Diary of a Lazy Man - Taco Bell is the Base of My Food Pyramid

Since I started my quest to lose around 75 pounds back in late May 2015, I've made good progress. Starting at over 237 pounds then, I now weigh in at 194. Considering how long it took me to put on and maintain all that weight, dropping 43 pounds in a few months has been great.

I still have a couple of strength training sessions each week at LA Fitness with my trainer, Rachelle. She's done exactly what I asked her to and helped build my endurance and my strength by pushing my limits. My limits were pretty easy to push, though, because in the beginning, even bench pressing the weight bar with no weights on it resulted in my trainer saying, "Well, this is a little advanced for you. How about you bench press this pool noodle? Let's try for three sets of three reps each." I ate that damn noodle. But now, while I'll never be one of those weirdly proportioned inverted triangle guys with enormous shoulders and lots of pecs, I'm a lot stronger and can do a full workout without collapsing into a puddle of blubber and failure.

Like this, only with with more blubber.

Even with the workout regimen, I had to make some big changes in my diet. When I mentioned to people that I was going to take my weight and my health more seriously, damn near everyone in my vicinity all of a sudden turned into an armchair nutritionist. Paleo, vegan, Atkins, cut carbs, cut fat, the Mediterranean diet, the Mongolian diet (which involves hurling plague-infested corpses into the homes of your neighbors, waiting for them to die, and then eating their Froot Loops and selection of deli meats)...everyone had something they insisted was going to fix me right up. I listened dutifully, considered carefully, and then ignored gleefully, because none of these people were actually nutritionists or involved involved in health in any way other than maybe watching some episodes of Dr. Oz, and screw that guy.

I chose my own way, based on what I know about myself: 1) I'm lazy, 2) I like big changes for a while, but get bored easily, 3) when it comes to food, once I've got something I like, I can eat that thing forever, 4) I'm so damn lazy that it merits two entries.

With those facts in hand, I made Taco Bell the base of my own personal food pyramid. Laugh, mock, deride all you want. I've heard the jokes...which mostly distill down to one joke that involves sliding into home with your pants full of foam. Not only are the jokes not true, I still maintain that for inexpensive, good fast food, Taco Bell is the best value out there, hands down. I love other burritos, too, but Taco Bell is everywhere, they have reliable quality, and I walk out of there for half the cost of whatever upscale burrito joint is popular.

I'd already been eating there regularly for a couple of years. There's one near my work and another near my home, and I'm in there often enough that the people who work there know my name and know my order, which is nice.

To be fair, I can't speak to Taco Bell's entire menu, because there's exactly one thing on there that I order, and it's kind of obscure: the Combo Burrito.

Behold!

It's ground beef, beans, onions, and red sauce. By default, it comes with cheese, but I leave that off because I hate orange cheese. My normal daily lunch prior to losing all this weight was two of these. They clock in at 450 calories each, which is totally fine, except for the fact that I don't need to consume 900 calories for lunch.

The biggest change I had to make in my diet was walking in, having the folks behind the counter greet me and start ringing up the order for two Combo Burritos, and having to say, "Nah, I'm going to just have one." That minor change took me nearly two weeks to do because I'm lazy and once I settle on a routine, it's hard for me to change it, even if I want to.

By saying the word "one" instead of "two", I immediately cut my lunch calories in half. I didn't have to start eating kale steaks or tofu smoothies. I still eat where I want and what I want, just a little bit less of it. I'm down 43 pounds, my energy is great, blood pressure and cholesterol are equally good, and Taco Bell's Combo Burrito will remain the base of my food pyramid for the forseeable future. 1

  1. Cover image by Mike Mozart. Passed out guy image by Watchcaddy. Licensed under Creative Commons