If you didn't guess by now, let me tell you: I like food and even more I like to eat it! Judging by my old pictures "like" is an understatement. "Madly in love" would be a better definition.
So with this mad love for food, how the hell did I loose 90 pounds? you might ask...
Well... my eating habits were and still are an issue.
I usually eat more than I really need (and it's still less than I would really want, trust me) but today I am fortunate enough to have my biking and my workout routine that helps me get rid of all these excess calories. However that wasn't always the case. There were times when I wasn't exercising that much and still managed to lose quite a bit of weight. I had no choice but to watch my diet...
I decided to look back at my diet to find what helped me along the way in terms of eating habits and food. I was able to come up with a few rules which I'd like to share.
RULE #1, EAT EVERYTHING BUT BE AWARE
Since I wanted to have a relative freedom in what I eat and still lose weight I had to decide on some restrictions to my diet. In order for the restrictions to stick they had to be the kind that I could live with. Something like, "Never eat desert again" would not hold for long in my case not even a minute. To be completely honest, I decided not to deprive myself from things that I love to eat. Did anyone say ice-cream??.
The key for me was portions sizes. Just watching how much I ate and designating my portions ahead to eliminate endless refills. If I wanted to eat ice-cream for example (did I mention that's my all time favorite?) I would decide how much I would eat of it (measuring and counting calories of course) and would stick to it. This way I could eat one or two scoops instead of gobbling up the entire container as I used to do before. I guess it's not a lot different from Weight Watchers or other weight loss programs that are available these days, but I was more of a DIY than a "let's all hug and support each other" kind of guy.
RULE #2, MOUTH CLOSED AFTER DINNER
Once upon a time...I used to sit in front of the TV at nights and eat. and eat. and eat. Fruit, snacks, whatever I could consider a TV style food and would be available in our kitchen.
You can see the "chubby" consequences in the picture bellow (and the chubby one I am referring to is not the sweet baby, which happens to be my daughter) :
When I started getting serious about losing weight I realized that I needed to stop that night snacking habit. My lovely wife came to the rescue with all the health-related information needed to support my decision (and a very angry look each time I got near the kitchen after 7pm). Tea/coffee were allowed and with time this became sufficient. Having no food after dinner enabled me to feel lighter when I was going to bed and especially when I woke up in the morning. For someone who weighed 260 pounds, feeling light, even for a few hours, was definitely a big deal.
RULE #3, FIND A WONDERFUL SPOUSE
Well, you can probably manage without, but it's not as fun...
As soon as my lovely wife realized that I was finally serious about losing weight, she immediately joined the battle. She planned my daily menu, made my dinners lighter, and started to base most of the meals on vegetables, lots of them, and in so many variations. It was amazing to discover how many different dishes could be created out of vegetables. I am still impressed with my wife's ability to be so creative with broccoli and green beans (in cooking!). Yes, I know that vegetables do not sound tempting (well, maybe if you cover them with mountains of melted cheese or cream, but that would kinda miss the point, right?) but surprisingly, everything that came out of my lovely's hands and kitchen was so yummy, and best of all - I could eat almost as much as I wanted of it.
The lovely wife's support was not only in her cooking but also in encouraging me every step along the way. I would lose half a pound and she would cheer for me as if I climbed mount Everest. I would complain that I was still fat, and she would remind me again and again (and again) what a long way I've gone. I would reach for the chocolate bar hiding in the back of our pantry and she would appear out of no where, tackling me like a professional football player, shoving a carrot in my hand. Not sure I could have done it without her...
What keeps working for me is that I eat whatever I like, (including ice cream, cakes, chocolate etc...) BUT I pay attention to quantities. I am AWARE of what I eat and manage portions accordingly. I am generous with the veggies and more strict with the ice cream. If once I would eat 4 scoops preferably with chocolate chips, peanuts and cookies inside, ho and don't forget the cream on top, today I'll just settle for one scoop of Vanilla ice cream. Yes, it's not the same but if I would want "the same" it would mean my old measurements too, don't you think?
Now, don't get me wrong. I am still human and I might loosen my own rules from time to time but I go back to them whenever I notice that I have gained some weight. Yes, you read correctly occasionally I still gain a pound or two (or four). After all, fat guy or not, I still love food and even more, I love to eat it...