Dieting strategies from the ‘Normal People’ Panel

Yesterday we learned that Jerry Olinger lost 20 pounds he’d gained during a period of feasting by going back to his usual healthy eating routine.

Earlier this summer, another member of my “Normal People” Panel noticed his weight creeping up and decided it was time to cut back. “Down 10 pounds!” texted my dad as we were driving back from Florida at the end of July.

He was on his way to Canada for a fishing trip and was a little concerned whether he could preserve his loss eating typical “guy” food like fried potatoes, bacon and eggs. But he did, and he’s kept the weight off since.

Here’s what he had to say about how he did it:

Q. What made you decide you needed to lose weight?

I had been up and down around my top limit for some time and thought it’s time to see if I could lose about 5 or 6 lbs.

Q. What specific steps did you take?

“About the only thing I did was to simply eat less. About the only food I really cut back on was bread, and that was not 100%.  If I ate a hamburger it was on my plate separately with the tomato and onion.”

Q. How do you think you managed to keep it off while in Canada?

“We had really great meals in Canada. A lot of fish, of which I ate quite a bit, but less than in other years. We had fried potatoes with several meals, but I only ate a few potatoes one time.” (On a typical fishing trip, he would’ve eaten fried potatoes with virtually every meal, since that’s a food he enjoys.)

“I did eat peas or corn. OK, with the corn it was sweet corn grown by Rick (one of his fishing buddies) and I can’t get enough of it, so I had a double serving of it three times. We also had fresh Amish grown tomatoes and I ate two or three slices each dinner.”

“For breakfast I ate my 40% bran flakes (without bananas) and once had some eggs, but did not eat any toast or bacon.” (He also avoided eating bread and butter with dinner, which is something he would’ve eaten in the past.)

“At our annual bank golf outing the other day, one of my friends told me it looks like you didn’t put any weight on going to Canada. I had to think of you, as I’m sure you hear many, many comments on your weight loss. I still sometimes have to look twice to see if it’s you.”

Q. How do you plan to keep it off?

“I don’t have any specific plans for keeping it off, but will try to maintain this weight as long as I can. Then go through the same process as it seems to work for me.”

“One other thing in the back of my mind I guess is that we are having our 50th class reunion October 1. … Also, someone at Rotary (Club) said I look younger since I retired, more relaxed. I have heard that before so it’s kind of an incentive to maybe keep the weight off.”

Q. When we ate at Steak ‘n Shake after Rowan’s soccer game a couple of weeks ago, you ordered a salad. But then a few days later at Bob Evans, you had fried mush and cheesy potato soup. What were you thinking when you ordered those things?

“The salad was me making an effort to cut back.” Whereas at Bob Evans, he’d noticed on the scale that morning that he was down a pound or two, so he decided it would be OK to order what sounded good. So for now, he’s weighing himself regularly and letting the scale dictate how carefully he eats each day.

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