Too much sugar (and my night from hell)

img_6748Last week, my wife and I went out for a celebratory dinner, and at this dinner, I had two alcoholic beverages that were prepared with a liberal amount of simple syrup. It was almost too sweet for me, but I figured, “What the heck; it’s a celebration!” and I drank them. Both. And then came dessert. Chocolate torte. It was DELICIOUS, but I knew I was going to have trouble afterward. Boy, was I right.

I went to sleep around 9:30 p.m. and woke up around 1:40 a.m. My body felt hot, and my heart was racing. I couldn’t sleep because I felt like I was too heated up. I tossed and turned for a few hours before I was finally able to fall asleep again. To add weird insult to injury, when I woke up the next morning for work, I felt pretty wiped out (due to the lack of sleep, I’m sure) and I had rashes all over my body. Was this due to the sugar intake? I don’t know and I can’t really say, but it really was the only thing that I had different from all my other normal meals. Everything else on the menu for dinner was pretty normal and keto or Paleo friendly, so I can’t see where else this rash could have come from.

If this is what’s going to happen to me from now on when I have too much sugar, it’s yet another good reason for me to avoid it. I also felt groggier and foggier the next day for hours, and I’m sure the headache I experienced was in no small part due to the two drinks I had.

Overweight Health Advocates

dscn2778
“I want YOU to be healthy like me!”

I see more than a few people online selling pills, powders, patches, products, and advocating procedures or physical fitness plans that are all guaranteed to help you lose weight or burn fat to get your perfect body back. I get it: the health industry, and more specifically the weight loss industry, is huge. It makes people lots of money because we are a nation of obese people looking to lose weight easily, without pain, and without effort.

People trying to make a buck: okay. You do you. But what puzzles me is when people who are overweight and unfit themselves are trying to sell these things and advocating their efficacy based on nothing more than their testimony. If they were so effective, why isn’t the person doing the selling thin and healthy? I’m not talking about health professionals, physical therapists, or even nutritionists. You know who I’m talking about: the people who try to sell these products or services part-time to make extra income.

I’ll play devil’s advocate: maybe they just started in their journey. But if that’s the case, how do they know it’s effective if they haven’t realized the losses these products promise? Is it maybe because they used to be so much more obese or out of shape? If that’s the case, then perhaps waiting a bit to sell these items would be helpful. Maybe it’s a health issue and they are physically unable to lose the weight. If that’s the case, they have picked an unfortunate arena to make money in.

Am I fat shaming? No. Do I think that obese people have no place in commerce? Of course not. Do I think that the health and fitness fields only have room for people who are thin and beautiful? Negative, Ghost Rider. But I do believe it is disingenuous, deceitful, and just plain wrong for someone to try to sell items or services to people who are desperate and to take advantage of that desperation to make a buck on their misery.

“Whoah, PaleoMarine! Who are you calling desperate?!” I am referring to the millions of people who buy into those pills, powders, patches, products and procedures. They are trying to shortcut a well-documented and well-researched process: weight loss and fitness. We know what it takes to lose weight and to get fit. It’s no secret, and it’s remained the same since the beginning of time: eat fewer quality calories than you expend, and move 30 minutes a day at least 3-5 times a week. That information is out there, it’s free, and best of all, it works. The problem for most people is that it takes discipline, motivation, and PATIENCE. Yes, patience, because you can’t drop the weight magically in less time than it took you to pac it on. You can’t magically get fit from using one machine with one repetitive exercise.

Who do I trust? Those who have walked my path. Those who have taken the same journey I’m on. If I’m going to New Jersey, why would I ask someone from Sacramento who has never been to New Jersey where the best pizza joints in Newark are? The same applies to weight loss. Taking advice from people who have never had to go through the struggle of losing weight can be efficacious (anyone can learn the science), but there’s more to it than just science: there’s the emotional aspect of it that you just can’t understand until you’ve been through it. I’ve spoken with many life-long thin people about it before, and they just don’t understand the pain and emotional distress we’ve been through.

That’s what makes the overweight weight loss people more insidious to me: they know the pain, embarrassment, and discomfort that we feel, yet they prey on it to make a buck.

I know this is going to be controversial, and it may not be a popular post, but it’s something that’s been boiling up inside me for a long time now, and I just saw another Facebook post from an overweight person who is advocating a fitness program they are on that promises an amazing body, yet after years of being on this program, the person is still as large as ever. Sure, maybe they have a health problem that precludes them from attaining the perfect bathing suit-ready body, but if that’s the case, then why prey on others promising a result they themselves can’t attain? That’s like me selling cars with no engines and telling potential customers that the cars will eventually start: you just have to keep thinking positive and keep turning that key.

