NOTE FROM MIKE: Lots happening this week with Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ, the other healthcare reform bill I said last week that I’d write about), including the latest that the Senate will not vote on the bill. I’ll be back to give you my take on the entire legislative ups and downs. More to follow!

It’s been a month since I radically changed my lifestyle and diet as I talked about here. First things first: The outpouring of support, encouragement, ideas and just plain prayers from all of you has been overwhelming! I had a lot of doubts when I first started this adventure, but the deluge of support from all of you has really kept me on track!

If I ultimately succeed in this effort, or should I say WHEN I ultimately succeed in this effort, it will be because of you as much as me. Just remember that.

But no “changing my life” story would be complete without some fun stories! So let’s see how it’s going so far…

A New Kind of Chicken Run
Recently, we were having one of those family nights where everybody was slammed and nobody had time to plan supper, let alone fix it. Our go-to solution is typically either picking up food to-go or making a quick visit to the WAITR app. Not good.

I was very busy driving home and got the customary text from my wife the RN to let me know that nothing was happening on the supper front. While rare, these nights can be challenging.  Without thinking, I texted back that this wasn’t a problem; I’d just stop at our local fried chicken franchise (In Ascension Parish! You know who you are!), which has awesome fried EVERYTHING.

Then it hit me: Dude! You can’t eat this stuff!! You’re off of fried food! You get on Omada (I named my scale Omada) after that meal, and the numbers will be terrifying!

Whoops!

Just a moment of panic as I was fighting my way through the traffic, and I was having one of those internal conversations that went something like this:

Me: “Well, clearly, I can’t go and tank up on fried chicken like I normally would. I mean, four or five pieces of fried chicken plus fries and onion rings is way out of bounds on my new plan.”

Other Me: “But, come on Mike, are you in this for the long haul or not? Fried chicken is not going to disappear from the world just because you went on a diet! It’s going to come up again!”

Me: “But their chicken is soooo good! And I’ll have to smell it in the car for like 10 minutes just to get home, where everyone around me will be eating fried chicken! And I can’t eat it! ARRGH!”

Other Me: “Ok, dude, take a deep breath. How about you get fried chicken for everyone like you normally do, but for yourself, just get one piece, and eat some salad to go with it when you get home.”

Me: “Well, maybe. But I’m not throwing away the skin! Are you kidding me?”

Other me: “Fine. If you can limit yourself to one piece, just think about what a huge victory that is! It’s like you’ve climbed a dietary Mt. Everest!”

Me: “Ok! That’s a plan. I think I can handle it! Man, that other me is pretty smart!”

So, I got everybody their normal fried chicken dinner and only a single piece for me (a nice, juicy, spicy hot breast! I can still taste it!), and we had a relatively normal meal. And I haven’t craved fried chicken since. And the next morning weigh-in, Omada didn’t even notice!

A Touchdown for the Scale
It didn’t get any easier over the weekend. Game day comes along, the first Saints pre-season home game, which I watched in a venue with lots of game-day food. You know the kind I mean?  Fried chicken wings, bacon cheeseburgers, fried meat pies, chicken tenders, red beans and rice, brownies and homemade cookies, tons of beer, wine and alcohol of all kinds. There was a veritable diet minefield around me! I was very worried as I surveyed my choices. Until…

There, in the middle of all this Bacchanalia (that means an outrageous feast), standing all on its own, looking pretty lonely, actually, was a sandwich tray — the kind where they cut the crust off the bread and all the sandwiches are little triangles. This one was pretty big, with ham, turkey and roast beef all represented. I did some scouting and pulled out four small triangles with turkey. And, over by the tub of beer icing down, was a tub with water bottles.

Saved!

Throughout the entire game, I ate maybe two whole turkey sandwiches and drank four bottles of water, and that was it. Can you believe that? The next morning, I woke up shaking my head. But, I survived. I sat in the middle of 10 of my favorite foods, not to mention all the beer, wine and spirits, and I passed. I didn’t even have a diet soda. Just turkey sandwiches and water!

Does that sound sad? It’s not! I walked out of that event feeling like I was Hannibal crossing the Alps! And, the Saints won on top of it! And the next day, Omada went DOWN, not up! Whooop!

Those Darn Kids!
So, my bride and I are out shopping. At the moment, my 20-year-old daughter and her boyfriend (who is staying with us while he goes to college) are begging us for snacks in the house. RED ALERT! They are 20 years old and can eat ANYTHING with zero consequences! RED ALERT! They are heading for the bakery section! And, what do you think they came back with? Oh yes, you already know it: honey buns and chocolate doughnuts, in giant, economy-sized packages! Help!

But I just smiled and said, “No problem, kids! We’ll stash those in the cupboard so you’ll have them when you need them!” Is that sweat on my forehead?

That was two weeks ago. And, I haven’t touched either box, not once. NO WAY could I have done that a month ago.

I’m beginning to think diet soda is the DEVIL, Bobby Bouché. Really, I haven’t craved them or any other sweets at all since I cut out the diet soda.

So, Is It Paying Off?
It’s all your fault, by the way, dear readers. There is no way I could have resisted that much temptation without knowing that so many of you are pulling for me. THANKS!

I debated mightily whether to quote my actual weight progress in these pages for a couple of reasons. First, my weight fluctuates a lot from day to day. It’s not unusual for the number to change by three to four pounds in a single day. So, I never know how accurate any reading is going to be. Second, I want to be sensitive to my female friends, who have reminded me (and reminded me and reminded me) that losing weight for them is harder than for men. Don’t want to ruffle too many feathers. But I’ve decided, since so many of you seem really invested in my success, to let you know how I’m doing.

On Aug. 13, I started this journey at 300.5 lbs. After one month, I’m down to 284.2 pounds which means I’ve lost 5.4% of my body weight in the first month.  I’m very comfortable with that. Even more importantly, I’m sleeping much better, I feel better and I’m more energetic! It’s all good!

Long way to go, my friends! Can’t do it without you! Straight Talk indeed!