Lifestyle Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

22 Oct

One of the key things about my experience is that I have to fairly significantly reinvent my lifestyle. Thankfully, I wasn’t one of those “supersize me” guys, eating fast food and McDonald’s for every other meal, and hot dogs with cheese fries on the others. I was already eating somewhat healthy, although my portions were significantly out of whack, and when I’d good for fun on a weekend, the style most certainly tracked to decadently delicious foods, versus “smart, healthy and full of flavor.”

I knew going into the procedure that if they found something, it would be “bye-bye Vienna Beef” and “hello Whole Foods” for the most part. I would need to learn healthier ways of snacking, healthier ways of eating main courses, lunches, etc. and since I really want to lose weight, It would be high time for me to get way serious about it. So, here we are, and I’m way serious about it.

I thought about returning to Weight Watchers – it is a fantastic program, and I have had success on it, as have others. Jen, the office administrator in iCrossing’s Chicago office lost 50 lbs on Weight Watchers over the last year – she looks (and feels by what she reports) fantastic. My friend “1.1”, who is “GASHM”‘s wife, lost nearly 40 lbs on it several years ago and has successfully kept it off. That said, I wanted to make changes that didn’t feel so much like a diet. This time, rather than going on a diet to lose weight, I’m going on a not-diet because, well, I want to live. Of course a major side effect of this will be weight loss. I want to lose 50 lbs – since the day of my surgery, I have dropped about 8 lbs., and I hope the rate continues.

The thing I think I’m going to enjoy the most, though, is the reinvention of my cooking. I’m one of those people who always embraces change. While job changes can be stressful, I’ve enjoyed a lot of the ones I’ve made, headed into new and exciting challenges. I’m approaching this cooking reinvention in the same way. It is an opportunity for me to reinvent certain things that I love to make and favorites that I love to eat, into lower fat, lower cholesterol, maximumly-tasty versions of the original. It is also an opportunity for me to head into new territories. Whoever said I’d be madly munching on kale chips and liking them like I LOVE potato chips would have been fitted with a straight jacket, but here I am. Stew, the guy that loves to joke about bacon, cook ridiculously decadent things like “Ultimate Mac and Cheese” and “You had me at BACON Spaghetti Sauce” is dabbling in things like VEGAN cooking. Yes, that shift you felt in the force was that news. My friend Molly, who is Professor Troutstream’s wife, loaned me a stack of vegan cookbooks, and you know, there’s tons of stuff in there for me to cook, and looking at the ingredients and the techniques, I know the results will be tasty, while of course also being healthy.

I don’t plan, at this point anyway, to become a vegan, like Bill Clinton did after he had a major recurrence of his coronary artery disease after his bypass surgery. If it comes to that, well, it will come to that. But I do absolutely intend to start dabbling in it. I’ll be eating lots more fish, lots less beef and pork (sorry Iowa …), and well, also less things like cheese. Having grown up in the cheese business with my dad being head of the company that makes Maytag Blue Cheese, that’s one change that’s hard to admit. But … it’s gotta happen.

Tonight, the Bears are on Monday night football. I intend to serve chicken “wings” in the fine football tradition – but instead of deep fried, skin on wings, I’ve found a recipe for nearly fat-free buffalo sauce, and it will go on grilled chicken breast strips. It’s going to be good, because I’ll make it that way. I’ll serve it with a yogurt-based blue cheese dressing (instead of the full-fat version made with mayo and sour cream) and that will be tasty! I’m looking forward to new foods and ideas to make with my barbecues, my smoker, my ovens and more. Yes, once my weight comes down a bunch more and I start hitting some fitness goals, I will reward myself on occasion but it will be just that – rewards- not the norm.

So onwards into the new territory. Reinvention rocks. Wish I had done it sooner, but … that’s OK. I’m glad I’m here to do it. I’ll let you know how the wings come out!

As you were,

Stew

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