I’m Ruined!

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Something is seriously, seriously wrong. I spent the entire Lent doing the Whole30, which is a giant fast where I avoided all packaged and processed foods. If it had any processing done to it at all, I couldn’t eat it. No bread. No alcohol. No pasta. No yogurt. No preservatives. Basically, if the label had any added sugar or anything that wasn’t a raw food item, I didn’t eat it.

The good part of that was I lost 12 pounds and 2-inches off my waist. But, the entire time, I was waiting for Easter and I had this whole pig-out plan. I was going to have a small Hungry Howie’s pizza and a whole order of Howie bread all to myself, and I was going to wash it down with big, icy Pepsi.

And then, Easter came, and I had a drink (a Manhattan, sweet) and it didn’t fulfill me. I had a ham sandwich, deviled eggs, desserts, cupcakes, and everything else I could get my hands on and …again …it wasn’t as awesome as I’d hoped. And Monday came and my wife and kids were gone and I could’ve eaten anything I wanted and …ya know what? Nothing that usually sounded really, really good actually sounded good at all. I didn’t want a Hungry Howies’ buffet. I didn’t want a pint of ice cream all to myself. I didn’t want to chow down on all my kids Easter candy.

img_13861Mind you, I’m not craving vegetables, either, but the normal “bad foods” that I’ve always said I can’t resist (chocolate chip cookies or Girl Scout cookies), I’m not eating.

Whole30 might’ve ruined me. Maybe later in the week I’ll get my appetite back for a whole box of Tagalongs or Nutty Bars in the afternoon.

I hope.

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This Is Going to Sound Like Bragging and Now What?

I’ve had a great Lent. Easily my best Lent ever. And not just because I sacrificed and dieted and feel great, but because I did all the things I did for the right reason. And didn’t cheat. Here’s my confession … I always cheat at Lent. I sneak a burger on a Friday. I take Sunday’s off from whatever I’ve given up. And, then I always find other excuses …like, hey, I’m not eating bread, except for St. Patrick’s Day …and on Pancake Saturdays. Oh, and Sundays.

But this time, by some divine inspiration, I stuck with the Whole30 and the results have been dramatic. Astounding, in fact. I was inspired by the journey of m5carolin, I won’t lie.

I weigh 155 pounds as of the writing of this. I began lent at 167 pounds. I haven’t had a breathing issue or wheezing or coughing in weeks. I tried on a pair of pants, today, with a 30-inch waist. Someone at work told me, “if you lose anymore weight, we’re going to have an intervention for you and your eating disorder.”

Yay, me. I’m not bragging …I’m just proud of myself, and I happen to have a blog.

Now the question is …now what? Easter is Sunday and I have every intention of eating all the great food that comes with Easter, including the fresh baked bread smothered in butter. I make no apologies. And, probably Monday or Tuesday, I’m going to have the thing I’ve been craving for almost all of Lent …a small Hungy Howie’s pepperoni and mushroom pizza and an order of Howie Bread. And if nobody’s looking, maybe for lunch on that Monday or Tuesday, I’m going to have a huge Penn Station Philly Cheesestake and fries.

Then what? Well, I want to stay this way. I think I’m going to continue to be good and disciplined. I hope the face-stuffing I have planned doesn’t unravel all the work I’ve done in the same way a guy who’s managed to quit smoking has a single cigarette and then is right back to his pack-a-day ways. With God as my witness, I think I can do it. I think I can have Easter Sunday, and then a really bad bender on Tuesday, and get right back to this “whole living” …which also includes no snacking and no eating after dinner.

That’s my promise to myself. Never become addicted to bread, pasta, sugar, and processed food again. I’ll pick a bad meal or snack on the weekends only, moving forward, but Sunday through Thursdays are going to be “whole”.

Hope you had a good Lent. I had the Best Lent Ever.

