Merry Christmas!

From the PaleoMarine home to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

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Sherry and I in The Woodlands, TX on December 23rd, 2017.

Today is a day full of feasting, drinking, and being merry. As we celebrate Christmas on the 24th, Sherry did a great job of keeping our meal Paleo (and of course, I forgot to take photos!). Although I ate a lot more than I should have, it ended up being my one meal for the afternoon and evening. In the grand scheme of things, I am pretty sure there was no harm done with the volume of food I had. I did eat a snack a little later in the evening of a slice of Paleo banana bread, but again, I’m pretty sure I did a good job of not over-eating for the day.

With that said, enjoy the day. Enjoy the time with loved ones, family, and friends. Don’t beat yourself up if you overeat or indulge in non-Paleo foods and drinks. Today is not the day for that. Make tomorrow the first day back from the non-Paleo foods, and carry on. You will find that the damage was minimal, and that you’re going to feel fine.

As for me, I’m going to run today. I don’t know when, but at some point, I’m going to get out on the track and go for my three miles. I have to. It’s been two weeks. My legs should be ready now. I just need to remember not to push myself too much.

Merry Christmas!

Perseverance. Again.

8a7a9bd7-38d8-4dc4-a104-720fd19d8fc1If there’s anything I learned becoming a Marine was perseverance is key to success. Motivation, determination, dedication; these are all important as well, but ultimately, it’s perseverance that gets you through. Short-term gratification is easy. It doesn’t take much to think of something and quickly satisfy that desire. Think of craving some chocolate that’s in a bag on your desk, or perhaps craving a soda in the refrigerator. Within moments, you can sate that desire. Long-term gratification, on the other hand, is something that takes patience. Think of completing a course, degree, or getting through boot camp. Now, I think of weight loss as the same type of goal: long-term, important, and big.

I learned through my first year of Whole30’s and Paleo that perseverance was key to getting me through. I kept my eye on the goal, which was to get into the 160 lbs range, and I made it. I ate and drank my way out of that last week, but I’m going to get back to where I’m comfortable, and I’m going to do it the way I got there the first time: with a lot of motivation, determination, patience, and perseverance. I will eat properly, I will exercise, I will manage my portions, and I will not eat any desserts or treats. I will do what I have done many times in the past to get my weight back to where I want it to be, and when I get there, I will celebrate. Again.

Perseverance isn’t easy. It takes practice. It takes a mindset of accepting that you won’t reach your goal today or perhaps even next week, but that you will eventually get there regardless of the cost or the time required. I know I won’t drop this weight immediately, but I will keep working at it until I do. I will not stop, falter, or waver.

Life Getting In The Way

img_8588Sometimes, there is a lot to do, and you can’t eat right or even get your runs in. That’s my life right now. The last run I had was the Jingle Bell Run, and it’s bothering me. I couldn’t run Sunday or Monday due to some pain in my shins from running the hills on the 5k, so I planned on running Tuesday. Well, friends came over and interrupted those plans, so then I thought perhaps Wednesday, but oops, there was a company Christmas party I had to attend, so those plans were scrapped as well. As for Thursday, well, I have a standing get-together with friends, so that was out as well, and then there was Friday which was travel day to NYC. I could have gotten up early and run then, I guess, but I didn’t want to risk an injury, regardless of how remote the chances were. I figured I’ll be walking enough in NYC to make up for the lack of running.

As for food and drink, I haven’t been able to really be as perfect as I like to be. There’s been a lot of alcohol, sweets, and non-Paleo foods on my menu; far more than I typically like. I know it’s short-term and temporary, and while there will most definitely be an effect on my weight and even my body composition, it will all get rectified in January. You see, in January, Sherry and I will be starting our fourth Whole30 to get us back on track and reset our bodies.

I can’t believe the following words are flowing from my fingers, but I am looking forward to the Whole30 and getting back to my 5x a week exercise plan. I miss it, and I miss how I feel when I am eating right and getting regular exercise. Right now, I feel puffy and not nearly as energetic as I normally do. Food affects us far more than we give it credit for.

So, sometimes life will get in the way of our eating and fitness, but as long as it’s not long term, it’s okay. I’m enjoying the holidays, visiting with family and friends, and I’ll get back to brass tacks on January 2nd. Why not the 1st? There’ll be leftovers to eat. And maybe a hot cocoa to drink.

A quick post-eatpocalypse update

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This is pretty funny: me as the Pink Nightmare from “A Christmas Story.”

The Eatpocalypse. That’s what I’m calling my trip to NYC this past week where I ate and drank so much I gained 11 lbs in 5 days. It was a great time, and I ate a lot of delicious food and I had a blast drinking with my wife and daughter, but the weight gain afterward made me take a long, hard look at the price I paid for that fun. In the end, it was worth it. Every minute, every bite, and every gulp of Pimm’s Cups I downed was absolutely, 100% worth the pain, consternation, and grumpiness that the weight gain brought me.

With that said, in the two days since my return from NYC and my return to eating Paleo food, I’ve lost a solid 7 lbs. You read that right: 7 lbs in 2 days. How is that possible? Easy: it’s water weight. My body was bloated from the increased sugar intake from the cheesecake, breads, and alcoholic beverages. Now that those are all absent from my diet, my body is getting back to it’s normal, and I can actually feel the improvements.

Just 4 lbs more to lose before I get back to my pre-trip weight. I think I can do that by this time next week. Of course, there is a Christmas meal or two in between now and then, but since my amazing wife makes Paleo food for us for Christmas, I should be able to weather it just fine as long as I can keep my serving sizes under control. That’s the real key for me now that I’m back to my Paleo foods.