If I hurt your feelings, I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. I’m the PaleoMarine, not the PaleoFluffyCuddleBuddy. I tell it like it is, and it comes from my heart. If this hurts your feelings, perhaps you should take a look at why it hurt your feelings and look within yourself and your motivations and find the reasons there. I care about my readers, and I want them to have good, solid, honest advice that has a chance of helping them. I will never sell, advocate, or recommend anything I didn’t either try myself or do myself or that I didn’t find to be beneficial.

Oh, that big guy in the photo there? That was me when I weighed roughly 312 lbs, and I had all kinds of advice to give people about losing weight that I never took myself. I cringe at the thought of me giving weight loss advice back then. If I could go back in time, I’d slap myself.

Eating THIS FOOD will give you crazy health benefits!

IMG_8609I see Facebook posts all the time that say, “Eat THIS food that will solve all your health problems,” or “Eating THIS food will give you crazy health benefits!” Those headlines are clickbait at worst, and just plain stupidly false at best. If there was a super food that solved all health problems, don’t you think we’d all know about it by now?

I believe that whole, natural foods are better for us because they are the closest to natural as we can get. It’s why I advocate the Paleo Diet: it’s not just about cutting sugar, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy, but also about getting ingredients that are good for your body, don’t contain anti-nutrients, and are sustainably and ethically sourced. I know some people have a problem with the last part of the last sentence, but it’s a personal decision to try my best to adhere to that. If I can’t, it’s not the end of the world. Not every food source can meet those requirements, so I always do that best I can. That’s the least I can do.

If you’re looking for that one super food to fix all your problems, I have some bad news for you: you’re in for a very long wait, because it doesn’t exist. The best thing to do is to eat right: purchase natural, whole ingredients and take the time to cook your food without the use of additives and chemicals that you can’t pronounce. The simpler the food, it’s likely that it’s better for you. And yes, butter is actually good for your. So is bacon. And eggs? They’re probably the best food for us on the planet.

Sticking to your guns

IMG_0201(Edited)Sometimes, it’s not just a matter of temptation or politeness, but a matter of your own success and health. I’ve been in plenty of situations where people either don’t understand my diet needs or, even worse, are upset by them. I try to be as amenable as possible, and when it’s unavoidable, I will go ahead and eat what’s made for me even if it’s not compliant with my LCHF lifestyle, but given options, I always try to eat Paleo or Keto.

I’ve been in situations recently where I was with friends and we ended up in a restaurant that didn’t have a single low-carb option. It was my fault; they asked if I thought we could eat there, and I figured there’d be at least some grilled option or something that was Paleo or Keto. Turns out, there was not a single good option. I had to ask the kitchen to adapt a recipe, to which they complied, but the result was an over-salted dish that really wasn’t very good. However, it was otherwise compliant, and that’s the best I was able to get out of that situation.

I try to be nice about my diet needs, but sometimes, people will gently bully you into eating non-LCHF foods because of their own hang ups, desires, or appetite. Don’t give in. Be polite, but be firm that you can’t compromise on your health. If they are truly your friends, they will understand. Sometimes, people will push against your willpower and discipline for whatever reason, but it’s up to you to resist, be strong, and stick to your guns. You and your health is worth the slight discomfort.

Why do I advocate resisting when going along with whatever your friends want to eat would cause fewer problems? Because if you’re like me, the problem doesn’t just lay with how our bodies process carbs and sugar. It’s an emotional issue, and a behavior issue. I have an unhealthy relationship with food, and for me, it’s a very slippery slope. I can’t allow myself to start falling off the wagon every time I go out with friends or I won’t be able to stick to it when I’m alone, and the next thing I know, I’m back over 200 lbs and in danger of being discharged from the military. I have too much to lose. I choose good health and fitness over food.

This is a marathon, not a sprint

24879879_10210790247221369_295432672312336540_oIt’s in our nature to want to lose weight quickly and with as little effort as possible. There are those who are willing to put in the sweat to lose weight (as if that was possible), and these people quickly become demotivated when they find that weight loss takes time. What’s worse is how many people quit after two or three weeks of hard physical activity when they find they’ve only lost a few lbs.

Weight loss is a marathon sport.

I lost a lot of weight in my first month because I was morbidly obese. I had SO much excess weight, that as a percentage of the whole, my weight loss was actually quite normal. The fact that I was able to maintain a 10 lbs per month weight loss says a lot about how unhealthy I was and how much weight I had to lose before my body reached its happy place.

