Weekend Update

Not funny like SNL, but it’s my weekend update.

I reached a new low weight: 203.0 lbs. Just 3.1 lbs to go to Onederland!

Saturday was every bit as busy as I thought it would be, and the band played Sunday and did quite well! The last time I played a live show, I weighed 86 lbs more than I did this time. I felt much better, had loads more energy, and my back didn’t ache after the first set. It’s so much easier performing at a lighter weight. Oh, and I think I looked better, too!

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EJ singing “Hash Pipe,” by Weezer. Photo by Stephen Edwards

While we were performing, we had a pork shoulder smoking in our smoker. Sherry had prepared it in the morning, and we took it out Sunday night before going to sleep. The idea is for us to have pulled pork to eat throughout the week. Tonight, we ate some with baked sweet potatoes with a little Bone Sucking sauce. It was yummy! For a little treat, Sherry had made some Paleo Almond Joy candies, and we each had one little helping. It was a nice cap to a delicious dinner.

I’ll be eating some of the Mexican Casserole she made Saturday for lunch tomorrow (and I’m looking forward to it; it’s one of my favorites!) and I’m hoping to drop the last 3 lbs this week. I’ll be doing a lot more exercise and eating perfectly to try to get there. If I can do it, it’ll be the first time since the 90’s that I weigh under 200 lbs.

One last thing: I tried on and was able to fit into my All Weather Coat that was issued to me in boot camp in the Marines. It’s a little tight, but wearable! I can also fit into every other uniform item I still have. I’m over the moon happy!

New Low and Activities

This morning I weighed in at my newest low-weight yet: 203.7. Yes, it’s only .2 lbs less than my previous low, but I’ll take it! My belt ate another hole, so there’s only one left on this size 36 belt. Of course, I just bought two new size 36 pants. It seems that every time I get new pants, I start losing size and weight. Next time I plateau, I’ll just buy some pants.

The past two weeks have seen something new: losing weight and size at the same time. I don’t know what’s different now than before, but again, this is something I’m okay with. Perhaps it’s because I have to be more physically active now that I’m not working solely at home.

As for food, I ate a big serving of the leftover balsamic vinegar roast Sherry made Wednesday, and it was delicious! I was a little worried that my portion may have been too big, but it looks like it wasn’t. I have been very active the past two days as our band prepares for our next show on Sunday, and working all day and then playing bass guitar for three hours each night is a lot more physical activity than I usually get. Playing rock requires a lot more physical activity than I previously thought. I actually break into a sweat when playing and my muscles ache. This is all good!

I started the day with my usual bacon and eggs (as did Sherry; I now make both of our breakfasts in the morning to save time), and I’m looking forward to lunch an another hour with Stevie and possibly some co-workers. Dinner tonight will be at Peli Peli in Vintage Park; Stevie and Anita have never been, so we’re introducing them to it tonight. A lot of the food there is Paleo-friendly, and absolutely delicious. Of the few items that aren’t Paleo, I will likely have some Pap with my chicken liver appetizer, and Sherry and I just might have to split a Sticky Toffee Pudding. We’ll see how we feel about it.

This weekend will be quite busy. More practice for the band on Saturday, and then the show on Sunday. I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to rest this weekend, but all the activity is good. More activity means more calories burned, and perhaps I’m expending far more than I was before. That’s my theory, at least.

Goals for the weekend: stay hydrated, eat well, and enjoy the adventure.

Almost not fat anymore

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So, according to BMI, I’m still in the “Red zone,” also known as obese. I weigh 203.9 lbs, so I get it; I’m heavy. According to my body fat calculations (23.8%), I’m at the low side of average (for my age) and almost into ideal. According to Marine Corps standards, I’m overweight, but my body fat percentage is acceptable (which means that as long as I look good in a uniform, a commanding officer can issue me a “Weight waiver” to allow me to weigh more than the standards as long as I maintain my physical appearance in uniform). In the mirror, I look good. Damned good. Dammit! I wear size 36 trousers, but they are just a tiny bit too big for me. I tried on size 34 trousers on Tuesday, and I can fit into them (albeit a little tight)! I wore 34’s for the majority of my time in the Marines, so I now consider myself “Almost not fat anymore.” People I talk to describe me as normal or average when we discuss my body type, but I have to admit that I want to be seen as fit or ideal. Not because I want others to see me that way; because I want to be that way. I want to be fit, and I want to be at my ideal weight for my height/body shape.

