Weight Loss Bet
Basically, I ate everything that I've read recently that helps manage weight or might contribute to weight loss (including):
I found healthy substitutes to foods I love. I allowed myself one or two treats a week (though swore off them in the homestretch of the last two weeks). That means a snow ball here, some pizza there, and occasional cookie. 99% of the time I went low/no carb/almost no sugar. I also have abstained from alcohol entirely.
I have a sweet tooth so that was tough. I also stayed mostly away from sugar substitutes as I've read they can make you crave sugar and drive you to eat more calories (in some ways worse than the real stuff). Thus, my options were limited a lot.
The dark chocolate (got 85%+ cacao--very important to be high in cacao) mixed with nuts, mostly almonds, in the morning would constitute breakfast. (I learned on the paleo (?) diets and some other diets nuts are a no-no but they worked for me). Instead of Frappucinos or chocolaty coffee drinks I make as a morning ritual, I'd take some cold brew coffee, mix it with a 1/4 cup Kefir (like a yogurt drink loaded with Probiotics), a splash of my kids chocolate milk (loaded with Omega3s), and water the rest of the way. I ran out of regular water and used Perrier one morning, and it actually tasted like one of those old Soda Jerk floats. Pretty good. Unexpected. That would leave me satisfied for most of the morning.
Lunch many days would be "meat wraps"--no bread. I'd take lean turkey, put some kale chips in the middle, some cut cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and lots of sirachi. Sometimes roast beef, mustard, and or other vegetables. Other times, I'd eat packaged salmon or tuna. Lots of Sirachi. I would overlook the carbs in foods that are really healthy so I was just some meat-pounding heart attack victim waiting to happen.
I love crunch, so I found some chips called Beanitos, that were fairly low carb. They were bean based (not corn). I'd take two or three chips and break them up and sprinkle them over the salmon or tuna or on salads. Surprised how far a few chips will go in giving you that crunch you crave when broken up. Invented some pretty good meals out of necessity.
My wife, also on a diet, but low calorie not low carb, was super helpful in making dinners that I could streamline to stay on track. She is great about getting healthy foods in our kids, so no big changes in dinner from that perspective.
I've read how a protein rich diet can curb depression. I've always been a pretty upbeat guy, but I have to say that I've been feeling great the last couple of weeks. I get over setbacks a lot easier and am even more positive than I normally am. Helps with poker.
Ahhh, Poker. That game can be difficult to play because casinos apparently want to fatten you up, maybe so it's harder for you to tleave. To survive the long days required by a poker tournament or cash I used to gas up with sugary caffeinated drinks. Now, instead of pounding cokes for the caffeine, like I used to, it's been all unsweet iced teas. Big improvement. Somehow, the caffeine from the tea isn't as bad as from the soda and I can sleep easier at nights.
I've got a beer in the fridge I've been waiting to drink and a Mexican Coke (cane sugar baby)
in a glass bottle that is beckoning to me. I got them as rewards for when I finished this back when I started. I look at them every time I open the fridge. Unfortunately, I'll wait another week before cracking either, because after our weigh-in last night I ate spaghetti, garlic bread, and chocolate pie. Think I maxed out on carbs for the week. It was okay to reward myself though.
I've talked to a lot of guys on similar diets. Maybe when you get around this age it's just time to get healthier I don't know. Everybody seems to be on successful diet right now and focused on being healthier. The important thing for me will be staying on track now that the challenge is over, and doing it as personal improvement/maintenance rather than just rising up to win a bet.