Shirt Test

I’ve fallen in love with Mizzen+Main shirts. But at $125 …ouch. Yes. I can justify the cost because if I get 4 of 5 of them at $500 total investment, and wash and wear and never take another shirt to the drycleaner again, in theory, they pay for themselves in a year. Then I read some online comments and someone suggested the $32 Old Navy Slim-Fit No-Iron Signature Shirt is almost the exact same shirt. I’m ordering one tonight. White. I’ll report back.

It’s Getting Easier – The Whole30

cover-for-book-pageIt’s the 24th day of Lent and the 24th day of my Whole30 experiment. I remember reading the first few chapters of that book a few weeks ago and what jumped out was the painstaking detail the authors put into describing each day of the Whole30 and how people feel each day. It was doom and gloom. I thought to myself, well, this must be for people who are grossly overweight, horribly out-of-shape, and can’t even find the produce section at the grocery store.

Me? I’m barely 10 (or 15 pounds) heavier than I want to be and most medical experts wouldn’t even call me overweight. I rationalized when I start eating only good food, I’d be happy.

I won’t compare myself to a drug addict or alcoholic, but I’ll say this …NOT putting sugar, bread, or booze into my mouth has been torture. Ever bump into someone who’s only a few weeks into the process of quitting-smoking or cutting-back-on-coffee? If you have, that person is grumpy and irritable. Family members will tell you how difficult it was for them coping with the person quitting smoking.

I have been very, very irritable these past few weeks. I’ve cursed (under my breath) my family as they eat fresh bakery bread, when they pop popcorn on the stove and drizzle butter over it, and when they bake and eat cookies …oh, my daughter makes incredible peanut butter cookies, and I often have eaten four or five at a sitting with a big glass of milk. I’m so happy when I’m eating cookies and milk. That’s my fix.

So here I am on day-24 and for the first time in, I’d say, a decade, I’m not hearing McDonald’s, Subway, Five Guys, or Potbelly (or my new discovery, Penn Station) calling to me in the 11 o’clock hour right before lunch. When donuts and bagels get delivered to the office by clients, or the boss brings them in …I walk right by and don’t feel like I’m the victim of something.

img_13861This is good. It takes time. I think my body and mind were (and still are) going through detox. In the past, stress and guilt could be wiped away by a quick run to Speedway for a .75 cent pack of Nutty Bars. Or maybe two packs. Sometimes if I had a little cash in my pocket, I’d head to the bakery section at Busch’s market and buy a six-pack of these amazing chocolate chip cookies. Or I’d head to Little Ceasers for a bag of breadsticks. Soooo good. Soooo garlicky. And I leave the office for the, oh, 45-minutes it takes to go grab a snack and “clear my head” …but it’s not actually a solution in any form.

Whoa. Did I tangent, or what?

The point of all this is simple . . . it gets easier. Ten years ago when I said I’d try and join my wife and run a 5K, the first time I ran (run-slash-walk), it was hard. I felt so weak and defeated compared to the 18-year-old me who’d neglected his body for more than a decade. And then it got easier. And eventually it turned into my competing in some triathlons.

Now I need to turn those lunch-time runs for carbs into something better . . . because clearing my head or getting away from my glowing monitor for a few minutes isn’t a sin. I need to use that time to do something in the positive, and not stuff my face with tasty food.

15-minutes a day. It’s all it takes. Start something. And each day, it gets easier.

The Whole30 Is Killing Me!

OK. The Whole30 is not literally killing me, but I feel tortured. There’s so much I cannot eat. I know it’s for my own good, but I’m suffering. I don’t know if I can do this. Aren’t “Dad Bods” a trendy, sexy thing? Why do I want to be skinny, sleep better, be more mentally alert, and breathe better? Dumb idea.

I complained in more detail at my Medium blog. Read it here:  https://static.medium.com/embed.jsWhole30 Diet is Making me Grumpy and Bitter

Why did I do this? I have no answer. How much do I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread? Oh …more than I’ve wanted anything every in my life.

Torture.