Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Cheat Meal Chronicles: Part One

Eight weeks into Operation Beach Body, you’d expect me to be going insane. As of yesterday morning, I’d dropped 19 pounds since January 9. I’m on track to be under 180 pounds by April 1st. But progress has come at a price. Eating right every night, restricting calories, limiting myself to one beer a day, depriving myself of sweets and pop and night time snacks…it has not been fun. I’m drinking tea every night! But my wife and I, both committed to this project, have found a little sanity every seventh day. The weekly cheat meal has become a ritual of ours. When one cheat meal ends, we start planning the next. We talk about it nightly. We often consult charts and graphs and ancient texts full of wisdom. And when you only allow yourself to pig out one day a week, you have to make it count. Previous cheat meals have consisted of such courses as chili and chicken wings, Famous Dave’s barbeque, Canadian poutine and burgers, hog maw (pig’s stomach), and bratwurst with sides of kraut, red cabbage, and German potato salad. In a typical week, I will lose 2-5 pounds, only to gain half of it back in one day. But it’s so worth it. Cheat Day is like Christmas, my birthday, and The Super Bowl all rolled into one. There are balloons, costumes, and theme music. I will now count down my top ten ultimate cheat meals. It is my goal to hit every one of these before the year is out.

(in no particular order)

Famous Dave’s
As referenced above, we have already done this one once. And we’re going back next week. This is far and away the best chain restaurant barbeque out there. The chili is out of this world. The brisket cannot be beat. I think I’m passing on the chopped pork next week and going straight for the ribs. Good sides, too. Mmmmm, corn bread!

Cheesecake Factory
I will always wait for a seat at Cheesecake. And it’s not just the cheesecake. They make the best Cuban sandwich this side of the 30th parallel. The appetizers are appetizing. The entrees are immense and delectable. And oh yeah, that cheesecake.Yeah. Yeah!

Friendly’s
So the food is nothing special. But since early childhood, I have made an art form out of destroying the five-scoop Reese’s Pieces Sundae in short order. Precede that with a burger and fries, and you’re talking epic pig-out! Hell, I might even order a Coke!

“Loaded” fries
Lots of sports bar type establishments offer something along these lines. And given that cheat day is the only day I allow myself unlimited calories, it’s my only chance to indulge the loaded fry sort of deal. Basically, you’re talking melted cheese over a couple pounds of fries, with bacon and sour cream in the mix as well. I call this light fare.

Bojangle’s
Gimme a breast and a wing, some dirty rice, a tall sweet tea, and two biscuits. Now that is eating! We tried a cheat meal once with KFC - it just wasn’t satisfying!

Irish pub grub
I love Irish pubs so much that I think I’d like to live in one. When I go to a brew pub, the beer is primary and the food is secondary. It’s the other way around at an Irish pub. Bangers and mash or shepherd’s pie for the main course, preceded by loaded potato skins and brown bread. My uncle likes to believe that The Rutledges are at least partially Irish. It would be cruel to argue and break his heart. 

Steak N’ Shake
With all due respect to Five Guys Burgers and Fries, if I’m going to cheat with a cheeseburger, it’s going to be a Steak N’ Shake double. Add fries (double order!), a vanilla shake, and a Coke with cherry syrup. I can die happy.

Chicken Wings
Fill two buckets full of wings. Make sure the sauce brings the heat. Fetch me one beer, one water, and one milk. Watch me eat.

Sausage decadence
One Polish kielbasa, one German bratwurst, one Hungarian sausage. No sides necessary. Just spicy mustard.

Grand Traverse Pie Company

We have to go all the way to Michigan for this one, and we most certainly will. Prime rib pot pie. Apple crumb pie. Absolutely to die for. And if the Michigan cherries are in season, do not pass on the cherry pie!

We have less than four weeks to go until Operation Beach Body concludes. At that point, all dietary restrictions will be suspended while we vacation in Riviera Maya. Upon our return, it will be back to healthy living...six days a week.

-L.R.

2 comments:

The Collegiate IT Junkie said...

I enjoy food as much as the next man. I'm trying to cut weight for my next Jiu-jitsu tournament and its funny how I decided to cheat yesterday with some St. Louis Style Ribs, double mac n cheese and Texas toast. I can only cheat once due to the fact, I have 20 days remaining to my contest. After the weigh-ins it's not considered cheating anymore. Awesome read I enjoyed the recommendations.

Lord Rutledge said...

Now that is an epic cheat meal! Double mac! Can't go wrong with St. Louis ribs...