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! 😜😁

Sales, Marketing, Diet, & Civility

This is a different kind of post for me, so please stick with it if you come across an unusual comment along the way. It’ll come clear by the end, I hope.

Montréal Fast Food

Montréal Fast Food

I’m heading home from Montréal last Friday & it’s Montréal in December, so I’m at the airport early in case there are any weather challenges in getting there. My phone needed to be charged & , once at the gate, I sat at one side of those little tables with the power outlets & charging ports at the back. At the other side of the table was another traveller, doing the same thing. While my sales regalia is often chinos & a company-logoed polo shirt, this guy was dressed in a really sharp suit, with a nice tight Windsor-knotted tie. In my defense, I have to climb inside working machinery sometimes. And yes, I can do a nice Windsor knot too! His shoes, unlike mine, were polished to a high shine. How’d he do that with Montréal’s salted & slushy streets? While I love to chat, other than a nod & a quick smile, I tend not to bother other travellers, as many want to be left alone. Having the earphones in is the clue to that!

After a few minutes, he unplugged, & started to chat. OMG, was this a gay guy hitting on me? I was used to a lifetime of women swooning at my feet, wouldn’t it be natural for a gay guy to feel the same way? Turned out he was, shocker this, in sales & marketing. With a focus on social media & the digital universe.

I was immediately engaged & the conversation took off, with both of us fighting for airtime. This guy had a very different outlook to mine. Over the course of my career, I’ve greatly enjoyed the company of the people I have had the pleasure of working with. Sure, I’ve met a few doorknobs along the way but, for the most part, I have enjoyed the company of colleagues, suppliers & customers alike. And I’ve made some really good friends along the way. His response to this was pretty blunt …

“Are you in business to make friends? Or to make money?”

Can’t you do both?

Not according to my fellow flier! His approach is to isolate & attack, hard, his target audience. In part, by denigrating the “others”, other suppliers & other customers. His philosophy is like some maniacal abuse of the Pareto principle … Forget the 80%, they don’t matter. Instead, focus on the 20% with the highest potential return. And milk them dry. Any way you can. For as much as you can.

But what about longer term relationships? And repeat business?

All garbage, according to this philosophy. The immediate kill is where it’s at. There is no long term view. Other than just doing more of the same with new prospects.

This went against everything I believe. I was gobsmacked, time & again, listening to his gospel. But he was relentless. He took a look at my blog on his phone & ridiculed that. Brutally. And, given the weight-loss bias of the blog, he laughed out loud as he rolled his eyes, while nodding towards my waistline, and passing a very sarcastic comment. One I’m too embarrassed to repeat here. Then he told me, guaranteed me, that I’ll do better with my diet after hearing his message. I’ll come back to that point below.

Montréal is a great town to eat in. I often think that spending my early years in Canada, in Montréal, contributed to my circumferential challenges. I had just enjoyed a week of dietary debauchery in this great city. I had had lunches & dinners with suppliers & customers. Though he ripped me apart for my choices of dining companions too. The bottom line was that I knew the scale would echo his condemnation when I got home.

Despite the scars, I held my calm demeanour, even if only on the outside at times. I wondered how it might have gone in my younger, more volatile, years. That gave me pause for an occasional smile, & that seemed to throw him off stride every now & again!

Before leaving, this wasn’t his gate, he gave me some blogging advice. Most of which was far too callous than I think I could ever use. But he did relent & give me a couple of milquetoast (his description!) things to try. They’re in this post, did you spot them? Send me a message & let me know. I’m curious to see if he’s as good as he thinks he is.

Despite it being a great conversation, I still think there is more to be said for just being a little more caring & civil towards each other. Sales is all about taking away a customer’s pain, not inflicting more. I want my customers to come back to me. Again & again.

Oh yes! The rat was right about one thing, my diet is going better since I returned. In fact he was right about two things, he also told me that I wouldn’t have the balls to do the post without explaining it, or putting a warning label on it. I guess my warning label was the opening paragraph. Go figure!

Hit Reset?

We like to play with our thoughts, don’t we? By way of advice, to ourselves & others, we toss out trite little soundbites like … Hit Reset … Start fresh … Today is the Day! And so on. As though a few words might be the anchoring point for a whole new life. Some gurus tell us to dive headlong into huge endeavours, to explode our way through to a new existence. Perhaps we need to grab the bull by the horns, meet the challenge head-on, or jump in at the deep end. Less audacious leaders might suggest that we tackle things in a more serene fashion. They might recommend moving the mountain one pebble at a time, or beginning that thousand mile journey with a single step.

It’s all a crock! Isn’t it?

But then what do we do? Wallow in our own ineptitude? Feel sorry for ourselves? Learn from the past? Look forward to the future? Sometimes, we are told that we just need to kick our own ass. Or grab ourselves by the scruff of the neck. I’ve been down all those roads before. And here I am … celebrating another period of failure. Maybe I should see that as a “learning phase”? Hah!

I really enjoyed my pre-dawn coffee this morning. It was hot, thickened with heavy cream, & I can still taste the frothy crema on my lip. It was 18°C, with the gusty warm wind giving me a good excuse for sporting bedhead hair on the front porch! Of course I had three cigarettes with my coffee. Each puff a poke at my inability to stay the course on quitting smoking. Another reminder of my ability to excel at failure.

It’s fair to say that, from dietary & health perspectives anyway, I failed miserably over the past three months or so. Does that really matter? Does it really matter if it matters? Or not? So here I sit today, wondering what my next month’s result might be.

Mmmmm!?! I really do wonder what next month’s result will be? I think I’ll grab another coffee & hit the porch to mull that one over some more! Maybe, this time, I’ll come up with a strategy that works.

Fingers crossed! 🙂

By the way … this month’s result is up 16 lbs from when I last “officially” registered a weigh-in, on July 1st. Let me rephrase that … I am up 16 lbs from when I last “officially” registered a weigh-in, on July 1st.

Oops!

The Things I Sometimes Shouldn’t Do!

Oh boy, where do I begin!

Probably with an apology for being absent for the past couple or so months. I just lost my way & really, I have no idea why. I was working hard, doing what I normally do every day, & behaving normally for the most part. I made half a dozen attempts to quit smoking (all unsuccessful) during those months, something which generally hurts my dietary efforts, but that’s no excuse. Whatever the reasons, I just couldn’t hang in there this past little while.

I lost all interest in losing weight, I didn’t want to see a scale, I wanted to eat bread & cookies, I didn’t want to eat meat & fat, I certainly didn’t want to eat salad & veggies, & on it goes. I didn’t feel good about this state of mind. I was occasionally guilty, dejected, downtrodden & depressed but I couldn’t bring myself to do the right things when it came to eating well. Was it a mental thing? A physical thing? No clue!

I was at sea, without a motor, & couldn’t figure out where the paddles were. I abandoned all pretense of trying to lose weight, I gave up looking at the latest posts on forums, avoided chatting with my weight-loss friends, I stopped hunting down that latest bit of research. I just didn’t want to know.

And, of course, I gave up blogging!

But I’m back. The first post in a while. I hope this is an anchoring point for me to push forward from. And as I do, I’ll share some of the insanity of the past few months. I hope there’s something there I can learn from, as I do my rear-view mirror analysis of what might have happened along the way.

Now I’ve just got that leftover Chinese food to eat today. And that one last slice of cake. And there are those last few soft & chewy double chocolate chip cookies that nobody else likes. And was there an ice-cream sandwich in the freezer!?!

Then I’ll be back! 🙂

PS … I’d like to find the fortitude to jump on the scale come November 1st. I’m not going to like the result but … sometimes … I need a little stick along with all the carrots!

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

Vanilla Cinnamon Pancake made with eggs & cream cheese!

If you just can’t take another day of dieting, try these 5 things see if they help avoid a rebound. And that horrible feeling that comes when we step on that lying, cheating scale the morning after falling off the wagon!

I’ve been struggling the past couple of months & these little tricks have helped keep me treading water. I hope they continue to work ’til spring finally decides to arrive.

  1. Eat more fat. I tend to choose fattier cuts of meat & add more pan-fried foods to my diet. Topping my greens with butter helps too. Keto & low-carb adherents will know the value of a fat bomb. Little treats that we can stuff into our faces without fear of disrupting that venerable state of ketosis. Who cares if fat has the most calories. If it stops us going through another self-destruct phase, it’s worth it. And we just might be lucky enough to carry on losing a little while we seek comfort in eating more fat. If that doesn’t work, and …
  2. When I feel like I just can’t carry on … then I don’t! Whatever diet I’m on, I try doing the opposite. On a low-carb diet? Go all carbs for a day. Or three. Sounds like heresy but it can work. If I feel guilty about it, I can make healthy choices, like broccoli, sprouts, or cabbage. Flavorful additions like garlic & onion don’t even count, right! I stir-fry these in my favorite fat. And eat ’til I’m ready to burst. This is my “Vaguely Vegetarian” routine. I try not to eat a slab of meat on such days. Maybe a tiny few bacon bits. Just for the flavor! Sometimes, I go all starch with my choices, like home-fried potatoes. A day or two eating nothing but fried potatoes or fried rice (but, sadly, not bread for me) can soothe the soul. Yes, I may see a blip on the scale next morning but likely not on subsequent mornings. Once the liver & muscle tissue is loaded with the stored form of glucose, & the necessary water that accompanies that, it’s difficult to add much more. And it usually flies off again, once I go back to low-carb. If the first two suggestions are scary, why not …
  3. Go with the creep. But cautiously. Dessert can often be a lure for those of us on a low-carb or keto regimen. And those fat bombs don’t always work for us. In fact, they’re sickening sometimes. But adding some berries doesn’t add a huge amount to the glycemic load. So I make my own ice cream! I add heavy whipping cream to a cup of frozen berries & blend. I mostly add some dark chocolate (70% is about as dark as I can tolerate & still enjoy) for chocolate chip ice cream. Very delicious & quite addictive but it can keep me going during difficult times.
  4. Pattern disruption can help too. My problem time is in the evening. On the couch. Can you relate? Skinny people tell me to just get off the couch but this is not always easy to do. Sometimes, I need help from the nuttier parts of my mind. Early in the day, when I’m most motivated & strong, I’ll place something on the couch. Maybe a suitcase, to remind me of an upcoming trip that I want to look good for. Or simply to take up all the room on the seat so I can’t sit! When it gets near my crash & relax time, that suitcase reminds me of how enthusiastic I felt that morning. And it helps me focus on finding something else to do. Somewhere else to be. Leaving a suitcase on my couch isn’t a long-term solution, but it can help me do some different things. And pattern disruption, even when not directly related to food, can often help develop some new, sometimes more positive, patterns. A new pattern might include …
  5. Going for therapy! While it may well help, I’m not suggesting that we all go book an appointment with our favorite therapist. Instead, I try shinrin-yoku! This is “forest bathing”, Japanese style. It sounds like a mystical thing but it was only studied & given this name in the 80s. It is a practice of communing with nature, gently ambling through the forest. Regardless of diet & weight loss challenges, it proved to be of great benefit for our general health & well-being. I like water therapy too. I like to spend a little time by the ocean, a lake, or a stream. Though at this time of year, in my neck of the woods, the blackflies & noseeums do their best to suggest I go elsewhere! And that’s okay too. Because I might visit my favorite coffee shop (for coffee only!), the local library, or take a walk in the mall. I may even just sit on the porch & say hello to the neighbors. And their dogs. I just added riding a loop of the local transit system to my list. It doesn’t matter what we do, just getting up & going out is the thing. Interacting with nature & humanity, even just a little, can do wonders for the soul. And we can but hope that the body comes along for the ride!

If you have any suggestions on strategies that have worked for you, & that might help keep me on the straight & narrow … please pass them along in the comments section. The comments link is just under the post title.