Summer Goal: Lose 27 lbs.

So I’ve lost 12 lbs in two months, and my goal is to lose 15 more by the end of August without dieting. I’m changing eating habits mostly by decreasing the amount eaten per sitting. I’m not really changing the foods I eat because I do pretty much okay in that area. It’s mostly quantity that’s my problem. And it’s a habit. So I’m changing that habit.

And it’s been pretty easy so far.

##Withdrawal?
I went through some pretty wild withdrawal pains in early May. Irritability, depression, and fatigue, but that went away by the third day, and I had 3 resurgences of it over the following month, which is apparently a pretty normal characteristic of withdrawal.

And I’m not really sure what I was withdrawing from. Caloric intake? I cut caffeine, but I was only drinking one large cup of coffee a day in the morning, so I don’t think it was that. I found myself wandering into the kitchen, wanting *something*, but not knowing what, I would just grab a grape or two from the fridge and then go back to work. Only to find myself back out there in a 1/2 hour with the same feeling.

##Exercise

I exercise for 45-50 minutes by walking around the lake or doing a really good exercise video. I’ve been doing this same routine for the last year or so, but now, sometimes I do both in one day, walking around the lake when I get up, and then before lunch doing the vid. (I get lots of books listened to by doing this. Which is another plus.)

And I’ve just recently acquired, through the tremendous generosity of a friend, an exercise bike, which will come in handy in the winter months, and those 15-minute stretches between projects.

##Das Eats

I’ve cleared my larder of bad things like chips, soda, ice cream, all the obvious stuff. And what was I left with?

The biggest challenge when it comes to portion control is the hungry and the craving for sweet. Here’s how I’m disarming them:

###Filler
I eat stuff with lots of fiber and some fat with each meal to keep my stomach full. Kashi’s line-up of cereals and bars are fantastic for this. Target sells them for much cheaper than the standard grocery stores.

I also eat cheese for lunch. I treat myself to a reasonably priced, small block of premium, tasty cheese every week for lunches. But I don’t eat too much at one sitting, because, well, you know what happens if you eat too much cheese.

And I get the deli rye Triscuits (the only flavor w/out a lot of chemicals and yucky stuff thrown in). And they just happen to go well with cheese.

High-fiber bread from Brownberry and Earth Grains are very good, and ver filling. Team a slice of this bread with a dollop of REAL Peanut Butter, and you’ve got something that will, somewhat surprisingly, hold you over for a few hours.

Apples, oranges, and bananas fill out the fiber collection strategy.

I also started eating a tuna salad made with a spoonful of light mayo, some dijon mustard, and a spoon or two of hot peppers (buy a jar of hot peppers in oil, not in vinegar or brine or whatever that stuff is). Low cal, but stays long in the belly.

###The Sweet
No more regular intake of candy, soda, ice cream, or other sugar intensive foods. But a man needs sweet, right?

I’ve substituted a kid’s cereal for a high sweet, relatively low sugar/low calorie dessert. My current fave is Reese’s Puffs. Erin’s is Pops. 1 cup of cereal is actually quite a bit. And the calorie count is down around 110 to 150 per bowl and then another 100 or so for the milk. It actually works out pretty well.

Another sweet that I use is cheap fruit snacks from Target. 80 calories per packet (albeit mostly sugar). But it’s easy to limit yourself to one packet.

##A New Lifestyle of Tiny Bitings
But the biggest change is portion reduction.

I’m a fan of that just-filled-belly feeling that one gets when they eat, well, a LOT.

The trick is to learn to get by with simply feeling like you’re not hungry anymore. And it took me about 2 weeks to get that part down, and a trip down Withdrawal Street.

I’m past that obstacle now, and I’m sitting pretty on the other side. I eat less and I’m happier about it. But every once in awhile, I go down to Chipotle, that magical place of tasty eats, and I get a big ol’ burrito, and I remind myself how genuinely bad it feels to eat too much. Just how much of your day turns to crap because you’re so stuffed, your blood sugar is so up and then down, that you can’t function.

And then I continue on toward my goal.