Category: dieting

Eat Your Vegetables (The Right Way)

I’m still trying to be healthier, a few sugary relapses aside. This basically has boiled down to exercising every weekday, avoiding sugar (more or less, and not counting conferences), and not eating as much. I can tell the times when I cheat on the sugar and the eating too much. I definitely don’t feel as good–I feel better hungry than I do stuffed, that’s for sure.

But it wouldn’t take a genius to recognize the flaw in my approach. I take a multivitamin each day, but me and vegetables only have a casual relationship. I typically eat two bananas each day, and maybe a clementine or two, so I’m at least somewhat okay when it comes to fruit, but vegetables are something I eat at dinner when they’re there, and forget about the rest of the time.

It’s not that I don’t like vegetables. I actually like them quite a bit. But I don’t like preparing food. I’m lazy enough that when faced with a choice of eating something I can just grab or anything that requires slicing and washing, I’m going to go with the grab option every time. In fact, if I look in the fridge and all that’s available takes preparation, I almost always just decide to be hungry instead of eating something.

But Denisa has been reminding me that vegetables are important, and I had a health coach appointment that said the same thing, and so I’m making a more concerted effort to add veggies to my diet. Since most days I still just eat oatmeal for breakfast and dinner, that means I have to try to search for vegetable opportunities outside the normal meal times.

Case in point: the other day, Denisa made broiled vegetables for dinner (cauliflower, potatoes, carrots). I really like cauliflower, and I hadn’t had any vegetables yet that day, so I asked if I could have some. (Since I’m usually on oatmeal for dinners, Denisa has learned not to include me in her dinner calculations. You don’t want to get between Denisa and her dinner calculations, speaking from experience.)

But this time, Denisa gave me the thumbs up, so I had a few pieces of cauliflower. And a few more. And a couple more after that. Until somehow the cauliflower was completely gone. That’s when Denisa got up to get seconds . . .

That day, I learned a very valuable lesson. I learned that, no matter how much your wife reminds you that you should really be eating more vegetables, this does not give you immunity from eating all the cauliflower. (No matter how much you think it might.) Apparently there’s a right way and wrong way to eat vegetables, or at least a right time and a wrong time.

“I’m new at this” is also not an acceptable excuse, just in case any of you out there were wondering . . .

I’ll get the vegetable thing down, though. Practice makes perfect.

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If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.



Requisite Weight Check In

We’re on the other side of another holiday season, and it helps me to check in with you lovely people periodically to tell you how I’m doing in my Quest to Not Get Fat. (Not sure how else to phrase it, so I just keep it simple.)

When I last checked in, it was to let you know my plan of switching to a system where I eat the same thing every single day. Some of you thought I was a bit crazy for doing it, and my wife certainly shared the concern. How did it go?

Well, over the holidays I didn’t really stick to it at all, though I was pretty faithful through the first half of December or so. I made that decision to go with the oatmeal diet back at the beginning of October, when I was 190.6. Here I am, three months later, post-Christmas, and where am I?

183.6

So seven pounds lost, and in the middle of December I was down under 180 for a few days as well. All told, I’d say the diet definitely works. The biggest reason is likely because it’s not really much of a diet anymore. It’s just the new way I eat.

I’m not saying that I’m planning on only eating oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches for the rest of my life. Rather, that I’m getting more and more used to not eating that much when I do eat. I still pig out occasionally, but my body can (still) stand a bit of pigging out now and then. What does me in is the steady, continual overeating that just makes me balloon up.

I can definitely tell when I’m not eating the way I should. I feel worse. Sick t my stomach. More tired. I generally feel better, physically and mentally, when I’m hungry, which is an odd statement to make, but a true one. I feel more alert and focused. And avoiding sugar is still one of the best decisions I made.

So I plan to be on the “eat the same thing every day” routine for a while longer, though I do expect I’ll take pauses from it now and then for dinners I really like. Will I come off it? Yes. Once I’m safely below my weight threshold again, I will. Though it’s nice to have a system in place I can start on if and when I inch over that line again.

Anyway. Thanks for listening and the words of encouragement. Being public about all of this isn’t really a way for me to brag about losing weight. Rather, it’s one of the main motivating factors that keeps me honest.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Putting My Personal Superpower to Work

Everybody seems to be following different diet plans. There’s the all meat diet. The gluten free diet. The keto diet. Paleo diet. I can’t keep track of them all. I’ve always stuck with the calorie counting diet in the past. It’s been reliable for me, and I’ve always been able to lose weight before. (Why am I writing about diets, you might ask? Europe and my birthday and MLA Annual Conference have put me 10 pounds over my “line in the sand” where I’m supposed to start seriously dieting, that’s why.)

The one problem with the calorie counting diet is that you have to actually count stuff. This is not something I enjoy doing. I really don’t like sitting down to a good meal and having to weigh it all out and do calculus to figure out how much of that great meal I can eat.

However.

One strength of mine is basic immunity to repetition. It’s kind of like a superpower, I’ve decided. (Even if I haven’t figured out how to take over the world with it just yet.) I can wear the same thing every day, and I don’t care at all. I can eat the same thing for breakfast for months at a time, and I still enjoy it. I just don’t care that I had it yesterday. I’m immune to the feeling of “I need to do something different this time.” (This, sadly, does not extend into my work routine. I do like to mix things up when it comes to what I do each day. But for the little things like food and clothing? Who cares? I’m hungry. I eat. Now I’m not. Problem solved.)

