No, I’m not wishing myself happy trails. Read the dinner portion to learn more.

  • Breakfast. In the haste to run out the door for errands, I forgot to grab something. So, 0 calories, but not so good for the metabolism.
  • Lunch. Hehehehehehehe. The kids have been trained well, and so we went to Taco Mac. Hehehehehehehe. I worked my new strategy of getting half-size nooner pours. More on the beer below. For lunch, I ordered three chicken fajita tacos. At only 192 calories each, it’s not a bad option for lunch!
  • Dinner. A dear friend (initials M.E.) has recently retired and will soon move to the coast. So, our group of three couples met for our annual tradition of oysters. Raw oysters are surprisingly more caloric than I would have thought. In the neighborhood of 40 calories each, not including the cracker and horseradish. But I only had three and then opted for blackened grouper over basmati rice. And several people ordered dessert – I abstained.  Small victories.

Today’s Beer

At lunch, I had three nooners. At only 5 ounces each, they’re enough to get a nice taste without going too far.

  • Founders Blushing Monk. Boozy. That’s all I have for you. Boozy and boozier.
  • Left Nut Exotique. Really nice and smooth. It’s a Belgian Golden Ale, and it had all of the maltiness and complexity that you might imagine. Really nicely balanced. It was the best of the three I had at lunch.
  • Elysian Men’s Room Red. Just meh. It was fine. After boozy #1 and really complex and smooth #2, it just became … the other beer I had at lunch. Not bad, but nothing special either.

And then for dinner:

I was so excited to see the tap list. They had Sweetwater Festive and Second Self Mole Porter. THOSE would be my two beers of the evening. SCORE!! I ordered the Festive first, and then was met with the eventual sentence we all hate … “I’m sorry; we’re all out of that one.”  Oh well, I can move onto to the next option. As I was set to order the Mole Porter, she said, “And we’re also out of that one.” Sigh.

I had two pints of Basement, but I was kinda sad about it. What to do when the restaurant doesn’t have the beer you’re dying to have?

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

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
Comments from people have been very interesting since beginning this February #DrinkAndDropChallenge exbeeriment. Most of you are lovely people and have been saying things along the lines of, “This is awesome. I’ll be following this, just out of curiosity. Good luck!” I even had someone go so far as to tell me that they respected my opinions and wanted to see the conclusions.
And then I get the reactions that truly crack me up. I’m not one prone to engender stereotypes, but these reactions are following gender lines at a 100% clip. Guys have clearly and loudly confronted me with, “There’s NO WAY you’re only going to have only one beer per day.” Pay attention, gentlemen. Never did I say it would be only one beer per day … quite the opposite. I merely said that I would have at least one per day. I think there’s another stereotype here about dudes not paying attention or following directions.

And now for my female followers. Any comments outside the supportive arena have adhered to one central theme: “you and are all men are ***holes because you can drink beer all month and still lose weight.” One particular thread went something like this …

Now, I fully get that these were all meant in a spirit of good-natured humor. But I also know that they come from a place of real frustration. So, without discussing this too much more, I appreciate all of you. Everyone who reads, shares, comments, etc.

Okay – how did we do today?
Breakfast – broken record … Fiber One bar
Snack – Unsalted almonds
Lunch – Super Bowl leftovers. 4 roasted wings; one slice of buffalo chicken pizza; half a sandwich. I’m a human garbage disposal, apparently.
Dinner – Roasted buffalo chicken salad. The chicken was pretty lean … and only had carrots, celery, lettuce, and a small amount of blue cheese dressing. I think this was a pretty solid choice.

Feb 4 Beer!

After another baseball practice, chasing 10 7-8 year olds around the field for an hour and a half, I felt like a nice refreshing beer. I reached in the fridge and found an old friend I’d forgotten about. This was a special release from Scofflaw … Jaywalker. It’s a very light IPA. Light in body, has a solid flavor profile, and weighs in about 5%. This was a really nice finish to the day.
Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington
It is never, ever too early for flapjacks?

Ever feel like you go through the same eating and drinking rut day after day after day after day?
Same beer … same bad decisions … same results…

Going through a prolonged challenge like this is giving me the opportunity to change some of those habits and hopefully prove to myself that a wonderful place exists: a place where I can enjoy my beer without looking like Austin Powers’ one-time foe, Fat Bastard.

