Food to me has always been enshrouded with mixed feelings. When I was young, I was constantly told that I was “A slow eater.” Most likely because it’s difficult to eat while chattering. I was told I talked a lot.
I was also very skinny as a kid, actually even into my early 20s. I’m 5’11” and when I graduated high school, I was 125 lbs. I was pretty active back then between running, soccer, martial arts and racquetball, it’s amazing I ever started gaining weight. But food to me wasn’t anything I was crazy for. Sure, like any kids, I had my favorites, and for a suburban Chicagoan, a pizza was a favorite.
But once I got out of college and got my first real job at 25 years old, I started finally gaining weight. I was pretty tired of being referred to as skinny, so I enjoyed the extra weight. Not that I got fat. I think I got normal. But food was still something I didn’t think about all that much. I don’t have a sophisticated palette, and I really don’t care for vegetables (probably also why I was a slow eater) so I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t really eat all that healthy.
It all started with a career
Over the years, I slowly gained weight as I worked more and played a lot less. My job as a salesman took me to fancy restaurants with clients, and lots of alcohol, which didn’t help. I’ve been doing that for 18 years now.
While I’ve always had high cholesterol, even when I was 12 and skinny, I was finally put on Crestor about 10 years ago. My weight has mostly stayed stable, moving 10 lbs up and down. The extra 10 lbs pushing me into the mid 190s. For reference, the BMI scale shows my top end to be 177 lbs so that has become my goal these days – to get to 177 and a “normal” BMI range. But if I’m being honest, I’m small boned, so I should be somewhere towards the lower to the middle of that scale. Baby steps.
In late December, my blood tests came back pretty poor. Borderline high blood pressure, borderline diabetic, and high cholesterol even with my Crestor. I had some elevated liver enzymes, and after a second blood test for Hepatitis came back negative, I had an ultrasound that showed some fatty deposits in my liver. Not horrible, but not good. So I’ve started back on a diet that basically consists of rabbit food mixed with fish and chicken once in a while in an attempt to get my weight down.
So any relationship I had with food has to be redefined. As I got larger, I noticed my food cravings and enjoyment increased. I only mention that because I have noticed that the first mind shift change I have to do when I’m eating healthy is to tell myself that food only exists to keep me alive, not for me to enjoy. Such is how bad my palette is. However, I do like salad, so lettuce and raw spinach are two foods I can eat a lot of and not be too upset over. But gone are the days of truly enjoying food.
I find something good
Or so I thought. My wife is an excellent cook, and she understands my childlike palette. Over the past three weeks, she has completely outdone herself with a new variety of healthy vegetable-based foods that I actually enjoy. And then this week, while traveling, which is the most difficult part of trying to eat healthily, I found an egg-white frittata at the Courtyard Marriott that had light cheese on it but smothered in raw spinach and salsa. It was incredible. I was convinced a few weeks ago that my life would be destined to eggplant and kale. A thought that really makes you question being healthy at all. I mean, if that’s what it takes to live longer, I’m not sure it’s worth it. Don’t flame me about how “I just haven’t had kale cooked right.” It’s shit.
Grain free for me
I’ve also been running a test on grains. My wife is a full-blown Celiac Disease sufferer and tries her best to keep gluten at bay, but I came across an interesting article with detailed research that suggested all grains are really fighting against us losing weight. I figured as long as I’m cutting out all sorts of other things I normally enjoy, cutting back on the whole grains (Quinoa and brown rice primarily) wouldn’t be too difficult, and it wasn’t. But the results are unlike anything I’ve done. I weighed in this morning at 176 lbs. Shirts I haven’t been able to wear because they are “trim fit” now fit me. I can wear pants that were too tight at the waist.
Now I’m on a mission because in the past it took me a week to lose a single pound. But now I’ve lost somewhere between 15 and 20 lbs in 4 weeks. That’s something I can really get behind. Oh, and this is a big oh, I stopped drinking. I always drank at least one glass of something at night. A beer, a whiskey, a Brandy. Some nights I drank more than one. Until my liver is back to completely normal, I have cut that out completely. So I can’t really point to the lack of whole grains definitively and say that’s what caused the weight loss. I’ve also started taking a “pre-biotic” to get my digestive system in shape.
What I can say is that I’m eager to keep losing weight. I leave on another trip today and have another one next week, but I’m far less anxious about how I’ll eat on the road because I’ve seen quick success now, and I want it to continue. I’ve even set myself up in a TownePlace Suite hotel, that has a kitchenette so I can run to the grocery store and make my own low-cal breakfast. All that’s left now is to go back for blood work in March and hopefully see better results and no elevated liver enzymes. The key will be that I need to stay eating this way (this time) and not revert back to my old crappy habits.
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