CHAPTER 15: Daddy vs. The South Beach Diet
Wait, what…where did chapters 12, 13, and 14 go?!? And where have I been? Let me apologize and say that my Daddyhood adventure has been very…consuming. Like the light-headedness caused by carb-deprivation, those chapters (and others) swam in and out of my mind, but never made it pen…er, blog. I hope to go back and include them, but for now I’ve leaped ahead and decided to share about my latest adventure in a day-by-day account. Or at least try.
The South Beach Diet. My wife’s idea, really. Yes, I’m a chubby-hubby. Yes, I would like to lose weight. Yes, I do want to grow old with you. YES, I DO want to see my grandchildren. NO, I DO NOT want to have a HEART-ATTACK! FINE…TELL ME ABOUT THIS DIET!!!
For those, such as I until about a week ago, who are not in the know, the South Beach Diet (henceforth referred to as SBC, not the Southern Baptist Convention) has 3 phases. The first lasts 2 weeks where you essentially cut all sugars and carbs out. The second phase re-introduces carbs and fruits slowly, and you continue the diet until you reach your target weight. Phase 3 is the rest of your life after that. I presently find myself in the lovely Phase 1 stage, about which I must opine.
SBC-Phase 1 (The weeks that will live in Infamy)
I don’t like tomato juice. V8, no thanks. But I’ve been informed that I MUST drink a small glass of this…stuff, every morning to get in my required vegetables. Juice in one hand, glass of water in the other. The first sip goes down…mixed. Oh, how the highway of communication between my brain and tongue has become congested with traffic. Overload! Stop! Okay, how much did I get down? Ugh, only half. A little water to “cleanse” the palette. More…nope can’t drink as much. Ack! Cough! Water.
Okay, sips or just go for the Chug? Nope, starting to feel that sourness in my mouth before I throw up. Better do sips. Juice…water. Juice…water. JUICE…WATER! Done. Why am I panting? And why is my brain telling me there is something familiar about the taste?
The rest of the day goes pretty good. I feel full after breakfast, have my morning snack. Lunch is a taco salad, sans tortilla chips (sniff, sniff). Doing pretty good. Hmm…maybe I’ll make it after all. Afternoon snack. Finish work and off to the hospital to visit my mom. She’s in getting some precautionary tests run. I visit her room. Floor 5. I talk to her for about 30 minutes. And then my bowels let me know its time to pay the piper. I’m sure my mom didn’t notice me leap to me feet as if I’d been stuck by a cattle prod. And I’m sure she didn’t notice how I didn’t sit any more, even with the nice comfy chair, just right-there. She might have noticed my occasional pained look, and my difficulty focusing on what she was saying. She probably did notice my quick summation to the conversation and my near sprint out the door tossing back promises to call later.
Why yes, she did have a bathroom in her room. But I was not about to have a “come to Jesus moment” in there. Race down the hall. There has to be a public rest room on this floor, right. Elevators…no. Look for a water fountain… always by the water fountain…except here! Dang! There it is! Oh, NO! It’s a single-seater with a door right on the hallway. No better than my mom’s room. Okay, elevator, elevator. Gurgle…uhhh. Not good. I get in and suddenly find I can’t push a button. The moment passes and I try to read the directory on the elevator wall to find a floor with the greatest chance of a many stalled, public restroom. Eyes…watering. Vision…swimming. The elevator starts to move! What? I didn’t do that! Quick, re-focus! Let’s see, let’s see..ah, hah! Cafeteria! Ground floor! Jab the “G” button. Please Lord, don’t let any else get on…
To sum it all up: I made it to the restroom, but was in there so long I almost missed supper and coaching soccer practice. Needless to say, Day 1, I have my doubts. I think my issue was the change in diet combined with the taco meat and salad. Oh, what joys may Day 2 bring…
Tomato juice goes down slightly better…but my brain is still telling me I’ve had this before. Not a chance! I don’t feel very hungry after the juice, and the obligatory glass of water, so I put off my eggs and Canadian bacon until I get to work. Off I go.
Work passes by smoothly, except we have a staff meeting which is scheduled for 3 hours. Thank goodness we have a break and I can get back to my desk for the morning snack. Snacks are important on this diet. They say if you’re not snacking, you’re not doing it right. Sounds good, except that a snack is small, like cheese stick or 20 peanuts. Starving by 11, so the cheese stick snack goes down fast. Back to the meeting.
The meeting ran past lunch, so we go out to eat. Great, just great. Surrounded by others eating any carb and sugar they want. Can’t wait. Don’t want to say no because a) I want to be a team player and b) it’s free food. So I go and find the restaurant had a low carb menu, which was a plus for my sanity. I had a chopped sirloin covered in cojack, with a salad. The waitress brings out a plate of garlic bread and guess who she sets it right in front of…no, not him: Me! So move it as far away as I can, and as quickly as I can. The meal was surprisingly filling. I got to the end of the full, but not stuffed, knowing that somehow I was losing weight. Maybe I can make it 2 weeks.
