In two years, I went from being a big guy to being known as the “Thin guy.” While I don’t think I’m really thin, I’m definitely thinner, and much healthier (and fit!). These two photos are a reminder to me of just how far I’ve come in two years. On the left is the most recent photo of me at our 2017 Halloween Party. On the right was 2015. I was Grizzly Adams, and I had already lost roughly 20 lbs when that photo was taken.
It’s staggering to see the changes in just two years.
Veracity is defined conformity to facts; accuracy or habitual honesty. I write from experience, and through information I’ve learned either first-hand (mostly) or from reading online. I strive to convey as much good information as I can through the blog posts on this site, and I work hard to answer questions as quickly and honestly as possible. Heck, I’ve even posted photos of myself all but nude. I’m an open book, and I do my best to be as completely honest about the information I give here as I can.
I was a thin and fit guy when I was young. I was an athlete. I joined the Marines and continued with good health and fitness until about half-way into my enlistment when I let my weight climb and my fitness levels decline. Although I maintained my height and weight standards and never scored below a 1st class PFT in the Marines, I wasn’t nearly as fit as I should have been. After leaving the Corps, I allowed myself to gain a monstrous amount of weight, becoming obese so quickly that my stomach and sides got stretch marks. Almost 20 years later, I got serious about my health and changed my lifestyle. The result was I lost 110 lbs in a year without exercise and another 40 lbs in the second year after I began running.
Today, I’m a healthy 50 year-old Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard. I run at least three times a week for a minimum of 3 miles each time, and I stick to the Paleo Diet as closely as I can. From time to time, I will imbibe some alcohol with friends at a social gathering or have a dessert at a celebration, but otherwise, I’m very strict with my diet. My health has improved greatly: I am no longer a type-2 diabetic, my blood pressure is normal, my resting heart rate is (on average) between 43-47 on any given day, and I no longer suffer from fatty liver disease.
I say all this because I want you to know that I’ve walked the walk: I was a person who was healthy and allowed himself to become obese and then, through smart eating and light exercise, I lost 150 lbs and got healthy and fit again. If I could do it, a guy who all but gave up on ever being fit and healthy again, then I know you can too. That I did it without pills, patches, powders, shakes, meal plans, surgery, or any other gimmick is that much more remarkable. You don’t need to pay anyone to lose weight. You just have to use discipline, motivation, perseverance, and have patience.
If you think you can’t do it, you’re wrong. I know you can. I used to think it was impossible, too. I would have done a Whole30 and adopted the Paleo Diet years ago had someone told me about them and how effective they were. Knowing how good the food is on Paleo, and how most of the food is stuff I have been eating all my life which allows me to feel full and satisfied after meals and to experience no cravings between meals would have allowed me to take back my health sooner.
If you have questions, please feel free to message me. I don’t ask for anything but honesty.
Life is all about choices. We make choices all the time. Some are easier than others, but one thing they all have in common is that whatever choice we make, we have to live with the consequences. Some folks have told me in the past they feel like they have no choice, but the fact of the matter is that we have choice in everything. It’s just that some people aren’t willing to accept the consequences of their decisions.
Adopting a lifestyle that is vastly different from one you are accustomed to is no small task and is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of perseverance, and a lot of discipline. On top of that, you have to be patient and allow the process to work, to allow the weight loss and improved health happen naturally. These are outcomes many people aren’t willing to accept.
What amazes me is that, given the outcomes from choices like eating without regard for health and allowing one’s self to be obese which will result in health problems and likely an earlier death is acceptable to people, but putting in effort to reverse bad health and to lose weight isn’t. It’s just not logical.
I made the choice to change my life for the better. I knew that some of the consequences of this decision included no longer being able to be careless and carefree about my eating decisions, having to do more preparation and planning for every meal, and eventually needing to do some exercise. I would have to become diligent about the ingredients in all of the food I eat, and I would have to forego eating foods I’ve lived an entire life enjoying. It wasn’t going to be easy. I was going to go through some discomfort, but I was okay with this. The alternative was continued health problems and death. The consequences of doing nothing to me were untenable.
The choices you make regarding your health have lasting effects on not just you, but your loved ones. If you decide to let your health go, you’re not just affecting your own life, but the lives of those around you. From your kids who look to you for guidance and look up to you as an example to the friends and family who would care for you and comfort you as your health declines. You have the power to change that. You control your destiny.
