I wanted to lose a pound. I’ll tell you why in a minute. I thought I could lose it in a week. During that week, I gained a pound. Now I had to lose two.
It reminded me of a competitive sport fishing show we’ve watched on National Geographic channel, Wicked Tuna. It goes something like this:
Only my situation was the reverse. I needed to LOSE two. Pounds. Not fish. And I wasn’t on a small boat in the North Atlantic. But I digress. (I really do love those tuna-boat guys. They just need help with their script.)
There are two ways to lose weight: 1.) calorie restriction and 2.) calorie expenditure.
That is, you can either eat less or exercise more. And you will lose the weight faster if you do both. To put a finer point on it: Eat less of the wrong stuff, eat more of the right stuff, and be more active. Helping Junior finish off the Halloween candy? NO. Wrong stuff. Eating some freshly caught tuna? YES. Right stuff. Walking to a tuna sandwich shop on the Atlantic coast to eat that tuna? YES. If you have the time. But most of us don’t.
I wanted to lose a pound because I recently became certified as a Personal Trainer. I have over ten years of experience getting fit and staying fit. This losing-one-pound thing should be a piece of cake for me. Sorry. Should be easy. Choice of words is almost as important as choice of food.
If I am going to coach my clients about weight loss and becoming more physically fit, I should have more direct experience doing the things they want to do. Losing weight is one of those things. I am not overweight in any clinical sense, but I could definitely pinch a couple of inches in my mid-section. And I feared it was getting worse.
I had been weighing myself once a week, at the same time of day, wearing the same gym clothes every time. I trust the scale. I weighed the same amount for, like, ten weeks in a row. Then something happened. I gained a pound. I think it’s because I was drinking more beer and eating more scraps of food being left behind by family members. It’s the Frugal Grazing Dad Syndrome…. we can’t waste these pizza crusts! That melting bowl of ice cream? It’s still good!
My mother always said wasting food was a sin. I am not raising a house full of sinners. The stuff must be eaten! (Cultural and familial norms can prevent the adoption of healthier behaviors). Sorry. Another digression.
In order to succeed, I had to change my habits. And I wanted to lose two pounds in two weeks and not weigh myself every day. I have always been a fan of minimalism. Not having more than necessary. Making due with what is available. But hunger? That’s hard. And food? It’s everywhere!
For the two weeks, I stopped drinking beer and whiskey and switched to herbal tea. We have a cabinet full of it. (I know: That’s not minimalist. It’s my wife’s.) Mint Magic. Chamomile. Earl Grey. Jasmine Green. I added a small dollop of fresh, local honey. Perfect. Placebo effect. I just had to drink something in front of the keyboard and screen. Tea has way fewer calories than alcohol. And the honey? An indulgence. But not a calorie-costly one.
I also resisted the urge to graze and snack. I tried to hold teenagers accountable for leaving messes and wasting food. That was a mixed bag. Sorry. Another digression. But at the end of week 1 I had lost a pound! It’s encouraging how small changes in habit can move the needle. So, I kept up the same behaviors. Boom! Another pound in a week. I derived great satisfaction from this. I might actually know what I am talking about. (I also kept going to the gym every day and did my same workout routine.)
We all need protein, fats, and carbohydrates. And we need them in the right amounts. And we need them from healthful sources. Maybe in future musings I will talk about fat and carbohydrates. But for now, let’s just look at a good source of protein. You guessed it: Tuna.
Eat well. Be well. Get more exercise. And lay off the Halloween candy. Make some room for the Holiday Season.