Losing weight, school nickname

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, February 24, 2018

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If you’re like me, you have probably tried dieting a time or two in your life.

Growing up, I was about the pickiest eater you could imagine. When my middle school basketball team went through conditioning drills in the morning, our coach asked me and a few others what our favorite foods were. He told us to imagine them waiting on a plate at the end of the line we were running.

Reece Waddell

Most kids listed steak, pizza or tacos as their favorites – but I blurted out chicken tenders.

“Chicken tenders?!” my coach exclaimed. “Waddell, are you in kindergarten?”

He had a fair point. For a while, it felt like all I ate was some form of chicken, breaded and fried. Looking back on it now, my diet as a kid was less-than-ideal, to say the least.

As I got older, my diet and, more importantly, my palate improved slightly. I graduated from chicken to other forms of meat, but still grimaced at the sight of vegetables, fruit or anything fresh. As a result, my weight see-sawed throughout high school.

Then it was time for college, and let me tell you, the freshman 15 is real. Between the stress of class, work and having little time to cook something relatively healthy, I started to pack on the pounds. There were times that I tried to diet and exercise, but always without fail, I fell off the wagon.

So, a few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I decided it was time to make a change. We are embarking on a quest we’ve set out on before but have never finished. We have set the stakes relatively low to start: limited sugar, only whole wheat carbs, no soda, no alcohol and absolutely nothing fried. I’m not ashamed to admit the first week was tough, especially getting me off Dr Pepper and my beloved Whataburger. There have been times coming home from games when that big, orange W calls my name, but I have abstained.

I’ve learned that to have success on a diet, you have to change your mindset. A diet is only as boring as you let it become. Thankfully, I’m fortunate enough to have a girlfriend who is both accommodating and eager to try new things, which has led to some adventures in the kitchen.

We found sugar-free avocado chocolate mousse (yes, that’s a real thing) should be banished to the pit of despair for all eternity. It may look OK in the pictures online, but it tastes like something straight from your worst nightmare.

But for all the fails we’ve experienced, we’ve had plenty of triumphs as well. I have somehow learned to cook and eat vegetables, something 13-year-old me would have considered a miracle.

So far, the diet is working. We’re both shedding pounds and have felt a lot better. There is still a long way to go, because losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint.

The difference is this time, I actually think I have the willpower to see this diet through to its end.

And hopefully lose the nickname “chicken tenders” for good.

Reece Waddell is the sports wditor of the Messenger and probably ate enough chicken tenders as a kid to become a paid sponsor for Tyson, Raising Cane’s and Chick-fil-A.

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