Steaks and Sweet Potatoes

I’m down Thirty-One Pounds. Victor is under 200 lbs for the first time since he quit smoking and is down six pant sizes. This has put a huge smile on my face. I haven’t cracked 200, yet, but I’m working on it! We’re both looking – and feeling – pretty damned good. I plan on getting to my Disco-Weight – without the illicit drugs of yore!

When I first quit smoking in 1992, I gained 60 pounds. Everyone said it was better to be overweight than be a smoker, so I went with it. I lost some of them and then started smoking again, around 1997. I lost even more – but was still close to 20 over where I was in my prime smoking days. Then I quit, again, around 2006 – and the weight came back with a vengeance. I’ve been walking around with an extra 60 pounds for the past few years.

What didn’t register with me was how much the excess weight was slowing me down. I’m the king of justification. I just attributed slowing down to getting older – as I reached for another slice of cheesecake. Homemade, of course. I didn’t have a desk job – I actually had to move a little bit at work – so I figured I was getting my exercise. And all of those cookies and snacks and other foods I was consuming at work were negligible. And the desserts I was making every night were being split between the two of us – it’s not like we were eating all of it at one time…


As I said, I’m the King of Justification.

But what a difference a few months makes. I have energy. I can get up out of a chair without grunting. I can make it up and down the stairs without being winded. My body is actually starting to work like it’s supposed to. What a concept.

Our trainer is smart. He works us Monday and Wednesday, and then on Friday he pulls out all the stops. It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. What really gets me is he will have us doing something that really looks as basic as basic can be – and either I can’t do it at all, or I can barely eek out the most minimalist part of it – and then he adds another 10 pounds. He keeps pushing, knowing that little-by-little, we’re making progress. He’s not rushing us, but he’s not letting us be complacent, either. I still can’t touch my toes – but I’m down past my knees. I cannot sit on the floor with my legs straight out – but I can squat and get back up without effort. All things that 15 weeks ago were unheard of.

I never knew what I couldn’t do because I compensated in other ways. I’m being taught how to un-compensate and do it right. The blinders are off and we’re doing it right.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed we’re eating pretty well around here. No dieting. It’s smaller portions and better choices. I like bread. I still bake bread and I still eat bread – pretty much daily. Desserts are generally fresh fruit. I have no cravings for the ooey-gooey desserts of yesteryear. I actually miss making them more than I miss eating them – but I’m getting over it.

Dinner, tonight, was a steak and a baked sweet potato – with a lot of stuff in it. I pretty much just grabbed stuff out of the ‘fridge and went for it.

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 1 large sweet potato, baked and riced
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 large mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • tbsp sambal oelek
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Sauté fennel, leeks, mushrooms, carrots, and green onions until wilted and they start to soften. Add the rum, cover, and steam until vegetables are tender.

Stir in coconut milk and sambal oelek and bring to a boil.

Stir in riced or mashed sweet potato and mix well.

Fold into a small casserole dish and bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes.

It’s only taken me 66 years to open my eyes and see what was right in front of me. That’s okay, though. A younger me would have just reached for another piece of pie.