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Is it time for ‘Meatful Mondays’?

January 8, 2020 - Andy Flynn
Start (Dec. 31): 447 lbs.

This week: 440 lbs.

Lost in 2020: 7 pounds

Meatless Monday. It’s a thing. People are being encouraged to skip meat on Mondays — essentially going vegetarian for one day a week — to improve their health and the health of the planet. But why stop there?

If the Meatless Monday crowd wants to stick with the alliteration, why not turn this fad on its head and call it “Meatful Monday” or “Meat Monday?” Only eat meat on Monday — essentially going vegetarian six days a week. That would improve your health — and the health of the planet — even more than Meatless Monday, wouldn’t it?

This is what I do. I think of strange things to talk about in the middle of the night while I stress about losing weight.

In my last column, I said that I was thinking about going on a whole-food, plant-based diet. It’s not just vegan; it’s vegan plus! Oreos, for example, don’t have animal products in them, so they are vegan friendly, but they do not fit within the whole-food, plant-based diet. Olive oil is vegan friendly, but you can’t have any oil on the whole food, plant-based diet. Refined sugar is vegan friendly, but you can’t have any refined sugar on the whole-food, plant-based diet. You get my point.

When I began the Lake Placid Diet, I tried to stick to a Do Not Eat List, which included things like cheese, butter, fast food, processed food, extra salt and sugar. A whole-food, plant-based diet, however, is one huge Do Not Eat List. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty to eat, but I’m not sure going on this diet full time is something I want to do.

That said, on Jan. 1, that’s exactly what I was going to do starting the next day. I was committed to a whole-food, plant-based diet — indefinitely. The following is part of what I wrote in my journal before I went to bed that night.

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Into the great unknown

“Today is the last day I can eat whatever I want, as tomorrow I begin a whole food, plant-based diet.

“I should say ‘lifestyle’ instead of ‘diet’ because I’m not trying to do this for 30 days, three months or one year. I’m doing this because I truly believe it will improve my health — tremendously, I hope — so calling it a diet is not appropriate. That’s so temporary. I want a lasting change, one that I can adopt for the rest of my life. I’m ready to get healthy.

“I write this as I’m about to go to bed. It’s after 10 p.m., and I feel as though I’m standing on a train platform ready to take a journey — to the great unknown. It’s scary and exciting at the same time.

“I can’t see any drawbacks to adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet. It’s healthy food, isn’t it? It’s a lot better than the processed crap our society churns out for the masses; that stuff is killing me.

“So, as I get ready to depart on this new journey, I say good night. When I wake up in the morning, I’ll greet the new day with a smile and reach for the oatmeal and fruit. And then I’ll begin the first day of the rest of my life (cliche, I know). I’ll face many challenges, but I’m as ready as I’ve ever been.”

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Can we just enjoy life?

After five days — and a conversation with my wife (who said I never stick to any kind of diet no matter how hard I try) — I began thinking about the HUGE Do Not Eat List that is the whole-food, plant-based diet. And I reflected on my track record of losing weight.

My own Do Not Eat List worked when I stuck to it in 2014, but I also gave myself permission to let my hair down and eat whatever I wanted one day a week. I learned years ago that adopting a Do Not Eat List every day doesn’t work. One year, I lost about 40 pounds after three months on a Do Not Eat List, sticking to it religiously. Then, one day, I gave myself permission to go off the diet for a day. One day. That day lasted several months, and I gained weight again.

I don’t see the harm with a little treat now and then, even if it’s only one day a week. Maybe I want to try the whole-food, plant-based diet six days a week and adopt Meatful Monday for myself. As I ponder life past 50, I realize that life is too short. Yes, I need to get healthy, but I also need to enjoy life before it’s gone. So while an Oreo is a no-no on the whole-food, plant-based diet, is it really going to kill me to eat one (or two) every Monday? Not that I’m a big Oreo fan. I’d rather have a Chunky bar. That, at least, has some good old raisins and peanuts.

My point is that eating more whole food plants and less meat, sugar, oil, salt and dairy is most likely the direction I’m headed. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into one diet or another — vegan, keto, vegetarian, paleo, etc.

That said, I’ve stuck to the whole-food, plant-based diet for a week now, and I’m feeling better, I think. My body is going through some changes — those changes you feel when you lose weight, stop eating crap and start eating healthier food. I’m simply not used to it. But I’ll get there.

My realization this week is this: Eat better, get regular exercise, relax more, enjoy life, and have fun learning new things. There is so much — way too much — information about diets, nutrition and losing weight out there. And more content is added every day. It’s mind-boggling. It’s hard to know what to believe, and everyone swears to God that they are right. It’s frustrating!

My mom gave me some great advice: “Listen to your body.” I love that. It totally makes sense, and it really works. So, as I continue my weight-loss journey, I will listen to my body, keep my head down and keep plugging away.

 
 

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