Stop trying to shortcut the process. The first rule in getting healthy is that there are no shortcuts. The only way to lose weight and improve your health is to change your diet. The only way to get fit is to exercise. Notice the order I put those in, and what activity is required for each:

  • Lose weight and improve health =  diet
  • Fit = exercise

I get it; we want to get rid of the excess weight as quickly as possible. We want it to be painless and without suffering. If we are willing to do physical activity, we want to be rewarded with something to show for all that effort. The problem is, if you’re obese, the reward for all that physical activity is going to be hidden beneath your skin and not visible until you eat right and lose the weight. All you’re doing is building muscle and improving your heart health. You are not sweating away the fat. That’s not how weight loss works.

It will take time to drop the weight. It took time to put it on, and it’s only through careful eating of good foods low in sugar, carbs, and anti-nutrients that will allow your weight to drop and your health to improve.

Another Drill Weekend

Again?

Yes, it’s that time again: time for me to head to the field for some more Army training. That means a challenge to me: keep myself fueled and energized for high-intensity work and long hours while eating healthy. That means my usual: RXBars, Epic Bars, protein bars, and nuts. Fortunately, the last time we were in the field, there were actually some food options that were Keto-friendly, but typically just one a day. That means I will plan for at least two meals on my own each day.

MRE’s are available and always there as a last resort, but the carb count in the average MRE is astounding. Take a look at the individual serving data below of some popular MRE’s from the Combat Ration Database:

2018-04-09 09_56_42-Combat Rations Database (ComRaD) _ Human Performance Resource Center

Those are individual servings within the MRE’s themselves. The calorie count isn’t severe, but the total carbs are. When my goal is 20-30g of carbs for an entire day, you can see that these servings are very high indeed. When you look at the entire MRE package calorie/carb count, it’s even more frightening.

2018-04-09 09_59_08-Combat Rations Database (ComRaD) _ Human Performance Resource Center

That’s for a single package of MRE’s!!! I see people eating just about everything inside of an MRE at a single sitting, although to be fair, most just eat some or half of an MRE and throw away the rest. MRE’s are meant to have enough calories for a full day, if necessary, but when you’re in a combat environment where you are burning 3,000+ calories a day, you can see how these MRE’s become necessary.

To be honest, if I was in a combat situation, I wouldn’t be as strict with Paleo/Keto as I’d be looking to replace the lost calories as quickly as possible, and MRE’s are a good way to do that. However, field exercises, while meant to mimic combat and field problems, isn’t combat, and if I can limit my exposure to carbs, I will do it.

I will keep track of the food I eat and I’ll do my best to eat well out there. I have a vacation coming up within the month where I’ll be eating lots of different foods and many will likely not be compliant with my diet, but I’ll do my best to mitigate their impact on my weight and health by limiting portion sizes and making the best decisions I can given the options. That’s the best I can hope for, and it’s also how I operate when I’m in the field.

Letting some carbs in

file-3 (2)I wanted to see what effect some non-Paleo/Keto foods would have on me this weekend, so I allowed myself some bread and even a half serving of bread pudding on Saturday night, two Pimm’s Cups (also on Saturday night), and a cider and 1/3 cup of rice with dinner on Sunday night. The net result: a gain of about 1 lb. Is that enough to tell me that the food I ate and the alcohol I drank had an effect on me? It’s not definitive, because I’ve yet to have my post-weekend bowel movement, and I still have a run to do. Do I feel any different? Not really, because I made sure I got enough sleep, and I’m not bloating or retaining water like I used to when I’d go off plan.

I’d like to think that my body is now more adapted to being thinner, because it seems to me that after two and a half years, my body keeps thin easier than it did after the first year. You might remember me posting about how eating a meal that had lots of carbs would cause me to bloat, retain water, and hold on to extra weight for up to a week. Now, if I eat something off-plan or drink alcohol, I don’t see any of those effects the following day on the scale like I used to.

Does this mean I’m free of eating Paleo/Keto? Not a chance. I still believe in the science of it, and also that whole foods are better for us and that it’s a good idea to eat ethically sourced foods. With that said, I’m sticking to being as strict as I can. It makes me feel better knowing I’m eating right, and I don’t want to let my weight creep up. I also want to make sure the ingredients going into my body are as pure and wholesome as possible because I want to stay healthy, strong, and fit. You can’t do that when you fuel your body with junk.

So, I let some carbs in and I didn’t die. I didn’t have the same negative impacts I’ve experienced in the past. I think there’s some truth to the observation that people who lose weight can regain it quicker because their bodies are somehow used to a certain weight, but once you reduce that weight for a longer period of time, your body gets used to that weight as being the norm, and it holds it more easily. Maybe that’s why certain thin people (who have never been fat) have an easier time of the occasional cake, donut, or ice cream.