Moving Towards Moderation: Joe's Journey, Week One |

Moving Towards Moderation: Joe's Journey, Week One

And so we begin.
The first week of any eating change is always going to be an adjustment, not just in what you eat, but how you eat. It’s also about breaking non-healthy habits, which in Joe’s case included too much grazing and not enough moving.

Over the years Joe’s intake of food to maintain his weight of 280 was not as much as you would think. The ongoing joke in our house has been that I consumed more then Joe — which I did and still do. But my advantage over Joe is that I’m more active — with formal exercise, walking or simply taking advantage of “found” opportunities for movement like climbing stairs instead of taking the escalator or elevator. This movement kept my metabolism high functioning, allowing me to eat more. It still was a matter of balancing my food intake, but get moving if you want to live a healthful lifestyle.

But no matter how much you move, you can’t get away from making significant eating changes as well. Joe was adamant that some vices remain, like a glass of nice red wine with dinner. He also kept his coffee habit — although he now drinks it black and has cut back significantly on the number of cups per day.

Here’s a look at how we made better choices for each meal for that first week:

Old Breakfast: pick pick pick pick
Left over kids cereal or bacon, a few slices of white American, Maybe a piece of fruit and then a bagel with cream cheese, or he made himself ham and eggs. Coffee with milk.

New Breakfast
Breakfast is much more deliberate now. No picking or finishing someone else’s leftovers. Instead Joe had 2oz egg whites with steamed spinach and either a banana, pink grapefruit, or 2 clementines. Hearty enough to be filling but still healthful. And black coffee.

Old Lunch was usually a sandwich. Turkey or ham, cheese and mayo. If we had dinner left overs, that could become lunch. Or then he would again pick.

New Lunch is much leaner and more salad based: sesame seaweed salad, roasted or grilled chicken breast, seared tofu with balsamic, or some lightly dressed mixed greens with 3oz of protein.

Old Snack was a few more pieces of cheese, no water, or he would kill more leftovers

New Snacks are limited to banana, grapefruit and clementines. Or vegetables like 1 cup roasted broccoli with a touch of EVOO, granulated garlic and pepper or raw carrots or bell peppers. And lots of water.

Old Dinner: During prepping, cooking and eating the meal, it was not unusual to finish a bottle of wine. There was 8 -10 oz of protein —mostly beef chicken and pork, sometimes fish. Alongside was a generous helping of starch whether it was pasta, rice, potatoes, or polenta with the addition of butter, grated cheese, or ricotta. A good helping of salad with home mixed balsamic + olive oil dressing.

The problem was not with the meal itself which was relatively balanced, it was more about the portion sizes and the excess amounts of wine, butter and cheese. And the fact that dinner wasn’t the end of eating for the evening. An hour later he would be roaming through the fridge for a snack, cake, leftovers, nuts, candy cookies — I don't know, I can only tell you there was a crumb trail in the morning!

New Dinner isn’t about deprivation. It’s just about imposing thoughtful limits on portions and ingredients. One or two glasses of wine throughout the evening are allowed. And just 6oz of protein along with less starchy and dairy-laden sides: salad, brocollini prepared with shallots and stock, butternut squash. A good example is seared salmon, tomato cilantro salad, sauteed spinach and heirloom greens. Filling and interesting to eat so you don’t leave the table feeling hungry or deprived, but not as dense or calorie-laden as Old Dinner was.

The major challenge for Joe was to stop snacking and picking. Because when you pick you can’t track what you ate. He would only remember half of what he ate because picking becomes such an automatic reflex that you don’t even realize you are doing it. I have cooked side by side with my husband for years in professional kitchens. I would say to him more often then you can imagine, “Stop picking, stop tasting like it’s a meal” He would say, “I not eating anything” to which I would counter “What’s that piece of duck crackling hanging from your lip?????" To make these lifestyle changes, all eating has to be conscious. No mindless eating whether you are tasting in a kitchen for work or munching popcorn in front of the TV at night.

And while many of Joe’s favorites are banned for the time being, including pasta, bread and cheese, the discipline is paying off: Joe ended week one 7 pounds lighter than when he began!


Check in with us next Monday to see Joe’s progress and get ideas for your own.


jhicks • 02/06/2012
Love reading this. Great info for all of us that have some of these same habits. Keep up the healthy regimen
haisoodewa • 02/07/2012
I haven't ditched the cream yet, but as of this week I'm done with sugar in my coffee.
chiefie2411 • 02/08/2012
Great move. One teaspoon of sugar is 16 empty calories. One fluid ounce of cream is 59 calories and 18% saturated fat. I usually start off my day with a black coffee or a few times a week I'll use 2% low fat milk. Keep up the good work and keep me posted. What is your goal weight and how much have you lost ? Joe
haisoodewa • 02/08/2012
To be honest, I don't even have a scale, I just know I need to start taking better care of myself. Cutting sugar out of coffeeeating greens for lunch (inspired by your story above) are my two big changes this week. Ideally I'd like to get out for more exercise, just need to prioritize the time somehow. Even just committing to those small changes feels really goodthere will probably be more to come.
chiefie2411 • 02/08/2012
Sounds great...I find grapefruits to be very rewarding as a snack or for breakfast. They are low in sugar, yet very sweet. They are high in fiber and 85 % water. The perfect fruit
bclarke001 • 02/10/2012
Good Job Joe, It isn't easy, I know I was 320, now 297. I manage to make it to the gym two or three times a week for at least ninety minutes. Skim milk in my morningafternoon joe, w/ no sugar is a new thing for meKeep Up The Great Work
chiefie2411 • 02/11/2012
Some days are tougher than others. I just keep playing a tape over and over in my head saying "do the right thing" It's very rewarding to step on the digital scale and be able to see your accomplishments. Congratulations to you too. We are traveling on the same journey. Keep me posted
chiefie2411 • 02/11/2012
So today for lunch, I took left over chicken broth with celery, onion and carrot garnish and added cubed tofu, a splash of soy sauce, 1/2 cup of rice vinegar and around 4 tablespoons of hot Chinese chili paste with a dash of sesame oil. And there you have it, homemade Hot and Sour soup. Scallion garnish. Creative, fun, healthy and most of all tasty
Sign In to post a comment.