For most of my life I’ve been able to maintain a relatively good physique by eating and drinking whatever I wanted just as long as I made a concerted effort to go to the gym at least twice a week. Most of my life.
As my early twenties became my late twenties, I began to notice I was buying my pants and shorts on different racks than before. 32′s gave way to 34′s and by the time I was 30 I was in a 36″ waist. WTF? I hadn’t changed the way I did anything in more than 10 years.
Several months ago – at nearly 32-years-old - I had what most alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity. My body was changing the way it processed everything I put into it as my metabolism began to slow. It had also begun to view my half-hearted attempts in the gym with a general malaise matched only by Stephen Hawking if he were to watch a 5th-grade algebra lecture.
It was time for me to take care of myself and get back into shape.
I started by cutting out a lot of processed foods and soda. Gone were the sour cream and chive Lays potato chips and in were the 100 percent corn Santitas. I even went so far as buying a calf and feeding it organic grain until it was nearly 700lbs. After butchering I had 400 lbs of lean, organic beef that cost me less than $.99 lb when it was all said and done. I was living the healthy lifestyle.
Between mountain biking on the awesome trails behind my house, going to the gym twice a week and changing my eating habits, I went from 215 lbs of out of shape 31-year-old to a 205 lb 31-year-old in moderate shape. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t look good naked like Brad Pitt or anything, but it was a vast improvement. But I felt great, and was stronger than I had ever been.
The problem was that I kept hovering around that 205 lb mark. I did have the foresight to check my body fat percentage before and after and found that it had actually gone down several percentage points. But nonetheless i still had a bit of a gut and some very manly love handles.
What the hell? I was exercising, eating better and drinking almost a gallon of water a day but still looked like I was a lazy bum. Then it hit me. My Achilles heel was indeed my favorite past time…Drinking.
The numbers don’t lie.
I sat down with a calculator and figured out that during any given week I was consuming an extra 10,000+ calories in liquid form. Trust me, its not hard to do. If you buy a 1.75L of Platinum 7x Vodka and enough 120 calorie per serving Simply Orange orange juice to mix with it and polish both off over the course of 7 days, you’ve essentially consumed an extra 5 days of calories. Here’s a handy little calorie chart if you don’t believe me.
Now I’m not saying I drank a 1.75L of liquor every week. Some weeks I just drank beer. (Don’t get me started on how Steel Reserve has 225+ calories per 12oz) And some weeks I didn’t drink much at all. I just wanted to illustrate how drinking on a regular basis can lay waste to the best laid plans of living a healthy lifestyle. Specifically drinking liquor with any type of mixer.
With this new knowledge in hand I knew it was time to make some changes to my drinking habits. It was time to trim the fat. I decided I would cut out those fattening, sugary and calorie laden mixers like orange juice and coke and start drinking my liquor straight.
I knew this was a firm decision. A decision similar to the one the first guy who had sex with a monkey and contacted AIDS made, and would take some conviction on my part. It takes one of two things to be able to drink straight liquor on a regular basis. Either a fat wallet to be able to afford the finer spirits that were meant to be enjoyed all on their own, or a strong will with an equally strong gut to be able to tolerate the alcohol I could actually afford. Did I mention this gig doesn’t pay that well?
I eventually ventured into Spring Hill Liquors to see if I could catch something on one of their famous half-off discounts when I happened upon the Scotch section of the store. It was at that precise moment I remembered a cheap Scotch called Speyburn, that years ago, I had drank on a regular basis.
I remembered it was something like $13 the last time I had it. Unfortunately, by this time Speyburn had obviously developed a following and was now selling in the mid $30 and up range. Then on the second shelf from the bottom, right above the generics I saw a sign that read “John Barr Blended Scotch Whiskey, Reg. $17.99 Now $10,99!” We have a winner.
I scooped up my bargain find, paid the man and headed home.
John Barr is another great example that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get good booze. I would take the Pepsi challenge with just about any scotch on the market with the exception of the ultra smooth scotches like Johnny Walker Black. It’s great by itself over ice or with just a splash of water to tone it down. It’s nice and sweet and I’ve never gotten a headache of any kind while drinking it.
The funny thing about drinking scotch is that not only am I cutting out calories by not using mixers, I’m actually cutting calories because I just don’t drink as much as I would if it were say, Jack and Coke.
I stuck with the John Barr for quite a while and it was the boost I needed. I dropped into the 198-200 lb range and can actually wear some clothes I haven’t been able to wear in a while. I still throw in other liquors and beer for the sake of having things to write about, but I can say that John Barr Blended Scotch Whiskey is definitely worth trying if you’re looking to shed a few pounds without giving up one of your favorite past times. Plus it will probably offset all the food you’re going to eat this holiday season.