Okay, I'm not the crazy old dude who said it was all gonna come crashing down last weekend, but the Engine 2 Diet Challenge is coming to a close. Actually, it ends on Sunday but I won't be posting over the weekend because.... c'mon, who's gonna read it?!!!
This was a crazy work month for me so I wasn't able to immerse myself in this program as much as I would have liked to, but that made the experience much more reality-based. Most of us don't have the luxury of stopping or modifying our lives just for the sake of losing a few pounds, cooking more or starting a fitness regimen - we just have to fit it in. So when you make that effort, you have to be determined to make it work. I was determined to succeed, so I gritted my teeth, dug in, and learned a few things along the way:
1.) Labels will tell you everything you need to know. Calories, sodium, sugars, protein, carbs, ingredients - they're all there. But in this program, I learned to look deeper into the ingredient listing - particularly to look for oil. And it's incredible how oil is everywhere; just like sodium and sugar. Now when I read a label I can decipher even more about the food I'm about to purchase (or put back on the shelf) than I could a month ago. That means I can make better decisions about my nutrition.
2.) Cooking without oil is easier than I thought. A couple tablespoons of vegetable stock adds flavor and moisture in the same way oil does - it just burns off faster. So I keep extra stock readily available whenever I'm cooking, just to splash a little extra on when things get hot and dry.
3.) Plant-based meals can be quick, easy and tasty. This one I knew already. I've got a bazillion recipes right here that prove it. From now on, I'll start modifying them by replacing the oil with vegetable stock.
4.) A program like E2 is a great way to "try on" healthier eating habits. Anybody can do anything for a month. Hell, most of us have spent a year or two in dead-end jobs or marriages - 28 days of healthy eating is nothing compared to that! And it's the perfect time to broaden your eating horizon. Even if you go back to eating fish or chicken or meat, if you'll probably find more than a few recipes that you'll want to incorporate into your regular mix. Every little bit helps.
5.) The discipline it takes to do something like this translates into every aspect of life. That's one of the things I love most about being on a program like E2 - it gives me a clarity and focus that I can apply to other areas of my life. I'm more focused and effective at work. I'm not all gunked up with chemicals like sugar, sodium, and yadayadayada, so I'm not an emotional yo-yo. That means I can move through life's little crises without escalating them into dramatic events.
Oh, yeah, and on top of all the learning moments, I lost those nasty pounds from I gained in April so I'm back to fighting weight.
Thanks, everyone, for sharing this adventure with me. It's always more fun to do these things with a buddy - and if you're reading this I consider you my buddy. Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! See you next time!