More Free Weight Loss Thanks to Whole30

It happened without me trying. It happened when I thought there was no more to lose. After my run, I weighed myself, and I was surprised by weighing in at 162.9 lbs. Wow! That’s the lowest I’ve weighed since I was around 23 years old, and almost a full 2 lbs less than my last low.

The fact that I’m losing weight means that my body is still reconfiguring, and still getting leaner. I run every other day, and that helps, but honestly, the weight loss kicked back in once Sherry and I undertook our third Whole30. The strict diet and attention to the food we are eating has helped me re-learn portion size control and got me off the dessert habit I’d reacquired, even if it was only a Paleo cookie every other dinner or so.

My goal was to hit 165 lbs. I’m now 162.9 lbs. That makes me very happy, and it makes it easier to run, makes my clothing fit better (although I’m now into small sized shirts and smaller pants which means more visits to the outlet mall for more new clothes), and I even feel better (which I didn’t think was possible).

Party Platters, Celebrations, and Food

Featured Image -- 5796Every holiday or special occasion in the US has, at its center, plates of food. This is common around the world as well, although different cultures go about it differently. I will not go into how other cultures celebrate with food; I will focus on the US.

We like to have platters and plates of food available for grazing. You know what I’m talking about: plates of food stacked as high as you can without it tipping off the plate, eating it, and then returning to the food table for more. This goes on for hours until either it’s time to go home, or the food is gone. There’s no real reason for eating this much; it’s just something we do at these get-togethers.

I know about this all too well, because I was one of the “Big hitters” when it came to social gatherings. I was the guy who cleaned up plates, asking hosts if there was any more of a certain food left to eat. I could sometimes see the consternation on their faces as I ate at least 2-4 people’s worth of food. At least none of it went to waste; I never threw away uneaten food.

I am perfectly okay with food being at celebrations, but perhaps we need to stage the food and bring it out for the sit-down portion of any celebration. A meal time, like we do for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. This limits folks to an eating time and teaches our kids that food is not entertainment, but fuel. At special occasions, you can eat special foods with the people who are the most important in your life, but outside of that, food isn’t to be used as a means of having fun.

Even for me, it’s tough to be good at parties when there is an entire table of food in front of me. Even if it’s all Whole30 or Paleo compliant, it is very easy to over-eat (and I often do). Just because it’s good for me doesn’t mean I can have 2-4 times as much food as I normally would in the same amount of time. That’s not good for anyone.

This is just an idea. I’m not sure how it would go over with the people I know. When we do BBQ’s, we typically have some snacks out (healthy ones, mostly) and then we serve a meal. After the meal, the food is pretty much put away, but the fact remains that the snacks are typically out for hours before the meal. Guests come in, grab a plate, and go. Kids are notorious for hovering around the table, grazing and taking in as much as they can fit (and then some more). This isn’t doing the kids any favors and teaches them some bad habits. I know: I was the result of this kind of grazing.

I don’t know that we can fix society or our culture and how we use food to be the center of our social gatherings, but I hope this gives you something to at least think about and consider.

Breaking Bad Habits

Untitled“Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and talk like victims.” -Carlos Santana 

This quote is so perfect for a health and fitness blog; I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. It encapsulates the vast majority of interactions I’ve had with people who come up with the endless “Reasons” they can’t eat right and get healthy. They talk like victims.

In a sense, they are right. We are all victims of horrible misinformation and an effort to mislead us through the education system based on studies funded the sugar, grain, and corn industries. However, science is righting the wrongs of the past and we now know that it is sugar that is the real enemy. Sugar is found in grains, dairy, beans, and soy. Refined sugar made from cane or corn are especially bad to humans. Some doctors even go so far as to call it a toxin to humans.

Living a healthy lifestyle requires us to break bad habits. Those bad habits include eating foods made of grains, beans, soy, dairy, and anything with added or processed sugar. It also requires us to create a new relationship with food and to learn to disassociate food with celebrations and social events. We put too much emphasis on eating at social gatherings, and it is easy to either overeat or eat foods that contain ingredients that are bad for us in large quantities.

Don’t be the victim. Take responsibility for your health, and eat right. Get some exercise. Most importantly, reevaluate your relationship with food. If it’s not making you healthy, kick it to the curb like you would a bad boyfriend/girlfriend. It’s not worth the trouble, your health, or your life.

What were you doing to get healthy six months ago? A year ago?

If you were doing Whole30 and Paleo and following the rules with no sabotage (cheat days), then the chances are very high that you would have lost a lot of weight and your body would be much healthier today.

When I was fat, I would watch others start diet plans. Some would fail, but others would not, and they would become the healthy people I admired and wanted to become. I would think to myself, “I remember when they started. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, and look at them now! If I’d have done it, I would be where they are today.”

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It bugged me. A lot. Time moves at the same rate for all of us. We’re all time travelers, only we can only move forward at 1x. We get the same number of minutes, hours, and days every year. What we do with them is what separates us from each other. Do you want success or failure? Do you want to make progress or stay stuck where you are? It takes effort. You have to start. Nobody can do it for you.

