Yesterday, I talked about growing up cooking and eating. It set a pattern for most of the rest of my life. When I went to college at that liberal arts school, I had no concept of self-control. From everything to getting up in time to attend classes (no Mom to wake me up) to eating in the cafeteria (unlimited amounts of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), I was completely lost. I didn't know how to decide what I needed to do, when I needed to do it, or how much I needed.
Does that sound familiar to anyone else?
It took a lot of growing up before I realized that no one can decide for me. I love to cook. I love to brew beer. I love to eat what I cook, and of course, drink what I brew. And that was killing me. That’s not a figure of speech. My blood pressure was far too high. My knees were in constant pain. I had no stamina (a single flight of stairs was cause for me to stop and catch my breath). I wasn’t sleeping well. I felt awful. In 2006, I was at my peak weight. On my driver's license, I claimed 295 pounds, but that was only what the scale said the last time I stood on it, many months earlier. By October of that year, I looked like this:
By the way, that’s a 3XL shirt, and I was straining the buttons across the belly.
July, 2008 was my turning point. My wife and I decided to change our lives. We changed our pattern of eating, adopting a Mediterranean-type diet, focusing on portion control. It was delicious, and over the next year, I went from 286.5 to a low of 217.
(Me, February 2009, at about 223 pounds.)
Success! For a little while. Then I stopped remembering portion control, and stopped thinking about good choices, and stopped being as active. And the weight returned. (Welcome to the "yo-yo!")Me, May 2011, at 262.5 pounds. Wearing my "fat suit" again. I was smiling in the picture, but depressed, frustrated and ashamed inside. (Can everyone relate?)
On May 25, 2011, I found LoseIt.com (and most or all of my followers are from there). I relearned the idea of portion control, but more importantly of planning my meals, my day, my life. Every Saturday morning, my wife and I sit down over some good coffee and plan the next week's meals. We schedule them so we don't have to make another decision at the end of the day. Planning ahead also makes grocery shopping easier and cheaper, because I am less likely to buy random stuff. And when we cook, we try to cook efficiently. If I am making chicken breasts (as for my meal posted yesterday morning), I make extra breasts for tonight's chicken enchilada verde. Tonight's dinner will be easy to assemble, which make me more likely to follow the plan.
I always try to look at what I am making and decide how else the ingredients can be used. Over the weekend, the boys wanted Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches. My wife and I made ours with portabella mushrooms instead of beef. However, I sauteed extra onions and green peppers, and saved some. This morning, I made scrambled eggs, and added 1 cup of sauteed peppers/onions. Delicious. (It was supposed to be an omelet, but the darn think stuck to the pan, and didn't flip, so I made them scrambled. Adapt to the changing conditions! I would have taken a photo if the omelet had worked. Oh well. I'll make it again.)
When I ran my restaurant, prep and planning was vital. Decide what you need, and prepare what you can in advance. It is a lifesaver ... and for me, that turned out to literally be the truth.
Last night was a simple meal of baked cod in a white wine-leek sauce, quinoa with lemon and kalamata olives, and roasted asparagus with olive oil and garlic. (362 calories) Plus a piece of rye bread and olive oil (another 200 calories).
Breakfast was the aforementioned omelet-turned-to-scrambled eggs, and this awesome pineapple-spinach smoothy:
That's a one-liter mug. 1 cup pineapple, 1.5 cup water, 2 scoops whey powder, 2 tablespoons milled flaxseed, 1 packet of crystal light. Blend until smooth, then add 3 ounces of baby spinach, a little at a time, until creamy and smooth. (300 calories.) Absolutely delicious! I wish the camera had picked up the real color. It's the color of a perfectly ripe avocado. I'll try for a better shot another time.
Finally, let me know if you like photos of my meals. I probably won't take pictures of everything I eat, but I think it's good to see what can be eaten in a healthy diet. And I will start including photos of other things important to my plan. Lastly, I'll try to start making my posts a little shorter, but right now I seem to have a lot of stuff to say (and I don't have that stupid character count limit that LoseIt sets). However, I will try to have a new post every day. As I begin training for my 10K, you can assume I will be talking about that, as well as my menus.
Thanks for reading this.