Someone has got to do it
It's not easy, but someone had to travel to Thailand and share all the foods there with you! Maybe that wasn't the whole purpose of the trip but it turns out we came home with a lot of food photos to share with you. In reality, we had been planning for a year how to escape to another country for an entire month. That is a topic for another blog, but we were successful in saving our money and got to enjoy Thailand (and its food) for an entire month!
When we considered traveling for an entire month, we though maybe it was not the best idea just to eat and drink all day, each day, for 30 days. While it might have been fun, I'm guessing we would have come back pretty unhealthy. In order to give us some semblance of a healthy schedule, we decided to work out at AKA Thailand each morning learning Muay Thai and doing some strength/conditioning.
There is a reason I didn't post a video of myself! I worked hard, but might not be the most coordinated person in the world. But Mindy was rocking it from day 1. Since we were there every morning we were very lucky they had a great cafe right at the gym!
It's tough to beat a 4-egg meat omelette and salad or some chicken and eggs (I'll share my egg secret later) for breakfast after a hard workout!! Not long into our stay we discovered that dining out is one of the great pass times in Thailand. You could not walk half a block without coming across a restaurant, food stand, or more creative food options (as you will see).
For the OFM diet, there is one major enemy that is lurking everywhere in Asia. You guessed it- rice. At the grocery store, it is very common to see folks buying 50lb bags of rice for use in their homes!
You do need to keep an eye out for those bright red peppers in dishes like this though...they are like putting liquid magma into your mouth. And it only gets hotter as time goes on. There are so many wonderful spices and peppers available, a trip through the grocery store is an assault on your senses.
For those of us who are carb conscious, a thai meal is filled with possible land mines but there are a lot of low carb options. In this photo, left to right: omelet (acceptable at any time of day and always low carb), spring rolls (very tasty, you can try one but don't eat the whole plate), larb/laab (ground chicken or beef with spices and an awesome low carb option- get it with cucumbers or raw cabbage), pad thai (leave that for your carb eating friends).
It is no surprise to any who reads this blog that I love bbq. It took us a while, but we did track down some BBQ in Thailand. Some of it was very good....some not so great.
There were a few interesting food carts we came upon. These are generally everywhere, so you know these were unique if they made the blog. The first, was a pimped out Moped food cart. So the food cart is basically a side car on the scooter, but this one was special. It has a high power sound system bumping the tunes, led lights throughout and a tremendous amount of cheap grilled food cooked fresh on the grill- also on the scooter. Grilled meats on a scooter side car...I'm in!!
This final selection from our tour of Thai food, was not the best tasting (I think that is the polite way to say it) but it was the most unique. Probably not the most OFM friendly item ever. Your guess as to what is in this thing is as good as mine! Don't try this at home kids......
Overall we had an amazing month in Thailand, with the exception of biting into the creation directly above. I ended up completing 27 separate workouts at the gym...and these workouts were no joke in the Thai heat. We also managed to get about a dozen massages each (who can pass up an $8 massage?). I wasn't super strict sticking to my OFM diet, but much, much better than the Italy Trip. At the end of the trip I didn't lose a lot of weight, simply due to the massive amount of food I was trying, but it was great to see my waist thin down again and some of that mass move up to my shoulders and chest. You know what is great about OFM- even through I had taken a long break from working out, and gotten terribly out of shape, I had not have gained a lot of weight. That makes it so, so much easier to get back in shape when the time comes!
Sorry, it has been some time since my last blog. As race directing is quickly replacing racing in my life, free time has been hard to come by. But I am continually impressed by the readers of this blog. If this is your first visit, I high recommend you start by clicking "My Personal Weight Loss Journey" at the top of the page. This year at our Destin Ultra Runs, a familiar face crossed the finish line and gave me a firm handshake. His face was familiar but there was something different about him. This gentleman proceeded to tell me that he cut 2 hours off of his 50K time from last year. A 50K is only 31 miles, so to cut 2 hours is taking almost 4 MIN PER mile off of his time! That would mean instead of your 5K being 30 min, it would be 19 min. Obviously my surprised face gave me away and he proceeded to tell me that losing 50lbs since last year probably had something to do with it. He then thanked me for introducing him to OFM through this blog and this blog having a very positive impact on his life. Just like I have been, he was a back of the pack runner in 2015 but he is moving up quickly. Will he ever be an elite athlete, probably not, but I can promise you- if his huge smile was any indication- his quality of life is better now than it has been in a long time. And he made me promise to post more on this blog....I'm trying!
