It’s been 45 days since I went (semi) meatless and so far I’ve lost 13 lbs! By semi, I mean I only eat meat at lunch at work, and even then it’s probably only 2 or 3 times a week and it’s always a healthy portion. And never fast food! My favorite “meat” lunches are one of those flavored Tuna Select packs or a chicken sandwich. But most of the time I’m eating leftovers from the night before so that’s meatless. Breakfast and dinner through the week, and the entire weekend, is always meatless.
My sister read a Facebook post of mine about it and told my mom. My mom told me she didn’t know I was dieting. I happily told her I wasn’t dieting! She was also shocked to learn I’d lost that much weight just by cutting out meat. It’s been too hot to walk or ride my bike so there’s been little exercise involved either. But that will change soon when the temperatures start dropping as we get into the autumn months. I know from previous diets and trips to the gym that eventually you reach a plateau where the weight won’t come off. I think amping up the exercise regimen will help then.
Two weeks ago we actually decided to go out to eat at The Pasta House for lunch on a Saturday. We went in thinking we’d just get soup and salad. That all changed when we picked up the menu. I decided I wanted pasta con broccoli and minestrone. John picked a mushroom risotto to go with his soup. And it was very tempting so we got garlic bread to go with it and an appetizer of mushrooms. We thought the plate of mushrooms would only be about 12 pieces. Wrong! It was about 48 pieces. We probably didn’t even eat a dozen of them. But we finished off the bread, soup, and pasta and took the mushrooms home. Total bill, including two teas to drink, was over $50 after tip!
It made us sick. Not only was the bill disappointing, but the amount of food we ate made us feel gross. The money could have bought groceries for a week or almost filled up both of our cars with gas. And we didn’t touch the mushrooms at home so those got thrown away. And that’s pretty much how I felt about the whole experience. We ate too much and we threw our money away. J agreed. We’ll never do that again.
Some of you might still not be convinced that this is actually working. Even Mom couldn’t believe J had been completely without beef since late June, but it’s true. He even picked out the bacon from a recent can of baked beans we opened for a meal and asked that I not buy that kind anymore.
I’ll be the first to admit, it hasn’t been easy. Not only have we changed the way we eat, but that required us to change the way we shop and the way we cook. I’ve probably searched for more recipes online over the past month than I ever did before. And I am also saving money when I go to buy groceries (I do all the grocery shopping). Meat is expensive and that alone added about $50 to the grocery bill every two weeks. Now I shop every weekend for fresh ingredients and buy less. I also try to plan meals ahead for the week, and I rarely did that before.
I’ll say it again…we aren’t dieting. We’ve still been snacking on cookies. We still enjoy toast with homemade jam. We bought an apple pie a few weeks ago and had it with ice cream. J made a homemade black berry cobbler for us one week. Potato chips are still a weakness. I still drink diet soda and J still drinks root beer. So we are still enjoying sweets and such, but obviously only in moderation. Hey, I gave up coffee in February. I’m not about to give up cookies.
We gave up fast food and eating out about ten years ago. Not just for the money, but when you cook at home and use less processed food, the fast food and restaurant food starts making you sick, physically.
We shop every three weeks, so we have to plan very carefully what produce we buy, what we use right away, what will keep, and what we freeze. We only buy meat when it’s on sale (really on sale.) Being meatless five days a week helps, but then you enjoy it more I think. Savings money is just gravy on top. We eat out once a year on our anniversary. We don’t miss it. At. All.
I don’t miss or crave fast food like I thought I would. And I certainly thought J would break by now. But the weight loss is really driving our excitement. We ate fast food about three times a week, and often ordered pizza on Friday or Saturday night out of simple frustration of not wanting to cook. It’s been fun experimenting with new recipes and new ingredients. And like you said, saving the money is definitely gravy on top!