A food critic figures out how to lose weight without eating diet food at home

Categories: Booze

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in part eight of this series:

"Just hope you got your dad's metabolism," my grandmother whispered in a tone full of foreboding as she strapped me into the back seat of the family minivan. "Then you won't get fat like the rest of us."

Over two decades later, it's clear that I didn't get whatever my dad has that keeps him skinny, but I can't blame some genetic shortcoming from my mom's side of the family for my condition. It's really a difference in attitude: My dad is an eat-to-live type of dude, who's enjoyed the same nutritious breakfast and lunch for as long as I can remember, and orders the entree he think confers the most heart-healthy advantage when he goes out to eat, even if that means forsaking the duck confit for the boneless, skinless chicken breast.

I, on the other hand, am not just a live-to-eat kind of person -- I'm a my-whole-life-revolves-around-my-plans-for-my-next-meal kind of person. My metabolism, which I think is on the fast side of average, would have to burn as intensely as 1,000 blazing suns to keep up with my rate of consumption.

But when I'm trying to un-fat my ass, it's not quantity of food that kills me. My biggest problem with staying on the weight-loss wagon is that most foods that are diet-friendly taste like cardboard sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. In the past, I've quit most diets in a blaze of glory, reversing the effects of eating white meat and steamed vegetables for six weeks straight with a multi-day binge-fest in which I defiantly eat enough pork fat and ice cream to stop up every artery in my body.

This is why the experts agree that permanent weight-loss is a lifestyle change. And since I'm never going to succumb to a lifestyle of eating boringly, I knew I'd have to figure out a way to make the protein-and-vegetable meals approved by Jamie Atlas, the personal trainer at Bonza Bodies I'd asked to help me turn the cholesterol-ridden tide of my life, appeal to my discriminating palate.

I'm not into diet food. But the mindset that comes from these tips? This I can do:

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