My Brother is Losing Weight

My brother has been losing weight lately.  Irritating.

Not really.  Its not the typical case of ‘men can lose weight so easily.’  He has really worked on losing weight this time. I say this time, because he has undertaken to lose weight (and succeeded) in the past as well.  He has had some extremely stressful life events in the past two years and had gained about 28 pounds.

My brother is not like me.  He was what I would consider a naturally thin person the first half of his life.  As he got older, he gained a bit, but only to be a ‘naturally’ normal weight person.  He has lifted weights seriously since he was a teenager.  In his twenties I used to ask him if he didn’t think cardio was important, and he would reply “I’m never doing that.”  Now, in addition to his weight lifting routine, he runs religiously on the treadmill at the gym.  And, the last way he is not like me–he is not food obsessed.  He has always been a very picky eater.  So sometimes his food choices are limited. He likes the occasional sweet, but it is not the be all and end all of his day.  And, although he has made a few healthy changes in the past few years, he still eats some processed food (i.e.  frozen pizzas. yuck.)

So when he announced to me the other day that he was down another two pounds, I quizzed him about what he was doing.

He doesn’t count calories.  He doesn’t do any food group eliminations (i.e. paleo or primarian.)  He doesn’t worry about the addictive qualities of the fat/sugar/salt combo.  I know.  Irritating. He doesn’t even have a support group that he goes to.

What he does do is this:  He eats a low calorie diet VERY CONSISTENTLY.  He is fairly regimented in what he eats mostly because he is a picky eater, and secondly because he works and he has to have meals that are easy to fix and to pack.

Every single morning he has a protein shake (protein powder mixed in milk, not the fancy concoctions that I sometimes come up with.)  Then he has a piece of string cheese mid-morning. (I checked these out–6 grams of protein for 80 calories.  Not bad)  For lunch he has a natural peanut butter sandwich on stone ground wheat bread (not diet bread,) some tomatoes or baby carrots, a glass of milk, and a dannon or yoplait low-cal yogurt.  Every day.  He has those same two meals.  Wow.  For his afternoon snack he will have one piece of fruit.  And then for dinner, he usually has a regular dinner, which usually includes some sort of wheat product (bread or pasta) and many times includes some type of processed food.  NO snack after dinner.  Even though he doesn’t count calories, I do.  I counted roughly 1500 calories a day.  And then on Sunday he has a ‘free day’ where he can eat whatever he wants.

The thing is, in analyzing this, it will work for him.  Because for him, this is a way of life that he can continue.  I can’t do it.  I know I can’t/won’t eat the same thing day after day.  And when I try giving myself a free day, that does not work either.  I tend to go overboard.

I quizzed him to see if there was anything I could learn from him.  I took away a couple of things.  CONSISTENCY.  Day after day, he kept up his low calorie eating regimen.  Even when he had weeks where he did not lose any weight, he did NOT GIVE UP (ah, does that sound familiar?)  He started dieting in late January or February, and he has lost 17 pounds so far.  Do the math–that’s not even a pound a week.  Two, CUT DOWN ON THE SNACKS.  In fact, my brother says this is the main difference in the way he is eating now compared to how he usually eats.   He has two snacks, but they are 80 calorie snacks, not 200 calorie snacks.  And three, I bought a mega pack of string cheese at Walmart.  Very convenient and tasty form of protein, and fun to eat too!  For comparison’s sake, one string cheese has 6 grams of protein for 80 calories.  My Hillshire Farm’s Deli Ham has 10 grams of protein for 60 calories.  Very tasty, but not as fun as string cheese.  What?  No one thinks the ‘fun factor’ in food is important?

Well, I thought it would be interesting to hear about a ‘success story’ from a different kind of loser.  I love my brother, and it sure is fun to have someone to discuss exercise with (he’s not that much fun to talk ‘food’ with, since he says yuck to most of what I talk about.)  Here’s a picture of us back in 2006.  That would have been about a year after I started my weight loss journey!

