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BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

Two Guys Lose Weight: A healthy mind will lead to a healthy body

Day 18: Tony discovers that eliminating excuses has helped him break bad habits

January 28, 2011|By Tony Pierce / Los Angeles Times
  • Ami Shalev, singer of the Israeli rock group Monotonix is lifted in the air by the crowd as he adds percussion to a raucous night at Spaceland in Silver Lake last October.
Ami Shalev, singer of the Israeli rock group Monotonix is lifted in the air… (Tony Pierce / Los Angeles…)

NOTE: This is a blog about two guys attempting to lose weight over a six-week period.  They kicked off their weight loss "strategies" on Jan. 10

Because I know you've all been paying close attention to all of the posts that Jimmy and I have been filing, it should be obvious to you what my weakness can be in regard to my diet.

Thankfully it's not the endless temptations of drive-through restaurants that line the streets as I drive home, nor is it the plethora of tasty snacks that sit atop desks and tables all through the workplace.

The one time that I tend to veer off my diet is when I am out on the town trying to impress a young woman.

Perhaps you recall the first day that we started this journey. There I was eating ribs and drinking grape soda fully aware that my plan was to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year. How is that possible when eating the fattiest pork product you can find?

RELATED: Jimmy looks at Def Leppard's Phil Collen and his fitness success.

The problem was my mind was saying, "It's OK to cheat today. It's your first day. You're out and about with someone you're trying to impress." And then my fertile mind reeled off more and more reasons to ruin my ultimate goal in order to satisfy my temporary desire.

We may not always have control over our minds, I learned, but we do have control over what we do with those thoughts. So even though I have been craving my favorite food, McDonald's French fries, for more than two weeks now, I have resisted them despite my mind seducing me with ideas of "you have done well, you deserve one small order of fries." Or "just eat half a small order."

How about: don't eat any. How about for 20 years that's been a staple of your diet and you're going to need to staple your stomach if you keep going down that path? So how about keep driving when you see those golden arches, and have a little courage when you go out on dates?

So last night I was out with the very same woman as the night we ate ribs in South Central.

The plan was to see the outrageous rock group Monotonix at the Echoplex. We discovered that they were not going to go on till 11 p.m., so we decided to have dinner first.

"But let's eat healthy," she said. Thank you, sweet angel, I thought.

Because I am new to this concept of eating healthy while dining out, I asked her to choose the restaurant. She picked a Vietnamese place on Sunset Boulevard. But when I looked at the menu I didn't have a clue as to what was healthy and what wasn't. So instead of listening to the voices in my head that were more than happy to tell me that "anything" on the menu was probably fine, I opened up, in a slightly vulnerable way and just asked her, "Hey, what do you think I should eat to stick to my diet."

A bowl of pho with chicken breast was what she said I should eat. Chicken soup? Works for me.

Out came this gigantic bowl of soup. Something told me that the noodles and chicken broth may have more carbs and fat than the critical commentors of these posts would feel comfortable with, so I ate only about half of the bowl, which was just enough to fill me up.

At the rock show I had one half of a Newcastle beer. And for a late night snack I popped a bag of low-fat popcorn and ate half of that.

A good day of eating right that started with a banana for breakfast and a chicken salad for lunch.

But what I learned was something that men sometimes struggle with while trying to impress women. I learned that we don't always have to come across as know-it-alls. We don't always have to try to appear "cool." And since learning to eat right is something that, clearly, the entire universe has an opinion about, why not include recommendations from those who actually look great?

And finally I discovered that the mind can create a multitude of excuses for why one "deserves" to fall off track, but those excuses can be vetoed by self-control and will power and one simple phrase: I can do this.

Related:
Two guys lose weight: The journey
An exclusive interview with Tony's stomach
In his quest to lose weight, Jimmy summons Maverick from "Top Gun."

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