It’s a good lesson in how much better for our bodies the Paleo Diet is. I’m seeing right now why so many people can lose upwards of 20 lbs their first month on Paleo or doing a Whole30. Half the weight you lose immediately is water weight due to sugar intake. Once you take the sugar out of your diet, your body no longer holds on to all that water. The rest of the weight loss is legit body weight being lost.

Oh, and the most interesting aside: I haven’t run since last week. I either haven’t had the opportunity, or I’ve been nursing some minor injuries that has kept me from running for nearly 2 weeks. So, none of this weight loss has been aided by exercise or fitness. Like I always say: weight loss is 90% diet. I should be able to get back to running tomorrow, so perhaps that will help propel me past that last 4 lbs I need to lose.

What are some things I wish I knew on my first Whole30?

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A photo of my wife Sherry and me at an Astros game this year. Because why not.

Good question! Some of the things I wish I knew on my first Whole30 were:

  • That there are TONS of recipes out there that are Whole30 compliant and many of them are very easy to make, tasty, and filling!
  • That with an easy mind-hack, it could make getting past temptations easier. Once I discovered the concept of sabotage vs cheating, temptation became much easier to deal with. The concept goes like this: people consider eating things not on a diet cheating, but cheating is defined as gaining an unfair advantage over an opponent or competitor. Cheating on a diet doesn’t give you any advantage, but actually sabotages your willpower, progress, and all the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are. I don’t call eating off-plan cheating, I call it sabotage.
  • That at the end of the Whole30, going Paleo is like staying on Whole30 but with SWYPO options. Don’t know what SWYPO is? Look it up on whole30.com or on Google.
  • That I should be focusing on how I feel versus my weight. I know, Whole30 tells you that up-front, but I ignored it. At the end of my Whole30, I lost 20 lbs, but I was more focused on the weight loss than anything else.

Fortunately, I read up quite a bit about Whole30 before we started, and my wife did as well. Between the two of us, we had a pretty good understanding of what we were in for. Some examples include the flu-like symptoms, the first day of hell breaking free of the sugar addiction, and reducing our portion sizes.

There are many great journals written by previous Whole30 participants, and I encourage you to seek and read them before starting your first Whole30 so that there are no surprises for you. With that said, we’re all different, and your experience may vary quite a bit from mine. That’s okay and normal; just roll with it, and keep keepin’ on!

Immediate Progress

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Me, this morning, December 21, 2017.

I weighed myself this morning as I always do, and I found that I’ve lost 4 lbs since yesterday morning. I was unable to run after work as I’d originally planned due to pain in my shins and my right ankle, but somehow I still managed to drop some weight. I know it’s all water weight, but in the past, it’s typically been easiest to lose water weight by sweating it out. I can only guess how much more I’d have lost if I’d have been able to run.

Regardless, I’m making the immediate progress I was counting on from past experience. This is important for a few reasons. First, because I am grumpy when my weight is up as high as it was, and second, because it shows that if I follow the rules that I used to lose the weight in the first place, it will work again.

That second point is super-important to me because it is what I preach on this blog. It’s the information I spread to everyone here and anyone who asks me in person: Whole30 and the Paleo Diet both work to make you healthy, and ultimately, to lose weight.

I know that sometimes it takes longer to see results. Heck, I ate perfectly for months without losing any weight when I was at or near my lowest weight because I had reached an equilibrium between the amount of food I was eating and the calories my activities were expending. Right now, as I’m back to eating as I should, my body is shedding the excess water and hopefully some of the honest weight I surely put on in the past week.

The lesson here is if you do the work, your body will respond. Not always immediately, and not always in ways we want to see (lbs lost), but there is always a response. I already feel my belt not feeling as tight due to the lost water weight. My face looks less pudgy now, too. These are all great signs, and show me that I’m doing the right thing.

The vacation was fun, but now I’m paying the piper

img_038212 lbs. That’s the weight gain from five days of eating anything I wanted and drinking alcoholic beverages every night. Now, mind you, I was also walking A LOT: between 7 and 10 miles a day. That is a lot of walking, and yet, I gained a lot of weight. Let’s break it down.

Most of this weight gain is water weight due to alcohol and sugar intake. I’m guessing that between 7 and 9 lbs of it will be gone within a week. The last 3-5 lbs will take an additional week to lose. I know this from past experience on my trip to Spain where I gained roughly the same amount over 10 days.

How did I gain so much so quickly? Well, I usually try to mitigate weight gain by making the healthiest choices I can. This time, I decided on an experiment: eat what I would normally eat before I went Paleo. The result is pretty much what I expected; gross weight gain.

I’m not happy with the amount of weight I gained. I was rather cranky this morning when I weighed myself because my weight gain exceeded what I was expecting even at the outside. However, as I thought about it on my drive in to work, I’ve been here before. I’ve gained weight after a holiday of fun, and I know what it takes to get rid of it. I know how long it takes, how to eat, and how to exercise. These are all known quantities to me, and it’s just a matter of time before I’m back in my comfortable 160’s.

Until then, I’m on my strict Paleo diet. And by strict, I mean STRICT. I will not eat snacks, even Paleo ones. I will limit my serving sizes to what I should be eating, not what I want to be eating (I still struggle with increasing portion sizes).

Paying the piper sucks. I hate it every time. But I have to keep reminding myself that this is okay; I’m able to lose the weight by just eating right. I’ve done it time and time again, and I will do it again this time. It was a good reminder of how great some of those foods taste, but in the end, no matter how delicious the food was, it just wasn’t worth how I feel now. I know Sherry would say different, but no matter how good all that stuff tasted (and yes, the pizza, hot dogs, and bread were AMAZING), I hate how I feel now. I can’t wait to get back to my happy weight, and to get back to how much better I feel when I eat good food.