Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Cravings Have Hit!

Any of you who have been reading my blog over the past couple of months knows that I started this thing on March 9, and for the first month I concentrated on working out and restricting overall calories each day as a means of losing weight.

I was happy with the results -- 21 pounds lost that first month -- and after taking a couple of days off from the diet, decided to change things up for the second 30 days. Instead of making it about total calories and taking an off day every week or so, I decided to simply eat clean for 30 days. No sweets, no high-fat food, a minimal of processed food. Just clean eating.

Yesterday (Friday) was day 12 of that, and for the first time I found myself really, really craving the junk food. I kept thinking of Big Macs, pizza, hot wings (and yes, a long time ago I extolled the virtues of tacos, even calling them my favorite food, but the truth is there is NOTHING I like better than good hot wings. In my mind, the perfect restaurant would be a combination of East Coast Wings and Taco Bell).

It was even worse last night. We were at the grocery store and I saw boxes of popcorn, and suddenly was craving popcorn. When my son put a pizza in the oven, I really, really want a piece (or five).

I didn't eat any of that stuff, but it's been along time since I had food cravings that bad.

My son thinks that will get worse as the 30 days goes forward, I'm wondering if it'll get easier -- the further out from having eaten anything like that, the less I should want it, right?

I suppose this is the very reason many weight loss programs include an off day. I know the old Weight Watchers (when it actually promoted healthy food choices instead of calories and points) always suggested an off meal each week. Body For Life suggests an off day each week.

I understand the psychology of that idea -- if you can have anything you want once a week, or for a whole day each week, that makes it more likely you can stick with a strict diet plan the rest of the week.

That makes sense. But from a practical standpoint, it can wreak havoc on your hopes to lose weight and get healthy. It really doesn't matter how strict you are the rest of the week, a really bad off day can destroy half of your work. What do you think three or four Krispy Kremes, a Big Mac and large fries, a big bowl of buttery popcorn, and a dozen hot wings (or three pieces of Pizza Hut pizza) do for your weight loss goals? That might sound like a lot, and it is, but it's not really too extreme. I suspect there are a lot of folks who eat that way several days a week. I know, as an off-day from a diet, I could pack all of that away, and then some.

Like I said, all of that hard work in the gym, the discipline in sticking to a healthy eating plan for six days, and then you do that? There goes half your weight loss for the week. Even forgetting the fat loss, do you know how bad each of those things are for you?

In my case in particular, not only can an off day be a disaster, but on many of my past weight loss efforts, I'll find myself taking an off day one week, then the next week (particularly if I'm doing well with the fat loss) I take another off day, but expand it a little. I might start eating badly on Friday night before an off Saturday, or take off half of Saturday before a Sunday off day.

Going strict for 30 days, while a little harder when it comes to not satisfying those random cravings, certainly makes life easier in many ways. A slice of pizza? Just one? Nope. Just a handful of popcorn? Sorry, does't fit. Just a taste (or two, or maybe three) of the mashed potatoes? I mean, it'll still work for total calories for the day. Sorry, that doesn't fly either.

See, it's easy. There's really no gray areas -- it's either part of the eating plan or it's not. Once committing to 30 days of clean eating, certain foods just don't fit, no matter what the total calorie intake is, because the 30 days isn't about total calories, it's not even solely about a certain amount of fat loss, it's simply about sticking to a healthy, clean eating plan.

Okay, enough of my soapbox for the day I suppose.

On Friday, I did no cardio (a planned break), but did back and biceps

Seat machine row
130 pounds -- 1 set, 10 reps
180 pounds -- 2 sets, 8 reps each

Wide-grip seated rows (first time I've tried these)
150 pounds -- 2 sets, 8 reps each

Lat Pulldown (with nautilus machine, less stress on the forearm)
130 pounds -- 2 sets, 10 reps each

Bent-over barbell rows
60 pounds -- 1 set, 10 reps each

Biceps -- Okay, I'm still not really doing anything here because of the forearm issue. I did one token set that wasn't so much about working out as it was just making sure I haven't forgot how to do them.
Curlbar curls
40 pounds -- 1 set, 10 reps

Machine weight crunch
115 pounds -- 2 sets, 15 reps

Eating for the day
Eggs -- 1 whole, 2 whites
Banana -- 1/3 of a banana (leftovers)

Lunch -- a big salad
Seasoned chicken breast (no sodium seasoning) -- 3.5 ounces
3 olives
1/4 cup cheese
Mixed lettuce/spinach
Fat free Greek yogurt (no, that wasn't part of the salad).


Taco soup -- 2 big bowls
Note: My wife makes this with black beans, chicken breast, tomatoes, corn, and some seasonings. We got the idea from Applebees. Thing is, Applebees' version has more than 240 calories in a small bowl. Our version has just 95 calories in a big bowl. Another example of how eating at a restaurant is almost always gonna be bad for you.

Taco soup -- a big bowl (this stuff's really, really good)

Totals for the day
1,260 calories
26 grams fat
143 grams protein

That's it for the day. Thanks for stopping by!

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