Last month, I made a drastic, some might even argue unwise decision. I gave up cheese.
For those of you who don’t know me, this is a REALLY big deal. I love cheese. Cheap cheese, stinky cheese, cheese with funny stuff inside it, I LOVE cheese. I also, however, love fitting into my clothes, so when Brian and I started our getting back in shape program, We challenged each other to temporarily give up a special food love. When Brian suggested I release myself from delicious creamy heaven for two weeks, I was convinced there was no way I could make it without consuming an entire wheel of Brie. But that’s what I love about challenges, they always manage to surprise you.
While Brian worked himself up to giving up beer during the week, I dug through the fridge and tossed every slice of mozzarella, stick of monterey, and cup of shredded cheddar. Guys, there was a lot of cheese in there. After I was done, I felt a sense of pride that really only belongs to marathon runners. I spent the rest of the week working through recipes and scanning menus to make sure nothing cheesy made to my mouth.
To be honest, I didn’t really miss it as much as I thought I would. Saying no was easy. The hard part was avoiding it in the first place. Folks, cheese is in EVERYTHING. I had no idea how much cheese I consumed until I stopped eating it. There’s the obvious stuff like pizza and nachos, but even little things like sandwiches, soups, even desserts had me checking the ingredients.
I’ll admit the first two weeks were tense. I might have snapped at Brian once or twice out of a desperate, inhuman desire for Gorgonzola. When it was time to go back to chowing down on pizza, I realized I didn’t want to. I had enjoyed the challenge, but at this point, a cheeseless existence had become somewhat second nature and definitely easier than anticipated. I told Brian I wanted to try for a full month. He graciously agreed to join me and the next few weeks flew by with little effort.
Now to the important part: the results. After not eating cheese for six weeks (and only cheating twice) I dropped a total of 8 pounds! This was with little added exercise and no other changes in diet. Crazy, right? The loss also brought improvements to my digestion and energy. Suddenly, getting of the couch and getting moving wasn’t such a daunting task. Brian and I have since allowed cheese back into the house, but in smaller doses and with a greater awareness of just how much dairy we eat on a regular basis.
We’re even talking about upping the ante and eliminating another staple. Have any of you tried this? What foods would you recommend removing? I’m open to suggestions!