Day One or One Day: Which one do you pick?

0042bdd88e05e5347cb12e43ccd8151cIt’s simple, really. You can keep making plans and putting off starting your healthy lifestyle to “One day,” or you can make today “Day One.” Day One can even be planning menus and taking action toward getting healthy. It doesn’t mean you have to make your next meal Paleo, Whole30, or Keto. Day One can be going for a walk after work. It can be emptying your pantry of food items with sugar, carbs, beans, and dairy. It can be putting together a grocery list or even going to the store and buying groceries for your new healthy lifestyle. It can be avoiding sugar starting now.

Don’t make getting healthy a “One day” decision. Make today Day One. You will look back at Day One and wonder what took you so long to start. I know I have many times.

The PaleoMarine Running Plan: How a 49-year old guy got into fitness

img_4083The other weekend, I put up shelves in our master closet for Sherry’s shoes. I had to measure, cut shelves, and then mount them in the closet. This required a lot of going back and forth, bending down, holding up a drill, and a lot of minor physical activity. When I was almost done, Sherry noted that I wasn’t sweating, out of breath, or needing to take breaks from holding the drill up. I hadn’t realized it, but this was the first time in as long as I could remember that I was able to do basic maintenance or construction without feeling like I was going to die afterward. What changed?

I hated running. I hated exercise. I hated anything that had to do with exerting myself to the point of sweating. The problem was that even getting a screwdriver out to put in a shelf or to fix something simple would cause me to sweat and get out of breath. Seriously, it was that bad. Something had to change.

I began running on September 1 of 2016. It was the one year anniversary of my healthy lifestyle, and by that point, I’d lost 110 lbs. I wasn’t running to lose more weight. Rather, I was interested in fitness. It was all well and good to be lighter by almost 1/2, but my heart needed to get stronger. So I set out doing it with the following plan:

Run day – off day – run day – off day – run day – off day –  off day

That turned out to be a M-W-F run days with Sa-Su off. When life would get in the way (as it often can) and made me skip a run day, then that would become my “Weekend” and I would continue as if I’d just passed a weekend. So, it could turn into a M-Th-Sa run week, or a Tu-Thu-Sa run week, depending on how things went. Either way, I started with three runs a week.

My first run started with a 20-25 minute jog. I didn’t set out to run hard or fast, just to complete the run without stopping. I did it, and my first run was in the record books, as they say. My main goal was to finish. This had a much larger effect on me than I thought it would. It proved to me that I can set my mind to it and get through it. Was I uncomfortable? A little bit, but it wasn’t horrible. I wasn’t nearly as out of breath as I thought I would be, and the discomfort was trivial compared to what my mind had built it up to over the years.

I then set out to run a little further and a little faster with every run. I vowed to never cut one short unless I felt the bad pain. What I mean by that is that there is good pain and bad pain. Good pain is the muscle burn you get after exerting yourself. Bad pain is a pulled muscle or ligament. It’s pretty easy to tell between the two; one is just discomfort and the other indicates a serious problem.

With each run, I also would gauge how I felt (I still do this) and increase the distance if I felt good or cut it a little shorter at the turn-arounds if I was having a hard time with it. More often than not, I end up increasing the distance from what I set out to run. It’s funny; I always end up feeling better once I start than at the beginning of the run.

I also do push ups before every run. I started with 10 and I’m up to between 70 and 75 right now. It really gets my heart pumping and gets me ready for the run. I don’t do any stretching or warm-ups before my run as many studies have shown that most injuries in runners is caused by stretching before a run.

With this day on/day off schedule I run, I’ve been able to make steady progress and kept myself from over-exerting myself. I’m 49, and my muscles take a little longer to recover than they did when I was 19 or even 29. I know people my age and even older who exercise daily, but I just can’t do that. I’m not willing to live in constant muscle burn. I don’t work a different part of my body every day: I’m a runner who does push ups and very soon will add sit ups to the routine. I currently don’t feel the need for weight training although I am looking into some self defense training that is physically intense. No decisions have been made yet, but we’ll see. Surprise, Sherry!

My plan is simple and anyone can do it. If you do it the way I did it, you won’t have shin splints or excessive muscle pain after your runs. I actually look forward to my runs now, and I find that I do much better on my runs when I pump myself up psychologically beforehand. Remember, keep an open mind, get excited, and if you find you can’t get excited about a run, fake it. Seriously, just pretend you’re going to enjoy it. Something strange will happen: you actually might find yourself smiling during a run. It happens to me all the time now, and I never thought that was possible. Ever.