This is not to say I don’t enjoy different foods. Obviously I do. And when Denisa’s here making delicious food, I eat it. Because why not?

Each day, I always eat the same breakfast (oatmeal), snack (banana at 11am), and lunch (peanut butter sandwich at noon). Typically I then mix things up for dinner. While Denisa was away over the summer, however, I discovered that I can eat the same thing for dinner as well. In fact, I can eat the same thing I ate for breakfast: cold, raw oatmeal with cold milk. To treat myself, I put in chocolate chips instead of raisins. (What can I say? I’m good to me.) Then for a snack at night, I have my peanut butter, cocoa, banana, and milk smoothie.

I lost  6 pounds in about 1.5 weeks with that approach.

Now that I found myself so high above my goal weight, I finally decided to bring down the diet hammer again. And this time, I was done with counting calories. I told Denisa that I’m not going to be eating anything with the rest of the family until I’m back under my goal weight. It’s just going to be oatmeal, sandwiches, and smoothies every day. I’ve already lost 4 pounds. (6 to go, though I might try to ride it all the way down to 175 this time.)

This is just the natural extension of something I’ve always told people: find out what you’re good at, and do that. Find out what works for you. Will the oatmeal diet work for any of you? Doubtful. I’d imagine most people would get sick of it. But for me? I can do it without breaking a sweat. When I’m hungry, I just realize that I’ll be eating something at my prescribed time later on, and that’s enough to keep me going.

What’s your superpower?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

On Passing Arbitrary Benchmarks

In theory, I know that passing a certain line in the sand doesn’t necessarily carry any special meaning. The line could have been anywhere else just as easily. When you have a birthday, you’re just a day older than you were the day before, but passing that mark still seems to mean something. It comes with a sense of accomplishment (or dread, I suppose.)

I’ve been losing weight for a while now. It’s had ups and downs. The heaviest I’ve been was 240, around 15 years ago. (Give or take a few years.) And each time I lose a bit of weight, it’s just another tiny chunk in the grand scheme of things, no more or less important than any other.

All of that said, when I got on the scale this morning and saw the number (179.6), I couldn’t help but do a happy dance inside, because seeing that second digit turn into a 7 for the first time (in . . . 25 years? Something like that) really felt like an accomplishment. Like a sign that what I was doing was working.

Dieting isn’t fun, but the last time I was overweight for any real length of time was April 2016. We’re coming up on two years of being at a “normal” body weight. And this latest round has gotten me almost to where I think I really want to end up. (175)

I know that I’m feeling much better because of the better way I’m treating my body. Regular sleep, better food, regular exercise, cutting down on sugar, and having a daily multivitamin make a huge difference. I know that, because just last month I didn’t exercise as much, and I ate way too much, and I gorged myself on sugar. I didn’t feel good. So I’m glad to have made these changes, and I’m really thankful to the people who help me stick with it.

Anyway. That’s all I’ve got for you today. Just wanted to share.

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The First Month of the Weight Loss Group

I blogged a month ago about a new approach I was taking to weight maintenance. Four friends and I made a pact: lose 5 pounds every month (or have reached our weight goal and maintained that weight) or else we have to pay $50, split between all the people who managed to meet their goal.

It was interesting watching how it played out over the course of the month. I thought I wouldn’t have any problem losing the weight. I was a pro at this, right? Except the first two weeks involved a couple of conferences and a vacation trip, and halfway to the finish line, I hadn’t just not lost weight. I’d gained 2.2 pounds. So now I had two weeks to lose 7.2 pounds, which sounded a whole lot worse than 4 weeks to lose 5.

Friends, I have never been more motivated to lose weight in my entire life. My natural inclinations to win any game I play and to be a tightwad came together perfectly. I watched each calorie like a hawk. Hunger was just a reminder that I had to win. I lost the weight and saved the money.

For the most part, it seems like this was reflected in the other participants. Well, except for one, who somehow managed to lose 12 pounds and never looked back once. For the rest of us mortals, things seemed iffy toward the middle, but in the end 4 out of the 5 participants managed to lose the 5 pounds. So the one who didn’t pays us each $12.50.

I count this as a success, and I’m excited for the next month. If I reach the goal of 5 pounds lost this time, then it will officially be the lowest I have weighed since high school. I don’t have that much left to lose 10 pounds or so, total. So if this gets me there, that’s great. More importantly, I hope it keeps me there.

Some people have said we’re basically betting, but I want to stress that I don’t view this as a bet. It’s a weight loss program with a $50/month fee that you don’t have to pay if you manage to meet your goal. Weight Watchers costs $20-$55 each month, depending on how much coaching you get. Would a program like that be willing to refund your money if you’re successful? I think not.

Though really, this only works if all of us in the group are doing it. If we start bailing, then suddenly the outside motivation can evaporate. So I’m glad to see that it’s worked well so far. And the one who didn’t make weight is now highly motivated to correct that this month. (I think.)

Of course, this month also has Thanksgiving. We’ve moved the weigh-in date to Thanksgiving morning. My goal is to lose extra weight before I head down to Pennsylvania, because I know I’ll want to eat extra while I’m down there. We’ll see how it goes.

In any case, so far, so good. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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