Moving on to Day 2, I awake knowing that last night, while not my best effort, wasn’t terrible. I stayed within my daily allotment of calories and had a great time with friends. Success. Tonight posed a challenge for a very different reason. My beloved alma mater faced the #1 hated rival in basketball. When games turn south, it can be easy to find solace in a bottle. Fortunately, it was a comfortable and fun win the whole way through, so there were no additional temptations.

Here’s what I had for Day Two:
– Breakfast: same old granola bar
– Lunch: chili cheese dog. But instead of adding more normal fries and being extra bad, I ordered the tomato, cucumber, feta salad and it was delicious!
– Dinner: Bonus! My daughter is cooking these delicious homemade Raddish meals once a month and last night was the night. We had salad nicoise, croque monsieur, and chocolate dipped creme puffs. All from scratch! Super good, and not terrible on the waistline.

And now for the beer …


I had two yesterday: Scofflaw Neopolitan Milkshake Stout and Wild Leap Truck Chaser. First time I had had either and they both were unbelievable! Absolutely great way to finish my Saturday!

Good thing I don’t have any major social events Sunday night. Wait … what?

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Well, I sure know how to pick a great day to start the #DrinkAndDropChallenge …

A friend was celebrating her 40th birthday last night … at a place with a pretty solid tap list. And really good ‘bar food.’ THIS is exactly the situation that typically laughs at my feeble willpower, scoffs at my well-intentioned “I’ll just have one” thoughts … this is real life. Can I go to a festive gathering, surrounded by friends, food, beer and still maintain some level of resistance?

In short … yes. These situations are when we turn to little tips and tricks to help make it through those temptations. Borrowing another lyric from a U2 song, Running to Stand Still. “Sweet the sin, but bitter the taste in my mouth.” Yes, the sliders, wings, nachos, and potato skins sound, smell, and look delicious. Of course, I would enjoy them. But how would I feel later tonight … tomorrow morning? Not just physically. How would I feel mentally, knowing that I lost yet another battle with temptation?
The tips and tricks:
– Accountability partner. I don’t care if they publically shame you, slap the food out of your hands, lick the whole bowl … we all need someone to KNOW how to get us to walk away. For me – it’s my spouse, my rock, my smokin’ hot wife.
– Be the DD. This is the gift that keeps on giving. On one hand, you’re the rock star that takes one for the team and offers to get everyone to/from safely. And on top of that, you have a built-in accountability, knowing that you have to stop at one or two so that you’re in good shape to get home. (At least, I hope you have that built-in accountability.) Bonus: it can be quite entertaining to sit back and enjoy the show when other people get a little too “happy.”
– Train Your Brain. This is a long-term solution. But the thought is to continue to tell yourself that the guilty stuff that you love is actually something you don’t like. Easier said than done, I know.
– Eyes on the Prize. Find something tangible to remind you of your goals. If you’re trying to lose twn pounds, write a 10 on your hand. Reaching for the queso, you’ll see the 10 and remember to focus on the goals.
– Don’t Get Discouraged. We all will likely succumb to temptation from time to time. The single most important thing to remember is to not lose focus. One bad decision does not need to lead into a “well, I’ve blown it now … might as well finish the whole bag of Cool Ranch Doritos now” mentality. One decision should have NO bearing on future decisions. Okay, so you had a second pint of stout. BFD. That doesn’t mean that the night is a loss and you can jump into the deep end of the fryer. It’s okay … smile and move on!

Day One – how did I do?

  • Breakfast – a Fiber One Caramel Nut protein bar worth 140 calories.
  • Lunch – I’ll call it a deli sandwich. Swiss, ham, turkey, salami, Dijon mustard. I’m calculating 525 calories.
  • Dinner (at the aforementioned birthday extravaganza) – not so great. I had a much smaller volume of food than I normally would, but the health-quality was not the best. This was pre-ordered food for the party, so I didn’t have much in the way of options. (I know I could still choose to eat something better before I arrive. Lesson for another day.) Two chicken fingers, a few tater tots, and a mozzarella stick. My best guess from MyFitnessPal is about 400 calories.

The Beer

I had three beers … and that still fit within my daily calorie window. I had two Cherry Street Coconut Porters and a Scofflaw Basement. Pretty solid Friday!

And Fitbit says I got in about 5,000 steps. All in all, I think I managed day 1 pretty well. But that’s just Day 1 …

NOTE: I promise every post won’t be this long. When I have more stuff to say about the journey … I’ll share.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington