satisfied and not hungry, even after a little bit of food.
  • Food that I haven’t been eating taste really good, especially the stuff I shouldn’t be eating.
  • I’m enjoying food more, mostly because I’m not feeling overfull after a meal. There were times I almost dreaded eating, because of how I would feel afterwards, but that’s not the case, now.
You can do this, too. I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor, so you have to figure out what is best for you.  I would also consult one of those people before you go crazy.  But these kinds of changes are small and aren’t really impacting your diet as much. I’m just thinking logically about how to approach this experiment. I’m cutting back on the amount of food, not the quality. I am recognizing where I need to have the give and take.

I’ll eventually plateau and have to take new steps to lose more weight, but I’m not suffering and I’m getting some desired results. This wasn’t hard to do. It was actually very easy. I know that for a lot of people out there, being overweight and actually doing something about losing it is hard, for whatever reason. Remember, I’m doing this with the intent of not making any drastic changes and not starving myself or becoming some fitness nut or health guru.

I could easily go home, grab a bowl of candy and go to town. It would be nothing for me to stop and get a pack of Klondike bars or something else that could derail my progress. You just have to get your mind in the direction you want to go and the body WILL follow. Start small, be realistic and just keep at it. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself for doing a good job but remember that the treat should still fall in line with the style of plan you are doing. For me, it might be dessert at a restaurant but share it or take some to go. You don’t have to give up on something good like Tiramisu, which I love, but perhaps just a little bit is enough to satisfy whatever urge you might have and still not be a detriment to your progress.

The mind first, then the body. That is what is important. If you cannot get your mind to accept that there needs to be a change, you will never stick to a plan. You cannot trick yourself, you cannot cheat yourself and you cannot beat something you don’t believe in beating.

Keep going. It will work.

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