Post-Run Report: January 30, 2017


I’m grinning like an idiot because I achieved one of my big goals in running: I had an average pace tonight in 3+ miles of 8:57!!! My first half mile split was 8:08, second half mile split was 9:00, and the third split was 8:42. From there, I had TWO 9:06 minute half miles followed by the slowest (ha!) which was a 9:30. All in all, it was a hard run as I pushed myself to keep my pace up, but it was well worth it! I’ve been wanting to hit sub-9’s, and I did it!

As for push up, I also hit a new personal best: 80! Once again, these were easy and without really pushing or straining. I could do more possibly, but I am really happy to be progressing without feeling spent afterward.

As for post-run, I do feel a bit tired in my leg muscles, but it’s not any worse than usual. Again, I didn’t really go all-out, but I did keep myself right at the top end of my comfort level and didn’t push past it.

I feel great. This is a huge accomplishment for me. I ran an actual USMC run pace for the entire run. Had this been a PFT run, I’d have done it in 26:35 which would have been a pass for me when I was 31. Now at 49, it’s actually a decent time! I’m hoping to hit low 8’s by summer. I don’t know if I’ll get into the 7’s, but being in the 8’s is a happy place for me and soundly puts me into the category of “Runner.” I never thought that would be me, yet I’m happy to be here. Ecstatic, truth be told.

Post-Run Report: January 27, 2017


Last Friday, I had more personal bests in the first half-mile pace and overall pace: 9:10! I’m SO CLOSE to getting sub-9’s, I can taste it! I also discovered something again on this run. As I ran, I set a breathing pace (I know it sounds weird; stick with me) and whenever I found that I was getting too much oxygen, I would run harder to match the oxygen intake to output. It really worked to keep me going fast!

As I run, I tend to forget to keep focus on either my pace, my breathing, or sometimes even both. I feel like I now have a decent grasp on how to keep myself going as fast as I physically can without going past a certain “You’re going to hurt yourself” barrier. I also found a small lake I can run around that keeps me safely away from streets and even sidewalks where kids play. It’s a little boring running in circles, but it helps me keep the pace up and with my headphones on, I can listen to a podcast or some music in safety.

I’m looking forward to today’s run. After Friday’s run, my legs felt tired. Not too tired, but definitely a post-workout kind of feel. They were still a bit sore yesterday as well. Today, they feel ready to go, and I’m ready to stretch ’em out and let ’em loose!

In the push ups department, I stuck at 70 again. I may go to 75 today; we’ll see. But 70 is my new minimum. I feel pretty good about that.

Another one bites the dust…

Sherry’s update on her Whole30. Spoiler: it ended early, but it wasn’t all her fault. I’m very proud of her and how she’s continuing with the healthy eating and exercise which, in turn, allows me to do so. I couldn’t do this without her!

Our Daily Bacon

Alright, I’ll confess – I didn’t make it to day 30.  I got to 25 and between the travel and the stress, I just couldn’t make it the last 5 days.  Part of me is really disappointed – I was hoping I could hold out to the end, but sometimes you just gotta lose a battle to win the war.

I haven’t come off of Paleo, short of a few dishes over the weekend with some dairy in them, but I have reintroduced some honey and maple syrup here and there, and the scale shows it.   I’m determined to learn from my latest Whole30 experience, however, and limit my sugar intake a little better than I did over the holidays.

In other news, I had my best 5k run time ever (beat my Jingle Bell Run time) on Saturday, and am feeling pretty good otherwise.

If you’re still hanging…

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The Weight Game: Why do we watch it so closely?

img_3754I admit it; I weigh myself every morning. My grandmother did the same. It was actually on her advice that I started doing this. Of course, when she was still alive, I didn’t like what I saw on the scale, and it taunted me. I wasn’t willing to do the work to make those numbers get smaller, so I just watched them creep up weekly. It wasn’t until I did my first Whole30 and then went Paleo did I begin to see the numbers drop.

And then I hit my plateau. My lowest weight has been 174.4 lbs, but the true average hovers between 175 and 177 lbs. Conventional wisdom would say that I’ve not made any progress since then, but that’s not looking at the whole picture. I just looked at a photo taken of me back in October 2016 and I had a lot of extra skin at my waist and my stomach still looked pretty soft. Fast forward to this past weekend, and there is a lot less extra skin, and my stomach is showing signs of a six-pack. You read that right: my stomach muscles are starting to emerge. It’s amazing.

I’ve been wearing 32″ trousers for the past half year, and they are comfortable. I can get just about any 32″ waist trousers, and they fit. Some are a little loose while others a little snug, but that’s due to tailors all using slightly different patterns and cuts. Shirt sizes are typically mediums or 15 1/2 with some shirts that run small needing to be large. This is the same as when I was 23 years old. I can’t believe I’ve worked myself down to sizes I wore 27 years ago!

