Whenever I display a picture of a man with a big belly, it isn’t me. I won’t allow a picture of my belly to be taken, ever. In a relatively short time from now, however, that may no longer be the case because I’m working on deflating what I like to call my “camel’s hump”, a term a friend coined for me back in the 1990s.
I wouldn’t say that I love to eat, but I love to eat good, homemade meals. Unfortunately, the meals I had during the 2012 holidays, from mid-November to the end of December, were as fattening as they were tasty. I don’t even think I ate as much as I felt like I did. Because of how I’d been eating here in the Philippines for the years prior to my vacation, anything more than a few mouthfuls made me full.
The problem is that the food was full of carbohydrates, which quickly turned into fat if I didn’t get enough exercise to burn them off. Call me old-fashioned, but I just couldn’t ignore all the various forms of potatoes and rices, the foods that have the highest concentrations of carbs. Mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, yams and white rice were just some of the things I can remember devouring… oh, and let’s not forget the pumpkin and sweet potato pies.
I kind of figured I’d gain a little weight during this vacation period, the first time being on vacation for those particular holidays since 2006. I just didn’t realize it would be 30 pounds!
The Plan of Attack
First of all, I lost 10 of the pounds I gained before leaving the United States, in the period following Christmas. Second, I’ve been on a strict diet since I returned to the Philippines on February 10th and I know I’ve lost another 10 pounds, but I’m not weighing myself to find out. No, I only need to see the shape of my midsection in the mirror to know when I’m making progress.
I’m eating grains for breakfast (oatmeal and cold cereals) as my primary dietary foothold. I sometimes eat lunch, but only when I’ve been out and about a lot and I know I’ve expended more energy than breakfast provided.
I drink pineapple juice after breakfast every day. In fact, I buy a 24-can case of it every time I go shopping for food. Dinner, which I partake in before the sun goes down, is a completely different story.
Dinner could be anything I dream up, but it’s still as lean as I can make it without it tasting bad. If I feel lazy, I’ll have one or two ham and cheese sandwiches, without any condiments, slapped between two slices of bread. At other times I’ll prepare tuna macaroni, beef macaroni, cheeseburgers or hot dogs, or even a chopped salad.
The beef I buy is either 80 percent or 90 percent lean, depending on where I get it. I use imported Angus beef slices (which I think are 80 percent lean) and cook them on my George Foreman grill when I make cheeseburgers, so that all the fat drips to the drip pan. The local beef I buy is 90 percent lean and that’s what I use for the beef macaroni.
I use lettuce everywhere, and I must go through four or five heads a month. I eat fruit randomly, whether it be apples or bananas or something else. I don’t “shop” for them since I can grab them just about anywhere here at any time I have a hankering for them. Some of the fruit I eat grows from the trees that have branches hanging in my back yard, like star apples and green mangoes.
Sacrificing Quantity, not Quality
This is the main ingredient of my diet – reduced quantity. I eat small amounts of food and only when I’m hungry. I’ve been known to skip lunch or dinner or both, simply because I wasn’t hungry at the time.
I will not eat potatoes or rice until I’m under 200 pounds again, preferably not until I reach my optimum weight. I don’t even know what that is at my age (52), but I’m sure I’ll enjoy being at or near that weight.
By the way, I take a multivitamin (Centrum Silver) every day just in case I’m missing something in my diet. It doesn’t matter if I eat the right foods or not. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Did I Mention Exercise?
No, I didn’t. I really can’t exercise the way I’d like to exercise or the way I did back when I was in the military. I have the remnants of injuries in both shoulders, my left knee and my left ankle. Sometimes, just walking a anything more than a short distance can cause pain I don’t like to feel. I also get cramps in my right foot, for unknown reasons, on random occasions and when I do, it hurts to walk on that foot.
Some of my aches and pains will resolve themselves (or become much less noticeable) when I reach my desired “shape”, which isn’t the shape of fat hanging from my midsection, and this is the primary purpose behind my desire to get back to where I was more than 15 years ago.