Abnormally tired at the end of the day. But the evening went smooth, except for the cravings that swam in and out of my brain like a desert (dessert?) mirage until I fell asleep.
Hi juice. I can’t get used to you. Maybe some day I’ll get you down in one chug. Oh, look what’s for breakfast…eggs and Canadian bacon. Didn’t see that one coming.
Work is fine. Have my snack. Lunch is the soup I didn’t eat yesterday: A spicy chicken and bean soup, kind of a cross between a white chili and a tortilla soup. Very tasty! No crackers or chips to go with it, though. Sniff.
Ugh, an hour later and I’m hungry. 20 peanuts ain’t going very far. By quitting time, I’m starving. I’ll stop at Wal-Mart on they way home and get some Beef Jerkey. That’s legal on this diet, right? It’s just meat. So I walk into the store, and never before had the chip and cookie aisles looked so…heavenly. Time seemed to slow a little. But I kept walking. Found the jerky…check the ingredients…CRAP! Sugar! Awwww, MAN! Sugar in the meat! Now I’m weeping on the inside as I stumble out of the store and head home. I did have some sugar-less gum, which did get consumed like candy on the way home…
I’m a little grumpy when I get home…especially when dinner won’t be ready for a while. And I’m cross with my wife, which never ends well for me. (Sorry, dear.) And to top it off, she is short some ingredients, so guess where I get to go…TO WAL-MART! I want supper, so I go. I walk through the store in a zombie like state. Get home and something weird happens: I take two steps into the kitchen and suddenly feel my head swim. My next two steps feel like I’m walking 1 foot off the floor. It’s a new sensation for me. I had to grab a chair to steady myself. I know it’s the diet, but don’t know why.
Had a bit of a minor melt-down last night with my awesome wife, who has been kind enough to be making all the meals for me. We were talking about my meals for today, and I said, “Wait, don’t tell me. Let me guess what breakfast will be. Hmmm. Let’s see. I bet it’ll be eggs and some kind of lean meat. And the next day, breakfast will be eggs and some kind of meat. And the day after that it’ll be EGGS and SOME KIND OF MEAT!!!!!!” She only had to smack me once to snap me out of it.
Tomato juice. I feel like I’m unfairly punishing myself. And what’s with that annoying feeling that I’ve tasted this stuff before? No, way! Water to wash it down. And now for my…my…eggs…and some kind of meat.
Lunch is a salad (and tomorrow will be a salad, and the next day will be salad, AND THE DAY AFTER THAT WILL BE………sorry.) with salmon. Pretty tasty. But I’m hungry again an hour later. Kind of annoying. Plus, I’m light-headed at different points during the day.
Tonight I’m doing research about the caffeine thing. You’re only allowed to have about 1 cup of a caffeinated beverage. I like coffee. I like my coffee in the morning. I brew a small pot and take it with me in a thermos. I’ve been doing this for 5 years. Now I can have only 1 cup, which is about a 1/3 of what I normally have. I didn’t think that would work, so we made a half-regular, half-decaf mix. Okay, that gets me 2 cups. I’d buy decaf at work, but nobody makes it. So I research, and do find that the reason to limit caffeine is that caffeine causes the liver (?) to produce insulin, which is what you’re trying to get back under control with Phase 1 of the diet. Bummer for me. But wait, a short article, including a quote from the good Doctor Agatston. It basically states that additional research shows that the amount of insulin produced from caffeine is so small, it doesn’t really cause a problem with the diet. So, if you like coffee (and I do), go ahead and have some more. Just watch yourself and see how your body reacts. Check for cravings it might produce. Awesome! Thank you Internet!
At the end of the day, I helped my mom move an old couch out of her house and a new one in. I was a bit concerned over how tired I felt. And, I wondered if I would be feeling physically weakened by the diet. We moved the couches without too much issue. I did feel a bit weaker, and felt more strained than usual, but still survived. Interesting…probably just all in my head.
I had the work a double-shift yesterday, so I was out and about from 9 PM until after 4 AM. I was really concerned about hunger and being tired, because I felt exhausted when I started. So, before heading too far out, I got a large cup of coffee at McDonald’s. I knew it’d be an hour before it was cool enough to drink, and I made sure to drink a bottle of water before that. I watched as the lady poured the last of the pot into my cup. “Oh, no!” I joked, “The bottom of the pot!” Without the slightest smile, she gave me the cup and mono-toned the obligatory, “Have a nice night.”
At about 1 AM, I was hungry and not sure what to do about it. Out of desperation, I found a Wal-Mart. I wandered the aisles in vain, dodging shelf-stalkers. Sugar-free ice cream treat? Naw. Can’t do the Jerky! I went for the candy aisle and found the sugar-free section. So much money for half the candy as a regular bag. I was wondering what to do and happened to turn around and see some sugar-free fudge-stripped cookies. I stared at the package. Oh, it looked good and not so good at the same time. I read the label and saw the warning about over-consumption causing diarrhea. Well, how many cookies are in a serving? 2! But I bought them anyway, along with a Coke-zero. I had the 2 cookies and suddenly wished I hadn’t. They were okay, but my stomach seem to reject them. Oh, well. The Coke didn’t go down any better. The good news is I wasn’t hungry anymore.