Make the choice to improve your health. If you already made the decision to live healthy, help others make the choice to live longer through better health and fitness. Sometimes, they just need someone to give them a nudge or an encouraging word.
Good news: it’s possible. Heck, it’s actually easier to do than you may think. Just eat right. Does that mean low calorie, low-fat food? No. Actually, the information we’ve been fed (sorry for the pun) for the past 40 years has been completely wrong. Let me break it down to you simple-like.
Weight loss is 90% diet, 10% exercise. I lost 110 lbs in a year through diet alone. Not being ON a diet, but by CHANGING my diet.
You cannot exercise away bad eating.
Counting calories will leave you hungry and unsatisfied.
Low-fat is actually bad for you. Your body uses fat for all kinds of good things like vascular repair to brain tissue development in children.
Sugar is evil. In nearly every form, sugar is killing us and is the cause of the obesity epidemic that is plaguing the US.
Let me reiterate the most important points: weight loss is 90% diet, and sugar is evil. If you take anything away from this site, it should be those two things.
How do I know that weight loss can be done so easily without exercise? Because I did it.
Will you get abs without exercise? Probably not, but all I do is push ups and run every other day; nothing crazy or excessive. Heck, I don’t spend more than 30 minutes on my runs, and I only do them three times a week (sometimes only twice!).
You can do this without exercise. You just have to eat right, and by eat right, I am saying you need to adopt a lifestyle that is conducive to good health. For me, that is Paleo, but Whole30 got me there, and Keto is a viable option, too (albeit much more difficult to maintain properly).
You CAN lose weight without exercise. I did it. You can do it too. Just change your eating habits.
I believe in being nice to people. You might not get that from reading my blog sometimes, but when it comes to dealing with people, I like to do so with respect, and with integrity. I don’t think it’s right to make fun or or to insult someone based on their sex, age, religion, weight, race, etc. It’s just not right. However, enabling bad habits in regards to obesity is something that is overlooked for fear of “Fat shaming.”
Let me be clear: calling someone fat isn’t fat shaming if they are obese, although overly sensitive people will see it that way (this belies a deeper problem with them refusing to face the root of their weight problems). What is fat shaming? Calling someone a fat bastard or a fat fuck is fat shaming. Saying, “You’d look so much better if you lost 45 lbs” is fat shaming. Making exasperated or disappointed faces at an obese person about to sit next to you on a flight is fat shaming. Shaking your head in disapproval at an obese person eating ice cream is fat shaming. None of that is okay. None of it.
But, I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again: we have gone too far with political correctness when we won’t offer feedback to others to address their health. It’s a sensitive subject, and yes, having been on the receiving end of it, I know first-hand it’s uncomfortable. But it needs to be done, and yes, the fact it is uncomfortable makes it more effective. Why?
IT. NEEDS. TO. BE. SAID.
Did one person make me change my mind? One person tipped me over the edge from inaction to action, but they were the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had many friends, family, and loved ones come to me over the years pleading for me to do something about my weight. My grandmother, who I miss every day since she passed, told me every single time we spoke, “You need to lose weight. I will never forgive you if you die before I do.” Those words scared me, but not enough to change my lifestyle. Yet, the seeds were planted. They just needed some watering.
Enter my cousin Sarah and my friend Matt. Matt had been doing his best to educate me about the evils of sugar and the low-fat myth. This education from Matt was reinforced when my cousin Sarah told me about Whole30 and Paleo. There was the water needed for that seed to grow, tipping me from being skeptical and without direction into being a person who has now lost over 150 lbs successfully and has kept it off for over two years.
I would not be where I am today without those people taking the initiative to have the uncomfortable conversations with me. I’m now healthier than ever, no longer suffering from Type-2 Diabetes, a resting heart rate of between 43-47, running 5+ km every other day, and no longer suffering from fatty liver disease. Heck, at 49 years old, I joined the National Guard to complete my 20 years of military service.
Never give up on your loved ones. If you really care, you need to have the uncomfortable conversations with them about health. Encourage them to do some reading, and to make some changes in their lifestyle in regards to eating that can yield some really amazing results. Notice I didn’t say fitness. Most fat people can’t and won’t consider any plan that requires lots of fitness in the beginning because of so many social stigmas attached to overweight people exercising coupled with the extreme discomfort that comes with it. I didn’t start running until I had lost over 110 lbs (and I’m very happy with that decision, thank you!).
