A True Story About Weight Loss And Beer Drinking
When I got on the scale at my parents’ fitness club during the Christmas holidays, I was shocked at how far over I had to scoot the big counterweigh.
Actually, stunned would be a better word.
This 5-foot-11 frame, which normally supports somewhere in the range of 175-180 pounds, had ballooned to 192. A hundred and ninety-two. I weighed 192 pounds!
Sure, I knew my 32-inch waistline was history and even several 33-inch pants did not fit anymore. (It became quite the time-consuming challenge to find a pair of khaki pants that still fit without nearly splitting the gut when going to a nice function.)
But 192 pounds!?
Well, as March oared into 2011, I was down to 175. That’s right, in a little more than two months I lost more than 15 pounds.
And I did it while still partying PubClub.com style! And, yes, that means drinking lots of beer.
No, I did not achieve this by shoving a finger down my throat after meals or starting some crazy diet plan. I did it with a very simple – and much healthier – system: Exercise and improved eating.
The formula for losing weight and getting in shape is remarkably uncomplicated. It’s just a matter of exercising three to four times a week and watching what (and how much) you eat.That was my method and it worked! Of course, I’m not done yet. I’m down one belt loop on the jeans and want to lose another.
My personal regimen started after the New Year – well, I had to go to Vegas for New Year’s Eve – when I strapped on the running shoes and hit the pavement. (Fortunately, living in Southern California affords me the opportunity to run outside on a year-round basis; for those in weather-challenged climates it is essential to join a gym.)
Initially – and this is important for anyone starting an exercise program – I struggled immensely. I am a fairly regular runner but foot and knee injuries had me sidelined for much of the fall months. I was sadly out of shape as a result.
But I did what I could do at the time, which was a rather pathetic three miles. In fact, on that first run I was nearly gasping for air at a rather modest four-block uphill section shortly after I hit the halfway point. I was breathing heavy after just a mile and a half, for crying out loud!
But I kept at it. And I also started having salads again for lunch rather than making big fat omelettes (which I really love). I cut out the late-afternoon snacks. I replaced things like Cheese-Its with carrots.
I have never been one for sweets, so cookies, cake and ice cream is not part of my regular bodily intake, and neither is fast food or much fried food. But I do like my beer, and my pace for the taste did not waiver. I went out to bars and had pints (Stella or, when I was in a bar that had it, Longboard Lager, and even the occasional King of Beers, Budweiser) in Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.
Within three weeks, I was up to 5 1/2 miles and on Feb. 6, ran in the annual Super Bowl 10K in Redondo Beach, CA. Heck, I even stopped for a beer during the race. My time was 1:09 (including the beer stop).
The rest of the day was spent, you guessed it, drinking beer. In fact, one of the great draws of the 10K is the Michelob Ultra beer garden.
I have continued at this pace – which I term “exercise and socialize” – as the year progresses.
I have gone to Catalina Island.
I have gone to the AT&T Pebble Beach in Carmel and partied all weekend in Monterey.
I have partied at the Michelob Ultra VIP tent at the LA Northern Trust Open.
I have had the huge cheeseburger at Fleming’s Steakhouse Happy Hour (setting the bacon aside.)
Charlie Sheen I’m not – and doesn’t he look terrible, by the way!? – but I’m hardly Christine O’Donnell, either.
So here are my Top Tips for Losing Weight While Also Drinking Beer:
1.) Exercise. It’s as simple as that, frankly. Do what you can do – even if it’s walking a mere mile – and build up strength and endurance. I prefer running, but it could be anything that gets the heart pumping – treadmill, stationary bike, bicycle riding and any of several sports activities.
Even vigorous walking is good. Heck, you might even surprise yourself if you start walking by discovering a park in your neighborhood or some interesting shop or cafe you never realized existed because you were speeding past it in a car. A recent survey showed that a whopping 25 percent – that’s 25 percent – of Americans get no exercise whatsoever, not even going for a walk. Don’t let that be you.
2.) Eat Well. Forget McDonald’s (yuck!) and similar fast food “restaurants,” avoid the sweets aisle of the grocery store, limit the fried and bad food and save the junk food for when you really need it, like after a night of heavy drinking.
This will actually start to happen once the exercise kicks in mentally, for you will not want to eat these foods as you become healthier.
3.) Eat Less. You’re not trying to be Man (or Woman) vs. Food. Actually, by following the above two steps, the stomach will start to shrink and you will become full with less. That’s the whole point of this anyway, right!
4.) Pay Attention To What You Eat Even When Out Drinking Beer With Friends. It’s easy to order the fattening appetizers when in bars with a group of friends, but minimize your intake (if participating at all) and order something healthy for the main course. If possible, get a salad instead of french fries with a burger or sandwich. And avoid those bacon-cheese-sour cream potato skins!
5.) Discipline Yourself The Day After Drinking. Don’t lay in bed, turn on ESPN and grab a bag of chips. (Or ladies, go for a tub of ice cream.) Go to the gym, get in a run or play some sports. Get up and get some exercise! This is how you get and stay trim.
If you say, “oh, I’ll do it tomorrow,” chances are you won’t do it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next day. This is how you get out of shape and fat.
Be disciplined in your workouts, even after a night of many beers. In fact, you will likely feel so much better afterward that you’ll soon be telling yourself, “you know, I feel so good I think I’ll have a beer.”
BONUS TIP: Enter a local 10K (they all have 5K runs, as well, and this is a good place to start if you’re new to them). These runs are not only fun, social and good for a morning’s exercise, but getting in shape to actually do the 10K requires a few weeks of build-up exercise. And afterward, you will want to continue to run to stay in 10K shape.
The Bartender can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org