A Baker’s Dozen.
Some may not know that a few years back this clown was a baker. Actually – a donut fryer.
As a donut fryer, I had no qualms about quality assurance. If you gave me a box of donuts I knew exactly what to do with them. Really any sweets. I could put them down! (Down the hatch – that is.) A breakfast for me could easily be a box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, or Ding Dongs, or (on a light day) a Pop Tart – chased down by as many ounces of Pepsi as I had readily available. For many years eating like this made no difference as my metabolism kept me at a reasonable weight. But, as happens, things changed – fast forward a bit…
Technically around 224 pounds he was a dreaded word that he doesn’t like… Obese.
I suppose that made him another dreaded word that he doesn’t like… Normal.
This clown doesn’t do normal.
Normal is not something I aspire to.
Normal is broke, sick, depressed, heavily medicated – and overweight.
Video Games & Cell Phone Apps.
We own a Wii, and we already had the Wii Fit. So this clown thought he could shed some pounds by simply waking up 30 minutes early each day and doing some virtual hula-hooping. Among other things. And as silly as it sounds – it worked. I lost some weight pretty quickly. But must admit – I was a little like this guy:
Well… maybe not quite that extreme. I knew the real way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than what you burn each day. And you could either burn more calories or eat fewer calories – or, I suppose for maximum effect, do both. So with my morning Wii Virtual Torture session I downloaded the myfitnesspal.com app for my phone and began logging my caloric intake.
I highly recommend it for anyone that doesn’t eat the way we all know we should…
When you set your current and target weight, it tells you how many calories you should eat that day – which in turn makes you think twice before stopping by McDonald’s for a quick 1,300 calorie “Value” meal.
It took me about a month to stop eating Pop Tarts and Pepsi for breakfast. I realized that the 555 calories only kept me “full” until 10 am – at which time I needed a candy bar and another Pepsi (another 400 calories) to get me to lunch. When I switched my breakfast to an apple, 2 bananas and glass of orange juice – totaling 375 calories – I could make it to 11:30 before taking a slightly early lunch. Shortly thereafter lunch changed too.
A handful of mixed nuts, apple, orange and bottle of water (400 calories) became my favorite lunch. On the days I needed an afternoon snack, instead of an almost 300 calorie Snicker’s Bar I would stop by the produce department for a 200 calorie granola bar.
I had no fad diet I was following. No one at all coaching me along the do’s and don’ts of healthy eating or weight loss. I simply made one decision at a time. In so doing, I learned that when I ate these things I had more energy, stayed fuller, and did it without the crazy caloric intake a normal American consumes.
For those wondering – Dinner would be as a family and I’d eat whatever my incredibly talented wife conjured up.
Usually something between 800 and 1,000 calories.
As a result, I lost 30 pounds in six months.
Totally NOT Normal.
A friend during this same period was making some changes of his own – some that most would call extreme changes. He became one of “those” … vegans.
Go ahead, click on the picture and read it. It is seriously roll on the floor funny if you have ever met one of these passionate folks.
As he was learning new things about how closely linked many of the “normal” ailments (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer) that plague us are to our diets he felt compelled to share. Many of our friends never gave a serious look into what he was saying because they felt the delivery was too extreme. However, I was surprised that much of what he was saying lined up with what I had found to be true just by counting calories.
I was 2/3 vegan and didn’t even have a clue!
One night at dinner I loaded my plate up with the side dishes my wife made, took a small portion of the meat and made a half-hearted comment in jest to my wife that “I’m already 2/3 there – it’s no big deal to me to drop it completely.” To which she replied something very close to, “I could never be vegan.”
Never say never – less than a month later that changed. We saw a documentary titled “Forks Over Knives” – it was enough to change her mind.
Now I know that is completely and totally not normal. Crazy and weird even. What do I eat? How do I get enough protein? How can I not be starving all the time? The fact is everything tastes better, I get more than enough of all my vitamins, nutrients, protein, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… As far as what we eat – it’s a lot like this:
Within 2 months after becoming 3-thirds vegan, I had dropped to my personal goal weight of 165 pounds.
Beyond The “V” Word.
I no longer count calories using my cell phone. It’s pretty easy for me to mentally track caloric intake after a few months of using my phone and also a bit insignificant since a plant-based whole foods diet makes it nearly impossible to consume too many calories. BUT I did need something else to prevent from becoming a scrawny strung-out-hippie looking vegan – so I joined the gym.
A gym is not a place I have ever been drawn to. For years I would much rather lift virtual weights on the Wii and do virtual exercises than come close to the real McCoy. Yet here I am – 3 to 6 times each week, enjoying (yes – it is fun!) an hour lifting weights doing crunches and push-ups and pull-ups and bar dips and the like…
Definitely NOT normal, I know.
The security cameras at the gym actually captured this photo of me as I was leaving the other day:
Even crazier… I decided for cardio I couldn’t stand a treadmill with all that work going nowhere. So I began running. At first, a mile was an eternity. After six months though, a mile is a warm up. Here’s what I have logged at dailymile.com since I started in May:
A Baker’s Dozen.
On November 14, 2012 – exactly 13 months (a baker’s dozen) later – this clown weighs in at 166 pounds.
Well within the healthy range.
Healthy, vegan, incredibly happy, and…
Today I begin the next step in my journey –
Training for a marathon that I’ll run in 2013.