Dropping Ballast

I saw a cool post on Wilder:

Couple things resonated with me – processed food expressed as “pre-digested” this is why you get that immediate carb rush with nearly all processed foods. Interestingly he tells of a study where they powdered the rat chow, and even given the same amounts of calories, the rats with the powdered food got fatter. Pre-digested. Made me remember what my Radiation Oncologist told my wife to feed me – “Closer it is to how God created it, the better it is for you.”

I read another piece, I think on American Thinker, about cheese processing. A kid turned his nose up on homemade mac and cheese, preferring that nuclear orange mess called Kraft Mac & Cheese. The author related how far down the actual cheese, and food, chain Kraft is.

It was eye opening. Basically, the cheese that’s rejected gets sold off, crap is added, and it becomes “Cheese Food”. “Cheese Food” rejects become “Processed Cheese Food” (think Velveeta). Processed Cheese Food rejects become “Pasteurized Cheese food”. There’s like one or two other iterations he goes through to get to the dead bottom of what started out as cheese. Know who the biggest customer for that awfulness is?

If you answered “Kraft”, go to the head of the class.

This resonates with me, since when our kids were small, we realized how cheap and easy it is to make real mac and cheese. And stinking cheap too. As I waited one day for my neighbor to finish shopping at Walmart, a rather “formidable” woman walked past with a no-shit case of Kraft Mac & Cheese. I wondered what that cost, compared to Pasta, cheese, butter, flour and milk it would take to make it. I could probably kick out 20 lbs of the stuff or more for what she spent. And have ingredients left for pancakes and biscuits.

But I digress.

Last November, herself wanted to go on a diet. An official one. Worse yet, she wanted me to do it with her as well.

Fair enough. I do the lions share of shopping and cooking. It’s best to have me on board. Besides, since I blew out my rotator cuff I’ve added extra ballast. I needed to trim ballast, for sure.

Now, I’ve lost weight before. Twice while trying, and once inadvertently (that would be Cancer therapy). I know how to do this; No booze. No snack foods or sweets. Go light, if at all on high glycemic carbs. Get some exercise. But knowing how to do it and actually doing it are two entirely separate things.

The one she joined is “Slim4Life”.

I missed the original meeting, and met with them later. But as I sized up the book, it’s basically calorie counting through food choice and portion control and it didn’t take me long to figure out how they made money – Supplements and Snacks.

They give you a guide book on what to cook and eat. Some of it seemed like bullshit to me. No pork? That’s nonsensical. Pork loin is lean as chicken. When I asked why, they told me it was because of sodium. Yeah. Whatever. They can’t explain it. I get it. They give you a starter of snacks and supplements, as well as log sheets to record what you eat. These I found helpful, since they were categorized with different groups – protein, carb, fats, etc. The deal is to follow this, then come in to be nattered about your weight. You have weigh-ins, like once a week at least.

Honestly, I only halfway followed the plan.

It didn’t take long for the supplements to irritate my guts. We fiddled about, but nothing and no combination worked. There’s a vitamin, some fish oil, and others that do who knows what. Mostly they are the gingko and snake oil that you’d find at any hippy natural foods store. When all was said and done, I could handle  the fish oils. I gave the rest to Herself, and used a One-a-Day men’s vitamin.

And I told them, I didn’t snack. I wasn’t about to stop at 10 am or 2 pm and eat a bag of soy chips. I found that they dried my mouth. They had a mocha drink that was OK but not worth anywhere near worth the money. Not to me, anyhow. I substituted snacks with a orange, or some other fruit, in the afternoon.

I don’t mean to bag on Slim4Life. Many people need a system like that which includes monitoring to lose weight. And their system works on some level. Hell, I only signed up for a month, and I lost 17 lbs. What I found was:

  • By following the plan, you learn what is a proper portion. Before long, you can simply eyeball what you serve yourself.
  • Just like with my Tap and Track app, you learn what foods are pricey – calorie wise. You learn that with meals as well. One day I didn’t feel like making a salad, and while I was food shopping, I saw “Antoine’s Po-Boys”. Why not? I’ll have a sammich, I figured. Bad move. Damn thing was like 800 calories. Fuck me, it wasn’t even that good. I regretted my lapse.
  • I realized I ate a lot of bread and carbs. Toast the morning, sandwich at lunch – sometimes fast food, and a dinner that was protein/veg/starch. Way, way too many calories. Way too much high glycemic food. Easy to fix.
  • It didn’t take long for my stomach to shrink. I found I simply ate less, and wanted to eat less. When I over-ate I hurt and realized it was stupid.
  • My energy level started rocketing upwards. So much so that I walked the dogs – 2 miles in the morning, then had another walk – about 3 miles, by myself in the afternoon.
  • Eating lighter at night allowed my guts to process my dinner, and I had reflux and lung issues stop at night. So I slept better.

I bailed on the plan at two months or so. I think I got extra weeks for some reason I don’t understand. I have a friend that changed his diet, eating a small breakfast, salad for lunch, then normal/light dinner. He’s lost over 60 lbs so far. So I’ve been following that idea, more or less, as well as tracking my food on Tap and Track. Fitness Pal works as well.

But I really don’t need to. I’m on a good plane of diet and exercise now.

Last time I weighed myself, I was 30+ pounds lighter. Lighter than I was when my thyroid went pear shaped from radiation in 2017.

When it warms here, I’ll be back to weight lifting.

I will be mighty again, one day.

Phil, from Busted Knuckles. That’ll be me sooner than later.