Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The making of an action hero, pt3

Entry #2 Ow, Ow, Ow. One of the hardest parts of being over weight is that your body starts failing you at the most inconvenient moments. Fifteen years ago “failing” meant I got tired after running for five miles instead of ten. Now it means that a poorly placed step sprains a load baring joint. I am not going to be able to stage an epic hand-to-hand battle on a catwalk over a nuclear reactor if I have trouble walking the half mile to my bus stop. In a way, this pain is a great motivator. Every time I have to take a hobbling step I am physically reminded that I need to stick with the plan or things will get worse. Yesterday the brunette and one of our friends did the marketing. We got more good food and less bad food, which is good. The fridge is full of fresh produce and lean protein. The counter sports a bunch of low-fat trail mixes, unsalted nuts, and bananas. The challenge we face is that we still have a stock of the food that’s less than ideal. The immediate urge is to go on a gorging frenzy and consume all of it with no guilt. After all, it all has to go right? In keeping with the slow change philosophy I’ve adopted, I’ll keep using the items until they’re gone, we simply won’t buy any more. I could gorge my way through the pantry, but I won’t. There’s a scale coming in the mail soon. Every extra pound I put on now will be another one I have to report with my first public weight entry. Writing about these experiences helps me work through the mental process of adjusting my outlook. It’s great if other people have comments and input. I learn a lot from their tips. Writing forces me to order and prioritize. It forces me to validate and personally justify my decisions. I’m not one of those people who can do something just “because.” I have to come to peace with my choices. I have to vet them through a process of testing and questioning. That’s one of the reasons I used to give up on eating well. After a while I realized that most of the choices I was making couldn’t be justified. It became too much work to do the right thing, let alone think through it. So I fell back in to comfortable habits. I’ve been researching nutrition information for some of our local eateries. It seems that eating out is not such a good plan. I began the process with the high-minded goal of finding better options for the times we dine out. It’s impossible to get fries for under 400 calories, a burger worth the name for less than 600, or anything with bacon and cheese for under 500 calories. That’s not really surprising. What almost scared me out of my combat boots was how high standard menu options went. For example, the red robin blue ribbon burger, fries, shared appetizer, and drink ran to at least 1500 calories. Taking steamed broccoli over fries cut 320 calories off, but still, ouch. Many of the salads I looked at were 600, 800, or 1,000 calories. Calorie counting by itself is pointless. You can eat a low total calorie meal that’s terrible the same way you can eat a high count meal that’s full of great nutrition. That said, ouch. In most places the best options were grilled chicken sandwiches or veggie burgers of some variety. Any salad with bacon, cheese, creamy dressing, or any other meat than grilled chicken automatically started at 500 calories or more. One of my friends has a “thing” about how Americans must always have three things, giant portions, Bacon, and cheese. After today I believe it. I wrote about the guilt factor in my eating habits before. This is exactly the kind of situation I was referring to. If we go out for a meal and I walk through the doors I’m faced with two terrible choices. I can eat what I want and start the guilt cycle or I can restrain myself and be miserable. Both of those choices leave me eating more because guilty or unhappy are the same thing where emotional eating is concerned. So, not gonna do that. I’ll simply pick the least bad option I can live with and enjoy the chance to socialize. I’ll try not to be placed in that situation in the first place. But it’s going to happen eventually. Better to sort out the particulars now. Mutter…I guess that means steak and a martini (shaken not stirred) are off the table. Today I brought my normal ham and Swiss wrap, an apple, a container of unsalted almonds, and a 20oz water bottle of herbal tea to work. I don’t use the word “lunch” any more as I try not to have “lunch” in the traditional sense. It doesn’t fit my work schedule and it’s not very healthy. Traditional lunch is a mid-day meal that varies from a light snack to a gastro-fest of epic scope. It’s predicated on the idea that people eat three meals a day and spend the rest of their waking hours laboring in the fields. I sit at a desk all day typing on a computer. I don’t have even remotely similar caloric requirements to your average blue collar worker, much less a hard-laboring farmer. If I starve myself between breakfast and lunch, I’ll consume whatever I brought from home in an epic moment of gobbling that would make cookie monster proud. Then I’ll be tired and still hungry because six hours of consuming nothing but water will have convinced my body that it needs to top off all the reserves even though I haven’t done anything but sit in a desk chair. Instead, I have my first mini-meal around 9-9:30. I have a snack an hour or so later, and finish with a second mini-meal around 11-11:30. There are lots of components to eating well. Part of that has been learning to time quantity and frequency such that I’m never stuffed but a little hungry all day. I start off work with a 20 oz water bottle that has a bag of dandelion tea and two more bags of whatever random cold brew/herbal mix I grab from the discard pile. Yes, we have a discard tea bag collection. The brunette loves buying teas. People love buying teas for us. We don’t always heart the results. Everything that doesn’t get a thumbs up from one of us goes in the grab bag. Each morning I grab my dandelion tea, two other random bags, and fill the water bottle up to start the cold brew as I head to work. I leave the bags in the bottle and refill it every hour or two. Each day has a different flavor. By the end of work I’ve drunk 80-100 ounces of mixed tea and water. The water helps partially stave off the hunger, cleanses the system, and takes care of the urge to “drink something.” Things to do: 1. Research the steel mace workout, develop a plan to use it, and get the required equipment. 2. As soon as the scale gets here, work out a system of rewards based on meaningful milestones relative to the amount of weight I need to lose. 3. Start work on the “lair.” 4. Bag up the trail mix and almonds in smaller lunch sized portions so I can’t cheat and eat the entire thing. Today’s Intake: Breakfast=1 bowl of fiber 1, 1 glass of herbal tea, and one banana. Lunch=1 apple, 1 ham and Swiss wrap, and a few handfuls of unsalted almonds spread over 4 hours. Dinner=a few handfuls of crackers, a bowl of chicken and rice, and a couple slices of apples and strawberries.

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