Adventures in Vegetarianism - Day 435

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I weighed in this morning at 179.2 lbs. This is the first time I have been sub-180 since the year I got out of the Army in 1992!! That's a net loss of 25.8 lbs.

2.2 more pounds to go and I will be as light as I was when my wife and I met in 1991!

Steve.I.Am's picture
Steve.I.Am
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Comments

Interesting.

Can you share how you've changed your diet? What were your eating habits 435 days ago? What foods? What are you eating now?

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Hey, .Ren,

I ate pretty well before going veggie - with a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, and very little processed foods. But ate meat at just about every major meal, including beef, pork, lamb, chicken and sea food.

I cut out all meat products, but have not gone vegan. I still eat three or four hardboiled eggs per week (they are just so darned handy as a quick breakfast), and I can't cook Italian without eggs and cheese.

I prepare most of my own food. My recipies are pretty simple, so I don't get frustrated, and they are all flavorful, so the dishes don't get boring, either. Sunday's are cooking day. I usually punch out about three big dishes, and then eat them all week long.

Here's a great Veggie life hack - if you like Indian food - Flash fry whatever veggies you have in the fridge, toss in a jar of Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Simmer Sauce (available at Costco) and a can of garbanzo beans, and you have a quick DELICIOUS curry!!

Portion control is a huge part of my success. I graze all day, eating a small snack every two hours or so, and, at meals, I never scoop out more than 1 cup of anything.

The biggest obstacles to success are THE WEEKENDS. Most resturuants have only one or two veggie entrees at most, so options are limited, and resturuant portions are HUGE! My wife and I share entrees alot, and when we don't, I always try to bring half home in a doggie bag. And then, of course, there is the wine! My weight often plateaus over the course of a week, because I lose a few pounds from Monday through Thursday, and then gain it all back on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Finally, I got a FitBit for Father's Day, and try my hardest to get in at least 10,000 steps per day.

There is really no secret to my success . . . I eat better, I eat less, and I exercise more.

Steve.I.Am's picture
Steve.I.Am
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I'm known around here for urging caution when it come to vegetarian diets. Most people will feel good for awhile when going on one because there is often a caloric reduction and it also works to detoxify the body.

To continue to use a vegetarian diet depends on the rate your body metabolizes food. If it runs slow then a vegetarian diet will work better than if it runs fast. Some folks have bodies that will flip almost daily from fast to slow so it is not a simple issue.

Back in the early 1970s when I first learned this stuff an ND recommended I eat fish or poultry 2 to 3 times a week to avoid anemia which was already showing up only after 2 weeks on an experimental vegetarian diet. Most people would do well on this regime and as you can see that's even better than "meatless Mondays."

captbebops's picture
captbebops
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Steve.I.Am ~ Your story really resonates with me. I too have been trying to lose weight with great success. However, not with vegetarianism. Simply reducing caloric intake and exercising. I do, however, like capttebops above, restrict my beef intake; and, try to eat more poultry and fish during the week. I also stir fry vegetables and eat a lot of salads. I restrict carbohydrates as much as possible; except for the veggies and the salads. Also, like you, I restrict my alcohol consumption to weekends. I don't drink sodas. Only with mixed drinks on the weekends. Doing this I've also experienced the rollercoaster ride of weight gain and loss you describe. I use Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning as cheat days. The rest of the week is strict diet and exercise. For exercise I hike 2.5 hours up and down hills, 4-6 times per week.

On the weekend anything goes. Mostly restaurants and as much drinking as I want. (Of course, after a week like that there is only so much excess my shrunken stomach can take.) Monday, I can gain as much as 10 lbs. Mostly water that I shed by Wednesday. By Friday morning I usually lose what I gained +2 lbs. Over the past 6 months I've lost 50 lbs. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made along the way because as you lose weight, it get's harder to lose. You burn less calories than you do when you're heavy. That 3,500 calorie deficit is harder to reach.

I found that subtle diet/lifestyle changes make the difference. You have two choices, burn more calories, or eat less calories. For the average male it takes about 2,000 calories to maintain weight. We need at least 1,500 to be healthy. It takes 3,500 calories to gain or lose 1 lb. Shooting for 1,500 calories/day of dieting will lose weight. I suggest having cheat days. It will slow down the weight loss but keep you interested in not giving up. Also, the more gradually you lose the weight the more likely you will keep it off permanently.

There are many useful tools you can access online to help you meet these goals. Simply open your browser and type into the address field: "Calories in a _______________(fill in the blank)" and the information will pop up. Type in "Calories burned _______________(fill in the blank)" and you will get an array of calculators to help you plan your exercise routine to fit your goals. With these tools you can monitor every calorie you intake and every one you burn. You can see exactly what it will take to make that 3,500 calorie deficit and exactly how many calories you can expect to lose in a given time frame. It really works. I've had great results. Good luck and good health, everyone!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc
Joined:
Apr. 9, 2011 7:49 am

Let me put this post back in order. Reply to Steve's #3

Well, congratulations for making that effort.

