Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 10: Room Service Negotiations

I'm down a couple of pounds, but nothing particularly radical is happening. The initial misery has worn off, but finding things to eat is still a lot more work than I'm typically used to. I am no longer able to think "jeez, I'm really hungry" and just grab something from a nearby store or restaurant. No, now I have to scour labels and interrogate servers.

Case in point; for the next three days I'm in San Diego at ComicCon. I'm very lucky to be here, it's a blast, and CBS is doing a ton of stuff that we're able to hitch the GameSpot wagon to in one way or another. It's going to be a lot of fun. What isn't, however, is finding stuff to eat. Today I wasn't able to eat lunch because both the timing and the location didn't allow for it. I ended up munching a gluten-free vaguely apple-flavored breakfast bar thing at 3pm to fend off the hunger pangs. For dinner, I gave up reading menus outside restaurants and went back to the hotel to order room service. Why? Because every restaurant in San Diego has a greeter wearing a short skirt who shoves postcards or menus into your face while asking you if you want to come in for dinner. Walking up 5th Street to the hotel was half a mile of constant harassment.

Room service was an unexpected challenge though.

For a start, the nice lady taking room service orders was...let's be nice and call it "struggling" with the English language. When I told her "I'm allergic to dairy, can you make sure the fish isn't cooked in butter" she sounded so confused I thought she was just going to hang up on me. Eventually, after much explaining I was able to order some salmon, but the process of getting it was painful; "no I can't eat anything with dairy in it. No, no butter. Or anything milk related, no. The sauce has butter in it? OK, so I can't eat that. Yes, that means I don't want the sauce. I do want the fish though. Can you do the fish without the butter and without the sauce? Yes? OK. No, the spinach can't be sauteed in butter either. Why? Because I'm allergic to dairy."

Eventually I got some food. I have no idea if there was actually any dairy in it, but I guess we'll find out in a few hours if I get stomach cramps or something.

Big discovery of the day: Pop Chips Original flavor chips are a) awesome (which I already knew, although I was more partial to the BBQ flavor) b) only have 100 calorie a bag, and more importantly c) are both dairy AND gluten free.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 04: Quinoa

Four days in, and I'm following the diet very strictly, as instructed. I've eaten a lot of egg whites, and a lot of salad. I've eaten so much asparagus that my pee permanently has that obnoxious smell to it. Most of all though I've eaten a lot of quinoa. Endless bowls of fucking quinoa. Grainy, weirdly sprouting, mostly tasteless, oddly textured quinoa. Red quinoa. White quinoa. Quinoa cooked in water. Quinoa cooked in chicken broth. Quinoa with salmon. Quinoa with tuna. Quinoa with chicken.

Tonight, Mrs D asked if I wanted to take the kids out to dinner. And you know what? I do. But I don't want to have to study the menu really closely only to realize that the only thing I can probably order is yet another fucking salad. It's that, or suffer the lengthy negotiations required to ensure that meat or fish isn't cooked in butter, and that cheese isn't sprinkled on anything, or that something, somewhere in the meal might have gluten lurking in it.

I'm at a point today where I honestly have no idea what I want to eat, because I really don't want to put any real work into it right now. I've just spent all day at work working, and now I'd really rather just chill out and try to satiate the aching hunger that I feel every night.

And so far, no weight loss. Of course.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 01: And we're off...

Here we go... Hopefully the next four weeks will lead to some positive physical changes, which will in turn have some kind of psychological halo effect. I'm not depressed or anything, but spending a whole year (give or take a few weeks) with this kind of frustration nagging away in the back of my head has to have been taking its toll whether I was aware of it or not.

The bathroom scale read a depressingly and infuriatingly familiar 206.4 this morning. That's a good 25 pounds porkier than where I want to be. If the nutritionist is right, it'll take a few days for my body to adjust to the absence of allergens in my system and then the inflammation will start to go down. At that point science will start to happen within my innards. My body should decide to let go of a bunch of water its been hanging onto, and my metabolism should change for the better. Quite how all this will manifest itself is a mystery. There's an outside chance I'll spend the next week as a big fat sweaty man with a bladder control issue and narcolepsy. That sounds like fun.

We'll see.

Mrs. D has been wonderfully supportive already; helping me with research and talking to friends that have had similar issues in the past (the gluten thing seems to be quite pervasive, thanks to processed foods stuffing more of it into what we ingest than is healthy). She's also elected to try and join me, for the most part. That said, her attempt at a coconut milk latte this morning was apparently disastrous. I couldn't bring myself to try it, honestly, as it looked a little strange and smelled like that overly flavored nonsense that Starbucks is currently peddling.

