By Marcus Carroll
I saw my friend John at the YMCA the other day, and we were comparing notes on our mutual weight loss success stories. He’s lost over half his goal and I’m well on the way to my goal. I asked about his regime and I shared mine with him.
We both are into diet and exercise, and that combo alone is a killer-diller. He prefers to use the exercise machines upstairs at the Y. I prefer to go swimming and get my aerobic exercise elsewhere.
John got a prescription diet from the doctor, which seems to work for him: A shake for breakfast, a sensible high-fiber lunch, a shake again before a modest dinner. I gather the shakes aren’t the kind from the fast food place! They are most likely low fat, high fiber and protein.
I’m a foodie: I love to prepare fresh soups and casseroles year-round, and salads (especially in summer). But somehow, over the years I had ballooned up to nearly 400 pounds, which put me into the morbidly obese column on the nurse’s charts. I realized that I was going nowhere fast.
Good stuff in: good stuff out
I needed to lose the weight, and didn’t want to get bariatric surgery, or get my stomach stapled, or other surgical measures. I know that, as with computers and life in general, it’s garbage in, garbage out. Conversely, in this case, good stuff in, good stuff out.
Here’s the plan that has worked for me: I go for a plant-based diet with plenty of good complex carbohydrates and protein. Lots of green salads, pretty much anything in the produce aisle. Organic is great if you can afford it, and in a society that’s filled with preservatives and GMO foods, the truth is, organic probably way better for you in the long run. One way to go green is to join a CSA. There are tons of local farms and gardeners who pool together their resources and get loads of fresh produce. Some are organic, others are not.
Not only is organic food filled with nutrient dense bioflavonoids that the vegetables exude, there is the warm feeling you get knowing that any potentially dangerous pesticides, fertilizers and farming practices are not being used to produce the food.
Eating right can be fun
It’s a lot of work to eat right and lose weight, but there’s also fun involved. You haven’t lived till you’ve picked and eaten fresh strawberries straight from the garden. Tomatoes taste so much better when you grow your own.
I’ve realized that it’s easier to heat up the kitchen once in a while, and make a bunch of casseroles, veggie burgers, or egg bakes that I can eat for several days. I try and maintain high fiber and fresh ingredients, so when I’m tired and hungry I can have some of my favorites in a hurry.
I try to have most of my meal be the salad — not potato or macaroni — but a nice marinated tomato-onion-cucumber salad. Kimchee is very nice and adds variety. Pickled beets or cauliflower is also nice. I like lots of lettuces, spinach, watercress and radishes on my plate.
I find that if I make up a bunch of salad in advance, it’s not so daunting to eat well. It’s also handy for me to pack my lunch, another one of my little strategies to further my weight loss goals.
Farmers’ markets take SNAP
I’ll tell you a little secret, I’ve been using my food stamps, or SNAP card, to get produce at the farmers market, and I know they also take them at the Monadnock Food Co-op and some CSAs also take the SNAP for payment.
In these times when money is tight, I can’t afford to buy my lunch, however cheap it may seem. That dollar burger, dollar fries and dollar cola don’t really deliver the kind of energy I need to make it through the day and still lose the poundage. I can go a lot further on my nice homemade lunch, with a fresh salad and homemade veggie burger, all packed in my reusable insulated lunch bag.
I can take the money I save filling my tank and take the bike. And save money filling my gut, and buy something I really need.
Speaking of which, I got my eye on a nice 29er mountain bike, and it’s last year’s model. I wonder if it’s going on sale.
If I get it, maybe I can amp up my weight loss and catch up with my buddy John.