Matt and I, unbeknownst to the other, began our weight loss journeys one day apart this past April--each of us on a quest to feel better about ourselves. This week I sat down and talked with Matt about the 20 weeks since taking charge of his future; here's his point of view.
Kara: What was it that helped you make that decision to do it (losing weight) now, in such an inhospitable environment (culinary school)?
Matt: Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I was lonely. I wanted a girlfriend. It had nothing to do with health or anything, I just wanted to have a girlfriend.
Kara: What was the first thing you decided to change or address?
Matt: Definitely my eating habits. Being at school you can get carried away. There are platters of food out and it's like 'I'm going to get a little bit of this, and a little bit of this and little of that.' And before you know it, it just ridiculous amounts of food.
Kara: Being here, for me, I was knew what days were which menu in certain kitchen and looked forward to them- they were great... What are some of your pitfalls?
Matt: Fried chicken, when K-16* did it. That and burgers--I'd get burgers constantly, and now that I think about it, it was terrible. A lot of red meat.
Kara: Obviously, as chefs, we need to taste our own food before we send it out to people. But it's easy to get carried away. What foods were triggers for you?
Matt: Boredom. Just boredom.Well, Napoleons too, definitely and eclairs. I love eclairs. Eclairs are good. And baking and finishing! Oh geez... anything that just came out over-done or under-done would be under my station to eat later. I had a 'garbage' bains marie, and an 'I'm going to eat it later' bains marie. It was bad.
Kara: There is a lot of healthy food here, but not necessarily fit for someone who is trying to lose weight. So how do you find a fit meal here?
Matt: Well, you get a meal and you fit it to what you're doing. Yesterday I got a turkey sandwich for lunch and just ate the turkey and cheese. And I try to eat salads. I got a sirloin salad but without the dressing. So that's better.
Kara: Do you find certain foods help stave off hunger better, especially with eating more vegetables and fewer carbs?
Matt: Well I try to eat more small meals, and then snack during the day on things like broccoli. I really like broccoil. But veggies are what I try to eat to keep away from hunger...and away from the dessert table.
Kara: Are there foods that you're trying to keep to a minimum?
Matt: I've tried to totally eliminate carbs, and fats and sugars. But, you know, once a week I'll have a petite gateau. I try not to have one, but usually I end up having one.
Kara: Do you find that allowing yourself to have some of those types of foods helps your efforts to be more sustainable?
Matt: Oh yeah, without a doubt. Back in high school I tried not to eat any of it, and when I did I'd think "I ruined it" and that's a bad way to think. I learned that in psychology- what's it called? Catastrophizing?
Kara: Yup. All or nothing.
Matt: And that's not good, then you end up hating yourself for eating that one thing and really, that one thing doesn't make that much of a difference in the long run....
*K-16 is a quantity production kitchen at The Culinary Institute of America, serving students during dining hours.
Read the rest of my interview with Matt on Monday.
Tomorrow: Weigh In day... Did I get back on track after last weeks gain?