Easing Along

Diet…a Four Letter Word?

Plenty of veggies!

This post won’t go down as one on my longer ones because…I’m hungry!

As noted in our last post, we are going to post a four part series on our approach to maintaining (and improving) our good health to be ready for another year of an active retirement lifestyle. With the Meat Loaf Dinner (and the leftovers) having provided a savory sendoff to 2016, it’s time to diet. This series begins with a post on an attempt to lose weight.

Readers of Easin’ Along know that food is a big part of what we’re about on this website.  In fact, our slogan–“Slow walking through the Golden Years with Faith, Family, FOOD, and Fun” points out the fact that we love good food, and love sharing our culinary experiences with Easin’ Along readers. However, with a New Year underway, I decided that it was time to crank it back a bit and give up on some of the love for a while. Don’t get me wrong…we’re still going to write about food here, and we’re still going to share our recipes (see last week); it’s just that I need to re-work my program a little until I get back to a reasonable starting point.

When it comes to body type, I’m one of the luckier ones. I’m 6’4” tall which gives me an abundance of places to hide bad stuff. Furthermore, I’ve got great genes.  Anyone glancing through an old family photo album would immediately notice that I descend from long line of ancestors that resemble scarecrows or string beans.  My history with weight gain is that I put it on slowly and lose it rather quickly. Nevertheless, I couldn’t put it off any longer…It’s my time to lose.

Time to lose that tummy!

The realization that the time had come was when my clothes became unbearably tight. There is nothing worse than tight clothes.  Before we left on our trip through America’s Heartland, I ordered three pairs of my favorite Dickies Cargo Pants from Amazon–they’re so handy when travelling–but, right after Thanksgiving, I noticed that the Dickies were a little snug. They simply refused to nestle in between fold #1 and fold #2 on my hips…some of you may know what I’m talking about. Things only got worse from there even though I had: (1) stepped up the intensity of my gym workouts at the YMCA; (2) gave up desserts; and (3) went for extra long walks. It was all to no avail and thus, it was time to diet.

The same thing happened to me about eight years ago when I retired from my homebuilding career and was waiting to start some part-time projects.  I was pretty sedentary during that period and before I knew it, I ballooned up to 246 lbs–the most I have ever weighed.  Fortunately, my part-time work required a lot of walking and, with a little careful eating (grilled chicken sandwiches), I was able to drop 25 lbs in about six weeks. I may go back to part-time work at some point, but not in the immediate future, so I needed a plan and turned to Nutrisystem. The thought process was that if I was paying for it, and had Easin’ Along readers to share the journey with me, I might actually stay motivated to hit my goal of losing 20 lbs within eight weeks or less.

First shipment

I ordered one of the plans for men that include all of the food, both prepared and frozen. The package was delivered last Friday.  I didn’t open the boxes containing prepared foods, but I did store the frozen items in the freezer as fast as I could without looking at them. Day One would be Monday and I knew that would be here soon enough.  I did pick up the brochures and took them (and a cold beer) to the Man Cave to begin the education process. What I learned was that the only box I needed for the next week was a red one marked “Turbo Takeoff”. The frightening thing was that this box didn’t look all that big. I took another sip from the beer.

Day one weigh-in

By Monday I logged in my starting weight of 242.2 in the Nutrisystem app. I had read enough of the brochures to know that my breakfast would be a small muffin, some black coffee, and all the water I could drink. There would be a “Turbo Shake” to mix and drink a couple of hours later, then lunch of a small cup of Loaded Potato Soup.  In mid-afternoon I destroyed the wrapper of a Peanut Butter Chocolate Crush Bar and devoured it before I went to a meeting at the church where I sat “zombie-like” thinking of little else but dinner. Arriving back home, I opened the package of Rotini and Meatballs and cooked it in the microwave as I peeled a fistful of carrots. Admittedly, the dinner meal was good, but I was still starving and felt weak.  Nevertheless, I made it until halftime of the NCAA Championship Game and called it a day.

On Tuesday morning I drank my coffee and ate another muffin.  I was still a little lightheaded, but determined to make it to my exercise class which I did after another Turbo Shake. The exercise class helped and was enough of a distraction that I was able to concentrate on things other than food. The rest of Day Two was a definite improvement over Day One. I am now on Day Three and, while I am still craving a Thickburger and a large fry, my frame of mind is much improved. Taking advantage of the ability to eat an unlimited quantity of non-starchy vegetables has been a significant help in reducing the cravings (See picture at top). An improvement in attitude arrived when I weighed in that morning at 238.4. Progress was being made.

Day three – Progress!

There is a still a long way to go. I will continue to post weekly updates on the diet progress until the goal is reached and may even do so periodically after that point in order to stay motivated. Again, the overall goal is to be able to participate in the active retirement lifestyle that Helen (adorable wife) and I have chosen for our Golden Years. Please come back to join us for the next posting and we will have an article on our approach to staying healthy through exercise.

Until then, we’re Easin’ Along…now, where did I put that celery??

UPDATE: Real progress…down seven lbs. by Friday morning!




2 thoughts on “Diet…a Four Letter Word?

  1. Dianne B Spear

    Joe, I have no doubt that you will lose your extra weight fast with this program. My only concern is what you are losing. . . fat or muscle. You are a big man, 6’4″, as you said yourself. At our age, you do not want to lose muscle and you don’t want to affect your heart which is also a muscle. Just check those meals for sodium content and protein to carb balance. Wishing you much success on this weight-loss trip.

    1. jobruner01 Post author

      Dianne, Thanks for alerting me. I did a quick check on the sodium and all looks well. Two more days on the “boot camp” phase and then the quantities go up and the choices increase. I tend to drop weight pretty easily so I’m hopeful that I can get to where I need to be around the end of the month, but I’m determined to lose 20 no matter what. My exercise class helps a lot. Stay tuned! Hope all is well–Happy New Year!

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