Once upon a time I was a craft-beer freak. (Heck, I started this site!) Trips to my local beermonger (love the term, thanks Bob!) usually resulted in the purchase of multiple vessels containing the good stuff.
Typically, a trip would minimally yield a six pack of something new, a seasonal something-or-other and maybe a 22 oz. ‘bomber’ of something that just struck my fancy at the moment.
Here’s an idea of a “normal” beer run from September 2011.
- 12-pack of Sam Adams Octoberfest
- Six pack of Sam Adams Pumpkin Ale
- A sixer of Long Trail Harvest
- Four-pack of DFH Punkin’
- Four pack of Sam Adams Imperial Stout
- Autumn Maple “bomber” from The Bruery
Typically, this was a weekly trip. Or bi-weekly. Any trips outside of my home area would require a stop someplace to try some local brews, and perhaps bring some back with me. Beer was always on the mind.
Typically, I’d have at least a beer each night – sometimes with dinner, sometimes when unwinding before bed, and sometimes both. Not a heavy beer consumer by any stretch of the definition, but still… Lets just say it was more common to see me with a full pint glass each evening than not.
Never to get “buzzed” mind you, but rather because I actually enjoy a good beer – (though some of those big beers will do it in one session!)
So then I had my first child in the Spring of 2011, and any time I had to critically assess beer pretty much went out the window (with free time in general actually). You may have noticed a decline in reviews from your’s truly, and that’s the main reason. No time!
I was still enjoying my beers, and for a time felt guilty not being able to share the experience with the three or so people who visit The Brew Club. Yes, I did. Which made me realize that part of why I was buying and drinking (so much?) beer was so I could write about them.
Moving on, I later became fed up with my weight. I was stuck at a very stubborn 205 lbs, which was my “normal” range give-or-take for many, many years. (205-210 ish. Heck, when I gave up beer for a month in 2011, I was happy to have gotten from 209 to 205) I tried this, and I tried that, but nothing really helped me lose any weight until I started to obsessively tracking my caloric intake each day.
What I learned made all of the difference. I was consuming WAY too many calories for someone my age/height/activity level, and beer was playing a large part in that situation.
Do the math. To me, a “light” beer might be something like Sam Adams Boston Lager which seems to have 175 calories per serving. Have two, and that’s 350 calories. Again, that’s on the “light” end of the spectrum and do you know how long you’d need to run on an elliptical machine to burn off 350 calories???
Over the course of a week, that’s anywhere between 1225-2450 calories without a heck of a lot to show in return besides carnal enjoyment, which, could make up for a lot in some instances.
So it was getting hard to justify these excess beer calories and so I basically cut it out of my diet. Just like that.
Was it hard? Yes. But I found that refocusing my obsessive energy to calories helped take the obsessive focus off of beer and writing about it. When you are trying to keep your daily intake at a certain level, say 1750 calories, you have to make choices. Typically, beer isn’t making the cut.
I can honestly say, I don’t have the craving for specific beers anymore. My car doesn’t mysteriously take me to one of the quality local beer stores anymore. There’s more money in my pocket, and surprise, surprise – the stubborn weight has been coming off.
I still enjoy a good beer from time to time, but right now its more like one per week rather than one (or more) per day. Seems like a little bit of the fun and spontaneity is removed from life when you have to “plan” a beer (much like planning sex), but that’s the situation I got myself into and that’s how I’m getting out of it. For now anyway.
By obsessively counting my calories (and I mean obsessively) I’ve learned about portions, which was my fatal flaw all along. (Heck yogurt is healthy, so six of them must be really healthy, right?) I’ve learned to better prioritize within a calorie budget so-to-speak, and from a health perspective (for me) there are better ways to consume 175+ calories per night than with beer.
So you see, I’m not blaming beer for my weight, but it certainly was low-hanging fruit when it came time to make some cuts to what I ate.
On the plus side, when I do “plan” a beer, I make sure its a damn good one. I spend a little more time making proper pairings if its with a meal, and if its not, well, I definitely milk it.
I’m not boasting, but as I pen this post I weigh 184 lbs which is 21 lb drop, and a weight I have not seen since 1997 at least. I’m aiming for 180 and I’m pretty sure I’ll get there.
I realize that maintaining that weight will be a challenge, but having focused on the issue carefully since this April, I’ve learned much about what I eat that I just didn’t know, or want to know before that. It isn’t all intake either, but that’s the biggest factor for me. I’ve stepped up my exercise schedule too. I’ve made it a priority, even though free time is hard to come by.
For the first time in awhile, I’m really proud of myself – I NEVER thought I’d be this weight, but I did it by getting more information and being tenacious and it feels great.
Now if I could only apply that to my career, I’d be all set!
BTW, if you were wondering what I used to count calories, its an online thingy called My Fitness Pal. Check it out. It made all of the difference for me.