Breakfast was painless; egg whites, some veggies, and avocado washed down with black coffee, and then lunch was similarly pleasant, as I brought some leftover quinoa with tuna to work, and followed it with a coconut yogurt thing. If there's one thing that I need to be super-vigilant about, it's making food at home and then storing it so I can bring it to work. Given the food options near the office, I'm pretty much screwed unless I want to eat nothing but salad every day. Honestly, my biggest problem might be snacks. The nutritionist is still adamant that I need to be eating six times a day, and I totally forgot to pack anything to nibble on between meals today. Honestly, I was at a bit of a loss when I stared into the cupboard this morning. Fruit, perhaps? Maybe some of those nut crisp things? Tomorrow I'll be better about it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Countdown to a new lifestyle

Tomorrow, the new diet begins. With regard to my usual routine, I've been pretty lax this weekend. I've not worked out anywhere near as much as I should, and yesterday (Saturday) I played it a little faster and looser than usual with the diet. Knowing that something very strict and difficult to maintain is imminent, I figured I'd just let rip and go with the flow. We had guests for dinner last night, and while I cooked something pretty healthy - I didn't pay quite as much attention to every tiny nutritional detail.

Knowing that tomorrow (Monday) may be the last time I ever drink a latte or eat a "normal" piece of bread is certainly an odd feeling. If I had to pick one of the two potential allergens, I think I'd rather it be gluten than dairy. While working around the gluten content is going to be a colossal pain in the ass, life's little comforts (for me) tend to come from dairy. I don't overdo it by any stretch of the imagination, I'm not gorging on cheese or snarfing down cream buns or anything - but a non-fat latte in the morning is something I really look forward to each day, so I'd rather not go without long-term.

In preparation for the month ahead, I went to Whole Foods yesterday and tried to stock up on appropriately dairy and gluten free foodstuffs. It was more of an undertaking than I was expecting, and I ended up spending over and hour and a half scanning food labels and picking through nutritional info to find things that I'll actually be allowed to eat. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are the easy part, but there are lots of things that you'd expect created for those of a sandal-wearing, hemp-loving persuasion that simply aren't appropriate. Stuff that's dairy free often has gluten in it, and vice versa. I'd been told by a number of friendly vegans that I could peruse concoctions designed for them, and I'd be fine. Not so. Fake meats are packed to the hilt with gluten, it seems. The human equivalents of snausages, while healthy and friendly for vegetable-folk, are totally off the menu for me.

Fortunately, I did make a pleasant discovery; coconut milk, and coconut milk-derived shenanigans. I was unaware (until this weekend) that it's the latest dietary hotness thanks to a marketing campaign spearheaded by the omnipresent supertrainer Jillian Michaels. It (we're told) is the latest "superfood" discovery, thanks to all kinds of "good fats" and there are all kinds of goodies made with it. Lucky for me; I'm a big fan of the stuff. Macaroons and Mounds bars are some of my favorite forbidden goodies, so it's fortunate that the vast majority of coconut milk products have a faint whiff of both about them. There's a brand humbly called "So Delicious" that makes yogurts, milks, and ice cream - and it ain't half bad. Having experimented with a variety of milk alternatives in the past, I'd come to the conclusion that they all tasted like shit. Almond milk is borderline acceptable (sorta...it's all relative) but frankly I'd rather suck the sweat out of the gusset of my cycling shorts than drink soy milk or (shudder) rice milk. There's potential for a whole tirade about calling anything "milk" that comes from a nut or a grain, but we can save that for now. The bottom line is that coconut milk, comparatively speaking, isn't bad. I'm not going to be steaming it and pouring it over an espresso shot any time soon, but I could imagine using it on cereal without it making me want to retch.

So...one evening meal left, and then we're all in...

Friday, July 8, 2011

The ongoing struggle

I never intended this blog to be a weightloss journal, but given the ongoing struggle I guess the fact that it has become just that is an insight into an important aspect of my personal life. Since I last updated on this particular blog, I've dabbled with a different blog concept, where I tried to keep up with my brother's daily "One A Day" blog movement (I couldn't, just too damn busy) and I've settled into a new job. The whole time though, I've been dieting carefully, and exercising vigorously.

The result? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

As I write this, I'm pretty much the exact same weight I was a year ago. I've talked to doctors, I've talked to personal trainers, and I've been to two different nutritionists, but so far nothing has worked. I ride at least 10 miles almost every day on my bike, and often ride 30, 40, or 50 miles at the weekend. I go to the gym regularly. Basically, I work out in some fashion five or six times a week. I also monitor and track absolutely everything that I put into my body, to the point of it being almost pathological, so I can keep to the guidelines set by my advisors.

To say that the lack of progress has been frustrating is an understatement of galactic proportions.

Today, I returned from another consultation with a nutritionist with a new plan in hand; food elimination to determine whether or not I have an allergy. The theory is that it's highly likely that the weighloss issues aren't caused by anything caloric, and are instead dictated by an adverse reaction to something in my daily intake. Allergies create inflammation, which leads to water retention, and they affect metabolism. Eliminate the allergen, and you can reboot your system.

So... starting Monday, I start the process of working out what might be going wrong with my innards. For the first month, I need to eliminate all dairy products, and all gluten from my diet. I keep this up for the month, see what happens, and then we introduce one of them back into my daily intake, and see if any fucked up stuff starts to happen.

Hopefully there'll be some actual weightloss along the way too.

Today, as I go into the last weekend of what has become "normal" eating (though to many of you, my usual intake will seem very conservative already) I'm thinking that I kinda want to journal the process, as it's likely to have some physical and psychological effects.