Eat, Drink and Be Merry

First of all, Savannah is 5 lbs 1 oz! Hooah! Except that now she has a cold and is anemic. The cold will definitely keep her in the hospital until Friday and the anemia may provoke the need for a blood transfusion. I would say, “Aaaaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh” but Ben and Isabel have been saying it enough. She was healthy when we went up to see her and really she does look good, but…

A couple of years ago I went in for a physical and the doc sent me to a nutritionist to get set up on a diet plan. Well, guess who’s back on the diet wagon. Not that I don’t need it, of course. I do, but it is hard to stick with it sometimes, but my wife and children want me to do this for my own good. Last time I did it I lost 35 lbs in 3 months. Much of it was just changing some of my basic habits. I am telling you guys about it because along with Savannah updates I will give you updates on how I am doing. This will keep me having to stick with it.

My doctor was no big fan of Dr. Atkins or any other fad that was going around, let me tell you that. He sent me to a nutritionist and she turned out to be really cool. I was all prepared for a lecture but it was much more pleasant than I had anticipated. The first week we talked about fat and fiber and empty calories. I got an education, which I had let slip, but now must recall and so I will recall it for you. Much of it was paying attention and learning to count.

As we talked about things I normally ate, it came up that it was nothing for me to eat 2 or 3 donuts for breakfast, 2 Whoppers for lunch, a couple of portions of whatever for supper and a snack at bedtime. Well, she says the average person should really limit the amount of grams of fat they get to <50. I knew how to read labels, but then she asked me, in the most innocent way, if I had any idea of how many grams of fat were in a Whopper. 50! I was eating double my whole day’s fat grams at one sitting. Not counting Humongo-fries and Gargantu-coke. This was an eye-opener for me.

I was also getting no fiber. In order not to lose the more genteel members of my audience I will just say that one of the many benefits of getting a lot of fiber is that it helps moves the fat out of the system. One of the great things is also does is makes you feel full. I was getting almost 0 grams of fiber and she wanted me to get up to no less than 20, the target being 35+.

Another thing was, as much as I love certain carbonated sugar water beverages, there is nothing in them. Oh, by the way, I had always hated any artificial sweeteners of any brand because they left an aftertaste in my mouth, but Splenda doesn’t. It may be a little pricey, but it is good.

I also had to start paying attention to serving and portion sizes. I guess that fell under label reading.

She talked to me (Margaret was there with me, since she was the one who would have to live with me and help me make this lifestyle change and put up with my whining.) about the benefits of that would come form all of this, but I have to say that she was slick. She never got preachy and anytime I would say something like, “I’m NEVER going to give up my whole milk,” very adamant like that, she would say, “Oh you don’t have to give that up. Just make sure you add it in to your total daily count. You don’t have to give anything up, really, just make sure you add it up.” I kept a spreadsheet that I would fill in each night showing what all I had eaten and what the totals of what were. This helped me visualize what I was doing. During the day I would jot a note on a 3×5 card in my pocket.

I lost 8 lbs the very first week! This felt good and when I went back to her I was pretty proud and she was really excited. Most people don’t really do what she tells them the first time and their results show it. I had something to be proud of here. (You guys can see how she just totally psyched me out, right? I mean she was just so unassuming and un-preachy.) The next week we talked about cholesterol but not much. She was not as concerned with my getting it from food as she was about it building up from the fat. Then she got me walking. I was to get a pedometer and start out with a half-mile and increase over time.

After that I lost that insurance and never got to go back, but she did give me good, solid information. There were other things, too, like one I can remember she said I should eat a tin of sardines in oil now and then because even though it was high in fat it had other things I should get. I could also cheat. I could go to the all-you-can-eat buffet or a wedding or anything I wanted to, really. Just not all the time. And what I would do is just go right back on the diet immediately afterward. This made life bearable, because I could have pretty much anything I wanted.

Why’d I quit? Well, it was sort of a gradual process, really. I don’t know how exactly. Anyway, I know what to do, I just need to do it. This is where my family has jumped in and pretty much we are all going to be eating the same foods. I know that it is supposed to be good for my heart and blood pressure and other things. It puts my family’s mind at ease when I do it. Personally I don’t worry too much about the health part of it. I know that when my time comes, my time comes. I can eat all these healthy things and be all “heart-smart” and get hit by a stray bolt of lightning or run over by a truck or whatever. When the time of my appointment gets here, I won’t have any choice whether to keep it or not. But it makes my family happy and, well, er, I am forced to begrudgingly admit that, um, well, I did feel pretty good when I did it.

So, the magic formula is:

20 -35 grams of fiber, the more the better

< 50 grams of fat, less is better No useless calories Walk more That’s it. I have debated the whole way through on whether to give you my starting weight, or not, but I have decided to tell you because just reporting "5 lbs" is not as dramatic. I am starting at 242 lbs (248 in boots and hat!). I don’t have an exact goal in mind, but last time I had started at around 240 and went down to around 207, so I guess that with the help of all my fans, friends and fiends I would like to at least get below the 200 mark. The Good Book says, "Everyone has an appointment with death and there is no discharge in that war." And, "Don’t you know your body is the temple and building of God?" So go figure.

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