Absence makes the waist smaller.
Removing. Restricting. Eliminating. Withdrawing. These are not kind verbs in their own right and adding them to my nutritional vocabulary has been stinging.
You may have read my article, Absence makes the liver…sadder? that chronicled the start of the process of me and the Burrito (aka, the fiance) eliminating alcohol, sugar and carbs for 30 days. It’s been over a month now and since we are still waist-deep in vegetables, coconut milk and pea protein, I thought I would provide an update.
As a reminder, Here were the major issues I needed to combat:
- I kinda love my processed foods. Chips, cookies, aspartame, cheese in a jar (love you queso!) and any other bad idea in a box that crossed my path.
- I love sugar. Chocolate, Skittles, Starburst, Hazelnut creamer, donuts. Sugar is my crack.
- My love of wine and Gin. Too many empty calories and my wallet weeps for the money washed down each bottle.
Now, let me just say, I have never really had to work hard to lose weight before. I have been thin most of my life, have eaten fairly healthy and have been working out since I was sixteen years old. But, along with all the other joyful presents that age 41 brings, losing weight is now harder. It doesn’t help that I have snarfed my way through engagement bliss eating pizza, cheeseburgers, chips and pounds of chocolate. Living in NYC provides options beyond one’s imagination and I have taken well advantage of that.
The Burrito has stuck with me through this, being part sweet supporter, part ridiculous drill sargeant. Working together with someone is so much easier than doing it alone.
I have lost a solid 6 pounds. The Burrito has lost 14. Of course he has, because he is a man and they are annoying when it comes to their easy weight loss. Do I sound bitter?
Anyway, down to the nitty gritty. Here is what we did to eliminate these vices and how we got through it.
First off, let me show you what one week of groceries looks like for us now, every week. (This does not include the dairy or nuts or seaweed snacks that we eat as well.) As you can see, my cat thinks he wants vegetables, but he doesn’t (he confuses oregano for catnip.)
We eat all of it, too. We juice using beets, kale, cucumbers, apples, fresh ginger and carrots. Every night for dinner, we prepare 2 to 3 sides of veggies. Produce does not go bad in this house.
This is how we start off every morning. Protein shakes consisting of Pea protein, vegetable protein, coconut milk, kale, honey, frozen dark cherries and a shot of espresso. And a zillion supplements that the Burrito got from a nutritionist at a Medical Spa- everything from probiotics to neutralize the bacteria in our guts to Choline to repair our drunken livers.
Lunches and snacks consist mostly of salads, 2-3 ounces of turkey or chicken lunchmeat with string cheese and fruit, plain Greek yogurt with honey and cinnamon and 28 g of walnuts. Yes, we weigh everything as well. Calories are hidden in everything, and when you think you can just round something up or down, that’s where you get into trouble. In lieu of bread, we use Boston Bibb lettuce as wraps and some lower carb tortillas.
We experimented with cauliflower. Now, I am not a fan of this bland vegetable that reminds me of dirty gym socks (so does Saganaki cheese, so I have this thing about gym socks. Not sure why) but it was our only alternative to flour.
We made a cauliflower “crust” pizza. Yeah. I know what you’re thinking, and you would be correct. It wasn’t great. Pizza is one of my favorite foods, so it wasn’t the slice of pie I was looking for.
Now, we did make “fried” chicken with cauliflower as the base, and that was actually pretty good. I would welcome any suggestions for future recipes using cauliflower as a replacement for flour.
Roasted artichokes are a staple now. In case you didn’t know, it’s so easy to do, a monkey could make them. Therefore, so can I.
Simple directions: Cut the base off, open the leaves, drizzle olive oil and fresh lemon juice inside and out. Put either a clove of garlic in the middle or crushed garlic all around inside the leaves. Sprinkle with sea salt and double wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 425° for 1 hour. Amazing.
Who knew I could be this domestic?
We didn’t have any alcohol for 25 days. This was pretty tough. We truly believed that we would lose all our friends and never go out again. We were pleasantly surprised when, wait for it…we actually had fun while sober! I know, crazy, right? We went out with friends one night and they all just happened to not be drinking much either, so we spent an evening playing “Catch Phrase” and drinking hot tea. This may sound like old people kind of fun, but we laughed so hard and had a fantastic time. It’s shocking for all of us.
We went to a couple music shows and didn’t drink. That was a bit harder only because the crowds were kind of annoying and some gin may have made that more palatable.
There were definitely nights that I craved wine. I kind of believe now that it has to do with the sugar. Eliminating sugar has been the hardest for me, and that includes delicious glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.
These days we are only drinking one day during the week and two days on the weekend. And due to our lower tolerance now, we get tipsy off the first glass and have become cheap dates. See how I reunite with wine in my article: Fifty Shades of Red.
I really blew it with the sugar crack addiction on Day 26. We were in D.C. visiting friends and semi-officially off the diet for that weekend. We had drinks and then after dinner, dessert was brought out.
Très Leche cake. We are having this for our wedding cake and it is to die for. This is where it gets really ugly. After consuming far too much champagne and wine that night, my defenses were down and I wolfed down 3 PIECES of cake. THREE.
It gets better. The next morning, we were all hungover and brought out the remaining cake after breakfast and I proceeded to eat another piece and a half. SHAMEFUL.
I gained a pound just from that weekend.
Let this be a lesson. Sugar crack is wack.
A few words on how I feel about this whole experience. Despite having my favorite delights taken from me, it has been worth it. We sleep so much better. I have more energy. I used to get so tired by 9 pm and want to go to bed. The processed crap I was eating was making me crash and burn. Now I am staying up until almost midnight every night. I get a lot more done and I feel pretty good. I actually crave vegetables and fruit, which is amazing in itself.
We did not cheat for 25 days, but going on maintenance now and treating ourselves to what we “missed out on” during that time is a slippery slope. We both have some more to lose, but it’s more of a lifestyle choice now. I’m hoping we don’t turn into that annoying couple that talks about healthy living all the time, but if someone wants to hear about it, good news-we both love to talk.
I am going to allow myself to have a slice of pizza (maybe two) in a couple weeks once I am down a couple more pounds. And I can assure you- it’s not going to be made of cauliflower.
Barbie Donut photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lauralewis23/