Resolution: Eating Smart (Part Two)

Even though I was running two marathons a year, I wasn't really losing weight. I was just maintaining—burning calories but consuming more that it was a break even proposition. Over a few years, I worked myself into a healthier diet. I reflected on the first two steps in the previous post. Here, I'm going to explain how it I worked it toward my current form. My four-month experiment without sweets was helpful but not transformation. I slimmed down a bit, but picked them up right after I finished it. The next year, I did repeated the four-month stint with similar results. Still not satisfied, I wondered if I could do even more.

STEP THREE: Going a year In 2013, I decided I would try going a whole year without sweets. I've rarely committed to any habit for an entire year. If I had made tried this a few years earlier, I don't think I would have been successful; I wouldn't have been ready for it, giving up a few months in. But this time, with a total of eight months under my belt, I knew what to expect. I was just dealing with scalability.

This is where the transformation started to take place. I used to see candy or cake as something I desperately wanted. Eventually, they lost their luster. Now, when I walk into UDF for my morning Diet Coke, I could stare at the donuts for an hour and have no desire to eat them (I don't think I've eaten a donut since December 2012). My year journey broke my addiction to sweets.

It was really a great year. I could tell, twelve months later, that I had begun to lose the weight that continued to hang around despite my exercise routine. I had to change out a lot of my wardrobe as I my clothes didn't fit well anymore. It was so successful that I waited another six weeks past the year until I broke the commitment, finally having some cake for Kaelyn's birthday.

STEP FOUR: Bearing down 2013 brought me to the place where I no longer consume sweets regularly. But the noticeable gains made me know there was a little more. Last year, I decided to continue to work with my diet. Kelly does a great job of doing this for evening meals. She took a nutrition class in college and has spent the better part of our marriage urging me to eat healthy. My problem was my other meals. Contrary to all good counsel, I don't eat breakfast. My issue was, and has been, lunch.

Like a quasi-responsible adult, I would have the occasional salad but I'd still usually opt for fast food. Honestly, my primary motivation was frugality; you can run through a drive-thru and get a couple of burgers for less than four bucks. I figured that since I was only eating two sandwiches, I was doing OK. I was mistaken. If you want a frightening read, take a look at the nutritional data of fast food places. They pack a lot of calories in small places. It's almost impressive. So I decided that I would stop eating fast food. For lunch, I'd eat a salad or a veggie sub. This decision helped me pull back my protein consumption and practically eliminate french fries from my diet. As far as snack foods, I ate pretzels but no Doritos or Cheetos. I'd allow myself some Mexican food every once in awhile (but we've scaled back from that as well), but used it as a reward. This took me to the next level.

None of this is religious. At the end of the year, after my appendectomy, I lost even more weight so I spent the Christmas season eating like I used to eat. I had cake, ice cream, some Resse Cups. It was wonderful. I ate sweets I haven't eaten in two years. But I did so confidently (as confidently as you can become a glutton) because I knew I'd return to my good eating habits at the beginning of the year. I'm at the point where I know I can cheat because I prefer eating a more healthy diet.

WRAPPING UP I wanted to write all of this down because it's doable. Sure, some people have a metabolism that stays with them throughout their lives, but most of us have to work on it. Now that I manage my calories in and calories out, I feel like a better person. I've kept my weight down and am as healthy as I've ever been. But I know I have quite a bit room for improvement. My goal is to continue to improve with age so I can fully enjoy the years ahead of me.

So if you come across this post and feel inspired, start today. Set some goals. Be patient. Make a lifestyle change. And message me if you want some advice on getting there.