The Cost of Eating Paleo on Annual Training

img_0198When I went to my National Guard Annual Training (AT), I took with me RXBars and Epic bars as well as some random various jerkys and unsalted almonds and cashews. I survived the two week AT by eating:

  • 1 RXBar
  • 2 Epic bars
  • 1/3 cup almonds or cashews
  • 1 orange or apple

The cost of each meal came out to around $7, give or take a buck. This isn’t too bad, although it’s not cheap. What it was, however, was healthy for me and allowed me to maintain my diet and even lose a little more weight. I could likely have upped the volume of food to maintain my weight, but I didn’t need to. I never felt hungry, I had no cravings, and I always felt energized and ready to go.

For two weeks, I ate at least two meals a day that I brought with me with the third meal being provided by the Army. The result was:

  • ~$14/day
  • ~$98/week
  • ~$196/AT

I could have eaten the food they served us and MRE’s at lunch, but I didn’t want to deal with the stomach issues and the exorbitant amount of carbs that were in the food they were serving. My peace of mind was definitely worth the money spent, and my body thanks me for it as well.

Eat slowly; eat enough

 

I was talking to someone today who told me they started eating only meat and vegetables and they haven’t lost any weight in two weeks. I asked them about their portion sizes; they said they ate a lot. I told them, “Reduce the size of the portions a bit, and slow down. Let your stomach feel full. It takes time.” Now, this is a little different from the title of this article, and I’ll get to that.

It’s possible to eat all the right food yet gain weight. It comes down to volume. You can have too much of a good thing which leads to too many calories. It’s harder to do when you eat good food, as your body will fill up faster and it will become harder to eat the sheer number of calories by volume as you can with grains, but it can still be done.

If you want to lose weight, eat slowly, and eat enough. This seems to contradict my advice in the first paragraph, but hear me out. If you’re eating fast, you are eating a lot. You will eat faster than your body can respond to the influx of calories, and you will over-eat. Therefore, to eat the right amount, you need to slow down which will reduce the amount of food you eat while allowing to feel as if you’ve eaten enough because (and here’s the magic) YOU HAVE!

I try to eat everything slowly now. It allows me to enjoy the food a little longer while also allowing my brain to receive the signal from my stomach that it’s either getting full, or is full. Then, when I stop eating, I’m full until the next meal.

Slow down. Eat until you feel comfortable (but not stuffed!). You will be healthier for it.

 

Where the PaleoMarine goes Keto

This might be a long story, so sit back and relax while you read it.

A few weeks back, Sherry was complaining to me that her weight had plateaued and that no matter how well she was eating or how much she was exercising, she was’t losing any weight. The impetus for our third Whole30 a month ago was because she wanted to lose some more weight. I did the Whole30 with her and lost some weight but she didn’t lose nearly as much as she had hoped she could. That led to some dissatisfaction and disappointment on her part.

As I have been over the past two years, I did some reading about weight loss and methods people have used to safely and successfully lose weight for the long-term. A method I dabbled in and have used while on this weight loss and health journey of my own was Keto: putting one’s body into ketosis (which is not to be confused with ketoacidosis which is very bad and dangerous). Simply put, ketosis is where the body stops using glucose as energy and instead starts using fat as energy. The way one puts their body into ketosis is to nearly eliminate all carb sources from one’s diet. It’s hard to do and easy to get out of, but once in ketosis, the body literally burns its own fat for energy.

I talked to Sherry about keto, and at first, she was reluctant. She was incredulous, but more importantly, she’s grown comfortable with her knowledge of Paleo and how to make delicious and filling foods that are Paleo. If we went keto, she’d have to learn a whole new way to cook.

While I was at annual training this year, she decided to experiment with it. She started doing research and found recipes she tried. It turned out that much of the food she makes as Paleo can be easily converted to keto with minimal effort. Sure, there are things like sweet potatoes that someone on keto can’t eat, but otherwise, much of it is the same.

The end result is that Sherry has decided to go keto, at least for the time being, to drop the last bit of weight she wants to lose. In support of her, and to reduce her workload, I’m doing it with her. She did a Whole30 for me, and then went Paleo for me. Now, I’m returning the favor and doing keto with her.

Does that mean I’m changing the name of the website, or even myself? No. I plan on eating Paleo for the rest of my life, but keto is something we can do to help lose some weight that is otherwise being difficult to get rid of. As a runner, it will be interesting to see how it works for me. I have read about athletes who are keto, and it seems to work for them, but they aren’t distance runners (but then again, neither am I, really).

So, PaleoMarine is temporarily the KetoMarine. I don’t really need to lose any more weight, but if it happens while I’m supporting Sherry in this latest endeavor, then so be it. Heck, I’m still classified as overweight by BMI standards, and I’m still on the heavy side of my allowable weight in the military. Dropping another 5-10 lbs would be a welcome change.

Reintroduction to Paleo Food

Having been in the field at Fort Hood for the past two weeks as part of my National Guard annual training, I had to endure a lot of non-Paleo foods. I didn’t eat the majority of what was served to us, having my own supply of Paleo food in the way of RX Bars, Epic bars, and nuts, but I did eat non-Paleo foods a few times with consequences: intestinal distress. Let’s just say I had to visit the port-a-cans more often than I would have liked.

My diet was very basic and very consistent in all other regards: one RX Bar, two Epic bars, and 1/3 cup of almonds or cashews. Day after day. For two weeks. It was surprisingly sustainable, and I didn’t get palate fatigue (like I feared). I also was able to lose 5 lbs in the two weeks I was out there, which was good.

