We have one week remaining in the #DrinkAndDropChallenge. One week to prove the doubters wrong, or hang my head in shame at a failed experiment. It’s the last weekend of the challenge, so the next three days are pivotal.

Regardless of what the scale says next week, however, I will look back on this little exercise as a beneficial one for me long-term. Lose a few or gain a few … whatevs. The main thing that I have gained this month has been perspective. I more fully understand what my drivers and weaknesses are; I know what to try to avoid at all costs (please keep the basket of tortilla chips on the other side of the table); I have learned the resources I need to help me be more successful. For these reasons, and so many more, this month has been successful. Now – to see if the scale agrees!

This was a day where I really go to know the concept of the calorie debit card. If I tell myself that I start the day with 1900 calories on my debit card, I know I have to subtract (or debit) from that ‘account’ each time I eat or drink something. I can always deposit into the account with more exercise. But the key here is to know what the balance is at all times and understand that we have to budget for future withdrawals.

Case in point, we were going to meet friends for dinner at a local burger joint, and that is fraught with all sorts of temptations. (They have fried pickles and fried zucchini sticks that are stupid good.) And a really good tap list of local brews. But I had to be smart throughout the day in order to budget for my dinner.

The Food

  • Breakfast. Bi-weekly men’s group meeting. I opted for the turkey sausage platter: two patties of turkey sausage, one scrambled egg white, mixed fruit, and wheat toast. Less than 400 calories off the debit card.
  • Lunch. This ended up being the key to the day. With proper calorie budgeting, I knew I had to take it easy here. I went with my standard chicken/raw veggie salad. Only about 450 calories. I’ve got more than 1,000 left in the day!
  • Dinner. I planned ahead. With menus online, we can almost always plan ahead. I got the black bean burger (don’t laugh – I think they’re quite tasty) in a lettuce wrap with onions, relish, and sauteed mushrooms. For a side, instead of the fried stuff, I opted for feta, cucumber, tomato salad. Only about 450 calories. Which left me plenty of budget room for  …


Sorry – no photos tonight. I forgot to take them. I had two small pours of the Scofflaw Neapolitan Milkshake Stout. Just … so … good. My bride even had a sip and remarked, “This is the best dark beer you’ve ever had.” And doesn’t like the darker heavier beers. Hints of just what the name suggests: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. So flipping good.
And then we went back to the friends’ house and they offered me a Gate City OTP DIPA. I can’t say no to that. It was a great way to finish the day – and I still had a positive balance on the debit card. A nice way to start the weekend!
Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

It’s one of those days when you know you’ll be bad later in the day, but you’re just not sure HOW bad. How do you budget calories for a questionable evening, not knowing how questionable to will get?

I think the answer lies … again … in moderation and limitations. I have to be good at monitoring (and cataloguing) calories throughout the day. Knowing where I stand and what I have left in the budget for the day allows me to make informed decisions. If I look back after the fact and forget about the two cookies I snuck in at lunch, I’ll be over budget. Strict adherence to the calculation is THE ONLY WAY to succeed in this game. At least for me.

My kid is apparently 75% Italian. He had a meatball sub last night; asked for lasagna tonight, while knowing that he requested his favorite Italian joint for tomorrow night … so that we can have lasagna. So, I’m eating lasagna tonight. Ugh. I do like cheese. Lots of it. The gooier the better. I NEED to budget properly.

At least I was able to suck at tennis for a few hours in the middle of the day to get the blood flowing. 🎾

Breakfast – 🚨 NEWS ALERT 🚨 I did NOT have a Fiber One bar this morning. I had a cinnamon roll (as birthday treats continue for lots of days in our house, apparently.) And I avoided the doughnut. Small victories.
Lunch – tennis courts. I don’t eat much when I play. I had two miniature chicken-salad-on-croissants and a turkey-provolone slider. That’s it. Oh yeah … and a few Peronis.
Dinner – lasagna. But I ate the version made with zucchini noodles instead of normal delicious noodles. So, maybe it was less bad for me? I even avoided having any of the Texas toast. Again, small victories. (And FYI, according to Fitbit, I added 1400 calories to my allowance for the day by playing tennis. Not that I think I should use all of those. Just sayin’.)

And now for the beer …

– Yup. Continuing with the Italian theme, our opponents brought Peroni as part of the spread. Since I was so miserably terrible on the courts today, I thought I should take two beers of theirs.
– As my pre-dinner ritual, I had a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. Uhhhh, yes. Delicious
– And with dinner, there’s a chance that I had a giant bottle of a very cool VariantPontoonGate CitySprayberry Bottle Shop collaboration. It’s called the Wolf Pack. Sharing from the official description, this Imperial Sweet Stout was aged in Vanilla Bourbon Barrels for six months on rich chocolate, toasted coconut and Tongan vanilla beans.” Yes. All of the yes on this one. The birthday finally arrives tomorrow. More Italian food for us … and this time with unlimited salad and bread-swimming-in-butter.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington