How a DC Journalist Eats After Losing 90 Pounds

A DC writer for Freethink Media, Mike Riggs hasn’t always been a health nut. In fact, he used to weigh 280 pounds. But in 2012,  he started working out again and quit smoking, and in 2014, he cut back on alcohol and started keeping a food diary. Over the course of four years, Riggs lost 90 pounds.

He wrote for The Washington Post about how he helps keep the weight off by turning down office food pushers and refusing to give in to the social pressures to eat calories he didn’t needso we reached out to see how Riggs continues to craft his diet on a day-to-day basis. While he no longer keeps a strict food diary like he did during the first six months of his new diet, he says he reevaluates what he’s eating once a month by using the MyMacros+ diet tracking system for a full week.

“Recalibrating steers me back toward proper quantity sizes if I’m starting to under or overestimate and reminds me that it’s perfectly possible to eat well without eating in excess,” says Riggs.

Riggs says that before he made his diet change, a typical day might include a ham, egg, and cheese bagel for breakfast; a sandwich and chips for lunch; a muffin or energy bar snack; carbs accompanied by a protein for dinner; and maybe two or more servings of alcohol to wash it all down. Below, see how Riggs eats now.

Breakfast

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All photographs courtesy Mike Riggs.
“I have a three-breakfast rotation depending on how I’m starting my day,” says Riggs. “When I lift before work, I’ll have oatmeal with whey protein powder and blueberries. I lifted after work today, so breakfast was all protein and fat; in this case, sugar-free almond milk, chocolate whey protein powder, and a raw egg, blended together with a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon. The egg makes the shake creamier and adds just enough fat to keep me full for a few hours. If I’m cooking breakfast for my partner and myself, I’ll do the civilized thing and make scrambled eggs. That said, raw egg is delicious.”

Lunch

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“If we have leftovers from the night before, I take them for lunch,” says Riggs. “Otherwise, I either make a salad or pack a full container of cottage cheese and some raw veggies. Cottage cheese is great on its own—lots of protein and just enough fat with very few carbs—and I love the simplicity and subtle barbarity of polishing off a full container throughout a work day.”

Pre-workout Snack

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“If I lift after work, I’ll have my oatmeal, whey, and blueberry mess right before I leave the office,” says Riggs. “Just add water (whole milk of I’m feeling decadent) and let it sit in the fridge so everyone can mingle. The mix of slow and fast carbs gets me through my bike ride home and into the gym, even if it’s miserably cold outside.”

Dinner

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“My parents were courteous enough to start me on liver at a young age, which is why I don’t mind eating it at least once a week now,” says Riggs. “While we used to eat it breaded, fried, sparkling with salt, and smothered in hot sauce, today I’m fine with just sautéing it in a little bacon grease or butter, with some veggies. I make this at least once a week, normally when my partner’s not home (liver is exceptionally fragrant, in that she takes exception to smelling it all the time). While I’ll order it medium rare at Old Ebbitt, I prefer to cook it to death at home. I take the leftovers for lunch and eat them cold.”

Have a Food Diary you’d like to share? Email ccunningham@washingtonian.com.

Consult with your doctor before beginning a new diet. Washingtonian does not endorse any diet without the supervision of a medical professional. 

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.