Diet and Self Defense

simplyhdr56141990-1A thought occurred to me today. Being healthier has allowed me to be more agile, given me better mental acuity, and has allowed me to get fit. Weighing less has made my joints hurt less, I’m able to exercise, and I can bend, twist, and turn more easily. These are all things necessary for self defense.

Being aware of your surroundings is the first step to successful self defense, but at some point, a decision has to be made: fight or flight. When I weighed 312 lbs, flight was not an option. I couldn’t ever get away from a bad situation by simply turning and running. I was locked into any situation I found myself in, for better or for worse. Now, I have options.

Not only do I have the option of running, if that option is untenable, I am more physically able to defend myself or my loved ones if necessary. Training goes a long way here, but just from a pure health and ability standpoint, I’m far stronger, more agile, and quicker than I was just two years ago. I feel that my physical abilities eclipse my former self, and that is something that would-be wrongdoers take notice of: physical abilities of their victims. I no longer look like the soft, easy target. I look like I can take the fight back to them if necessary.

There are always new angles to take when thinking about health, diet, and fitness. I know many people who are always looking for that “Perfect holster” that fits into their waistband for easy concealment that doesn’t interfere with or isn’t affected by their fat bellies. Here’s an idea: get rid of the belly! My holsters all fit as-designed and are comfortable.

Revisiting bodily functions

mehThis is a subject that is taboo in polite company, but it’s something that bears talking about when we discuss diet. When you change what goes into your body, you are changing what’s inside of it, and that includes the biome of gut flora. Gut flora consists of the bacteria and enzymes that help you digest and process your food and it also helps you get rid of waste. Changing the food you eat changes the biome because different bacteria and enzymes flourish with different food sources. The food you eat is the food they eat, too.

Going from the American Diet to the Paleo Diet caused changes in my regularity. I went from using the restroom a few times a day to using it a few times a week. There are a few reasons for this outside of the change in gut flora, as far as I understand. One additional reason is that I haven’t introduced any probiotics into my diet to help restore my gut flora, and second, it’s possible that I haven’t been eating enough fat. Even though I do not try to eat a low-fat diet, there are times when my food is overwhelmingly lean.

In the past week on Keto, my bodily functions have returned to what I would consider mostly normal; going to the restroom at least once a day and sometimes twice. The experiences have been pretty darned normal as compared to before which was usually like giving birth to walnuts (as I can only imagine what giving birth is like; I’m sure that’s FAR worse, but this is the closest I can imagine). I attribute this return to regularity to two things: First, an increase of fat in my diet, and second, I’ve begun drinking Lakanto Drinking Chocolate that has probiotics in it. I drink 6 oz of this drink every morning with breakfast before I drink my exogenous ketones. I am not sure which of these has helped me more, but I’m not going to change either for the time being. It’s nice not feeling weighed down by waste.

Don’t overlook the importance of regularity when making your dietary decisions. Plan ahead with probiotics to ensure you remain regular. There are few worse feelings than feeling bloated with waste and being unable to rid yourself of it.

We Have to Eat

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To eat Portillo’s hot dogs or to not eat them? The decision is yours.

People mistakenly assume that my incredible weight loss is due to a lot of exercise, and nothing could be further from the truth. I did begin running in September 2016, but I lost less than a quarter of the amount of weight in the following year than I did in the year previous. While the amount of weight lost as a ratio was still pretty good as compared to my total weight, it’s harder to lose weight when you are thinner than when you are storing a bunch of fat. I’ve been unable to run due to a viral respiratory infection for nearly three weeks now, yet I’ve still managed to lose some weight through diet. And I don’t mean a short-term diet. I have been eating Paleo for nearly two and a half years, and I’ve been eating Keto for the past few days.

The reason why nutrition is so important is because we all have to eat. We don’t have to exercise to get through our day. This is a fact. While I prefer running over not running, I can survive the day, the week, and the month without running, but I couldn’t do that without eating. None of us could. So, we eat. But rarely do enough of us really consider the long-term implications of our nutritional decisions when we eat. The American Diet, so-called because of its high carb content, is horrible for us. Visceral fat abounds, and people autopsied or dissected after death who ate the American Diet exhibit lots of visceral fat. Even thin people show fat on organs. These are the “Fat Inside/Skinny Outside” (FISO) people. I was not one of these: I was a “Fat Everywhere” people. But I digress.

I eat healthy because everything my body takes in as nutrients, calories, or anti-nutrients all enters through my mouth by way of decisions I make and actions I take. I can eat grilled shrimp or a hamburger. The result on my health will be very different based on that very simple decision. Multiply that decision daily for each meal, and then weekly, and then monthly. It all adds up to making a lot of healthy decisions. Fortunately for me, it’s been pretty easy to make the healthy decisions on Paleo, and honestly, so far on Keto, it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.

We all have to eat. We don’t have to exercise. If you want to lose weight or be healthy, eat right. It’s a simple answer to a very complex problem. It definitely sounds easier than it is, and it requires a lot of effort, research, and dedication to follow it through. But at its most basic level, if you eat right, your body will be healthier.

It’s been a few days. How do I like Keto as compared to Paleo?

Well, it’s interesting. I feel like my energy levels are a bit elevated. I do feel different, although Sherry hasn’t felt anything different yet. I’ve avoided the Keto Flu, though, and I’m sure that’s due in large part to the exogenic ketones I’ve been taking as part of my transition into ketosis. Note: this is NOT ketoacidosis. That’s something completely different.