Body image is something our society seems preoccupied with. We criticize people for being too thin or too thick. We criticize people for having traits that are considered unattractive while at the same time trying to tear down those who have all the traits considered attractive. We are human, and we all have opinions. As they told me in the Marine Corps, it’s okay to have an opinion; it’s not okay to state it. I feel the same way about the physical appearance of others.

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I didn’t embark on my journey to fitness, better health, and yes, lower weight because of body image. I did so because I didn’t want to die before I reached 50. The fact that I look spectacular now was icing on the cake (which is dark chocolate and Paleo, btw!). Labels suck. According to the different charts, I’m currently obese or average. In actuality, I’m almost not fat, but not quite fit yet. But I’m getting there.

Where to start?

I’ve been asked from time to time (as recently as yesterday!) where to start: Whole30 or Paleo. Well, it really depends on what your goal is. If you want to get healthy, learn about how to eat foods that are whole, natural, and good for you, and possibly find out if you have any food allergies you’re unaware of, then Whole30 is the way to go. If you want to change to an eating plan (they’re known as diets) that you can live on for the rest of your life without suffering, starving, or counting calories, then Paleo is the way to go. Now (and follow me here) if you want to do what I did, and which I believe was the best way for me, then you would do a Whole30 and follow it with the Paleo diet. Why? I have a bunch of reasons why I did it for myself, and some of these may hold true for you, too.

  • I wanted to cut myself off from sugar. I’ve heard from many people that sugar was the root of our weight problem in the US, so I did some reading and found that they were not only right, but our understating the evils of sugar and its effect on our brains, on our cravings, and on our overall health which includes heart disease, high cholesterol, and even cancer is only growing daily. I knew that I was (as most Americans are) addicted to the high sugar content in my foods, and I knew that a Whole30 would help me break the cycle. Yes, it was painful for the first week, but I haven’t looked back since (and it’s been over seven months).
  • I wanted to learn to enjoy whole and natural foods again. Eating on a Whole30 is a new experience after a lifetime of eating anything and everything. Do I miss bread, pasta, and beans? You bet I do! But I’ve also learned to love things I never really enjoyed before: sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. My ability to taste delicate flavors is something I never knew I had; the extreme sweetness of sugar dulls our taste to some of the most amazing flavors out there. No wonder so many kids don’t like broccoli; it’s actually quite delicious!
  • I wondered if I had a food allergy I wasn’t aware of. It turns out that I don’t (at least that I know of), but it’s good to know. My wife, on the other hand, found that she has milk allergies. She’d been drinking milk her entire life and feels much better now without it.
  • I wanted to realize health benefits and weight loss quickly. Doing a Whole30 can be a pretty dramatic change in one’s diet, and it certainly was for me. By going straight to a Whole30, I made a clean break with all foods that are bad.
  • I wanted to create good habits. There are so many foods that you can make that are Paleo substitutes that one could almost eat anything they could eat before (even pasta, bread, and cakes!) while staying Paleo. The problem is that you need to change your eating mindset to stay way from the bad foods, and it’s hard to do when you’re substituting the bad foods with a healthier option of the same food. Case in point: desserts. Whole30 really emphasizes not eating desserts. They should be treats; something you do at special occasions or holidays, but not after every meal. Sherry and I have embraced this during our Whole30. Every now and then, we will reward ourselves for doing so well on our new eating plan by having a single almond cup (like a peanutbutter cup, but made with almond butter and chocolate sweetened with honey). Otherwise, we very, very rarely have dessert. We never have appetizers anymore, either.