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13 thoughts on “My Brother is Losing Weight

  1. I think one of the most important things we can do is keep learning from others be it our brother, a new blog friend or someone in our real lives. I’ve learned so much that way and hope I continue to have that fire to always be tweaking my way of doing things. I love string cheese and it makes a great snack when hiking. I had put in out of my life for awhile since I was eating very little dairy, but now that I’m almost at maintenance, cheese in very limited quantities is something I plan to add back. It was never a trigger food. On the other hand, I’ve been very surprised at how little I’ve missed dairy at all, so who knows, cheese may be reintroduced and then dropped right back out. Like I said, always learning….always tweaking! It’s what keep this fresh!! Loved the post about your brother!

  2. To me your brother sounds like someone who is not only a picky eater but one who really doesn’t care all that much about food. I think that makes it easier to be consistent. But you’re correct in your assessment for sure – no matter what plan a person chooses to follow, being consistent is the key. Consistency will bring results every single time.

    One of Bob Harper’s ‘rules’ is to have protein with every meal and snack. One of his snack ideas is a piece of string cheese and some berries or an apple.

    • Yumm, string cheese and an apple used to be one of my favorite ‘car snacks’ on my way home from work. Easy to eat and NOT messy. Plus delish.

      And yes, that is what I meant–he does not care about food the way I do. He still really likes some foods, like french fries (when he was a kid and we went out to eat, he just had a double order of french fries.) And he still carries on about that gelato that he got in Italy.

  3. I’ve heard Dr. Oz say that your meals should be automated, as in the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. I just can’t do that – especially with lunch because it is one of the high points of my work day and I DEPEND on a fun and exciting lunch since work is NOT fun and exciting. I probably shouldn’t put so much of my joy in food, but whaddya gonna do? Until I get a job that satisfies, that’s how it’s going to be.

    My boss has been trying to lose weight on the advice of his doctor (he’s probably 300 pounds – my boss, not the doctor) and in less than 2 months he has lost about 18 pounds. I pretty much hate him for that.

    I love string cheese!! Sometimes, I love it a little too much. 🙂

  4. I tend to eat one of two breakfast items every day and I don’t get tired of it. I either have yogurt and fruit or oatmeal with almond milk. I have three things I vary for lunch — a lean meat and 2%cheese sandwich with mustard, egg salad with celery sticks or a salad with cottage cheese. I never get tired of those either. Dinner is more varied.

    My Mother ate the same thing day in and day out for years. It helped her stay on her diabetic diet with no cravings for things she could not safely eat.

  5. “Irritating.” Oh how I get that! LOL…men in general just seem to have such a weird focus when it comes to weight-loss, and I’m not jealous, NOT AT ALL!!! 😉 Seriously, though – good for your brother! He’s made changes that are working, and he’s sticking with it. We all could take a page from his book, I suspect.

    And he’s running on the treadmill, you say? Hey, we have a half marathon in my town in December – tell him to sign up for it, and you come on out to cheer us all on! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    P.S. That is a fantastic picture of you two – you guys look great!

  6. I love that pic of you two! Your brother doesn’t seem to be someone who is a real food lover. I could probably do the same foods every day for a few days (heck, that’s what leftovers are LOL), but not for months. For some people, losing weight is just as simple as cutting back some.

    My husband said he was thinking about losing 7 more pounds and I almost don’t want him to try because I know that he will lose those 7 and I will flounder around gaining and losing the same 2 in the same time period.

    I like string cheese. The pull factor makes it interactive and fun.

  7. Interesting. It’s sort of maddening to be close to someone who doesn’t care about food. Almost not natural. I think I’ll have to resist the siren call of pecan pie all my life. I have three sibs (I’m the youngest) all slender. None have ever had weight issues, and, as they are past middle age, they probably never will. NOT FAIR! I’m saving string cheese for a future treat. I’ve not tried it yet, but will some day.

  8. I know from experience that eating the same thing for at least two meals a day really does work. I’ve done it, and the consistency helps with cravings. I also had a day (Saturdays) where I would go out for a meal, and I did lose weight, albeit rather slowly. I’ve now gotten to a point where it doesn’t matter so much how fast the weight loss is. If I’m trying to cut back to a point at which I get too hungry, I will be on and off the wagon, and I won’t lose weight anyway. I think your brother might have something there!

  9. Hi Debby! I have to say I get where your brother is coming from. I do something similar in that I eat almost the same breakfast and lunch every day. I find that keeping it simple and predictable makes it easier eat healthy and not be tempted to binge. In fact, I find that when I let myself have an “indulgence” it just makes me want more. To each his/her own I guess.

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