If you’re my age-ish, you’re singing that chorus in your head now, aren’t you?

The kids are back in school, The crazy, bright, orange ball in the sky has returned. It’s just a normal day back to reality. But the real reality is that I can’t go back to what was the norm. This #DrinkAndDropChallenge will soon end, and I cannot just fall back into my old ways. And I think that’s the #1 demise of anyone who embarks on a new weight-loss journey. “I dumped carbs and lost 50 pounds.” And then that person adds carbs back to the diet and gains 51 pounds. “I went to the 6 tiny meals per day challenge and lost 25 pounds.” That became the 4 massive meals per day complex and the weight came back in a torrent. There is a difference between a diet and a lifestyle change. It’s like the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting and influenced by external circumstances. “I’m happy that my team won last week, but I’m unhappy that they lost tonight.” A diet is like happiness – it’s not built to be sustainable.

But joy … or lifestyle changes … this is where real, perpetual success comes in. Bad things may happen to me, but my joy is internal and cannot be swayed by what happens around me. A health-based lifestyle change is designed to be something I plan on staying with. A Whole 30 diet is usually followed for 30 days and then dropped. Many people experience weight gain after ‘completing’ the 30 days. But if it’s seen as a lifestyle change, results can last and continue to grow. My plan is to make this new calorie experiment a lifestyle change. This will be my joy, not my happiness.

Today’s Food

  • Breakfast. Yup.
  • Lunch. We had some leftover chicken nuggets in the fridge. I am the KING of leftovers for lunch … for 2 reasons. One – I hate throwing food out. And two – why waste $10 driving somewhere to buy something when we have food at home? I ate them because they were there, and I didn’t allow myself tons of time. Still, only 500 calories!
  • Dinner. I made spaghetti for the family. By my best calculations, the meat sauce I made over a small am0unt of zucchini noodles (zoodles) comes to about 550 calories. If you’re doing the math, I still have truckloads of calories leftover. And that’s a good thing, because …

Tonight’s Beer

I’d been saving this one. Yeah, it’s the monster in the photo above. It’s a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Aged in Bourbon Barrels. Goose Island releases several varieties of this beer every year, and almost all of them are illegal to buy in Georgia. We still limit the ABV of a beer to 14%, for some reason. Doing some Google work, I found that this one came in at 14.7%. And at 17 ounces … yeah. I’m guesstimating somewhere in the 550 calories range for this monster. But …. O. M. Goodness. Sweet, beautiful, boozy, heavy, I want more … now. There is a reason that this one carries a 4.5+ rating on Untappd (virtually unheard of.) Yes … that same Goose Island that sold out to AB-InBev. I would argue that the everyday beers from Goose have diminished in quality since the acquisition … beers like Honkers and 312. But their Barrel House series each year is straight fire. I just need Georgia to change the limitations on beer, or I need to do a lot more travelling to Chicago.


Only 3 days left. The challenge is nearly complete! What will the results be?

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington