On the left, me in 1998, a year after I left active duty. On the right, me last week (2017).
I was an active duty Marine for 11 years and I got out to get my kids closer to my parents, my sister, and her kids. I went to work at Compaq and quickly gained a lot of weight. So much, so fast in fact, that I had stretch marks. My weight reached a peak of 312 lbs. I then decided to get healthy and I did a Whole30 and adopted the Paleo Diet and eighteen months later, I’m in the National Guard and within height/weight regulations. On top of it all, in my second month in the Guard, we had to take our Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) which measures our ability to run 2 miles, sit ups in 2 minutes, and push ups in 2 minutes. For my…
People are always looking for the easiest way to do anything these days, including losing weight. We want the weight loss pill, the weight loss drink, the weight loss patch, the weight loss program, the weight loss (insert item here). Whatever it is, we want it fast, easy, and as inexpensive as possible.
The sad reality is there is no easy way to lose weight. There is a simple way to do it, but it’s not easy: eliminate sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes, and soy. That’s it. If you do that and eat reasonable meals with good, whole foods, you will lose weight.
People who look for the easy and fast ways to lose weight are almost always disappointed, ultimately concluding that there is no way for them to lose weight and get healthy. They then give up entirely on losing weight and getting healthy.
There are those who try every fad diet and counting calories and they learn within a month or so that it is not sustainable in the long-term. Their ability to restrict their diet so dramatically can only last a short while before they start starving. Most of the time, people on restrictive diets don’t cut out the carbs which leads to intense cravings between meals. This makes it almost impossible to succeed long-term.
Some try to exercise the weight off, and to a certain degree, this is possible, but it is very difficult to do without making long-term substantial lifestyle changes in the food they eat. I know people who have been working out daily for over seven years, yet without a real change in their diet, they haven’t lost any real weight. They are stronger and more fit, but not lighter.
The real key to weight loss is simple and free: adopt a healthy diet. Cut carbs (grains, legumes, soy, dairy) and eat meat and vegetables with some fruit. 90% of all weight loss is the result of improving your diet.
The entire time I’ve been on this weight loss journey, my progress has not been linear. My weight bounced between 2-3 lbs all the way down. Since I weigh myself daily, in the beginning, it was distressing and disheartening. After a while, I started noticing trends based on the things I ate the day or days previously, and it helped me gain an understanding for how my body reacts to certain foods. Now, a year and a half after I started, when I see my weight spike a few pounds, I don’t get upset. I get concerned, but not upset. I know that I need to focus on the food I’m eating, and I know that I just need to stick to my plan, and the weight loss will continue.
I lost my way for a few months. Eating the almond butter and chocolate sweets after dinner and entire sweet potatoes with meats did away with my weight loss for a while. The small amounts of sugar in those items were enough to keep me from making any more progress with my weight loss. Now that I’ve eliminated them, I lost 7 lbs. Even when I go back up 2 lbs in a weekend due to a holiday meal, I’m not worried. I know that it’ll come off in a few days, and I’ll be back to my good progress.
I can remember watching the numbers going up and down and not realizing how much progress I’ve made until I logged a new weight and found I was in a new group of 10’s. My most distinct memory is when I went from the 180’s to the 170’s. I bounced quite a bit in the 180’s, but one day, I weighed 179.6 lbs, and I realized that I’d gotten out of the 180’s just fine. It was a great
If you plan on weighing daily, know that you will see the numbers go up every now and then. What you’re looking for is trends. If the scale goes up three days in a row, then you really need to look at what you’re eating and adjust. But a day or two of increase followed by a decrease? That’s normal. Now, looking at the even bigger picture, if the general trend is going lower and lower, then you’re on the right path. Use the scale as a tool, not as your single indicator of success. There are many, many non-scale factors to consider in your overall health.
For the first time in many, many years, my visit to the dentist wasn’t completely filled with sadness and despair. You see, this time, the dentist (a SUPER nice doctor at Gentle Dental Care in Spring, TX named Dr. Ali) had some great news for me: NO CAVITIES! My cleaning was also not nearly as bad as the last four or five I’ve endured in the past.
