I’m writing this post over a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Bet that’s not how you expected this entry to start, is it?
No, it’s not some crazy new junk food diet. I am just pigging out. See, I had some revealing (not necessarily sexy, just lots of skin showing) photo shoots scheduled, and I wanted to lose weight for them. Not that I have self-esteem issues, it’s just that I wasn’t at the happier end of my weight spectrum, and I needed to be. So I made a deal with myself to go on a very, very strict diet until the shoots, and then after that I could eat whatever I wanted for the rest of the summer.
I had originally planned 2 weeks, but the photo shoots happened later than I’d originally expected, so it ended up being 3 weeks. In those 3 weeks, I dropped 10 pounds, just through diet. As I off-handedly mentioned this to people, I found they were really, really curious about what I ate. So I thought I’d just put it out there.
Info to start with:
1. I’m a vegetarian. (Not vegan though.)
2. I am a (part-time) aerialist (pole and silks) so I need to keep my strength up, so I needed to make sure I got a lot of protein.
3. Other than my aerial training (mostly it was just independent pole practice, no classes or intense workouts), I wasn’t exercising. I can’t afford a gym membership anymore and it was too hot to run or work out at home.
I used to be a lot more healthy. I was a marathon runner for years, and a gym rat for other years. During those years, my weight tended to hover around 128 pounds. Now that I’m not exercising much outside of aerial training, my weight tends to range from 135 if I’m being really careful about what I eat, to 138 if I’m not. Not to flatter myself, but I look like way less than that, because I am very muscular, and also I am slightly on the tall side (just shy of 5’7″), so it’s spread out.
So without further ado, here’s how I dropped from 138 pounds to my marathoner weight of 128:
Breakfast: Protein powder in water. At first I was using either Whole Goods Soy Protein Powder Natural Chocolate Flavor with Spirulina, which tastes great but only has 14 grams of protein per scoop, or a combination of that with Whole Foods Soy Protein Powder Natural Vanilla Flavor, which tastes bad but has 24 grams of protein per scoop. The last week, when I started really cracking down, I switched to just the nasty vanilla. I had about 1.5-2 scoops each time. (It’s hard to judge how much you’re having, since the serving size is “1 rounded scoop.”)
Then: a medium iced coffee with a little bit of soy milk. This was not a part of my diet, I’m just a creature of habit and I want my morning (errr afternoon) coffee at my local cafe. When I’m not on a diet, I prefer a soy latte and a peanut butter cookie.
Lunch: one Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage vegetarian sausage with a side of as much (Whole Foods 365 brand) sauerkraut as I wanted. Mmm, this is so good!! Cook the sausage up in a bit of oil, I like to get it just a little crispy on each side, then scoop up a forkful of sauerkraut with each bit of sausage. Heavenly! Smoked Apple Sage is the only flavor I really liked, so if the store was out of them I’d get Tofurkey Beer Brats.
Dinner: One can of lentils (I used Goya ’cause they’re cheapest) with 1 package WestSoy ground seitan. Often with a side of fresh cucumber or tomato. I just cooked the seitan and drained lentils in some olive oil. During the first two weeks I added more olive oil and sea salt for seasoning, but during my final week crack-down, I just ate them plain. Really, the seitan contains soy sauce, so it doesn’t need any more salt; I just really like salt. If I were more into cooking, I would add some cooked onions too, but I really am not into preparing food. Actually, every meal in this only takes a couple minutes to make. Oh, the side dish- ideally I like to cut up half a cucumber and half a big tomato, but usually I don’t have the time or the fresh veggies, so I’d end up just eating a whole cucumber or tomato if I had them, or just skipping the veggie if I didn’t.
Snacks: Sugar Free Red Bull or Lo-Carb Monster Energy Drink. This is neither because I needed an energy boost nor because I’m a caffeine addict. It’s just that in my capacity as a performer, and a performer with a lot of performer friends that I need to go see, I spend a lot of time in bars. I didn’t want the calories of alcohol, I don’t like the taste of Diet Coke, and I’m too cheap to pay for water, so a sugar-free Red Bull is the best compromise I could come up with.
Dessert: Red or white wine. This is also about me being a creature of habit, not part of the diet. I like a nightcap, and wine has fewer calories than most alcoholic beverages, and supposedly has all those health benefits. Theoretically I should have limited myself to a glass or two, but you know how it is.
Exceptions: When I had to get lunch on the run, I’d get a salad from a salad bar. But it was a totally not fun salad. Spinach salad with only the healthiest toppings. Kidney beans, chick peas, portabella mushrooms, tomatoes. No cheese, croutons, fruit, etc.
In the first 2 weeks of my diet I had some beers when I was out socially and couldn’t afford wine. But I stopped that entirely during the last week.
Cheat meals: I’ve always been the kind of person who takes breaks in my diets. I usually have a day or a meal where I eat whatever I want. It’s either a designated day off (like if I have to go to a party) or after a major workout. In this case, I did have meals that were off my official menu, but I ONLY had healthy cheating foods. In the first instance I had some vegan Thai food with some sort of vegetarian meat substitute (and stuffed tofu and a lychee Thai iced tea YUMM) from Pukk, one of my favorite NYC restaurants. The second week, I had a barbeque seitan sandwich from my favorite sandwich shop, S’nice. The third cheat was after the first of the 2 photo shoots, and I had a peanut butter protein smoothie from GNC smoothie bar.
Other: I’m a HUGE water drinker. The 1-2 days before each of the photo shoots I did extra water cramming, although not late at night or the day of.
Exercise: Some mostly casual, easy-going aerial training, plus 1 hour of stretching a day and about half an hour of rolling out on a massage ball I got from Shen Tao Studio. This wasn’t to loose weight, it was so I would be bendier and make all my acrobatic moves look better for the shoots. I usually do just a couple exercises at home for my butt and abs, but just like once, maybe twice a week. I kept those up.
That’s it. That was my whole plan.
I got down to 127.6 pounds. That’s my marathoning weight. Almost no exercise whatsoever.
The aftermath? I’m sure I’ve put it back on, or if not all of it yet, I will soon. That was pretty much the plan all along. I only have a few weeks left in NY and I love food and I want to enjoy everything. I hadn’t intended to keep such a strict diet long-term. What I really want is to get back in the gym, so I can maintain a better weight for myself without such an unreasonable diet. I mean really, I was strict. I was turning down birthday cake and free shots and going out for dinner and drinks the whole time.
Well, there you have it. Hope it helps some people!