Lately I’ve been reading this awesome book, The Wall Street Diet. I saw it featured somewhere online, and even though it was a marketing pitch and not an unbiased review, I was still intrigued. The author, Heather Bauer, promised to understand the challenges of the executive lifestyle: constantly being offered delicious food that you could never afford if it weren’t free, cocktail parties where you munch on hors d’oeuvres for hours but then still feel the need to eat dinner later, client dinners at steakhouses where you get looked at like you have two heads if you try to order a salad, grilled chicken, or anything not saturated in butter, etc. I was really impressed that she recognized these challenges, so I did something I rarely do: I bought the book. (Usually I wait and get it at the library).
I read it last week in bits and pieces, and it has a lot of really great ideas. It teaches you the tricks to not stand out for being healthy. For example, when everyone else is getting drinks, order a vodka and tonic. It’s yucky tasting enough that you can sip it and won’t want to gulp it down – you can nurse it all night along. You should also keep asking for ice for it. The ice will melt, watering it down, so you’re ultimately consuming less calories while still looking like you’re being totally social and fun. (Otherwise, it kind of creates an atmosphere of distrust if you don’t drink while everyone else is).
There are a ton of tricks for getting through every imaginable situation, and I’m already using some of them. For example, on Sunday I made a list of all the restaurants in the immediate vicinity of our office, and came up with two healthy meal options at each. Now, whenever anyone offers to go for food and I only have a few seconds to decide what I want and don’t have time to look up the specific info for every menu option, I know at least two things I can choose from, either of which will be healthy. Awesome!
This week I’ve really been buckling down on my diet, and today was fantastic. My breakfast was 3 oz of low-fat strawberry yogurt (half of a container I had grabbed yesterday) over 1/2 cup Caramel Delight Fiber One cereal (I know it sounds weird to put yogurt on cereal, but I thought of it like granola). For lunch, I grabbed a huge salad with some tuna as lean protein and no dressing. Earlier, I had purchased a bottle of fat free vinaigrette that I now keep at my desk, so I didn’t have to worry about which unlabeled dressing was the healthiest at the restaurant – I just asked for it plain and poured my own on as soon as I got back to my desk.
Finally, for dinner we went to a steakhouse – normally a surefire way for me to wreck my diet. Well, I used the vodka tonic trick, and didn’t touch the bread (Heather pointed out that you have to figure out what’s negotiable: it’s obvious if you don’t drink, but no one notices who reaches into the bread basket) – those two things saved me about 300 calories right there (more if you consider that drinking would probably make me less cautious for the rest of the meal). I got shrimp cocktail as my appetizer (only about 100 calories for five shrimp and a bit of cocktail sauce!), and even though I got steak as my entree, I got a 10 oz filet mignon (small-ish portion, lean cut) with a request for no butter in the preparation, and a side of steamed asparagus, hold the Hollandaise sauce. Having sacrificed both the bread basket and the alcohol, I treated myself to 1/2 of a dessert: cheesecake with fresh berries. I ate all of the berries, and about 1/3 of the cheesecake. I left the dinner feeling pleasantly full, but not stuffed, and not regretting a single thing. I don’t think I’ve ever left a client dinner feeling that great!
When I got home, I said goodnight and skipped the hotel bar where my colleagues were headed for more drinks and tons of high-calorie appetizers (even though we had just eaten a huge dinner). Instead, I immediately jumped on the treadmill and walked a mile while catching up on a bit of e-mail. After my mile was up, I tossed the laptop on the bed and sprinted a mile in 6:40!!! Can’t believe I lasted the whole mile at that pace – amazing. I then did another 1/4 mile at a very brisk walk (12 minute pace) as a cooldown. I finished off with some leg lifts while doing some further e-mail, and I feel absolutely fantastic! I’m so glad I got that workout in.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on the blog, but as of two weeks ago, I’m up 12 pounds since December. A change was definitely needed.
If any of you are living a similarly corporate lifestyle and think you just can’t change without jeopardizing your job, definitely check out The Wall Street Diet. The first time I read it, I just kind of skimmed it to get a sense, but now I want to reread and start following all the advice to a T. I think it’s going to work!