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The tide must turn

November 5, 2015

I got married last year, reached the grand old age of 44, and had my first child. I work at a sedentary, but highly-stressful job and don’t exercise nearly as much as I used to. And my sleep patterns have been sketchy at best, with the new baby and too many things to do with not enough hours in the day.

Thus it was no surprise to me that I gained some weight over the last year. I had always felt I was a bit heavy back when I weighed somewhere in the 180’s. When I hit the 190’s, I definitely felt fat and tried to incorporate weight-lifting as a way to win the battle of the bulge. Unfortunately injuries, lack of time, and, yes, lack of motivation have put the kibosh on that. So when I looked down at the scale the other day and saw the number “215.6”, I was not unduly shocked. Disappointed, sure, but not shocked. I’ve seen that belly growing bigger every day! My wife’s delicious cooking of, mainly, Filipino food accompanied by rice didn’t help matters either!

Therefore I resolved last week that I needed to go on a diet. I was inspired by the Ohio high school teacher, John Cisna, whose “McDonald’s Diet” helped him to lose 37 pounds in 90 days. Of course, he didn’t do what Michael Spurlock did in the famous documentary, Supersize Me!. Cisna actually practiced portion control and had his students design a daily menu of McDonald’s products that kept the calorie count at 2,000 (as opposed to Spurlock’s mightily unhealthy 5,000 calories per day!). In addition to the strict diet, Cisna also walked 45 minutes a day, which helped to burn a couple hundred more calories and ensure that he was building a calorie deficit.

Imagine eating McDonald’s food every day, which I think a lot of us would secretly enjoy, and LOSING weight! I didn’t think it was possible either, but when I looked at their actual menu, I was able to craft my own “McDonald’s Diet” that held the calories to 2,000 per day. Now, of course, I’m not made of money and I couldn’t afford to eat out for every meal for a couple months straight (even though McDonald’s food is fairly cheap). So what I devised is to make my OWN version of McDonald’s food in order to provide the items for my diet.

So far, I’m only 3 days into it, but it’s working out okay. Right now, my current meal plan is my version of an Egg McMuffin in the morning along with a small container of yogurt as a snack. Lunch consists of a quarter-pounder (still perfecting that recipe!) accompanied by a boiled potato. Dinner has been a single beef taco and I’ve avoided having a dessert, as well as largely cutting coffee from my diet. All in all, I feel pretty good, though obviously hungrier for longer periods of time than before. I even noticed that I could tighten my belt one notch more this morning. Pretty quick results for a diet where I’ve probably lost only a quarter of a pound based on the calorie deficit I’ve accumulated (the scientific literature says that you must have a calorie deficit of 3500 in order to lose 1 pound of weight).

I’m keeping track of every meal and calculating all consumed calories as well as my nutritional intake. I’ve noticed that I’m not getting the vitamin intake I need across the board, except for Vitamin C (thanks, potatoes!), so I’m going to start incorporating salads into my daily meal plan because they pack a lot of nutritional punch for little calorie cost.

We’ll see if I stick with the diet over the long term. I have my birthday and Thanksgiving coming up (my favorite holiday), so there may be a cheat day or two here and there. So far, I don’t feel horribly restricted or that I’m missing out on anything, but let’s see how I feel with a few more weeks of this under my belt. The goal is to lose at least 5 pounds by the time we leave on vacation for the Philippines so that I won’t look too blimpish in my swim trunks! I’ll probably lose weight in the Philippines even though I won’t be sticking with the diet there simply because it’s so hot and humid and I will be sweatin’ like a pig. Once we get back Stateside, I intend to resume the diet and, hopefully, get to my ultimate goal, which is a return to the days where I weighed in the 180’s!

But first steps first. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step and I have started my journey. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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