I still see progress, even if I am not losing weight or losing pant sizes. The skin around my stomach is shrinking and my abs are starting to show. My arms have no fat on them at all and the skin has shrunk on them quite nicely. My pecs are looking better from all the push ups I do and the skin shrinking there, too. My face is less round now as well, something Sherry pointed out to me after watching a 2016 in rewind video I made of our adventures together last year.

Don’t get hung up on the scale. Look at the whole picture. I know how easy it is to get discouraged by the scale. Forget about it! Look at EVERYTHING, and I’m sure you’ll find something that is improved by eating better.

Watching my friends get healthier

file_000-49There’s no better feeling than watching your friends all eat healthy and start to reach their own goals and get healthier. It’s an amazing feeling for these wonderful people to be making such great progress. That means that we will share many more years together on adventures, parties, and get-togethers.

I feel proud to have helped inspire and educate them on Whole30 and/or Paleo. I am elated for them, and I offer any assistance they require or ask for. One thing I don’t do, however, is play the role of Paleo Police.

What is the Paleo Police? It’s the person or people who are quick to point out that what you are eating isn’t Paleo compliant. I did it on accident a few times early on, but I’ve vowed to actively keep from doing so. There’s nothing worse than having someone guilt you at a meal. I don’t like it, and I won’t be the person to do it to someone else. There are many reasons for this.

  1. It’s rude. Who am I to think I should be watching what you eat?
  2. It’s your decision. I had bread pudding at lunch last week. It was a calculated treat, one I haven’t had in over 7 months. I likely won’t have more bread pudding for another 6 months or so. I was okay with this, and if anyone had told me that I shouldn’t be eating it, I likely would have given them an earful about minding their own business.
  3. It does more harm than good. Not everyone has the dedication and discipline I have in regards to sticking to the Paleo lifestyle. It can be discouraging to some people to be harangued all the time when eating with the Paleo Police. I don’t want to find myself being disinvited from lunches or dinners.
  4. I don’t need the extra pressure. I will always help anyone who asks for it, and people often ask me if a menu option is Paleo-friendly. I will gladly help answer that question, but I won’t tell people what the Paleo options on a menu are without being asked. It’s tough enough for me to figure that out on my own let alone be on the hook for someone else without having been asked.

Fortunately, my friends know that I’m not the Paleo Police. I don’t give them any grief over their food choices, although it’s kind of funny that most of my friends apologize to me when they eat something non-Paleo. It’s very kind of them, and I know why they do it; because we all have a certain amount of temptation even when we say that we don’t. It’s part of the strategy we employ to stay away from the carb-heavy foods. These friends don’t want to tempt me into breaking my diet, and for that, I am appreciative.

Watching people you love and care about get healthy is an amazing feeling. I feel like I’ve been able to do something good and positive for my friends to help them live richer, more active, and longer lives. I will do everything I can to continue to help and inspire them. If that’s how I repay all the help, assistance, and love they’ve shown me throughout my life, I’m glad to do so.

Counting Calories and Satiety: Why there’s more to it than just calories in vs calories out

I tried to count calories to lose weight. It didn’t work for me. Why? Because without understanding the differences between good and bad calories and satiety, I would often still feel hungry after a meal. On its most basic level, nutrition is easy: eat fewer calories than you expend in a day to create a deficit which, in turn, will yield weight loss. Seems simple, right? Well, there’s more to it than that.

Satiety: the quality or state of being fed or gratified. This is a word many people don’t know, understand, or consider. It turns out that it’s one of the most important keys to losing weight effectively. If you eat 500 calories at a meal but don’t feel full, you’ll be miserable at best and unless you have really great willpower, you’ll succumb to the cravings and eat more. On the other hand, if you eat 500 calories that fill you up, you will be less inclined to snack or over-eat and will be able to make it to the next regular meal without any discomfort.

That’s a huge key for many people: comfort. Nobody wants to starve. It’s hard-wired into our brains to avoid starving. It’s uncomfortable at best, and downright horrible. I’ve had to go days without food before, and I can tell you, I never want to experience that again. As an overweight person, going for too long without food was very uncomfortable. Heck, I’d find myself hungry a few hours after a meal and would snack to make that bad feeling go away. Many overweight people who want to lose weight fail because they can’t deal with that hungry feeling. That’s because the food they eat are hyper-nutritious but low in satiety. These are foods like pizza, hamburgers, Taco Bell, etc. You have to eat a lot to feel full, but then you took in 2-3 days worth of calories.

