Week 19 – A Critical Test Passed

May 20, 2011

This week’s weigh-in: 195 lbs

Weight loss to date: 41 lbs

To goal:  25 lbs

I ended last week on a humorous note, analogizing my food choices from my DC days to a romantic affair.  God knows the stalker analogy I keep using on Five Guys gets more apt.  They opened a location on Rockville Pike across from Barnes and Noble.  After it was obvious I wasn’t there anymore, they moved into Canada.  Behind the humour, there was a serious matter me:  this was the first time I would be travelling since I began my journey.  On top that, I was travelling to another country.  This would be a critical test.

This presented certain challenges.  Not sure what I could or could not bring with me, I didn’t bring much other than a couple of Elevate bars.  Since you’re not allowed to bring fruit across the border and they’re mostly fruit and berry content, I wasn’t even sure about those. Given recent events, I harboured no illusions about bringing some whey protein to make my shakes, lest some customs agent detect a mysterious white powder and scuttle my whole trip.

We had booked into a Hampton Inn in Silver Spring.  It was a good deal, close to the Metro, which could get us to campus in about 10 minutes, and included hot breakfast.  Lesson #1, when your hotel includes breakfast, find out what’s in the breakfast, first.  For the Hampton Inn, I have coined a new term to describe their breakfast bar:  carbeteria.  Every kind of bread, bagel, muffin imaginable.  The only hot items were scrambled eggs and waffles.  The latter is a no-no and the former I find disgusting.  The eggs was the sole protein offered, too.  Thankfully Whole Foods had a location nearby where I could pick up some whey sold in single-serve packets and a shaker bottle.  Their hot bar amongst their salad bars also had hot breakfast items, so I could pick up some sausages.

Timing was another critical issue.  Commencement weekend activities were never designed around a five-meal-a-day lifestyle.  Commencement Day itself was a nightmare on this front.  We left the hotel that day at 8 am and didn’t get back until 2:15 pm with only some nibbles of reception food available courtesy of the Politics department, on which I passed. The simply weren’t the kind of hors d’ouerves I could get away with.  The President’s Reception the previous day was a little better.  I practiced my well-honed parliamentary reception skills and ate the meat in the finger sandwiches and tossed the bread.

For those who have already clicked through the weekend’s photos, you already know there was some fun times had at Lemay House that involved some alcohol, but I did not imbibe on junk food.  Had a couple of burgers, again sans bun, and vegetables.

So did I pass?  I clocked in back at 196 on Monday, up a pound from Thursday prior to my departure.  A mere pound could have been anything.  Considering the aforementioned, I’m going to give myself of pass on this one.  Other than the complimentary tortilla chips and salsa at Austin Grill, I didn’t indulge in any food that was completely off the meal plan.  What was I supposed to do, eat salsa with my hands?  The erratic schedule played utter havoc on my metabolism.  Yes, the booze didn’t help, but I think the timing factors may have been a more definitive cause.  It could also have even been the cup of coffee in my belly.  The rest of the week was looking rather grim.  I also clocked in at 198 on Wednesday before going back down to 195.

The lessons learned from this are:

1. Bring good snacks.  Since you know when you should eat, but not when you will eat, you have to adapt your habits to their schedule.  When I went to Whole Foods, they were selling Lara Bars by the box.  I should have bought one and brought a couple with me to commencement.  At the very least, I should have remembered one of the bars I brought from home.  As the commencement schedule went, I could have scarfed a bar just before the procession into the main ceremony and one a few hours later after the diploma ceremony.

2.  I have to be as prepared for my return from a trip as the trip itself.  Since I’ve been eating fresh, mostly organic vegetables, I returned on Sunday to a mass grave of rotting veggies.  Like the Walking Dead, they had started to cannibalize each other.  The eggplant was feeding off the cilantro.  The lettuce and the cucumber were hiding on an upper shelf, aghast at the horror of it all.   I had enough to put together my meals for Monday, but would have to get groceries on the way home from work.  Like the stereotypical hungry fat man at the grocery store, I screwed up.  I didn’t want to fuss with dinner when I got home, so I picked up some wings at Loblaws.  That was a bad thing to do and the scale reflected that.  Now that it’s BBQ season, I’m going to keep a couple boxes of freezer meat – burgers, chicken breasts, etc. – so I always have something I can toss on the grill.  Prior to future trips, I’ll also stalk up on frozen vegetables so I have some edible veggies when I return.

Speaking of tests, another test presented itself with this trip: the mom test.  My parents and I had not seen each other in person since I returned to Ottawa in January. We chat a couple of times a week on Skype and they’ve seen my progress via webcam from the neck up, but this would be the first time they would get the full picture of the progress I have made so far.  I found them on the front step of an apartment building next to the hotel as I came from the metro.  Mom had to fight back tears when she saw me.

For all those that have helped me get to this point, know this:  you made my mom cry.  For once, it’s a good thing.  Take a bow.

The week ahead is going to be interesting.  I have my first official 5k run next Saturday here in Ottawa.  I’ll be running with my friends Christian and Ramona, along with the new friends I’ve made through my training clinic at the Running Room.  Its my first race weekend as a participant and I’m really looking forward to it.  Is it weird that I’m hoping at least one day this week is scortching hot and humid?  Since that’s usually the weather on race day, I want to have at least one training run in the weather I’m most likely to run in.  As it stands, I’ve run in everything but that.  There were even some snow flakes one run in March.  I said at the outset the race will happen regardless at what God throws at us on the 28th so I will train in whatever God throws at us, but he really hasn’t thrown us heat and humidity yet.  It was quite humid on Wednesday, but still cool.  I’m averaging a little over 6 min/km, so I think I can do it in around 32 minutes. Wish me luck or, if you’re in Ottawa, feel free to come cheer me on.

Allons-y!

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