Whole30 and Paleo (or Keto). Look into them. Start your new life today. Six months goes by quickly. I’m at almost two years in, and I can’t imagine living my life the way I used to anymore.

Discipline: Life and Death

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Having discipline is important as a Marine or soldier in a combat situation. You have to reach deep down inside yourself to take control of your body in the face of fear to keep from panicking, to keep from making a sound that could give you away before an ambush, or step carefully to keep from walking into a trap in hostile territory. Discipline outside of combat can also save your life. Keeping yourself from eating foods that are toxic to your body and killing it from the inside could very well be the most important thing you’ve ever done.

I miss being able to eat anything, anytime, without any consideration for my health. When you’re young, the body puts up with a lot more abuse, and can sustain that abuse for a while before age catches up to us. That’s why so many people gain weight in their 30’s and beyond: the body becomes incapable of sustaining poor nutrition.

I had to use a lot of discipline to keep from eating like I used to. It took a retraining of my eating habits and a lot of discipline to keep me on my diet so that I could once again be healthy. Now that I’m at my target weight, I use that discipline to stay on-track and to stay away from the foods that got me into a precarious situation with my health.

I’m not saying anyone who isn’t thin or skinny is going to die of weight-related issues, but if you’re obese or morbidly obese like I was, the odds are not in your favor. It is very likely that, at some point, you will begin to suffer from weight-related health issues that will eventually take your life.

Life and death. Discipline can make all the difference. Start eating right and exercise the discipline you’re capable of. Your life is worth it.

Being thin doesn’t fix your problems

IMG_6628People who do the diet/gain weight/diet cycle are typically people who adopt restrictive, short-term diets and for they do so for the wrong reasons.

Being thin or skinny won’t fix your problems.

Health problems? It can fix certain issues like Diabetes, cholesterol, fatty liver, and putting stress on your heart, but it won’t fix emotional issues or magically make you a better liked person. It won’t pay your bills or make you a better person. It will just make you a thinner or skinnier version of the person you are now.

Being thin or skinny won’t magically raise your self esteem.

While I feel better and I am no longer embarrassed by my body, when it really comes down to it, I am still the same person with the same fears and dreams and the same social skills. I am still only as outgoing as I ever was; not any more or any less. People respond to me a little more positively in certain situations, and actually negatively in others as compared to when I was fat. It just depends. Bottom line: no real change.

Being thin or skinny won’t make you smarter, faster, wiser, or better with money.

If you struggle with money management, binge drinking or eating, or anything else, being thin or skinny doesn’t fix that (unless the struggle is running three miles; being thin makes that a bit easier to do).

People who tend to be successful at losing weight and keeping it off realize that life-long changes need to be made. You can’t quit pizza for three weeks or a month, lose weight, and then go back to eating pizza again. You will just regain the weight you lost, and according to many studies, even more. I experienced this in the past, and each time I got off a diet, I gained back more weight than I initially lost. I had to break that cycle.

You need to give up the fattening foods (I did’t say fat foods; sugar, grains, beans, soy, and dairy are the enemies here) and try to move at least three times a week. It’s not a miserable existence; I’ve been more active and more alive since I lost the weight and started exercising than I’d ever been.

Don’t lose weight for the wrong reasons. Commit to a healthy lifestyle, and I think you will be surprised at the good things that follow. Just don’t expect to become Brad Pitt, Mila Kunis, or Elon Musk from losing weight. It takes more than getting thin.

If not Paleo, then what?

There are people who are turned off by Paleo because they feel it is a trendy new diet or the diet fad of the moment. I am asked every now and then what other diets are as effective as Paleo. I recommend one alternative diet for anyone who doesn’t want to go Paleo for whatever reason: Keto. Here is a very good rundown of the Ketogenic Diet from the Keto subreddit on Reddit.com:

Low-carb diets are essentially programs that lower carbohydrate intake below 100 grams; strict ketogenic diets are a subset of low carb diets that typically only allow < 50g of carbohydrates per day. The general recommendation of /r/keto is to start with 20g of net-carbs per day. This limit does a good job of eliminating junk foods, refined carbohydrates and any other “fattening” foods.

The full premise of a keto diet is far more than just minimizing carbs, it is a lifestyle about overall health. The diet promotes long, intense bouts of energy, an increase in healthy, delicious food and an overall better outlook on your life. It is easily sustainable with a plethora of options and often is an answer to improving health that many people struggle to comprehend at first. A Ketogenic diet is not easy and will test your willpower but transforms the way you think and understand about yourself, food, and health in general.

Throughout my own weight loss journey, I have gone into ketosis a few times. I did this intentionally with the purpose of jumping my weight loss a bit. Personally, I prefer the Paleo Diet, but the Ketogenic diet works wonders and is very safe.

For the smart among you, I’m sure you noticed that there are a lot of similarities between the Ketogenic Diet and the Paleo Diet. You’re right! However, for some people, it may be easier to do than Paleo. I’m all for people doing what’s easiest for them to raise their energy levels, lose weight, and regain their health.

So, if you want to learn more, go to this excellent resource on the Ketogenic Diet on Reddit.