When I got back home, I had wings, steak, wings, bacon and eggs, wings, and more wings. I didn’t plan on eating that many wings, but it just happened. And do you know what? My gut was perfectly okay with it, and my weight stuck at a comfortable 162.9 lbs throughout the weekend. Even with some Paleo chocolate chip cookies thrown in and some ciders and rum, my weight didn’t spike.

Maybe I’ve hit a weight my body likes and I can take some liberties with my food, or I was careful about serving sizes without thinking about it. Either way, reintroducing myself to regular Paleo food has been easy and successful. Good thing the stuff is so delicious!

Grains are bad

There. I said it.

Grains are bad.

Ha! I said it again! But I did so because it’s true. It boggles my mind to no end when I see people starting what they call a healthy meal plan by adding grains into their food. I get it; nutritionists have been saying for decades that grains are not only good for us, but a preferred source of nutrition. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

Why are grains bad for us when our grandparents and all their forebears ate grains without issue? It comes down to how grains have been altered in the past 50 years.

Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly: “This thing being sold to us called wheat is this stocky little high-yield plant, a distant relative of the wheat our mothers used to bake muffins, biochemically light-years removed from the wheat of just 40 years ago.”

More specifically:

Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution: “This new modern wheat may look like wheat, but it is different in three important ways that all drive obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more. It contains a super starch, amylopectin A, that is super fattening, a form of super gluten that is super inflammatory, and [acts like] a super drug that is super addictive and makes you crave and eat more”.

Think about that for a moment. Our modern wheat is different in a way that makes it more toxic to us AND more addictive. Our government heavily subsidizes wheat production. Now, think about what the reasons may be behind a lack of government-backed advice regarding the dangers of modern wheat. Scary, isn’t it?

But, it’s not all about conspiracy theories. There’s more.

I recommend reading this article on PaleoLeap.com. It’s got all the information nicely wrapped up and sourced in a way that I would rather link to than recreate or steal. After all, they did all the work already.

New lowest weight: 160.4 lbs

paleomarinecomimages_27_original_BUEenbOc3ZK(1)I don’t know how this happened, but when I weighed myself this morning, I weighed in at 160.4 lbs. That’s the lowest I’ve weighed since… well, I can’t remember. Probably when I was 23. I was a Corporal in the Marines, then.

My body composition is much different now, though. I’m much leaner and muscular than I was when I was 23. Back then, I was a soft 160 lbs while now I’m at around 10% body fat. That’s quite a difference.

Since returning from National Guard annual training, I’ve lost almost 5 lbs. I don’t know how or why, but the weight keeps coming off. I’m eating a lot more fat now, and I’ve cut down a lot on the carb intake since I’m not relying on RXBars for my nutrition.

Am I hoping to get into the 150’s? I am. Everyone is telling me that I’m already thin enough, but psychologically, getting into the 150’s will allow me to stress less about my weight. It will give me more wiggle room so I can enjoy life a bit more. I like to stay far from my maximum allowable weight in the military, and being under 160 will give me peace of mind to eat a hot dog or a slice of pizza every now and then (when I want to accept the consequences of eating cheese or grains and their effect on my gut!).

This isn’t about being thin. It’s about being healthy. I’m only 5’6″ now (after shrinking an inch since age 19). Being in the 150’s is healthier than being in the 160’s. I feel better at this weight, too.

I am a changed man

I am not who I once was. I have come a long way from the place I used to be. I used to say I hate exercise, that I will never  exercise, and that I would never restrict my food intake from specific food groups. I would deride anyone doing so, and I would poke fun at them for making all the effort. I was doing this all out of my own dissatisfaction with my own health and lack of fitness. I was lashing out not because of what they were doing, but because I felt that these things were beyond my ability. I thought there was no way I could be motivated enough, dedicated enough, or that I could persevere through the challenges required to become healthy, lose weight, and get fit.

I was so wrong on so many levels.

Image-1 (8)First, I was wrong about hating exercise. I don’t hate it. In fact, I actually enjoy it now. I enjoy how it makes me feel, I enjoy the challenge, and I enjoy making progress. I actually get cranky if I can’t exercise, and it’s something I don’t dread or shy away from anymore. I don’t have to psyche myself up to run or exercise. I just get out there and begin. It’s glorious.

Second, I said I would never exercise. I have proved myself wrong here, too.

Third, I restrict my intake of anything with added and processed sugar, grains, beans, dairy, alcohol, and soy. I restrict these severely, and in doing so, I have lost over 150 lbs in 20 months, I now have lower blood sugar (normal!), lower LDL cholesterol levels (normal!), no more fatty liver disease, and improved flexibility and mobility due to a lack of fat stores all over my body. I’ve been able to start running and getting fit, the result of which is that I am now in the National Guard at age 50.

Fourth, I was very wrong in lashing out at people who were doing what they could to get healthy, fit, and lose weight. Because they were able to do something I wasn’t able to do, I did what weaker people do: I lashed out at that which I didn’t understand, didn’t know, or was different from me. I’m not proud of it, and I’m not making excuses for it. I was wrong.

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I feel like I’m living a new life in a new body. I hardly recognize the person I was. For over 20 years, I was the fat guy. I was the embarrassed guy. I was the unfit guy. I was the sarcastic and mean guy to anyone who took their health and fitness seriously. It affected me in every aspect of my life. Now that I’m healthy and fit, I feel that I am a better person. At least I keep trying, day in and day out. That’s probably the biggest change of all: I keep trying.