Results … Month #5

Results … Month #5 (Down 33.8 lbs)Results Month 5

Is this a diet that is beginning to fail or do I have a good excuse for such a modest loss in this, the 5th month of the program?

I’m going to claim that I’ve got a good excuse! And I will use that same excuse for being almost two weeks late in posting my weight loss for the previous month. I think I’ve just come through the most harrowing couple of months of my life. I’m not talking the extreme stress that might be the consequence of the loss of a loved one here. Nor am I talking financial ruin, nor any major health issue. What I am talking about is taking one of those life-changing decisions that saw me pick up all the dominoes & just toss them in the air!

In a nutshell, we decided to move to the coast. At the 11th hour, following a vacation, we changed direction & switched coasts! Our house sold quickly. With a short closing. And the maelstrom began. I won’t bore you with all the details but let me share one anecdote from the adventure that that typifies how totally upended our lives have become. En route to our new destination, we left our hotel room to eat. When we returned, the cat was missing! We were stressed enough already, this was just too much. Had housekeeping opened the door to let our moggie escape? After half an hour of searching the room, wandering the lobby and corridors of the hotel, we finally discovered our missing pet. She had, somehow, found a hole in the fabric of the box-spring and made her way inside the box-spring base of the bed!

Amid all the turmoil of fast-closing houses, finding a replacement home with a short closing was a huge challenge. Scheduling movers, cancelling services, signing up for new services, & all the stuff of moving are challenging at the best of times. Doing all that over long distances more so. Having to do everything under the pressure of such short, & tight, deadlines gave me an enduring dose of stress the like of which I had not experienced before. And it’s not over yet.

Needless to say, eating well ceased being a priority. And yes, I’ve eaten all the bad stuff you could imagine over the course of the past six weeks. I’ve had fish ‘n’ chips, Chinese take-out, & I’ve even eaten pizza, bread base & all. I’ve munched cookies & sucked on sweets to keep me alert as I’ve driven through snow storms. I’ve fallen down so many times that I can barely recognize which way is up any more. Mea culpa.

On the bright side, since I started this whole exercise, I have learned a lot about what & how I should be eating. And I seem to have developed a penchant for doing the right thing. Even under such pressure, I have a noticeable bias towards making better food choices. While bread is so easy to eat on the road, I veered towards better eating following every bread binge. While the sugar fixes kept me going on long drives, I tended to avoid sugar the following day. The upshot of it all is that I was down two pounds in a month of some serious stress, some serious dietary abuse, along with a total lack of routine & familiar surroundings.

All in all, given the circumstances, I’d say that my two-pound loss wasn’t all bad for that particular month.

Now, in advance, I’m trying to come up with an excuse for this month’s possibly disastrous outcome! And if our new appliances aren’t delivered before Christmas, it might be a turkey sandwich picnic on the beach for Christmas dinner! 🙂

PS … I carried the scale with me on the drive to our new home. The weight recorded is the weight on December 1st. My intentions were good!

Disaster Management on Vacation

Disaster Management on Vacation

I mentioned vacation eating in the 2nd month’s results post but this deserves some space of its own. It’s very important that our diets allow us the luxury of eating well, really well, while on holiday. Or is that really badly? We all need to fulfill the desire to be just a little wicked every now & again!

My recent vacation put that theory to the test.

A quick plug for Canada’s Maritime provinces & Quebec here … they are all amazing. We left Ontario, by car, with stops in Quebec City (you’d think you were in France!) & Fredericton, New Brunswick. All on the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We were in Nova Scotia almost a week, a stunningly beautiful place, before taking the ferry across to Prince Edward Island. Yet another gob-smacking adventure of one postcard-like scene after another. After a few days there we went back to the banks of the Saint Lawrence river, in Quebec. One last stay in Montreal was the perfect finish to a great vacation, before we reluctantly headed back home.  Amazing scenery, incredible food & great people everywhere we visited. I can’t wait to go back. The “incredible food” component is what concerns us most here, of course!

My plan was, & deliberately so, very loose. I wanted to see the impact of a pretty free flowing approach to eating while on vacation. I generally tried to avoid known bad things. For me, those include processed & packaged snacks, doughnuts & other such food-like products. Normally, I would consider bread off limits. Not only because it more closely resembles a modern snack food than it does a grain-based food, but primarily because it doesn’t agree with me. For me, it is both mood altering & gut damaging. However, I know the Maritimes are famous for their lobster rolls. And Quebec is famous for its smoked meat sandwiches. I wasn’t missing out on either, I was committed to indulging in the full experience, bread & all!

During the first week of the adventure, I generally tried to make better choices. I had my lobster but with a salad. Though I did have those breaded Digby scallops with French fries. And I seem to remember some beer battered fish & chips along the way! I’m pretty sure that I left some fries on the plate for one of those meals. Not something I’ve been know to do very often. As time progressed, I was allowing myself a little more freedom. Typically, & during times when I’m trying to lose weight, I tend to avoid eating significant amounts of starchy carbs with my proteins & fats. This strategy sometimes went out the window!

The traditional maritime “lobster supper”, for example, included the starch-laden seafood chowder, the endless bucket of mussels (for three but I was the only one eating from it & almost finished it!), the PEI potatoes swimming in butter, & the lobster (all shown in the bottom left, center, & top right pics in the collage above). I did manage to avoid the freshly baked bread, & dessert, on this occasion. Primarily because I was stuffed! The lobster roll (bottom right) was delicious. And the smoked meat & chopped liver sandwich (top left), with fries, is still a mouth-watering memory. I actually left some fries on the plate this time too. While getting fat, I was never leaving anything on the plate so this involuntary action is a pleasing outcome of the diet. Along the way, I did have one ice cream, cone & all. And a bar of chocolate that was less dark than it ought to have been. Okay, I admit it … it was a totally bad bar of milk chocolate. But it was different & it had bits of vaguely healthy ginger & fruit in it!

Ironically, one of the poorer meal choices of the trip happened when we got home. There was a big bag of frozen, & breaded, calamari in the freezer. These were even quicker than ordering in so I had I had two panfuls of those. OMG, the heartburn & indigestion! What do they put in that breading?

To counter all this, I only had breakfast on 4 or 5 occasions during our holiday. No big sacrifice this, since I almost never eat breakfast at home. And I skipped lunch, probably about 3 days a week. This was unnoticeable on driving days, when I was quite happy with my coffee. With cream, no sugar, of course.

My control “group” for this “experiment” was my skinny wife, who effortlessly maintains a BMI of 19. And she does this while eating all sorts of garbage. I know, infuriating, eh! While I was sometimes making good choices, & skipping a meal here & there, I still out-ate her by huge amounts. Yes, I’m bigger. Yes, my resting metabolism will burn more. But I still ate with the kind of freedom that I thought appropriate for a big guy on vacation. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

At the outset, we both weighed in. And at the end …

My wife had gained 5.2 lbs … while I gained 0.4 lbs!

Come on, tell me you’re not impressed! LOL

Of course she has already, without thought or effort, returned to her normal weight. While my body really has no idea what normal is any more. I should probably try to outline a more detailed vacation diet but with a result like this, who cares! Though next time, I will try to have something waiting in the freezer that doesn’t punish me like those breaded calamari did!