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Five-0

Throughout my life as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with keeping my weight down. Oh, there have been a few times when I’ve taken it off, but keeping it off is another story altogether. The last time I gained a significant amount of weight was after I badly broke my ankle a couple years ago, and once I recovered I chunked on even more for good measure.

In the spring of this year I decided to try to shed as much excess weight as I could. The hardest thing about doing this was starting, as it turned out. I can resist change with as much gusto as the next guy. This morning I weighed myself and I’m happy to say I’ve shed 50 pounds. This is kind of astonishing to me because it didn’t turn out to be difficult to do at all. I have a vague goal of taking off 20 more pounds over time then maintaining a healthy way of eating.

Sorry to use pounds instead of kilograms, by the way. When we changed over to the metric system in Canada in the 70s, I gradually changed over in my mind, but for some reason, my ever so small brain has insisted on maintaining the use of pounds for significant weights and inches for small distances. I think grams for small weights. I’m good with celcius. I’m good with km/hr when I’m driving. My eyes glaze over when I try to think of body weight in kgs though, and I still measure paintings in inches.

I’ve lost weight mostly by managing the supply side. Sure I go on nature walks and do some tai chi, but I haven’t been doing any heavy-duty working out and I am allergic to running. Other people run so I don’t have to.

I suppose if someone asked me for advice on weight loss, I would say the single most important thing is to keep close tabs on your weight. I weigh myself everyday and I keep a hand-written chart in a little notebook to track how I’m doing. This helps me because I can see right away if I’m losing control. In a typical week, my weight will shift up and down, and my goal each week is to get my weekly number down just a wee bit from the week before. This discipline has taught me specifically how what I eat affects my weight.

The other thing I’ve learned is that it is important for me to have foods I really enjoy from time to time. I go out for lunch once a week, usually to a Vietnamese joint or Tasty Korea up the street. If I’m going out for dinner I have a good dinner and I don’t worry about it, secure in the knowledge that I don’t do this all the time. If I know I’m going to have a particularly decadent dinner, I might just have a bit of fruit for lunch. Most of the time, though, I make my food at home and I’m in control of what goes in my mouth. Balance.

I think I’m a carboholic. If there is a box of pizza in the house, it’s hard for me to leave uneaten slices when they could be in my belly. Likely the biggest change in the way I eat has been to control my carb intake. I’ve reduced bread quite a bit (difficult because my home-baked sourdough rocks), and pizza and all those bread-based items. The good folks at Il Paisano, our local pizza joint, used to get my business weekly but I haven’t had a pizza delivered since before Easter. I have had an occasional pizza slice but well less than a full pizza in total in all that time. I still have rice, but at home I cook red cargo rice rather than white rice and it turns out I really like it.

Our bamboo steamer is my friend. I steam tons of kale, broccoli, asparagus, and various tasty greens I get at a local Asian market. I never say no to a second helping of steamed veggies, which I typically eat with a dash of soy sauce or hot sauce as a condiment. I love these steamed veggies! The increase in veggie consumption compensates for less carbs and less meats. As well, I have more lean cuts like chicken breast and I try to have fish or squid once each week.

I never skip breakfast anymore – berries or fruit and some granola and 1% milk. I’m convinced if you want to lose weight you need to consume some calories in the morning. Last weekend I was away and ate breakfasts and dinners out, included fried breakfasts like sausage and eggs and home fries and toast. I didn’t eat lunches though, and my weight stayed consistent.

I should also say I don’t measure foods, ever. My goal has been to find a way of eating that enables me to gradually shed pounds without ever weighing or measuring portions. That would make me crazy and the I’d be back to my carboholic ways in no time flat if I tried to do that. The only thing I measure is me. I seem to have been able to change how I eat in general. I don’t obsess about it and rarely talk about it, but at this point, I’m happy with how and what I eat and there really isn’t anything I crave.

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