Dieting at APEX 2020

Carbs anyone!?!

Last week was our annual visit to the IPC APEX Expo, in San Diego. Those who attend this event regularly, particularly those of us from the winter-ridden northern part of the continent, will be chuckling at the idea of “dieting” in San Diego. Along with a much needed infusion of vitamin D from the Californian sun, we get to eat a little differently too. The huge influence of Mexico on the cuisine of San Diego, one of America’s most beautiful cities, is hard to ignore. And I didn’t!

I went down to this year’s show with every intention of thoroughly enjoying stuffing my face with every delicious morsel, or bucket, of food that came my way. And I did!

My activity level is usually up during show week. What with setting up & tearing down the booth, & all that running between booths for meetings. No consecutive two of which are ever at the same end of the show hall. For me, it’s a fair bit of additional movement for a normally car-bound keyboard jockey. I know I can’t exercise the weight off. But I was curious to see if this extra movement could mitigate the damage that might occur over the course of a week or so of misbehaviour. It’s a lame excuse, I know, but it was the best I could come up with to justify cutting loose. And that’s what I wanted to do.

Modern Mexican food, in America, might be the perfect combination of carb, protein & fat overload for adding weight. Fast! Toss in beer & margaritas, & it gets even better. And how can you not do that? Though I’ll admit, I really shouldn’t have given in to the crème brûlée, the deep fried ice cream & those cream cheese filled pastries. It was so unnecessary! 😜

The damage?

Only 3 pounds. Just returning to a lower carb regimen should see that resolve pretty quickly, as the retained water is shed. Is there a little extra fat on board too? Probably. But still, it’s nice to know that additional movement, & I’m not talking huge activity here, can increase the tolerance for cutting loose every now & again. Some walks on the beach & a little dancing, for example, might allow for some pretty liberal eating whilst on holiday. Now that’s a pretty liberating thought to carry forward, as I prepare to engage in the battle again.

Though I’ll probably just start tomorrow. What with having returned a day late because of a cancelled flight, & tomorrow being Monday & all! 😜😁

The Chicken or the Egg?

The Chicken or the Egg?

Stormy Weather

This is not about protein! It’s about the mental & emotional mood swings that sometimes happen during the course of our weight loss endeavours. Sometimes the diet is the downer. Other times it’s just the daily grind. Then there are those times where bad stuff is happening in our lives. Regardless of circumstances, it would be nice to think that we could have an eating strategy to help us through such times. A strategy that would help us hang in there ’til we reach calmer waters.

After a fantastic vacation, & despite trying to stay ahead of work during it, I was backlogged when I returned. Over a week later, I’m still backlogged. And I’ve got those projects that I really meant to finish before I left on vacation. But I didn’t! I developed a cold immediately after I returned & it still hasn’t quite gone away. A couple of challenging decisions have come along this past week, when I’m least ready for them, all adding to the burden. No wonder I was a bit down yesterday. The dark & stormy weather at the waterfront was the perfect accompaniment for my generally gloomy outlook.

So how is the diet holding up during this turmoil? Pretty good actually. Though I’m not in weight loss mode, I’m bouncing around at one or two pounds below my post vacation weight. I am eating a lot more than I typically might were I to be a little more focused on weight loss. And I’m eating some bad stuff along the way too.

To offset those bad impulses, I decided to make a big pot of comfort food. Something high volume, filling & very capable of giving comfort. It was a vaguely vegetarian curry. A cup of olive oil in the bottom of the pot to brown the garlic & onion. A heaping tablespoon of curry powder, along with salt & pepper, for seasoning. A litre of organic chicken broth for the fluid. To this I added three large potatoes, cubed small. These will help thicken the sauce, along with providing some much needed comfort! A full head of shredded cabbage adds some serious bulk to the pot. I do like a little meat flavour so this is where we depart to the vaguely vegetarian description. Three Octoberfest sausages, cut into quarter inch cubes, went in next. And finally, a cup, maybe a cup & a half, of whipping cream to enrich the sauce. A cup of basil leafs towards the end. Probably sounds awful but the sausage & cream overcome the veggie bias. And you can eat an awful lot without impacting the scale too much. For “normal” people, this might have made eight servings. For me, it’ll be gone in three, maybe four, sittings at most!

I wish I could say that was the worst I’d done through the past week but it wasn’t! Still, I’m surviving a little blue phase without totally destroying my program. Sometimes, just hanging in there for a little while longer is all that’s required.

The chicken & egg conundrum is based on my questioning if my mood is the result of eating poorly? Or if my downer triggered the poor eating spell? Perhaps it circular & both might be true?

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!

 

Dieting on Vacation

Dieting on Vacation

It’s impossible, right? The jury is out for me on that question, just for the moment. But I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m not doing too much damage. I doubt I’m getting off scot-free but if a diet cannot accommodate such things, what use is it for living an enjoyable life? While I am committed to enjoying my vacation to the fullest, a very interesting thing happened yesterday … I left food on my plate!

I genuinely can not remember the last time that happened. I’ve been eating reasonably well for the past month & a half, could it be that my ability to recognize satiety is returning? Or was it just guilt because I ate half the slab of fish that my dining companion didn’t want to eat!?! Hey, it was all locally caught, & I’m here for that local experience, what can I say!

Regardless, I actually left some food on my plate. While I can still clearly hear my Ma’s adminitions to “clean your plate”, advice I’ve unfortunately followed since childhood, I was just a little smug getting up to leave. 😃

I might try that again sometime. Even if it’s just one bite!

Oops! I Ate This …

Oops! I Ate This …

I’m on the road & I’m suffering withdrawal. From my bathroom scale! It’s like I need that added feedback loop to guide me. While I’m only logging weight once a month, I like the daily feedback.

But that’s probably just an excuse to eat all the wrong things for a bit! Lunch was that breakfast bowl in the pic. I attacked it with such gusto that I’d eaten half of it before I realized I should have taken a pic. I’ll get it right next time. Maybe!

The challenge with these little excursions into the danger zone is managing the recovery. There’s nothing wrong with stepping out every now & then. So long as I get back to behaving pretty promptly. String a few bad choices together & I might be in trouble.

And I won’t know how much trouble … ’til I get back to my scale.

Wish me luck!

PS … Phone post, excuse any formatting errors!