I love the LCHF life

img_1423Seriously.

I love the LCHF life not because it’s allowed me to lose 150 lbs.

Not because it’s allowed me to reduce my A1C to where I’m no longer diabetic.

Not because I no longer suffer from fatty liver disease.

Not because I no longer suffer from circulation issues in my feet and legs.

I love the LCHF live because I am finally alive.

Because I can live adventures, go outdoors, climb ladders, stairs, and ropes, and because I can live the life I always dreamed I would live when I got older. Because I’m able to enjoy things with my wife like traveling, going on wine trails, shopping for days, and doing all kinds of silly adult things. Because I’m able to serve my country, my state, and my community as a Soldier in the National Guard. Because my health is better and I will hopefully be around to be a grandfather.

I love the LCHF life for all it’s given me, and most of all, I love it because the food is delicious, it fills me up, and keeps me from cravings between meals. Of all the things it’s given me, the liberation from the shackles of the sugar dragon is what I appreciate the most.

People think I’ve given up so much, or sacrificed so much to lose weight and get healthy, but nothing could be further from the truth. If giving up sugar and grains was the cost, I will continue to pay it for the rest of my life gladly and with a smile on my face. Nothing is better than the life I live right now.

The Norm isn’t Normal

10155174_10201735995070724_398134265941691052_nI was walking through our local grocery store last weekend, and it’s the first time I paid attention to the body composition of people there with me. This was’t scientific in any way; just an observation of common, normal people in a grocery store with me on a Sunday morning. What I saw was shocking. I don’t think I ever noticed how many obese people there are.

I posted a few years ago about a documentary from Ireland that I watched where they showed footage of a street right after WWII in Dublin compared to the same street in 2016. It was shocking. Right after WWII, people were thinner and looked healthier. In 2016, most of the people on the street were obviously overweight. In 60 years, people have went from being overall thin to overall obese. And sadly, instead of tackling the issue and trying to fix it, society is trying to normalize being “Big-boned” and “Plus-size.”

I want to make something very clear (once again): I am not fat-shaming anyone. Not even in the general sense. I don’t think it’s fair or right to shame ANYONE, and I certainly don’t pick on anyone for their appearance. However, I believe it’s fair to point out IN GENERAL TERMS and WITHOUT SINGLING ANYONE OUT that we have a problem with the current obesity epidemic.

What bothers me about today’s society is that it is considered normal to be overweight and obese. People just eat anything without regard for the food’s effect on their health, and they wonder why they can’t lose weight when they walk 10,000 steps a day. Then, when they try and fail to lose weight, they blame genetics or some medical condition instead of tackling the problem: the food they eat*.

We have already begun seeing the results of this obesity epidemic in reduced life expectancy and in the increase in Type-II Diabetes in children and adults, and in the weight-related maladies that are taking the lives of many people far younger than their parents and grandparents were when they died. This is all preventable with a little diligence.

The new normal is not normal. We need to collectively refuse to accept obesity as normal, and it begins with compassionate advice to those who just don’t know how to eat right. Yes, I said it. It’s an education problem. It’s not a race-related, sex-related, or socio-economic related issue. It’s an education problem, and few people realize that sugar (carbs) and our high-grain diet are killing us. Until people stop accepting all the sugar in their food and drinks, the problem will persist.


*Yes, there are some people who have legitimate issues that make it difficult for them to lose weight, but it is very rare and far too many people use these conditions as a crutch.

Fear of (re)gaining weight

img_0150Something new I’ve come to know since losing 150 lbs has been a fear of going back to being obese. It’s a strange fear, and I know it’s a bit irrational, yet it lingers in the back of my mind like grains of sand in a corner that can’t be reached by a broom. You can just barely get to it and sometimes get at it a little bit, but in the end, the only thing that works is to blow it out.

I sometimes have dreams about it, though admittedly the frequency of the dreams has diminished over time and as I learn to accept the new me. After eating a particularly filling or over-sized meal, my mind goes into a sort of subdued panic mode.

“I’m going to get so fat!”

“My stomach is going to balloon out and be huge again!”

“I’m going to gain so much weight!”

Then, the same thing happens over and over (which is likely why the fear is subsiding over time): nothing happens. I end up either not gaining weight, gaining only a little bit, or even losing weight. The end result is that as long as I’m careful with my diet and I eat right and get my regular exercise for my heart and muscles, my weight stays around the same, within 2-3 lbs.

Fluctuations used to give me stress, but now I know it’s just part of a natural cycle: sometimes, my weight is up a few lbs, sometimes it’s down. It depends on things like how hydrated I am, when my last stool movement was, or even how recently and how hard I ran. After a particularly tough run, my weight will go up a bit as my body heals itself.

Through time, I’ve learned a lot about my body as I’ve been paying attention to it far more closely than I ever had. As I learn more, I am coming to grips with slight weight fluctuations and learning to eliminate the fear of becoming obese again. I know that the logical part of me will never allow my weight to soar again, and I know what I need to do in the event I gain more weight than I expect. So, I have the ammunition to attack any weight problem I face; I just need to be confident in my ability to do what it takes in the event I face that issue. For now, I need to relax and just keep eating properly and let those fears recede.

Dealing with stress while trying to eat healthy

V8q4KXh (1)It’s a modern reality that we deal with a lot of stress. As a modern society, we have many inputs coming in at us from many different directions, and our connected lifestyle has only exacerbated the issue. There are now more avenues of approach to stress us than ever in human history, and as humans, we tend to deal with stress in different ways. However, one common method is to eat or to drink alcohol. When you’re trying to adhere to a healthy lifestyle, these are not tenable.