This is a long intro, but it just proves that OFM is making a real difference in people's lives. Whether you are cruising to second overall and the first female in a 100+ mile race at age 46 (nice job, Christy!), working on your feet from 9am to 11pm each day, or trying to run your first 5K- it's pretty tough to do if you are carrying extra weight and not fueling your body properly. Everyone's body is different, but if you are on a high carb diet and overweight or working out/running a lot and not hitting your goal weight or worse yet, increasing your training and gaining weight- then you need to try a different approach. Now let's talk about my defenseless friend.
What did he do to you?
This friend gets accused of so much by so many. "Killing people", "The downfall of America", "Disgusting", and much, much worse. (You totally thought I was going to talk politics, didn't you?) But the fact of the matter is- he is not killing anyone. My friend is like a tall bridge where you can choose to walk over, admire the view and get to where you are going without getting your shoes wet -or- you can jump off it and end your life. Is it the bridge's fault some people choose to jump off it? I think not!
Now I'm not saying he is my BEST friend, but we probably hang out once a week here and there. Some places I have found him, he has been pretty good to me. Other places, not so much....but we will get to that. All in all, although I have never said so in public, he is my friend and I'll stand by him against the wave of criticism. Since he doesn't have a voice to defend himself- today we are going to talk about why my friend, the buffet, does not have to be the enemy and can actually help you achieve your OFM goals. I'm not here to debate the sanitary conditions of buffets, as that is dependent on the establishment. Nor am I going to debate food quality, as just like a sit down restaurant, it depends on the establishment. I'm here to give you my totally biased opinion.
#1, #2, and #3 reasons we are friends. Buffets have so many choices. Now if your will power is similar to that of Charlie Sheen with a pile of coke, then this could also be your downfall. You need to have mastered the art of staying on the bridge. Don't jump in just because the water, or chocolate fountain, looks refreshing. Previously in this blog we have covered how to successfully navigate dining out at sit down restaurants and still hold true to your OFM plan, but the buffet can eliminate some of those obstacles. First, choose your buffet wisely. For instance, the pizza/pasta buffet is probably not going to offer you a lot of OFM options. You should do a little research and ensure your target buffet has several options from our previously discussed food areas. As with grocery shopping, look for a place that has things you can tell are only one step (cooking) away from the outside wall of the grocery store. A nice salad bar, several meat choices not covered in mystery sauces, and I have to admit I really look for one that has a vat of sour cream and bacon. If you choose wisely, your buffet will have a ton of OFM options and you don't have to annoy the waiter asking them to leave off the bun/salad instead of fries/is that breaded?/what exactly comes on that?/can you substitute...? You just go up and use your well honed OFM eyes to scope out your eating options and avoid the endless piles of sugar loaded sh*t that is intermixed.
I know I'm supposed to eat slower. Stop yelling at me! I'm a busy guy! But I can probably be in and out of a buffet as fast as I can go into a normal fast food restaurant, order my meal with the above mentioned changes, get it from the back 'specially made for me', and sit down and eat it. I also think guys like buffet a little because they still bring out a tiny bit of that animal instinct that you might have to fight someone else for your food. If you sit just right, you can see when the fresh steaks are brought out and then beat all the other animals to the feast! But I digress... Bottom line, you can get in and out quickly and still choose what you are putting in your body.
BE A CAMEL
Fun fact of the day: Camel's humps are actually fat deposits, not water, so that they can go long times without eating. It also concentrates the fat in one area, so it doesn't act as insulation (like in a whale) so that they can better shed heat in a hot environment. Although that has very little to do with this blog, at least you can walk away from an otherwise wasted 10 minutes having learned something.
People have often referred to me as a camel. While I mostly lack a huge hump on my back, I can (thanks to OFM) go for an oddly long time without eating anything and not suffer any ill effects. This is especially helpful since some of my work duties require me to go for all day and part of the night without a good chance to eat a meal. No problem! I can just hit the breakfast buffet at the hotel in the morning, store up on eggs, bacon, butter, and other delicious fats and be all set for 24hrs or more without food. While I was not around thousands of years ago, I'm guessing this is how our nomadic ancestors survived. They would kill an animal or find a food source, eat it quickly before it went bad, and then travel for days to the next food source. It too bad they lacked hotels and breakfast buffets, but I don't feel guilty. We don't choose what evolutionary period we are born in.
It is also quite fun to break a few day's fast at a buffet. The look on people's faces when an otherwise thin person, consumes an amount of food they never thought possible, is priceless. I'm not saying you should eat like a blue whale every day (8000lbs of food per day- fun fact #2), but if you love to eat...it's pretty damn fun every once in a while. And your cost per calorie consumed will be about as low as you can possibly get.