If you’re on the receiving end, know that the people who talked to you about your health love you and care about you so much, they risked your being angry or upset with them to give you a message you need to hear. You may not want to hear it, but it needed to be said. Instead of being angry or upset with them, think about it. Do the research. Start eating right. That’s all you have to do. It’s not easy, but it is simple. Give it a try. All you’ve got to gain is your health, and perhaps more years of life.
I just wrote about this recently, but I heard it again today, and it reaffirmed my dislike for the terms, “Big Framed,” or “Big Boned.”
No. It’s fat.
There are no big skeletons. Nobody has oversized bones that make you look fat. Nobody.
If you are short and stout like a teapot, it’s because you are overweight. Period.
Someone today told me that they looked fat because they were so dense with muscle. I asked them what their body fat percentage was, and they said, “34%.” That’s not lean. That’s not anywhere near lean. That’s fat.
Until overweight people stop deluding themselves and lying to themselves about the condition in which they find themselves (overweight and unfit), they will never be able to tackle the core issue and solve the problem: change what you’re eating and eat less. Period.
No amount of exercise can overcome a bad diet. Lying to yourself to avoid taking responsibility for your weight doesn’t do anyone any good and makes you look less than intelligent.
Do yourself a favor: find the intestinal fortitude to look yourself in the face, admit you have a problem with food, and fix it. Only then can you begin the journey to getting healthy and losing weight.
My grandfather used to always tell me to have patience when I was undertaking any large task. When I was going to college? His only words of advice were, “Patience.” Studying for a big exam? “Patience.” Working on a big project? ”Patience.” I didn’t quite understand what he meant by that. It didn’t really make sense. Something more along the lines of, “Work harder! Study! Do your best!” all seemed like better words of advice. But, much like everything he and my grandmother ever told me, the wisdom was lost on my younger ears and now I know what he meant.
Don’t rush things. Take your time. Change will come. Just do the work.
This is very important when undertaking a lifestyle change like adopting the Paleo Diet. You can’t expect results over night. If you get quick results, it’s bonus. You will go days, weeks, and sometimes even months without noticeable progress. It will be annoying, tough, and it will test your will. Perseverance will be key. But over it all, you need to have patience. Trust in the process. Trust in the diet. Trust in yourself.
Patience. It’s an overlooked piece of the puzzle when it comes to success in getting healthy.
I’ve been asked by people about when to start a new diet plan, and I always tell people, “Why not now?” Sure, changing over to a diet like the Paleo Diet takes preparation, there’s no reason to put it off any longer than necessary to get rid of high-carb or high-sugar ingredients in your kitchen.
Putting it off can be practical. If you just went shopping and you have a week or two worth of food, there’s no reason to not eat it. Just go for it. Consider it a going away party. But short of that, you’d an begin eating right immediately. Sure, you will have to do some quick research on what to eat and what to avoid, but fortunately, Paleo is simple.
Avoid anything with added-sugar
You’ll be surprised how many foods you can find that comply with those simple rules. Yes, there will be many foods no longer on your menu, but forget about those. Concentrate on the foods you CAN eat, and you will find that you’re already eating most of those foods already. As a bonus, the sooner you start, the sooner your body begins recovering from its sugar addiction and the sooner you will start to get healthy and lose weight!
I hear it all the time: “I’ve joined a gym, so I’ll be losing weight soon.” I then ask, “That’s great! What diet plan are you following?” and often they’ll respond with, “Oh, I’m not doing a diet. I’m going to work out to lose the weight,” or “Lots of fruits and vegetables and WeightGain 2000 (or whatever protein supplement they’re taking).”
For losing weight, there’s no exercising your way out of a bad diet. You will surely build muscle, but that doesn’t always mean you will lose weight. “Fat burning” is a myth, and you don’t actually burn fat as you exercise. You will sweat a lot, but that’s not fat leaving the body; just hydration.
If you want to lose weight, you have to change what you put into your body. Low carbs is best (which is why I advocate the Paleo Diet), but people have success with many other diets like Keto, CICO (Calories In/Calories Out), Intermittent Fasting, etc. Whatever you do, make the change, commit to it, and don’t cheat/sabotage. And for heaven’s sake, don’t think you can exercise enough to lose weight without changing your diet. You’re going to get disillusioned and quit.