I can’t speak to what anyone else does to deal with stress, but I can tell you what I do, and what has worked for me. I’m not saying that this will be the perfect solution for you, but what I’m hoping to get across is that you need to be creative to find what works for you, and to go to it when you are under stress.

I like to occupy my mind to deal with stress. The more stress I’m under, the more I like to dig into something, whether it’s a video game that involves a lot of strategy and tactical thinking, cleaning my pipes, reading a book, or meditating while smoking one of my pipes on the porch with the dog in my lap. When the stress is bad enough, I’ll go so far as to take Sherry and go out of town for a day or two just to get a change of scenery. Sometimes, it’s just what my brain needs to get off the closed-loop stress process I’m experiencing.

At all costs, I try to avoid eating as a means of relieving stress. Would a chocolate mousse or cake make me feel better? In the short-term, probably, but I’ve adopted a long-term view on my health and in how I deal with stress, and I know that short-term solutions can add to the long-term stress and actually make things worse. As good as the short-term solution may be, I have to look long-term. That’s what lifestyle change is about: the long game.

The last solution I employ when dealing with stress is talking about it. I talk to my wife, my friends, and even my kids. I discuss it with people close to me to allow me to relieve the pressure (like an Instant Pot!), or to perhaps elicit some advice on how to resolve the stressor. I don’t like saddling others with my problems, but sometimes, it’s the only way out of a situation. I think sometimes it would be smarter of me to not wait so long to talk to someone, but being the stubborn guy that I can be, I try to solve all my problems alone first. Even if it involves a little stress.

Therein lies the issue: we often bring stress upon ourselves. I know there are certain stressors that are out of our control: work, family, social, economic, political, etc. However, many of these can be mitigated by acting quickly, and often, that acting is talking to someone about it. I use this as a last option, but perhaps I shouldn’t. Maybe it should be the first.

Packing Paleo/Keto for Drill

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A breakfast at my last annual training: eggs, breakfast sausage, and a pear.

I am currently on a weekend drill in the field, and I saw in advance what our meal plan was going to be and it includes nothing beyond eggs, fruit, and some meat that I’m willing to eat which means I needed to pack for myself. I brought my own food with me to my two-week annual training last year, and it actually worked out quite well. I was never hungry and my nutrition levels were good. I never felt worn-out or malnourished, and every meal was actually decent.

For this current drill (as I did on my last annual training), I am relying on Epic bars, RXBars, and some almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. There are a few other bars I have purchased that I will test, and if they work out, I will post their information as well.

These foods take up little space and don’t weigh too much, so carrying it with me in my assault pack isn’t difficult. Since it’s just a five-day event, I’m easily able to carry all the food I’ll need. It’s funny to me; MRE’s are big and supposed to feed a person for an entire day, yet if I were told I had to carry five MRE’s with me, it’d take up a lot of room. The food I have with me takes a fraction of the space, is a fraction of the weight, and is completely healthy for me whereas MRE’s are full of carbs, grains, dairy, chemicals, and preservatives. The one area the MRE’s have me beat is cost: I’m certain that one MRE costs less than a day’s worth of Epic bars, RXBars, and nuts. It’s got to be cheaper, because if it’s not, then there’s no excuse for the military feeding us with such poor nutrition.

Considering the state of nutrition science in the US and how the military lags behind when it comes to adopting new foods for its troops, I expect to continue to have to bring my own foods to drills for the remaining 9 years of my National Guard service. Which is fine, because I can. It will only become a problem if I get deployed and the foods become unavailable, at which time I will have to go to Plan B. What that plan is, I don’t know, but I’ll develop it in a hurry. Kind of like Archer. Something, something, healthy.

Surrender.

This is something I had to learn when I first started my healthy journey with that first Whole30. I was eating foods that I had been taught my entire life were bad for me, yet I was feeling better and losing weight. On top of it all, I was no longer diabetic and so many ailments I was suffering from were all going away. I had to trust in the process and surrender to the wisdom and knowledge of those who had done the work before me and led the way. Surrender doesn’t mean failure. It means trusting the process.

Thriving Under Pressure

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Surrender is not giving up. Surrender is not giving in. It’s trusting in something so much bigger than yourself. Something you can’t quite see. Slowly unfolding. Quietly expanding. One peaceful, surrendering moment at a time. 

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I write in advance and schedule my posts

img_7594Thank you for following my blog, and for reading my posts. In case you’ve ever wondered why my posts almost always show up right at 0800, it’s because I write my posts days, and sometimes even weeks before they post. I try to keep a queue of posts in the pipe, so to speak, to ensure content arrives daily for my followers. Sometimes, it creates challenges when I write something and forget that it’s not actually going to come out for another week or two. Case in point: my Whole30 daily food logs. In those cases, I had regular posts scheduled each day, and then around 11 am, I would post the previous day’s food log. It seemed to work well, and I think was a good practice.

Tomorrow, I depart for my National Guard training this month which, for me and a few other Soldiers, will be five days. Yes, normal training is one weekend a month, but sometimes, we skip a month here and there to allow us to do longer exercises over a longer period. We are an artillery unit, and it takes a lot of resources to move, setup, fire, and then tear down and store our equipment. This also means that I’m going to be unable to write for that period, so I’m having to write ahead of time.

Some of the things I’m writing deal with things I experienced on my last annual training as it pertains to Paleo and my health journey. Others are just thoughts that I’ve been working on that need to be posted, so they’re placed in the queue with the others.

I enjoy my drills, and while I’m going to have fun out there, I look forward to getting back home, sitting by the pool with my iPad, and writing more posts.