Some people are killing themselves at the buffet. They are choosing to jump off the bridge, instead of just walking over it. Sure, body type isn't always an indicator of overall health...but there are few body types that 99% of the time indicate bad health. It is highly likely you are going to see a few of these at the buffet. Use these folks as some motivation. First, observe what they are eating. I'm willing to bet a large sum of money ($10), that the majority of the food they consume is packed with carbs/sugar and/or fried. I know I'm really going out on a limb here, so do you own research. And then, if you do have self control issues around those types of food, imagine yourself 50, 100, or 150 lbs heavier before you take your next trip to the buffet. This is a little depressing, so I like to think how awesome it would be to get those folks on OFM and see them in one year, at the buffet, eating fats/avoiding the sh*t and 50, 100, or 150lbs lighter!
That was a whole crap load of words, just to say that it doesn't matter where you like to eat. It doesn't matter what economic status is. It doesn't matter where your friends like to eat. It doesn't even matter if you only eat at a buffet. The choices you make will decide the future of your health. You can get healthier. You can improve your quality of life. You can be the next person who loses 50lbs in a year.
No one wants to look like a total freak when dining out with their friends, or worse yet, have to decline dinner invites. This was an issue that I was pretty worried about when I first sat in that room listening to the OFM presentation. As I mentioned in my first blog, I decided to take all these die-hard OFM teachers to my favorite restaurant for dinner and see what they ate. Clearly, I was not totally appalled as I started my new ORM life that day! For the past three months I have been living out of a hotel as I traveled for work (and a little pleasure, reference my last blog) so I have eaten nearly every meal in a restaurant. Here are a few tips to get you through your first OFM restaurant experiences.
Step 1) Do your research
Yesterday I had some free time and wanted to branch out from the very small town I have been in for the past month. So I got on the internet to see what interesting places to eat there were around me that might work well with OFM. If you are within driving distance of Amarillo, TX and type in steak in Google...this is what comes up.
We will get to more of that later. But, as a more normal example, I pulled up the menu for Chili's, which is a very common restaurant in a lot of the country, and picked out some menu items. Here are the items I identified before even leaving my hotel room, along with fat/carbs/protein grams.
Smoked Wing (no sauce) 31/14/55
Blue Cheese Dressing 29/1/1
Avocado Ranch 14/3/1
Cheddar Bites 68/13/24
Craft Beer Ribs 1/2 Rack 28/16/38
Steak Fajitas (no tortillas) 66/32/29
Extra Sour Cream 6/2/1
Real Butter=fatty goodness
These are not the only menu items that fit, and I probably wouldn't eat these all in one sitting (normally), but that gives me a good idea of what you might order before you even walk in the door. Or if you go to The Big Texan, it's pretty obvious that you should eat the 72oz steak.
Step 2) Don't make your order or diet a big deal
You already have a pretty good idea what you are going to order before you arrive and you have studied the menu quickly to see which one of those options looks good or if there is something you would rather have. Not sure how many carbs something has? Google it. If you type in "carbs in XXX" you will usually get the result on the first page.
Then when your server arrives you are ready to order that bacon cheese burger, no bun, add avocado, salad instead of fries, with a side of sour cream. If you are clear, confident, and don't ask a million questions, odds are your friends will hardly even notice. Or just hang out with vegan, gluten free, friends with nut allergies and you will be super normal!
Let's face it, there are some places this is easier than others. Italian restaurants can be tough, but if you have done your homework and don't make a big deal ordering it is not problem. It also becomes a problem when they put you on stage, by yourself, just because you want to have a small, OFM dinner.
Now you are all set to go dine out like a normal person. Just follow the 3 easy steps.
1) Do your research
2) Don't make your order or diet a big deal
3) Don't be afraid to leave those carbs untouched
Step 3) Don't be afraid to leave those carbs untouched
Even though you were totally prepared and ordered so clearly anyone could have understood, your burger still arrived with a bun and they forgot your sour cream. No problem, you are a professional. Just carefully remove that burger from the bun, making sure that you don't let any cheese get away and set the bun aside. Quietly re-request your side of sour cream and they will probably bring you extra since they forgot. Ideally your friends have a fat phobia and they give you all their fatty items they don't want with their giant dish of pasta and bread because they are 'eating healthy'.
I grew up cleaning my plate at every meal. And fortunately or unfortunately that has stuck with me through life. But I am learning to stop eating when I am full and not to be ashamed to leave those carbs untouched.