I was awakened the next morning to my wife calling me a cheater. She found the cookies and because they had flour, they weren’t on our diet. Oh, well. The rest of the day was a blur. Tomato juice, eggs with meat, salad with meat, and vegetable with meat for supper. Oh, the joy of repitition!
My only problem came when doing some yard work in the sun. I was moving some rocks around, for about 30 minutes. My wife came out and was talking to me, so I stopped. A few minutes later, I was nauseous and light-headed. I immediately went inside, drank a big glass of water, and lay down. They say in Phase 1 of this diet you lose mostly water weight. I think I over-exerted myself without keeping an eye on my water in-take for the day. Dangerous territory, especially when working outside, building up a heavy sweat.
While drinking my TJ, my brain finally connected the taste on my tongue to the memory in my mind. Spaghetti sauce. Yeah, I know, NO DUH! I don’t know why it took me so long, but I now I know what it feels like to drink spaghetti sauce (meatless, of course!). Oh, joy.
It was Saturday, so I was a little concerned with cravings and having food around. But, not to worry, my beautiful filled in the time with canning peaches! Nothing like canning peaches on a hot day to drive any carb cravings from your mind.
Lunch was huge Portobello stuffed mushrooms. Very yummy.
The rest of the day went by fairly smoothly until supper. My wife had to work that evening, so she had me make chicken quesadilla’s for the girls. I LOVE chicken quesadilla’s. The smell almost broke me. So I took some the shredded cheese and fried it up and ate it. It was good, but not the same. Oh, well.
Today I learned how grumpy I can get on this diet when I am hungry. Today was church. So get all the kids up, drink my juice, eat my eggs and meat, and off to service. We get home at about 12:30 and don’t eat until after 1 PM. A grumpy me came out to play that I wasn’t expecting. I guess it’s one thing to have cravings while you’re full. You can tell yourself, “Forget those cravings, you fool. You’re stuffed!” But when you’re hungry and have cravings…well. You don’t understand the power of the dark side of the Force!
The day went fairly good. I even had energy from somewhere to be able to do quite a bit of housework. Maybe I’m over the “always tired” phase.
‘The days are starting to blend together, as far as food in concerned. The choices have become so repetitive as to become routine. Is my body/mind finally accepting the diet? I doubt it. I made a full pot of coffee today. I felt like I needed it. Monday morning and all. But about mid-morning, my stomach was getting upset with the coffee. Tomorrow I’ll keep it down to 2 cups.
Nothing much to report. I survived it. Has occasional light-headedness, had cravings. Tried to satisfy them with cucumber slices. Oh, I better be losing weight!
The juice went down in 3 gulps. It only caused a slight headache and one nasty burp. My brain is finally beginning to accept the taste, but it’s not happy about it. I now have to force the thoughts “You’re drinking spaghetti sauce! You’re drinking, DRINKING pizza sauce!” out of my brain while the glass is tilted, though. Breakfast was quiche, which was yummy, but I’ve now become numb to eggs. Not wanting them, not hating them, just numb. Oh, well, only 5 more days to go, right?!? RIGHT!?!
Went back to the half and half coffee mix, and only took half with me and I did just fine. Maybe I’m adjusting to that, too.
I was starving by lunch time. I still can’t figure out if that’s part of it. Lunch was an awesome soup my wife made, with chicken breast pieces. But the best part was the broth. Chicken broth mixed with sautéed onions, minced garlic, cilantro, diced tomatoes, and black beans. Yummy! She says it was really easy. Ask her for the recipe!
Nothing much new today. I could barely choke down the TJ. That was different. I must be regressing in that department. I was hungry most of the afternoon. And I don’t feel like I’m losing any weight. Boo! And I thought hit me that no matter how little weight I’ve lost, I still can’t eat whatever I want at the end of this phase. Boo-hoo.
Well, it’s been awhile and in case you couldn’t have guessed, I fell off the SBC wagon. I simply could not take it anymore.
Bless you, those for whom it works.
I did do a diet, and I did lose 30 pounds. Simply counting calories and using the My Fitness Pal app/website. And a lot of exercise. It really is more about a lifestyle change than a diet. More of a journey. What I struggled with most was always feeling hungry. And I wasn’t always, it just seemed like it. But I was hungry often and had to mentally battle myself a lot. It forced me confront self-control issues I didn’t fully realize I had. I was surprised about how desperate I felt when I allowed myself to feel hungry for a few hours.
But, alas, I’ve gained a lot of it back. Roughly half. I had a feeling I would. It was great having that much weight off, but I was beginning to enter into a zombie state of mind. I honestly think I ran up against The Law of Diminishing Returns. I’d like to get back there, but haven’t been able to push myself again. But I know now that I CAN do it, because I have done it before.