Last night already weary of having gained about 8 pounds over the last 8 weeks, my family, another family, and I gathered at a pizzeria where I promised myself I’d limit myself to two pizza slices. However, that’s not how it played out. Six slices more like it. Maybe seven. At 600 calories a slice plus an avocado cream cheese spring roll appetizer and a tall glass of chilled porter, I ingested about 4,000 calories and have no doubt I gained another 2 pounds, not to mention the self-loathing, self-disgust, and bloat that has afflicted me for over 12 hours, compelling to swallow handfuls of psyllium husks.
Lesson Number One: Because pizza is for me a trigger food akin to crack, I am not allowing myself to eat it anymore. Certain foods have that power like linguini or angel hair pasta covered with clams, garlic, and olive oil. I can eat plate after plate of that stuff with warm garlic bread.
Lesson Number Two (related to Lesson Number Two): For lunch (after a guilt-fueled kettlebell workout) I had an amazing 600-calorie spinach salad with tuna, feta, kalamata olives, toubili, and Italian dressing and the salient flavors satisfied me as much as the Mediterranean pizza I had last night. Next time, no pizza. The salad will be fine.
Business Insider features these Eleven Nutrition Lies. I agree with all of them. I took special interest in the myth that several small meals are better than 3 meals. It's too easy to consume too many calories while grazing all day.
I'm from Torrance and people in Torrance don't like to drive more than 2 miles to any place, including a restaurant. So for my birthday, I drove 5 miles or so to Hermosa Beach to try Abigail, which, in short, proved to be a very good restaurant worth the arduous trek.
My wife Carrie and I ordered over a half dozen tapas dishes and all were good, the very best being the burrata goat cheese salad with spicy honey over walnut toast. That is a must.
The Thai red curry short rib was also very good.
The waiter steered us to all good dishes except for one: dessert. He recommended something called a Snicker Bar, a larger version of the candy bar, which he said was their most famous dessert. I found the Snicker Bar cloying, overpowering in its sweetness and in general unpleasant. I should have ordered the blackberry cobbler. Oh well. There will definitely be a next time.
It's apparent we medicate ourselves with food so this new study, which I heard on KCRW's Good Food this morning, comes as no surprise. The study's author, Pierre Chandon, sounds like like an appropriate name for the topic.
Carrie and I were sated from our Syrian take-out (thank God we live in a cosmoplitan location and have places like Mashawi Grill) and discussing foods from our youth.
For me it always goes back to brown-sugar-cinnamon Danish Go Rounds, a toaster treat from my youth (late sixties, early seventies) that was 1,000 times better than Pop Tarts. Ask anyone who had them and they'll tell you Pop Tarts are cardboard compared to the addictive Danish Go Rounds, which sadly and mysteriously disappeared.
About a week ago, I quit eating sugar and artificial sweetner (except for what I get from fruit). So far I've lost 5 pounds. But the most dramatic change is my psychology. I feel like I've gone from a crippled Superman chained to Lex Luther's torture chair to the unshackled Superman.
Of course, my manic state is partly due to some afternoon coffee (sweetened with Stevia).
The protein bars were a processed, sugary disaster.
The peanut butter sandwiches were a calorie nightmare.
Turkey cold cuts had slime, chemicals, and sodium. Plus I had to keep them iced.
Soy "meat" was high in salt and too processed, not to mention its tendency to soak men's systems with estrogen.
So I finally found something I can make Sunday night and have enough for my work week. I make a huge salad of quinoa and lentils, about 6 cups or so, then drench with a Trader Joe's 12-ounce jar of bruschetta, add Italian or cilantro dressing and top with sliced almonds.
I dish out about 1.5 cups into a Pyrex bowl, bring a spoon, an apple and a tangerine, and I'm ready to go to work without starving.
One thing that helps me with late night snacking is having relatively harmless snacks on hand - like cherries, frozen fruits, etc. Obviously it would be better if I just didn't eat after 8pm or so, but its better to snack on cherries than cheese and crackers.
Check out this site, which has a nice energy expenditure calculator, as well as one for weight loss (look under "Popular" to the right):
First you figure out the energy expenditure, then you enter that into the weight loss calculator and figure out how much you want to lose per week and, voila, there's your calorie goal. They recommend that going for more than 1,000 calorie less than your energy expenditure; I'm actually counting 1,300-1,500 less, but am not counting fresh fruits and raw veggies so it ends up being about the same as I tend to have 3-5 servings of fruit per day.
I took StarHalo’s advice and consulted the BMR calculator.
The calories I’d burn if I stayed in bed all day is 2,041, so I’m confident (I
train with kettlebells 5 days a week) I can lose weight if I can keep my
calories under 2,200. (In the photo above, taken about 6 weeks ago, I'm about 8 pounds lighter than I am now.)
I looked at ways I can cut back on my calories based on my
one snack a day, between lunch and dinner, yogurt and one, not several,
medjool dates. And no sneaking in tortilla chips with guacamole and
hummus. I can add guacamole and hummus to my lunch salad and that’s it.
more chocolate soy or almond milk in my coffee.
one coffee in the morning. No more afternoon coffee.
get hungry between breakfast and lunch, I can have an orange but no more
handfuls of peanuts.
more protein bars at work. I’ll eat half a peanut butter sandwich on a
high-protein spelt bread.
more “finishing” my daughters’ uneaten food on the table. I’ll throw it
away or put it in the refrigerator.
taking my daughters to smoothie bars because I end up sipping too much of
the sugary drink.
the hardest one of all: I’ll try—and I repeat—I’ll try not to snack after
dinner. I usually eat peanuts and yogurt with medjool dates.