What’s different between this last visit and all the others before it? I no longer eat sugar. I have completely adopted the Paleo Diet, and I no longer eat foods with processed or added sugar or sweeteners. I also no longer eat grains, dairy, legumes, soy, or drink alcohol (except for social occasions, and even then, rarely). This diet has had many profound positive effects on my health, and this is one I didn’t expect.
She said my teeth were in good shape, and aside from some normal wear for a guy my age, nothing looked amiss. That made me super happy, and quite excited! Dental visits are something I’ve never been a fan of, but now, I don’t have to dread them anymore. If this last visit is any indication of what’s in store for me as someone on the Paleo Diet, then add easy dentist visits to the list of benefits!
Do you hate getting cavities? Hate bad news at dental visits? There’s a good chance that by adopting the Paleo Diet, you can help your teeth be healthier, too!
When I started this blog over a year ago, I started with the intent of chronicling my journey in weight loss. That blossomed into fitness before I split the two into separate sites. Still, I continue to post here daily in my own voice, stating my experiences and opinions as I continue on this journey to good health. What I never said I would be, however, was tactful.
I broach some topics here that some shy away from. That’s because this is my blog, and this is the outlet for my experiences and opinions. I am honest, and I state what I think and believe. I don’t sugarcoat the advice, experiences, opinions, or information. I tell it like it is, and I lay it all out on Main Street for everyone to read. To do anything less is disingenuous and I just can’t do that.
I know I probably ruffle some feathers and I’m certain that some people come here, read a few entries, and leave without returning because they find me to be too blunt. If that’s the case, so be it; I’m not changing a thing. For those who gain knowledge, inspiration, motivation, or anything at all from what I write, I am grateful and honored. I aspire to be a positive force in the world, and even if it’s a silly little blog, I’m hoping to make a positive impact on this world we all share.
My favorite recipe for Shepherd’s Pie on FunctionalFoodie.com appears to have gone all 404 on me. So while I don’t have the original printed, I know it was based on Gordon Ramsay’s recipe, so I reimagined it. Here’s what I recovered from memory that worked this past week:
Last week, I lost a former classmate from high school. This isn’t the first classmate of mine to pass away too early in life, but something I’m noticing as people my age are passing away is that many of them (and of course, not all) are pretty heavy and dying of weight-related diseases or maladies. This is something that is doubly difficult: First, because they passed away at a young age, and second, because it is completely avoidable.
My doctors, my family, and my friends all warned me. They told me some unsettling and uncomfortable things because they cared. They had conversations you don’t want to have because they didn’t want me to die young. They broached the subject with as much tact as they could muster, but ultimately, are you ever ready to tell someone that the course their life is taking will lead them to an early grave?
When my cousin talked to me about it, she told me she didn’t want to see me die young. When my grandmother talked to me about it, she said she loved me and didn’t want to see me die before her. My friends talked to me and said they were worried I would miss out on our hi-jinks and hilarity by dying young. They got past their own fear of bringing up the subject and talked to me about it. I have to be honest: without their pushing, I might very well be dead today.
I propose we stop walking on eggshells around those of us we love and who are obese. They need our help, our support, and our love. My grandmother used to say, “I tell you not to hurt you, but because I love you, and as such, it is my duty.”
If you are married to someone obese, it is your duty to help them. If your parents, siblings, or children are obese, it is your duty to help them. If a dear friend is obese, it is your duty as their friend to help them. Being obese is curable through diet*. Being obese is something that can be tackled and defeated. For some it’s more difficult than others, but ultimately, it’s something that, with help, support, and love, people can defeat.
We are losing too many people to weight-related issues. This is beyond sad and ridiculous. We live in a world of plenty and comfort. Eating ourselves to death is not living the American Dream or exercising any rights or liberty. It is something to be attacked and defeated. Stop remaining silent. Use some tact and talk about it.
*Some people have medical conditions that need to be addressed to lose weight. Get them to a doctor.