With all that said, I know that Whole30 is hard. It’s extremely hard to get past the first week for many people. I had an easier time of it than Sherry did for no other reason than I have never been a snack food eater or much of a dessert eater, both things Sherry used to enjoy regularly. I also used to eat once or twice a day, but huge portions. This forced my body into a constant state of starvation which guaranteed that my body would store as much of the calories as possible whenever I ate. Now that I eat three times a day and my portions are smaller, my body seems to process the food better, and if my weight loss is any indication, I’m not storing as much, either.

What should you do? I would start with going to the Whole30 and Paleo websites and reading about them. If you are on the fence about doing a Whole30, I would say try it. If it gets too hard, you can always fall into a Paleo diet. If you want to ease into it, then maybe going Paleo first and then doing a Whole30 is the way to go. Either way, just going Paleo is great, and the benefits to you, your health, and your weight will be immense!

Exercise and weight loss

I started a new job over a week ago, and I’ve also started a new exercise plan to go along with it. As I said in an earlier blog post, my weight loss stalled for a while, and I knew that it was time for me to start burning some calories and to get my muscles into shape. Enter my evening walks/jogs. 

Every evening when I get home from work, I get out of my work clothes and put on some exercise clothing and grab the leash. My dog is now a part of my exercise regimen as I take him with me. Now when I come home from work, he is excited to see me change and jumps up my leg when he sees me grab the leash.

I can’t believe I’m about to write the following words, but it really has been an enjoyable way to end my work days. The dog loves it, and I listen to podcasts while I walk. I get to get out and burn some calories, the dog gets his exercise, and I feel pretty good afterwards. By the time I’m done, Sherry is home from work and making dinner so if she needs help, I give her a hand.

 It’s a nice routine we’ve settled into, and coupled with my weight loss and new lifestyle, I feel like I’ve rebooted my life. It feels great!

Results from my Physical

I recently underwent what is supposed to be an annual physical. My last physical was about three years ago, and I was scolded by my doctor for not coming in sooner. He has been worried about my health due to my weight and was quite surprised to see me weight over one hundred pounds less than I weighed the last time I saw him.

What was interesting to me was that when I told him I did a Whole30 followed by switching to a Paleo diet, he was incredulous. He thought there had to be something else wrong with me to have lost over 80 lbs in six months, so he not only had me do the regular tests, but he had them take extra x-rays, extra samples (eww!) and run more thorough screenings on my blood to check for cancer.

Well, I received the results to all my tests in the mail, and I have to say, I’m very pleased.

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The list of health issues I had prior to losing the weight is as follows:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Fatty liver
  • High cholesterol
  • Blood pressure started to be troublesome, getting high
  • Declining vision due to Diabetes
  • Nerve tingling due to Diabetes

Since doing the Whole30 and transitioning to Paleo, everything on that list has gone back to normal. I literally went from a person whose health was horrible and was at-risk to being not only healthy, but based on my blood work and stress test, in excellent health.

I’m not selling you anything. I don’t make any money off making recommendations or telling my story. I just want you to have a chance at being healthy like I did. You can do this. It’s not out of reach. It just takes some dedication and motivation.

Weekend Cooking

This weekend, Sherry and I had a lot of running around to do, so our cooking, which needed to be done on Sunday to prepare us for the week, had to be more hands-off. For this, I made a smoked chicken while Sherry made two meatloaves. I smoked the chicken pieces with pecan after putting Penze’s Arizona Dreaming spice blend on it. After smoking for four hours at 225 degrees, the chicken was perfect and ready to be packaged with some of the sweet potato hash that Sherry makes.

The meat loaf was a chipotle chorizo recipe she downloaded online that we have enjoyed in the past. I will be having it for lunch today, and I’m really looking forward to it. Is it lunch time yet?

I did more physical activity this weekend than I normally have been able to, and I felt good Sunday night. I even got in a little running.

My weight dropped to 204.1 lbs, and my body fat to 23.8. Although my weight held steady this morning, my trousers felt looser than they did all last week, so I will claim that as a victory. Onederland is approaching, and I’m excited for it.

Sherry and I will be on vacation in another week and a half, which I’m also looking forward to. It will be our first major vacation since changing our eating habits, so it will be interesting to see how we fare. I don’t anticipate any problems, but I do expect some temptations.