The main factor in our success in being able to stick with Whole30 and Paleo has been satiety. Every meal we eat is very high in satiety which in turn not only fills us up but keeps us from getting hungry again too soon. It makes meals satisfying in a way that doesn’t make you feel bloated or stuffed. It energizes you instead of drags you down.

Some people succeed with counting calories. A good friend of mine lost a lot of weight this way, but it is not sustainable. They gained the weight back (and then some). I am not one of those people either; counting calories always ended in failure for me. Like an idiot, I tried time and time again and found short-term success only to have it return with an addition 10-15 lbs each time. It wasn’t until I addressed the reasons I ate too much coupled with learning to eat good foods high in satiety did I find success.

Follow the money: why are we not teaching people how to naturally lose weight?


I’ve heard it said many times that when you want to find the reason for something, whether its a crime, a regulation, rule, or law, follow the money. This is a cynical way of looking at things, but in today’s world, unfortunately, following the money can lead you to the motivations behind most anything that happens in our government, business, and society. It seems to me that following the money will also give you the reason that nobody is taught how to lose weight naturally and safely.

There is a huge industry around weight loss. Ironically, the companies that sell the weight loss products are the very same companies that sell the food that makes us fat. It is in their financial best interest to keep fattening us up while then selling us the illusion of a cure, or a way out of obesity. Sadly, the vast majority of these products are snake oil at best, with minimal benefits and questionable efficacy. What they all have in common: high profits and big promises.

I used to be a member of the demographic they marketed to, and I would watch with rapt attention as the promises were spewed from the mouths of shills who extolled the virtues and efficacy of these products. I would do research on them to find out the veracity of the claims only to find that all of these products would say, “Coupled with a healthy diet and exercise.” It seemed that the truth was there all along: healthy diet and exercise. Yet people think that it’s the product that is helping them lose weight and get fit.

Why am I such a cynic when it comes to the diet and fitness industry? Because I have made more progress without using a single product than many people I know, some of them close to me, who have been using these products. They place so much of their faith into the products (because they make the promises) that they allow themselves to let down their guard with their diet which erases any weight loss they could have achieved had they stuck to their eating plan.

I know that it’s hard to be disciplined when it comes to eating. You’re not telling me something I don’t know; I lived it. I still live it. My relationship with food is complicated, at best, and I will likely be recovering from my eating disorder for the rest of my life. If anything, it’s harder for me to not eat something that it is for most people. But then again, I’m honest with myself and I know that I have a problem with eating. Many people try to fix their health through dieting without addressing the real problem in the first place that got them overweight: their relationship with food and their eating habits (or disorders).

What people need to realize is that without addressing the cause of the weight gain, no product, diet, or even exercise will get you permanent weight loss. It’ll be temporary, at best (if at all). Don’t buy a solution. Find it within yourself. That’s where the problem is, anyway.

Finally some movement on the scale! Perseverance pays off!

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I haven’t been reporting any great weight loss in a while. That’s because I’ve been sitting on the longest plateau of this journey of mine so far. I’ve been stuck at around 177 lbs for months with one weigh in at 174.4 lbs. My weight fluctuates within about 3 lbs normally, so the range 174-177 was about right for me. Annoying, but okay. I got used to seeing the numbers get smaller and smaller for so long, seeing them stagnate within +/- 3lbs has been annoying.

135Well, that all changed last night. I finally got to a new low: 173.4 lbs! On top of that, when I weighed myself this morning, it was 174 lbs. It seems that my weight has truly dropped a bit. So, while I’m super excited about it, I have to wonder: what changed?

Well, I think the honest truth is that nothing really changed. I still eat the way I have been for the past six months, and I stay away from bad foods just as well. I’ve been running every other day and have been making good, steady progress in increasing distance and pace. Heck, I even had a record-breaking personal best last night!

The bottom line is that I believe the key to success in getting past the plateau was perseverance. I stuck with eating right, exercising regularly, and I never let myself sabotage my progress. I may have a treat here and there, but they were very rare and very small. I even countered any damage by those treats by eating a smaller portion of good food, or if I ate a larger portion, I would limit my next meal and perhaps do some exercise.

The lesson here is just stick to it. It’s a journey, not a destination. Sure, we have goals, but that isn’t an end-point. Rather, once we reach the goal, that gives us an opportunity to make a new one. Not necessarily to lose more weight, but perhaps to maintain that healthy weight, or to instead focus on fitness. I have 8 more lbs to lose to get to my final goal before I turn my focus to maintenance and increasing my pace and distance more on my runs.