I promised a lighter blog this week, and so I shall deliver. To be specific, it will be 7.6 pounds lighter! I've lost a little over 30 pounds in five weeks. In the words of Borat Sagdiyev, I say, "Great success!" How did I return from the depths of defeat?
How did I achieve such a great result after only a week before achieving such a poor one? My big set-back was both a learning experience and a motivating factor for me. It helped me to identify when I am weakest and when I need to be on my guard against food.
It wasn’t easy, believe me. I had to go to a family cookout last weekend. It was my niece’s birthday and there was a huge party at my sister’s house. We arrived to see that my sister laid out an incredible spread of food, as usual. She had Teriyaki chicken breasts, hot dogs, hamburgers, Cajun rice and sausage, pasta salad, chips, dips, fruit salad, cake, pies, cupcakes, and enough other snack items to send me into a full-on panic. I mean, after all, I came to this event armed with only two OPTIFAST® bars and some bottled water!
Just as I was calculating how quickly I could stuff chicken in my pockets and escape to a quiet corner, my sister approached me to save the day. She told me she really supported my diet and had some food just for me, including a box of sugar-free popsicles and specially prepared “slushies.” She added Mio flavoring to bottled water and then froze them while occasionally squeezing the bottle to break up the ice. The result was a water bottle filled with delicious fruit-flavored slush – no calories and no sugar but awesome to munch while visiting with people on the deck. She also supplied an assortment of flavored waters that, when coupled with my OPTIFAST bars, really helped get me through the evening. I still wish I could have made s’mores by the fire, but a treat of a diet soda was actually more satisfying than I thought it would be.
Support Is Essential in the Weight Loss Journey
I suppose this is a good time to talk about support. It is important to have a really good support network when undertaking weight loss. My sister was a great example of what support looks like. She went out of her way to make sure I could participate in the fun yet stick to my diet.
On the other hand, Giant Eagle completely derailed me. Some time ago, LAY'S® Classic Potato Chips had a contest to create new flavors. They came out with one called “Chicken & Waffles.” Before you say “ewww,” just listen for second. I was interested in these chips for a couple of reasons:
- I am a fat man
- I really enjoy interesting food
- I have tried fried chicken and waffles and loved the combination (and I highly recommend that you also try them at least once before you die!)
- I will try anything once
For weeks, I combed the stores looking for Chicken & Waffles chips. I had my wife looking for Chicken & Waffles chips. I asked my kids to ask other kids if they had seen Chicken & Waffles chips.
So, this past Sunday, I am grocery shopping with my wife, minding my own business. I turn down an aisle to head for flavored water and what do I see?
I used a bunch of words out loud, probably words that aren’t appropriate for Giant Eagle. My wife (and a host of other shoppers) watched in horror as a fat man jumped up and down in front of the potato chip display. (I think one bystander may need counseling before buying potato chips again.)
In case you can’t see it in the picture – that’s Lay's Chicken & Waffles chips on top, Sriracha chips in the middle and Cheesy Garlic Bread chips on the bottom. To say I was mad was an understatement. I did not buy any chips, but I barely managed to avoid tackling the display and rolling around in the bags like my very own fat-man, ball-crawl area.
Just as I was ready to put the fat-man curse on Giant Eagle, I am reminded of why I love the store so much. They have a line of both flavored carbonated waters and flavored Seltzer waters. No calories, no sweeteners, no colors, no caffeine. Just water and some flavor. They come in one-liter bottles for around $0.70. These things are really helping me right now. They have that ability to fill you up like soda would, and I am getting all my water in for the day with no down side.
The Optimal Fridge Set-up Includes a Secret Weapon
In fact, water has become a very important part of my day. But it doesn’t have to be boring water. I have strategically stocked my fridge at work to be a life raft for my diet. Because my office is surrounded by fast food and restaurants, it is easy to get tempted during the day. If you don’t have a mini-fridge at work, you should look into getting one. They make them pretty small these days and, even if you place it on a file cabinet, it could be a lifesaver while you are changing eating habits. So, how does water and a mini-fridge help?
Here is my typical fridge set-up. I stop by the grocery store on the way in to work on Monday mornings and restock what I need. I have my Giant Eagle water in a variety of flavors on top. I have regular bottled water on the bottom. To the right, I have cans of LaCroix water. Great stuff! Again, no caffeine, sweeteners, etc., just carbonated, flavored water in a can.
In the door you will also see my emergency supplies. I am supposed to have one cup of broth every day to keep my sodium levels up. The little jar is “lobster base.” Basically, it is lobster broth base in a paste form. On a day when I am really hungry at work, I can make my broth there instead of waiting until later at home. I have a bottle of Tabasco to add some spice to my broth. I know some of you may cringe, but I have actually tried Tabasco on the OPTIFAST peanut butter bars, and it is pretty good!
Lastly, my SUPER secret weapon. It is a powdered spice from Japan. I’m not sure what’s in it because the labels are all in Japanese. My friend’s wife is from Japan, and when they visit, he brings me back unique food and spice items. When I am EXTRA hungry (like contemplating-eating-a-ceiling-tile-with-mustard hungry), I sprinkle some of my secret spice into my broth and it manages to end the hunger for the rest of the day. I’m pretty sure it is just the Japanese version of “Cajun” made from combining spices. As far as the flavor, well, look at the label and guess for yourself.
You know when the pepper makes that face, it is going to be good. Also hot, very hot.
Weight-loss Ends 'Baby Deer' Slide and Fear of Plastic Chairs
So, since last week was so dark and non-productive, I decided this week I should try to highlight the positive results I am seeing in my weight loss. I have two major milestones to report. It is going to sound silly, but maybe fellow fat people will relate.
Result one: I no longer do the baby-deer thing when standing on linoleum. If you have ever seen Bambi, you know what I’m talking about. It’s that move where the baby deer is trying to stand on ice and it’s frail legs keep sliding out to the sides so it can’t stand up. I walk around barefoot all the time at home, even outside when doing chores (sometimes in the winter). So, my feet are rough. When I would stand on linoleum, my weight would cause my feet to start slowing sliding sideways. Basically, I constantly readjust my feet so I don’t end up doing a complete split. I am proud to report that this week, I stood on my own two feet without looking like I was doing an MC Hammer dance move.
Result two: I sat in a plastic chair. Yes, I know, you skinny folks are completely unimpressed. But to a fat person, plastic lawn chairs are the bane of our existence. While you might simply sit down at a picnic, we have to evaluate the structural integrity and maximum load-bearing properties of all furniture with complete accuracy. While I don’t know the exact burst strength of a plastic Adirondack chair, I can assure you it was less than what I weighed before. I threw out several chairs from my back yard that died in the testing process. I am proud to report that at my sister’s cookout, I sat comfortably in a plastic Adirondack chair for hours by the fire.
Both I and the chair survived unscathed, and we both have Mercy Weight Management to thank for it!
Just tuning in to this weight-management story? Read all of Eric Buwala's posts on his weight-loss journey! If you live in or near Stark County, Ohio, and need to lose weight for better health, learn more about Mercy Weight Management today!