From the too-much-food-is-bad-for-your-health department:
OK, so, well, diet time really should’ve been, uh, early this year or so, but hey, better late than never, right?
When I started working at my office, I weighed in at 175lb. This is a good weight for someone like me. It puts my BMI at just under 25, which is the threshold between “normal” and “overweight”1. I felt good and I felt good about myself2. I was able to keep this weight until the beginning of this year, when house hunting and additional stress at work and the DARPA Grand Challenge and moving and no longer biking to work and any other excuse I can think of all added up to a slow weight gain. Now I’m hovering around 200lb, which is well in the “overweight” range. I look like your average middle-aged guy, and I don’t want to be that guy.
I want to be my old self, who felt good and felt good about himself. So, I’m on the NormMonkey DietTM. Here’s the deal. For lunch, I get soup and a sandwich. At 14h00, I get a smoothie, which is a cup of fruit, and some OJ, and some ice blended together (no added sugar, just natural goodness). For dinner, I get a salad and some cut fruit, and for a late night snack I get another smoothie.
On weekends, I can make anything I want but it has to be un-processed non-junkfood type stuff. TV dinners or chips or popcorn or other crap like that are right out. Pasta is OK if I use a tomato-based sauce, and only if it’s less than a full meal’s worth (there has to be something else there, too, like fish or veggies). Potatos are OK, but again only as a side dish, and definitely not fries. Baked or mashed. Weekend snacks can be carrots or cucumbers (or pretty much any veggies), cut fruit and/or smoothies. No processed junk. Cheese is allowed in smallish amounts (yes on the parmesan, no on the half-block of grated cheddar or mozzarella in the pasta).
Oh, yeah, and all food gets bought on a just-in-time, per-meal basis. No buying extra food for later (alright, *maybe* buying one day’s worth rather than a separate lunch and dinner trip is OK).
Here’s my problem with the whole food thing, and why I think this diet ought to work for me:
1) If it’s there, I’ll eat it. I have little willpower, so having lots of food accessible is bad. On the other hand, I know I’m lazy enough that unless I’m really hungry, if there’s no food handy then I won’t go out and get some on a whim.
2) I like eating food that takes a lot of time to eat. This is why carrots and cucumbers, cut vegetables and fruit, etc. are good for me and also why I cannot allow chips or any junkfood snacks into my house. Eating food that I can pick at, like the above, and watching movies or reading books is my paradise. Fortunately, drinking a drink is also counts, and that’s why smoothies are especially good. They take time to drink ’cause they’re thick and cold and give you brain freeze when you drink them too fast.
The whole plan really dovetails together for me because a) there’s a grocery store across the street from my work, which happens to have ready-made soup and sandwiches for lunch, as well as cups of cut fruit, and b) there’s a grocery store right on my way home where I can stop and buy a ready-made salad and a container of cut fruit. My fridge with its ice-maker makes metric boatloads of ice for me, so the only extra work I have to do is make a tupperware full of crushed ice every evening to take to work the next day. That takes about 5 minutes to prepare. Oh, yeah, and c) the grocery store I mentioned in b) is one kilometer away from my house, so it’s nice and close when I need it for Just-In-Time shopping on the weekend.
I can even bike to the grocery store, although I need a way to make this more efficient. Right now, biking to the store also involves a) going to the shed in the back, unlocking it, shuffling things around to get my bike out, walking it across the yard and out the fence, and over my trailer before I can even start riding it. This maddeningly inefficient for me. I think I will go looking for a bike cover. Then I can lock my bike up at the end of my driveway and the cover will protect it from rain and snow, and it will be easy to unlock it and go to the store. The exercise will be great.
Of course, it doesn’t help my whole diet plan when cow orkers bring in their Hallowe’en boxes of leftover candy and leave ‘em out on the desk where they tempt you every single freaking time you walk by them.
1 I’m actually a pretty fit guy with a fair bit of extra muscle, which the BMI system doesn’t take into account. Even at 25 or 25.5 on the BMI scale I don’t think I’d be overweight.
2 The difference: “feeling good” means sleeping without any back pains, sitting comfortably in a chair and being able to lean forward and still be comfortable, etc. “Feeling good about yourself” means looking at yourself in the mirror and feeling proud, walking down the street with confidence in your appearance instead of feeling a little like a slob.