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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)

Day 1:

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…

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Day 2:

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.

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Day 3:

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.

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Day 4:

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.

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Day 5

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.

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Day 6

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.

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Day 7

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.

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Day 8

‘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!

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Day 9

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!

Day 10

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.

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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.

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selling a house

Hello again 🙂

So, we have been working hard at getting our house ready to sell.  Talk about tough in this economy.  First off, I love my house and I want to move, but  I don’t.  When we purchased it, our house was 600 square feet.  In that 600 square feet were two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom, and an “eat in” kitchen (not sure how we even fit a table in there to tell you the truth.)  Since then, we expanded by adding a huge eat in kitchen with a bit of bonus space as well as a master suite and laundry room.  That all brought it up to about 1400 square feet.  The upstairs bedrooms are on the small side, but not so bad as we are looking at other houses for sale.  Then there is the location.  As you have gathered from this blog, my girls swim competitively and one of them plays soccer.  This all is based at out YMCA that is literally down the street from us.  Oh yes, and our street is a tree-lined, quiet street, with little to moderate traffic (rarely noisy trucks, etc.) 

So, why would I want to leave the kitchen I designed and the house that my girls can walk to swim from?  We need more space and we can not add more onto it.  The lot is huge (double deep), but with the slope we have done all we can without going to a second story and our foundation isn’t built for that.  What we really need is a school room.  School takes up so much space that we just can not seem to contain it here.  It’s always getting stacked here and stored there.  There are “wants” too.  I would really like the older two to have their own room (don’t even mention it to the twins, they think that sounds scary.)   With schooling at home, it isn’t as if they don’t see each other all day…they DO see each other all day and at age 10 they would like to have their own space.  Besides one is a messy and the other is a neat-freak.

So, if you live in my area and want to buy a well-loved 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home let me know!  If you know of a 4 bedroom 2 bathroom with a study, extra formal room, or whatever that we could use for school…Let me know!

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soaking up the sun

Today was the last practice for summer swim.  It was supposed to be the last swim lesson for the twins as well, but they have a make-up lesson on Tuesday.  It has been so hot this week, I am sure the girls loved being in the pool. 

This is how we always enter the pool: holding hands and at least one wedgie

Nice dive!

Once we are done with Champs this weekend (final swim meet for the league) we have a couple weeks break until swim.  I’m looking forward to staying home a few days 🙂

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Getting home from our trip was rough: illness, school, extra work hours, etc.  They all added up to something having to give and the photos are what had to give.  However, now the sun is shining, there is not a fever to be found in the house, and I do not go back to work again until Friday so I am catching up on what I do have and sad for the days I missed.  It is what it is, though, and I am good with that.

A display from the North American bird room in the Museum of Natural History.  This place is massive!  When we first got there, I thought it would be very crowded, I was wrong.  The entryway and admission room were packed, absolutely packed, but the various exhibits were not too bad at all.  Being a rainy day in NYC, I expected the crowd, so you can imagine how pleased we were when we got to the mineral room and could stop and read about the displays, taking our time with what interested us and not feeling pressured by a crowd to keep moving.

Hershey Pennsylvania was a decent stop along the way.  They weren’t crowded being a Tuesday at noon and the “tour” was entertaining.  It gave the girls a chance to run around a good bit and I found a bar of Lavender and Blueberry Dark Chocolate….yum!

Welcome home, a mid-west Spring can bring all sorts of things.  The next morning we woke to a blanket of white.  I wasn’t feeling that one so well, then the fevers started in, plus working a couple 10 hour days….well, I won’t start in on all that again. 

I will be putting in three long days this weekend as well.  I know I mentioned it before, but please be sure to tip your server well on Easter….I know I would rather be at church with my family on Sunday, sitting down to a nice meal together afterwards.  I am better many of my fellow servers would as well.  At last count, our little small-town social club that I work at part-time has 140 reservations and I am guessing it will be around 160-75 by the time Sunday rolls around.   Not only am I serving, but I am helping with the dessert station and I am looking forward to creating another beautiful display.  Oh yes, and a baby shower for 55 people on Saturday.  The money will come in handy.  My mom is feeling “the mouse” call her name and I am sure we will be heading south before school is out.  Life is good!

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Our first day in the city was beautiful!  Sun, breeze, cool enough for a jacket, but comfortable.  We took the Staten Island Ferry round trip for some great views and a nice chance to discuss our plans for the day.

The subways were a bit of a learning curve, but we figured it out.  It helps to read the service notice posters…that would have helped a bit on the couple occasions we flew on through what we thought was our next stop (that we wanted to get off on, of course.) 

This was free and the girls loved it.  You do have to call ahead for tickets and specific time to go.  Worth it if you think you will  need to let the kids run a little bit free for awhile.  It has several levels of learning about technology all hands on.  We did a news broadcast, open heart surgery, programmed a robot, and played virtual games and instruments.  Highly reccomend this place.

Grand Central Station was so beautiful, but the lighting for photos was awful.  I had to include this one, though.  The mural of the stars on the ceiling was so beautiful, a neat greenish-bllue.   Next to the stone work on the left, you will see a small grey/black  rectangle going into the mural.  Apparently when the city went smoke-free, they did a huge rehab on the interior of grand central.  They left this patch nasty as a reminder of what the smoke can do to historical buildings….or so my sister tells me.   The stone work in this building, the lighting, everything was so very beautiful.  I really wish I could try to get in there during a better time for light and hence photos.

What would a trip to the city be without a stop in Times Square?  This was very neat, you see it so much on TV and what-not.  It’s huge, bright, and the M&M’s were tasty. 

We did quite a bit more that day, but trying to keep ahold of the girls and the feeling of not knowing exactly where I was at kept me from pulling out my camera.  Day two later today.

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A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

We all need a friend like that, what a blessing it is to have one!

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6/365 off

I hate that it happened so soon into my 365 project, but today was just an off day.  School was like pulling teeth.  My back is killing me for some reason.  Food wasn’t turning out right.  Running errands took twice the time it was supposed to.  To top it all off, my post for today has been held up due to a link issue.  

I will not give up.  This photo was not taken today, in fact it was taken last week, but I love it and felt the need to post something.  Us gals all got a little at home foot spa one day and I loved how the little one here held on for dear life.  It remained this way for most of the soak.  I guess I am not used to my girls sitting still so long! 

The photo feels grainy to me.  It was shot at ISO: 1000 which seems to really push my camera with no flash.   But I just can’t help but like it.  The composition is bad (too many lines, way too much clutter) and the exposure feels off to me as well, though I am not sure how.  Lots to learn, but that is okay… I like learning! 

Tomorrow I hope to post todays photo, I’m kind of excited about it though most of you will just roll your eyes at me.

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