Off the Wagon (and Back On)

wagonwheel If you know me, you know that I’m the last person in the world who should be penning words on weight loss and getting healthier, but hey, here we are. In May I was very fortunate to be selected to be one of five “Healthy Challengers” in Jefferson City. For the whole summer, we’ve be given access to the awesome facilities at the Capital Region HealthPlex (gym), two sessions with a personal
trainer each week, custom nutrition plans, weekly classes, ideas for getting our workplaces involved and a whole lot of support. Oh, and don’t forget the free t shirt.

The first step was changing the way I ate. I added it up the other day, and if I ate everything I wanted for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner in a single day (I’m not saying I ever did this, I’m just saying it’s possible if you play with the math to
extremes) I’d consume:

5,390 calories
291 grams of fat
390 grams of carbs
136 grams of protein

No judging, OK? Remember, I don’t think that ever happened, just that if I wanted to, I could have. Holy cow! After the nutritionist got a hold of me, I’m now averaging:

1,800 calories
15 grams of fat
75 grams of carbs
75 grams of protein
Actual fruits and vegetables each day

Take a guess at what that switch has done to the scale dial. Now, of course, it’s about being healthier, not necessarily losing weight, but it’s very encouraging to watch that number steadily tick down after years of creeping up. It was even
more encouraging when my tux for the wedding was far too big and they had to overnight a replacement. From May 23 to June 29, I’d already lost 10 lbs. more than my goal for the entire summer. Combined with the trainer and nutritionist, making good food choices and working out every day actually works. Who knew?

Megan has been extremely supportive of the whole process and has been a huge factor in my success thus far. Well, mostly; she kind of threw a wrench in the works when we got married June 29. Not that I’m complaining, mind you :-). But we did choose our caterer and cake long before the Healthy Challenge. And seeing as how you only get one wedding reception, I threw caution to the wind and fully enjoyed the chicken alfredo, green bean casserole and potatoes au gratin. Plus the cherry limeade and cookies-n-cream cake.

Then came the honeymoon.

I picked Las Vegas (Megan didn’t know where we were going until after the wedding) in large part because it’s known for having awesome restaurants. I hated to undo any progress that I’ve worked hard to build the past six weeks, but hey, it’s my honeymoon. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and dag nabbit, I wasn’t going to pass up some of the best food in world-class restaurants with my new bride. I won’t go into every single meal (or receipt… Las Vegas is expensive!) but here’s a summary how I gloriously fell off the Being Healthy Band Wagon last
week: giant food picNot only did I fall off the wagon, but it turns out the wagon was made of fried squash blossoms and it turns out I really like fried squash blossoms. But although I did a lot of things wrong when it came to ordering, I actually did a few things correctly. I know, right? I’m just as surprised as you.

  • Aside from the aforementioned squash blossoms and the green chile queso mashed potatoes, I left some food on my plate at each meal. That never would have happened with the old Brian.
  • I stopped when I got full, and I felt better for it.
  • I drank water instead of soft drinks.
  • At Megan’s urging, I actually went to the resort’s fitness center five of the seven days we were gone and we walked a lot around town.
  • Though we did eat out every day, we also made turkey sandwiches at the resort for five meals.
  • We ate breakfast everyday so we weren’t starving by noon and thus overeat at lunch.
  • I ordered whatever I wanted when we ate out, but we didn’t go to any
    of the infamous Vegas buffets.

I knew I’d be in for a rude awakening with my appointment with the trainer upon
our return, but I thought I did OK with the challenge presented. I gave myself a C-. Sure, I felt like I’d gained back 15 lbs. over the week, but for a once-in-a-lifetime dream trip with Megan, it was going to be worth it. So yesterday afternoon I went to the HealthPlex after work. I had my low wedding day weight total in my mind, praying the dial wouldn’t spin too far past it. But when I stepped onto the scale, I’d actually lost a pound.

When I went to go meet the trainer, I was going faster, going longer and lifting more than I had when I left. There are two lessons I could take away from this:

  1. Go nuts in Vegas and eat whatever you want; you’ll still lose weight. Someone order me another souffle and take in the waist of my pants!
  2. It’s possible to still make healthy(ish) choices and take steps to improve yourself even when you temporarily (and spectacularly) fail.

I haven’t run either of those theories by the folks at the HealthPlex, but I’m pretty sure #2 is more correct than #1. Though I wouldn’t trade a single moment of the honeymoon (except perhaps for that hour-long time-share sales pitch), it does make me wonder how much I would have been able to lose if I’d figured out a way to bring my “home” eating routine with me. But I can only dwell on that for a second, because looking back and playing the couldawouldashouda game will only depress you. When it comes to calories, I’m choosing to believe that was happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Instead, I’m thinking about the possibilities for the
upcoming weeks now that I’m back in the swing of healthy foods and hitting the gym every day. After In-N-Out, Missouri’s cheeseburgers will taste terrible anyway. Sure, I’m going to miss the chicken and waffles. And I’ll probably dream about that grilled filone. But you know what was even sweeter than the sticky toffee pudding? Feeling the airplane seat belt click without having to ask the flight attendant for an extender.

I’ve still got a (very) long way to go, but success is tasting pretty darn good. NO SEAT BELT<br /><br /><br /><br />


2 responses to “Off the Wagon (and Back On)

  1. Loved your blog and loved hearing that you had lost a pound! That’s amazing, but wonderful. The wedding was absolutely wonderful and my prayer is that your life will be even more so. I love you.

  2. So proud of you! You looked so good on your wedding day….keep up the good work. And never stop blogging. I love to read your stories.

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