Thursday, June 28, 2012

227 and 40 - 188 and 34

Just taking an opportunity to make a quick post here - my 'office' downstairs is being cleaned so I'm upstairs committing chronocide.

When I started this journey in March, I weighed 227 pounds and my pants were a size 38 waist. That does not mean that my waist measured 38 inches, it just means that I wasn't willing to admit that I had gotten fatter by buying bigger pants. Instead, I did what many middle age guys do - started wearing my pants lower. In the dress pants that I used to wear for work, my belt was creeping ever lower down the front of growing belly, and with shorts I just gave up and wore them around my hips. I'm estimating that my actual waist size was 40 inches, but it could have been bigger. I won't name names here, but a number of guys I know have said 'oh my pants are a size 36' or 'I've been wearing a size 34' since high school.' DeNIAL. Yes, I am sure their pants ARE that size, but they have stomachs that hang over their belts, which are located perilously close to the top of their butt crack instead of many inches higher where their waist actually is.

As of Tuesday, I weigh 188 pounds, and bought some new pants that are a size 34 because I can actually wear those where they are supposed to be worn. Of the three pair I bought, they all fit a bit differently because they are from different makers. In all honestly, one pair is a wee bit tight when worn at my waist, BUT, I am not done slimming down. Not yet. None of the three are anywhere near close fitting enough to make me look like a grape smuggler.

I don't have a firm idea of a goal weight or size, but I do know that when I started this, 177 (a 50 pound loss) seemed daunting. At 188, it seems downright feasible, like maybe even in the next 4 to 6 weeks. Could I be a size 32 eventually? Do I have what it takes to keep going to the gym and working hard five days a week? What if I got to 170? In any case, it's a fun project so I will keep going. Well, fun, and I also feel way  better and I'm plenty more healthy and energetic.

It's comforting to know that I'm not headed for a big ol' backslide (or a big ol' back side) when my diet changes, because I don't intend to change it. Why would I? I still LOVE eating, and there is nothing I miss enough to go back to the fat. Besides, I still choose to eat food sometimes that is not exactly fantastic for my body, but is fantastic for my mental and emotional well being. For instance, last week I lost three pounds, and that was despite having a mini cupcake with my daughter on her date day, and splitting a big basket of fries with my six year old while watching the Rangers game at our local sports bar/restaurant. I'm free to eat whatever I want! Happily, I don't actually want meat and cheese after not having it this long. French fries I will ALWAYS want, so I will have them once in awhile. And cupcakes...those are too lovely to swear off forever. So there you have it - my diet can be described as plant based, no meat, no dairy, VERY limited oil, plus french fries and cupcakes. Shoot, what doctor would say that was bad, right?

This journey is worth it. Beyond worth it. Care to join me?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Happy Herbivore and the Crampy Carnivore

I mentioned awhile ago that my wife and I were getting a bit bored with our plant based eating. To rectify that situation, we went recipe book shopping (on our anniversary!) and bought a fantastic book called "The Every Day Happy Herbivore." Did I call it fantastic? It's ultra-fantastic! So far we've tried the pesto sauce, quick black bean burgers (pictured at left on Ezekial 4:9 toast), Tortuga Rum Cake, and some desserty thing that included yummy cinnamon and apple bits. I won't risk turning the Happy Herbivore into the Angry Carnivore by posting her recipes for free here online, but lemme just say that her quick black bean burgers are QUICK and have very few ingredients. Off the top of my head I could easily recite the whole recipe! Super tasty of course! Oh, and the pesto sauce (ludicrously simple, and totally lovely) is great on pasta of course, but also great as a salad dressing. There is no meat or dairy in her recipes, and if there is any oil it's just the spray kind I think. She offers the suggestion of using parchment paper to keep things from sticking during baking, instead of spray - of course! Great idea. Oh, my link section here includes a link to the Happy Herbivore's blog - check her out and say hello for me! Or just check her out and don't say hello for me because we're not close. As in we've never met - she's an actual chef with a real blog, vs whatever this is that I do here.

LAST week my family and I were in Buena Vista, CO for a family camp that we were blessed with for FREE because one of our kids had melanoma, and the one we're expecting has some of her organs developing on the outside of her body - silly baby. For more on those stories, you can check out Zion's Caringbridge site and Selah Jane's Caringbridge site (Zion is not in the picture there on the left just because he was having some altitude sickness, not some horrible melanoma manifestation, and my wife wisely declined that particular hike, what with being 6 and a half months pregnant).

Along with this vacation time came some food choice challenges. On the way there, we stopped at a Denny's, and were pleased to find a veggie burger among all the bacon wrapped and cheese stuffed mystery meat items. I enjoyed the veggie burger very much, but my wife felt it had too heavy of a soy taste. At a hotel breakfast I tried a breakfast burrito, sans meat and cheese, but did include Egg Beaters - will NOT be going any further down the Egg Beater Road. Along with being an animal product (albeit with no cholesterol), it turns out they have zero taste and a bunch of bullsh ingredients.

Once at the camp, we did inquire at some meals about alternate offerings if everything being served was heavy on the animal products, but this being a totally free ride we declined to be picky. For the most part we were able to stay plant-strong with our eating, but I did make one exception on purpose. Breakfast one day was cooked outdoors over an open fire, at a gorgeous mountain site reached by horseback -the offerings were French toast (served by being flung from the chef to the recipient about 10 feet away, a game as well as a meal! ) with plenty of dairy, eggs with bacon and cheese and such, and quesadillas with eggs and cheese. I happily ate some of that, and the next day the breakfast was sandwiches with eggs, cheese, and bacon and I ate that because it was what was offered. Later that day, I was in some abdominal PAIN. That did not encourage me to embark on a return to the land of meat and dairy. At all.

Back now at home and in our happy plant heavy kitchen, I'm way more happy with my eating, and still dropping weight - 192 yesterday, whoo HOO!! I used to always grill up a huge steak on Father's Day, but this Sunday we'll be cooking up some fantastic vegan Thai. Can't wait!