Tuesday, March 24, 2009

winning weight loss battles and the diet war

For Lent I gave up fried food.

I wanted my Lenten promise to be something health related because so much of my life is currently revolving around that topic anyways. I considered giving up fast food but then the fear of God struck me; would that include Subway?! Their $5 footlongs have been a diet and wallet savior the last month or so. Then the Pilot asked what my real food weakness was and I realized it was yummy food (loosely translated into fried food). I love greasy bar food, anything cutely named crispy, and french fries (preferably loaded with cheese and chili)!

So I made a commitment to degrease my insides. I just picture God unclogging my arteries (I do, after all, come from a long line of nightmarish genetics predisposing me to Heart Disease) as motivation to keep me going. Oh that and Jesus in a desert for 40 days and 40 nights!

This sacrifice has not been that hard to remain committed too, except this past Friday night. Trouble occurred while at the Foundry watching Florida State take on Wisconsin in their first March Madness appearance since the 80's.

Due to the March Madness madness the Foundry had compiled a smaller menu of things they were willing to make, with no additions, subtractions or substitutions. On the menu was all the usual bar food suspects, but my Lenten promise coupled with no-meat Fridays made choosing dinner incredibly difficult. Most of the fish options were fried (think fish n' chips), most of the appetizers were fried, and almost all of the main entrees were meat or chicken dishes. It came down to 2 options (that's all!), the tuna melt or caesar salad sans chicken.

I ordered the tuna melt and asked the waitress to remove the tomatoes and give me a side salad instead of homemade (fried) chips or fries. That is when I was informed of the no additions, subtractions of substitutions rule. I peeled off my own tomatoes and gave all the chips to the Pilot.

Questions came from the Pilot's friend, "Do you always eat this healthy?" I giggled and replied, rolling my eyes, "No way!" Although, I will admit it felt nice to be mistaken for a health freak. Nicer, though, than being believed to be a healthy person was my own sense of accomplishment for ordering a meatless, non-fried dish and asking for a side salad then NOT eating a single homemade chip when I was informed that a salad was not an option.

The even better news is that my Foundry experience was not the first diet and weight loss battle I won.

I quickly learned that I was going to be a person who needed to eat every few hours, even if I did not feel hungry because once the hungry did hit, I went immediately to starving (and that is when the cravings begin). One afternoon while babysitting I did not have my usual bag full of snacks and I could not find anything in the house that was calorie-friendly enough to eat. First mini-battle won; I did not give into my hunger and cravings by eating something unhealthy or loaded with empty calories. I found inner strength to wait until after babysitting to eat. However, as the minutes ticked by all I could think about was where I would stop on my way home to purchase dinner. Taco Bell sounded good, as did a double cheeseburger from McDonalds. Second mini-battle won; I ended up at the grocery store! I am still not consciously aware of how that decision came about but there I was and I went straight to the snack aisle and opened a 100 calorie pack of multi-grain wheat thin crisps (should have grabbed carrots instead, but I still consider it a win). They gave me the fuel I needed to plan a better alternative to a fast food meal. For dinner that night I made my own cheeseburger; english muffin, spicy mustard, boca burger, fat-free cheese and romaine lettuce with apple slices subbing for french fries.

I cooked breakfast for the Pilot and I yesterday morning. Multi-grain pancakes and a heaping fruit salad. I told him if he wanted bacon (more specifically turkey bacon) or eggs he was on his own, I would not be cooking those sort of things. I tried to eat the fruit salad first but the fear of cold pancakes consumed me and I drizzled on the syrup. Not the healthiest choice for breakfast and I think it doomed me for the rest of the day. I was hungry all day and did not have the strength to ignore my cravings. Third mini-battle won; while I ate a bagel with regular cream cheese in a crab craving binge I just said to myself it was one hiccup (not the end of the world) and I could start all over again today.

Which is exactly what I did. Fourth mini-battle won; my breakfast this morning was a cup of green tea, 1 serving of liquid egg substitute (prepared with butter flavored non-stick cooking spray), 1 cup of sauteed spinach (prepared the same way), 1 piece of 35 calorie wheat toast split down the middle (half covered in light whipped butter, half covered with peanut butter) and a juicy clementine. Total calories for breakfast? 181 and I am stuffed!

Fifth mini-battle won; I can run 6 miles the day after a night of large alcohol consumption! Saturday morning I woke up regretting my Miller Lites from the night before. Manageable calories but not so manageable alcohol intake! I chugged water, ate lots of carbs and I knew that running would push the headache out of my body for the remainder of the day. The Pilot came home from work and we set out to run 5 miles (the last long run in my training program before I run an 8k on Sunday). The Pilot sprinted out in front of me and was doing a leg work out (waiting for me) at the turnaround point. We began to run back the way we came. The Pilot sprinted off again and I glanced down at my watch. I could not believe I was running so slow! Then the thought hit me; I'm not running slow, the Pilot is torturing me! He met me close to the end and ran the last half mile with me, the whole time claiming it was only 5 miles. I made him map it again when we got home. "I lied to you," he said, "it was 5.9 miles." No anger here. I ran the whole thing! I ran 6 miles! And I burned 704 calories while doing it!

I am down 7 lbs now and seriously considering signing up for the Chicago half-marathon in September. After all, I can already run about half of it!

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