Monday, September 26, 2005

The Foodie goes on a Diet...

So about two weeks ago, I started seeing a weight-management physician to help get me back on track with a self-guided weightloss plan I started about 18 months ago. I lost ~25lbs on my own, and then plateaued off, so I got some professional advice. Dr. Lee recommended 1800-2000 calories per day.

Naturally, as a food-nut, this is the sort of thing that hits me where I live, and my friends are all aware of my current plight, especially when they see me counting calories at a beer-tasting festival.

One such friend just sent me a link to this Slashfood Interview, about an all-pizza diet, and asked if I thought I could do it. My response was "Probably Not", but I did find a couple things in the interview that resonated, so I added that to my response to him, and it devolved into a menu just ripe for blogging:

Slashfood: Why do you think you lost weight on the diet? Was it because it forced you to be creative? Portions? Sullivan Street no-cheese Pomodoro?

VC: Pure portion control. I was just determined not to pig out. I went around hungry most of the time, actually... which is really strange for me. I'm a huge foodie and love love love to eat. I just had a good sense of appropriate portions and forced that on myself. I didn't want to lose $200 (the bet)...

Welcome to my life right now... Frequently hungry, and rigidly trying to control portions.

I'm saving a lot of money because I'm making my own sandwiches in the morning, mainly to enforce portion control. (Can't count on the work cafeteria, etc.) It has actually been pretty good because with weekly trips to the Farmer's market, they basically become gourmet sandwiches. "Splurging" on good ingredients and indulging in tasty condiments has helped quite a bit. Here's a typical week of lunches:

Monday: Southwest Turkey Sub, approx. 580 calories
6" of Bread & Cie Baguette, 2oz Peppered Turkey Breast (Deli Sliced), 2oz Swiss Cheese, 1/2cup Roasted Bell Pepper (bottled), 1 slice red onion, 1 tbsp Homemade Light Chipotle-Ranch Dressing (1 canned chipotle in ~1/2C Light Ranch Dressing, blended until smooth, leftover from a southwest style dinner salad Kim made...)

Tuesday: Ham & Cheese, Deutschland Style, approx. 600 calories
2 thin slices of Bread & Cie crusty loaf (Rosemary or Garlic/Goat, etc.), 2oz Black Forest Ham (Deli Sliced), 2oz Swiss Cheese, 1 leaf lettuce, 2 tbsp stoneground dijon mustard

Wednesday: Salami & Cheese, French Style, approx. 600 calories
6" of Bread & Cie Baguette, 2oz Dry Cotto Salami (I would have used Garlic Sausage if I could get it), 2oz Swiss Cheese, 1 leaf lettuce, 1/4 Heirloom tomato, 1 slice red onion, 1 tbsp brown mustard

Thursday: Ham & Cheese, French Style, approx 600 calories
6" of Bread & Cie Baguette, 2oz Black Forest Ham (Deli Sliced), 2oz Swiss Cheese, 1 leaf lettuce, 1 slice red onion, 1/4 Heirloom tomato, 1 tbsp Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinegrette dressing

Friday: Mediterranian Turkey Sub, approx. 580 calories
Basically the same as the southwest sub, but substitute Vinegrette for the Chipotle Ranch, and add Heirloom tomato slices and a basil leaf or two...

Its been fun playing with a basic sandwich structure and varying just a couple of ingredients like dressings or the meat to see the different combos I can come up with. I've tried to take a few tips from Alton Brown's Good Eats "Sandwich Craft" episode as far as construction and wrapping to blend flavors and keep things together.

Having Swedish/German roots also means you always have 13 kinds of imported mustard in the house (I get this stuff in my Christmas stocking - Literally), and that helps. So far I haven't gotten bored. (2+ weeks into it)

Add these lunches to a 100 calorie prescription breakfast shake, and that leaves me a decent number of calories for afternoon snacks (also prescription) and/or a decent dinner. (1800 to 2000 calorie/day target, right now)

Dinners have gone well too. You figure out pretty quickly that herbs are basically free, and most veggies are nearly free. It also helps having to cook for a vegetarian, there's less temptation to stray too far into the more calorie-heavy meat dishes, etc.

My next weigh-in is in a couple of weeks. I'm optimistic. Read More...