Amid all the fine dining, the fried chicken eating, the vast consumption of varied chocolate-themed desserts, I am often asked: “How do you not weight 300 pounds?”. Twenty years ago, I could have chalked it up to a high drive metabolism but, in recent years, the truth is somewhat more complex. I’ve never really paid attention to my weight. I don’t even own a scale. What invariably motivates me to get into shape is when I put on a suit and the pants are too tight. It’s either slim down or overhaul my entire wardrobe.
During my first season on Stargate, I was at my heaviest, roughly 20 lbs heavier than I am now. This I attributed to a sedentary lifestyle (that saw me spending more quality time with my laptop than my significant other), no time for exercise, and the production’s delicious catered meals (something I didn’t have to worry about when I moved to Toronto because their production catering is absolute shit). It also didn’t help that we never cooked. The only meals we ever ate at home were those I ordered in.
Fortunately, around that time, I hit upon a diet that effected a rapid transformation. Called The Snake Soup Diet, it involved ordering the snake soup at the Hong Kong airport, then traveling to Tokyo where I was violently sick for a week. I returned to Vancouver 15 lbs lighter, started working out, and kept the weight off. [Note: My former writing partner unintentionally invented a variation of this meal plan called The Hot Seafood Casserole diet which involves visiting your mom, then driving home and forgetting the leftover Seafood Casserole in the backseat of your car on a hot summer’s day…].
Anyway, with neither the access nor the inclination to acquire some snake soup or suspect seafood casserole, I recently opted for a new plan of action when I noticed my suits were feeling a little…snug. I have friends who swear by the keto diet or paleo diet or vegetarian diet and while I applaud their commitment and the results they’ve seen, these diets aren’t for me. I wanted something that would allow me to lose weight, but not leave me hangry. So, I decided to create my own eating plan, one that incorporates my preference for early dinners, my general disregard for breakfast, and my appreciation for chocolate-coffee beverages. It goes something like this…
1 – Never eat after 6:00 p.m. I know, I know, very difficult to do for most, especially you Europeans and your 10:00 p.m. dinners. But, damnit, I’m usually hungry by 5:00 p.m. and have no interest in waiting any longer. If I’m ever invited to a dinner party where dinner is served after 7:00 p.m., you can be damn sure I’ll have eaten before my arrival. So, yes, 6:00 p.m. is usually my cut off time. No late night snacking. And, truth be told, I never have the urge.
2 – Intermittent fasting can, if its proponents are to be believed, do everything from increase muscle mass and decrease body fat to stave off aging. It involves – well, not eating for long stretches, usually some 16 hours. Although I didn’t seek to follow this specific stratagem, I found I was unconsciously doing so every time I skipped breakfast and, instead, opted for an early 11:00 a.m. lunch. I’m never hungry in the morning. I’ve never been a big fan of breakfast (don’t even bother inviting me out for brunch). I found that whenever I DID eat breakfast, I would be absolutely famished throughout the day. So, instead, I skip it and fast for 17 hours.
3 – Early lunch – anything and everything. This is why I hesitate to call this a diet because I don’t restrict myself. Fried chicken, pizza, ice cream and cake. Whatever. Maybe if I watched what I ate, maintained a cleaner, healthier diet, I’d see even better results. I could be a hard body, kicking sand into the faces of unwary beach nerds. Or, I could just continue to enjoy porchetta sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies.
4 – My mid-afternoon sweet brew. Around 3:00 p.m. every day, I stop by one of my favorite coffee shops and order a mocha latte or variation thereof – almond syrup, nutella, ginger and cinnamon – as long as they compliment the two main ingredients: chocolate and coffee.
5 – By the time dinner rolls around, I’m rarely hungry, but I’ll eat all the same, usually a light meal comprised of greek yogurt with protein powder, fruit and all natural peanut butter, or a couple of soft boiled eggs with cheese.
And that’s pretty much it. Oh sure, I’ll have the occasional cheat meals. Go out for dinner. Eat a little later than usual.
Oh, and hit the gym an average of 3-4 times a week. A shoulder injury prevents me from lifting weights so I’ll just hop on the treadmill and alternate between a two minute brisk walk and one minute sprint for 45 minutes.
I know, I know. It sounds crazy and maybe it is, but in the two weeks I’ve been on my specially-tailored-to-me-diet-plan, I’ve lost two inches off my waist and I am back down to my fighting weight. So go figure.
I mean, sure, I could try paleo or keto or go vegetarian or attempt to suppress my appetite by consuming an 8 oz. glass of water and sheet of newsprint before every meal, but why make myself miserable if this is working?
Your mileage may, of course, vary.
But I’m curious. How do you all stay in shape – or shed the pounds to make weight in the lead up to your UFC match? Do tell.