When I saw your topic come up under active topics I was curious. Then I read your post and your weight loss numbers sounded like they could have been my own. And your story about eating well before your diet change is also similar to mine.

My story is different, somewhat, due to our differing age factors. My latest change came about because for the first time in my life I discovered -- when I signed up with the Veterans Administration last March, and got my first physical in about 25 years -- that I was rocking the scales at 205lbs. Which was a bit of a shock. I was 180 when I got out of service and in about the best shape of my life. Very little body fat. That was 1970. I stayed at that weight for most of the rest of my life. I've always been active, mountain climbing, hiking, bicycling, that sort of thing. Never had to pay much attention to what I ate.

The weight change was so gradual in the past few years that I just let it slide without getting serious. I'd cut out a few high carbs from my diet to lose a few pounds, based on the clothes I wear, and then I'd fall back into my old habits, which are life-long habits going back to growing up on a farm with an organic farming-oriented father before the term was even being used. Then I'd find my clothes getting tight again. I've sort of rocked back and forth gradually like that for the past five years or so. I really never knew what I weighed at any given time because I didn't have a scale around the house.

So, like you, I like to prepare my own food. I see a lot of similarities in what I'm doing to your strategy. Small portions, grazing, I call it. I buy a variety of organic nuts through a food buying club and those, with dried fruits make up the bulk of my grazing fare. I learned how to cook when I was very young for reasons I won't go into, but I'll just say it was necessary. Fortunately it's fun for me. So I know how to make food that really satisfies me, and I like to experiment with a range of cultural cuisines. The key, then, for me was to make changes that would fit with my love for making delicious food, and to make that food lower in calories, and then become a new and persisting habit.

I too do the hard boiled egg thing. Though I love to make omelets so I do two egg omelets every now and then. Omelets give me the opportunity to add some healthy vege ingredients. Eggs are supposedly a good protein intake because they are such a complete protein. So if you are mostly veggie, and I am now, I figure it makes it a little simpler to be sure you are getting the full range of complete proteins. But anyone who goes vege should only do so if they are prepared to do some homework on how to get those proteins and other vitamins and minerals that the meats provide.

The other thing was I needed a scale, which I hadn't had for years. I mean, who needs one when every time you check at some friend's house your weight is within a pound or two of the same weight? Well, I now take those "urban legends" (I never believed they might apply to me, oh no) about aging, metabolism and weight gain a little more seriously.

What's weird is how little I can eat to maintain my weight compared to the way I was eating six months, or even twenty years ago. Yeah, portions. I began to experiment with those. I suggest trying to make it fun to change if someone finds themselves in need to do so, but resistant. And I hit 179 two days ago. I got serious in early April so I guess that's dropping 25 lbs in around 180 days. All the clothes I wore twenty years ago now fit comfortably again. The love handles I was ignoring are gone. I feel like I also lost about twenty years of aging. I can't believe how much energy I have and how much better I feel in so many different ways.

Your formula is pretty much the same as mine. I like to cook so I have all kinds of tasty food in the freezer. It's kind of crazy. It's not a secret and it's not complicated.

Plenty of people thrive on a vegetarian diet. They just have to use their brain and do some work. But if the decision is one made out of conscientiousness, then they've already got a start on what it takes to do the research.

I found this book to be inspirational for my friends who hadn't really given it much thought:

Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Another thing is you don't have to be so strict about your diet. A lot of alternative care physicians will say if you are following guidelines 51% of the time you'll be doing okay. Only severely sick people need to be more strict. Be real strict though makes for a really boring life.

I have a friend who had a "heard attack" last December. Since he has been really strict and not enjoying life. I figure his doctors gave him the guidelines figuring he might follow them a bit but like most probably not strictly. At that he might never have another attack again. But they had no idea that being a technical person he would follow them to the letter.

captbebops's picture
captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote captbebops:

Another thing is you don't have to be so strict about your diet. A lot of alternative care physicians will say if you are following guidelines 51% of the time you'll be doing okay. Only severely sick people need to be more strict. Be real strict though makes for a really boring life.

My vegetarianism pre-dates my cancer. I became a vegetarian in an effort to "live my politics." I do not think that meat is ecologically sustainable. Only later did it become a smart move from a health perspective.

As for leading a boring life . . . there is nothing boring about the vegetarian, and vegan, dishes that I am cooking. That is one of the secrets to my ability to stick with it.

Steve.I.Am's picture
Steve.I.Am
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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