A Year Later- Fat Smash Diet Still Works
I haven’t written anything in this space in almost a year. Honestly I can’t even remember when I last blogged about weight loss and fitness, not that it’s been far from my mind or anything like that. I’d post some pictures if I were a more liberal kinda guy, but who wants to see me anyway?
For the past year I’ve made fitness and a decent diet part of my every day life. I’ve used Dr. Ian Smith’s 90 day Fat Smash Diet as the foundation, and tinkered with some of the portion sizes, tried a few new food items (veggie burgers, whole wheat/multi-grain wraps, etc), and stayed in the gym as much as I can. I think I held off from blogging about weight loss and getting in shape because after I dropped 55+ lbs (later, 70+ lbs), I wasn’t entirely comfortable with myself just yet. I wasn’t really aware of how the world saw me.
There are two main reasons for this.
One is that I’ve been making most of my money primarily in the online space for the past two years. And while that’s a blessing because I can work from home and create a schedule that fits my lifestyle, it also doesn’t put me in contact with people I might ordinarily see on a day to day basis, like co-workers and random strangers I’d meet in a bar after leaving the office or studio.
Two is because when I started this life-changing diet, I was in the midst of a blogging job that I was being contracted by MTV.com to write. That was the Sucker Free blog. Though I enjoyed writing that blog, and mostly enjoyed working with MTV, there was a bit of brain drain that came from slogging through 8 hours a day of RSS feeds on artists and news that I may not have personally cared much about. Not to say I don’t care about hip-hop music or what’s going in the culture, but the shenanigans that often need to be blogged and reported on can begin to weigh on you after a while. Especially coming from the print world, with a journalism degree, and beyond that, the music world, with records in stores and all that goes into that neverending grind.
That said, when the recession began to rear its ugly head, I decided that when the blogging job ended, I was going to pursue something more high maintenance– namely, television– or nothing at all. I went to LA in June of last year, about a month after I’d departed the fold at MTV, and met with a very high profile reality television production company. The development executives who I’d been primarily dealing with at the company departed in the midst of our work.
So I continued writing my Scratch blog for XXLMag.com, wrote many pieces for XXL, and did a 50 Cent interview for Complex.com. There may be something else of interest, or perhaps something more high profile in the midst of all of that, but honestly I’m just drawing a blank right now.
I mainly bring all these things up because for years prior to this I had been ripping and running everywhere, taking meetings, doing interviews, chasing money, and so on. Typically I would eat very poorly while doing that, and my weight ballooned as a result. There was an obvious weight gain that started around the time I entered my final semester of college. I recently saw a picture that my aunt took of me at graduation, it was startling to say the least. I thought I was in decent shape back then (May 2004). But once you get above 230 pounds, trust me, you’re just plain ol’ fat. Dropping or adding 10 pounds will do little to change that.
Let me not digress. With blogging, I was making money, basically, sitting on my ass all day. Not literally, but figuratively. I’ve got a phone, I’ve got internet, I’ve got a blackberry, I’ve got contacts. The entire world was (and still is) at my fingertips, so let me stop stressing so much, lower my expectations, work smarter, not harder, be more disciplined with time management and deadlines, and just live life.
And that simple paragraph that you just read has allowed me, even in the recession, to kind of maintain a level head about things, particularly dieting and staying in shape.
In the past, I might have lost some weight, and then when something earth-shattering happened I’d let it affect my whole lifestyle. I’d let it throw me out of wack, lose all sense of discipline and start eating fast food, stay up late drinking soda and eating chips, and basically become completely unhealthy in the process.
Reality is, things are definitely not going great in the midst of the recession. A year and change later, there are tons of opportunities out there to do things, but the money has been slower. You have to do about 50 times the amount of work to make even less than you were making before. It’s pretty depressing. I won’t even address the music side of my life. If media has you doing 50 times the amount of work, music has you doing 300 times the amount of work, and you’re lucky if you EVER even see a dime.
Still, I haven’t let that throw my fitness and diet to the wind. I’m in the gym five days a week, lifting weights, hitting the treadmill, the elliptical, stairmaster, and so on. When I’m not in the gym, I’m either at home running on my treadmill, running stairs in my building, doing p90x workouts, or going for 6 mile runs through my neighborhood in Staten Island (which isn’t the safest thing in the world, rest assured). Sometimes I play basketball, but I’ve found that it doesn’t really give me the workout I need.
I admit, I probably don’t eat as well as I should. I eat sometimes as many as 10 times a day, and snack a lot. And when I snack, it’s not always the healthy stuff. Late nights you can still catch me eating 3-4 bags of Baked Lays, Doritos, pretzels, and so on. I drink a lot of diet soda. I eat a pint of Haagen Dazs frozen yogurt almost daily. Sometimes I swap the yogurt for ice cream, straight up. It’s not uncommon for me to eat an entire box of cereal in one sitting, or drink a complete pint of milk (2% tho).
But I don’t eat anything fried. I NEVER eat fast food. Once in a while I eat some candy, but it’s rare. And if I do, it’s never a chocolate bar. More like a few Twizzlers. I keep all types of oil and butter out of my diet completely. I consume very little in the way of bread products. I mean, there are weeks that go by without bread even entering my system at all. The only time I can remember eating any pasta was when I stage managed the Red Bull Snow Scrapers Event on the East River. It was 10 degrees in February, and there was nothing else to eat. It was die, or eat pasta. What choice do you think I made?
I keep the refrigerator overstocked with fruits, mostly apples (granny smith, red and golden delicious) and grapes (red and green, seedless). I also make my own salads- lettuce, peppers, carrots, an assortment of beans and lentils, mixed with some grilled chicken. Since I’m home more often than not, I try to cook for myself, keep everything I eat relatively natural. For dinner it’s a lot of brown rice, steamed vegetables, and more grilled chicken.
In all honesty, my diet is a little boring. But I’m single and live by myself. I’m also not big on taking hours to prepare things. A lot of times I just want something quick and easy to make. In a lot of ways, I need the healthy diet I keep now to mimic fast food. I was raised on burgers and fries. Not exactly Debbie Does Salad, as my former journalism professor, Frederick Kaufman, once so eloquently put it in Harper’s magazine.
And now that you’ve finally made it to the end of this longwinded post, the point of it all was to say this– once you rewire your system, as I did with the Fat Smash Diet, you should be relatively good to go from there. You could very possibly eat poorly for a few weeks and still be quite alright, not gain any real weight back. I certainly don’t feel like I’m the best eater in the world right now, but I have a healthy relationship with exercise and the gym, and though I certainly feel better working out when I am eating properly, as long as I’m active I feel alright.
So roughly a year later, so-so eating and all, I’m 190 pounds. From the range of 255-260. I run a mile in less than 7 minutes, and can keep that pace for an hour. Went from barely benching 50 pounds to 130 (since December ’08, basically). Oh yeah, and I can drop another 10-15 pounds any time I feel like it. But alas, that’s a post for another day.