As for the food, I find it refreshing. There are foods we are able to eat now that we’ve been avoiding for over two years, but there are now foods we’ve grown accustomed to eating that we now avoid, namely fruits. Sherry has been doing a great job of finding all kinds of amazing recipes for us, and the food has been nothing short of stellar. Sherry has taken her experience with undertaking Paleo cooking and applied it to Keto cooking, and the results have been extremely positive. Everything is tasting great!!!

Sherry has been getting excited after an initial general unhappiness about transitioning to Keto based on her past experience with it while I was on my National Guard annual training. She suffered pretty badly from what is known as the “Keto Flu,” and it’s the reason she’s had a lot of trepidation about going Keto with me. After I found exogenous ketos which are supposed to alleviate the symptoms during transition from glycolysis to ketosis, she decided she’d give it a try. After our first few days, it seems that the exogenous ketos are doing their job and are making our transition pretty painless. Better yet: I feel more energetic, and I got back into ketosis pretty quickly and easily!

Back to the food: do I think I could do this long-term? Perhaps. It definitely takes more work to stay in ketosis, but the way I feel and the food I can eat are pretty darned good. Time will tell how long we stay on it. One thing’s for sure; when we go on our vacation to Ireland and Scotland, we will not be following either Paleo or Keto. We generally like to experience cultures through not only the sights and sounds, but also through the food and drink. But that’s a long time from now. For the time being, we’re keeping calm and keto-ing on!

Weight-Related Illnesses

IMG_8505I am both a veteran and a current National Guard soldier. I am a member of many different Facebook groups and lists, and I see daily the ravages of excess weight on former members of the military. It truly is an epidemic that is being left untreated. The VA makes attempts to “Help” these veterans by prescribing medicines to them to treat the symptoms, but they never do anything meaningful to try to get to the cause of the problems: unhealthy diets.

I’ve heard that the VA sometimes does try to give advice to veterans in regards to diet: low-fat. They are still pushing low-fat diets, CICO, and moderation. The only one of these that has any real chance of working is CICO, but it is a lot of work, and unless the person has an exceedingly high level of discipline, CICO is very hard to maintain long-term.

I have reached out to many veterans groups to try to help their members lose weight, but it seems my biggest enemies are the VA, the education system that taught us the “Four Food Groups,” and the media that persists in telling people that low-carb/high-fat diets are bad for us. All the while, veterans are dying, living overweight, and continuing to damage their health.

I will continue, in the face of criticism and bad information, to try to bring some sanity to a group that deserves better. A group that has given so much for so little, and is being left behind when it comes to health. These men and women, who were once the picture of health and fitness, are now battling our horrible diet without ammo. I hope to give them the strength they need to overcome this last enemy so they can live out their days in good health and better fitness.

Bacon from Eggplant?

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This picture is pretty old; I was about 40 lbs heavier then.

Why?

I keep seeing posts on Facebook that keep touting low-fat as the way to be healthy and lose weight. It drives me nuts. I can’t believe people still believe this poorly-conceived diet as being actually good for you.

I’ve been living low-carb/high-fat (LCHF) for over two and a half years now, and I’m healthier than I’ve been in the past 30 years. Seriously. My blood test results are the best they’ve been in decades, and I’ve reversed some pretty serious weight-related health issues just by changing my diet. I will say that again for those who didn’t let that sink in the first time: To get healthy and lose weight, all I did was change my diet.

The diet I chose is low-carb/high-fat (LCHF) in the forms of Whole30, Paleo, and now Keto. These diets have led me to be not only healthy, but able to sustain that health in a way that allows me to eat delicious foods, to remain sated and avoid snacks between meals, and to keep my body healthy in a way that is verifiable through blood tests, stress tests, and my appearance.

Low-fat was the worst thing I ever tried, and I was never able to keep any weight off. I was constantly hungry, constantly unhappy with the food I was eating, and eventually broke the diet and ate so much that I gained back any weight I lost plus at least 5-15 lbs. Every single time, and without exception, every low-fat diet I undertook ended in miserable failure.

There are many diets out there, and people have shown success with just about all of them, but in the long-term, in my personal opinion, LCHF diets are the easiest to maintain, sustain, and stick with as a lifestyle. If the experience my wife and I have had with them is any indication, it’s a lifestyle that opens the door to good health, low weight, and even just generally feeling better overall. Even sleep is better on a LCHF diet.

Stop trying to do low-fat. It’s bad for you, and it doesn’t work. There are people who lose weight despite doing low-fat diets, but I’m fairly certain they had to do something other than just low-fat to succeed; either Calories-in/Calories-out (CICO) or some other form of deprivation. I didn’t have to deprive myself of anything, and on Paleo, I eat until I’m full. On Keto, I have to count macros and be more careful, but the food has been incredibly filling, and I’m never hungry between meals. Oh, and I’m losing weight daily without suffering. Try that on low-fat. If you dare.

In case I had any doubts…

I am most definitely in Ketosis! Well, at least there are ketones in my urine which is a good indicator that my body is producing them and getting adapted to use ketogens as energy. In another month or so, it will be harder to test via urine for ketones as my body gets more keto adapted, but at least now, not only can I feel it, but I can see it in a tangible test. I saw the lower amounts on Monday, but the test results have been getting darker almost daily. 1.5 is decent. I’m happy with that. If I can get it higher, even better, but for now, I’m losing weight steadily and I’m feeling great.

Yay!!!