My Time is Important

I hear this a lot from people who tell me that they are too busy to do food prep. The problem is that food prep is one of the most important factors in success when adopting a new lifestyle and being successful when taking on a new diet. It’s how Sherry keeps us on the straight and narrow with the least amount of effort.

Anything worthwhile takes time. Anything of value takes time and effort. Your health, your weight, and your physical well-being are all worthwhile pursuits, and you have to take it seriously, make the effort, and take the time; nobody will do it for you.

You have to make your health a priority, if not THE priority in your life. I know, there are things like spouses, partners, kids, work, family, friends, etc. Those are all priorities that we hold dear to us, and those are the things that make life worth living. But without taking care of your health, you are severely limiting your ability to engage with those priorities in a truly limitless and free way. The amount of physical activity I was able to do when I lost my weight was staggering. I became so engaged with life that was able to become a runner, get physically fit, and even go into the National Guard at age 49.

There’s also the fact that you are likely going to live longer if you are not obese and if your heart is healthy. The best way to make that happen is eat right and get some exercise. But they have to be a priority.

My time is important to me, just as yours is to you. But I have made my health a priority, and I schedule life around my runs, my weekends around food prep with Sherry, and my meals to make sure they are adhering to the rules we’ve set for our diet. Without making these a priority, I never would have been able to make the changes necessary to become the healthier, lighter, and more fit person I am today.

Post-Hike Report

Yes, I’m a bit late again today. I’m fixing that; I’m in the process of writing a bunch of articles for the upcoming weeks so that I will be ahead of the curve again. Things have been crazy with my National Guard unit, and it’s been keeping me pretty busy, even in the off-hours.

With that said, the hike yesterday went pretty well. It started off well with me feeling energized and ready. I was also operating on about 4 hours of sleep, however, and I figured that would take it’s toll on me at some point of the 6.8 mile course. I was right; it did.

We kept a pretty decent pace of around 2.5 miles per hour, and my heart rate fluctuated between a low of around 90 BPM to a high of 123 BPM when we were climbing some of the bigger hills. It was a pretty walk, and my legs felt pretty decent until the last two miles. That’s when my thighs started burning, and I began to really feel tired. It took every bit of strength and all my will power to finish strong. I never let the pace drop, and I was determined to get through without taking a break. I did it.

We stopped at the starting point and sat down for what Sherry calls our “Hungarian Lunch.” This consists of foods my grandmother would always bring out to the park when we would go on hikes or adventures: bread (in our case, fathead keto bread), salami, butter, peppers, radishes, and cheese. It’s amazing how simple this little meal is, and made up of very healthy foods that fill you up rather quickly. After finishing our lunch, we headed up to a local butcher who makes some amazing sausages without sugars or nitrites/nitrates, and we bought about 10 lbs to fill up our freezer.

I ended up taking a nap later that morning and found that my legs felt pretty normal afterward. I’m glad that Sherry was persistent in getting me to go out to the park and do some hiking. I think this is something we will start doing more of, including taking our mountain bikes out to some trails.

Taking in a little nature

Today, Sherry and I will be hiking near Huntsville, TX. We will be taking along our own lunch of Paleo and/or Keto friendly foods as well as some grain-free bread that Sherry made yesterday.

I hope to post some photos later and a lunch review.

Today’s post is a bit on the light side because I’m literally writing this as we’re about to walk out the door. I usually pre-write my posts and have them queued up, but since my time in the field at Fort Hood, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and pre-write them, so here we are.

I hope to have something of higher quality back on this site starting tomorrow. Later today, I will post my photos here and also write about our lunch (which I’m expecting to be yummy and healthy)!

Diets vs Diets

img_8037When people ask me why I eat the way I do (low carb), I tell them because I am on a low-carb/high-fat diet called Keto. They ask me when I plan on finishing it, and they often ask what my goals are before I can “Eat normally again.” These people miss the point of what a diet is. It’s not temporary; you have to adopt one that you can sustain for the rest of your life.

I eat a Paleo/Keto mix that works well for me. It’s allowed me to maintain my weight very close to my final goal, and while it fluctuates up and down a little, it’s within a range I can manage and that I am comfortable with. It also allows me to eat enough to get filled up, keeps me from getting cravings between meals, and more importantly, is filled with delicious foods that I enjoy.

Most people look at diets as something you do to lose weight. It typically involves restricting something or things from their regular eating patterns, and doing so for a short time until they reach some goal. Then, these people go back to eating the way they always ate (which is the way they got into the problem they are trying to solve: being overweight). What they fail to understand is that if you go back to your old way of eating, the results you get from that long-term diet is the same as it was when you did it before: you will gain weight. Oh, and more will come back than you actually lost.

I try to explain to people that my diet is a life-long commitment, and that I will be eating the way I do for the rest of my life. It’s basically the same rules as a Whole30 but a little relaxed from time to time within Paleo or Keto guidelines. The best part of me is that it works, it tastes good, and it doesn’t leave me wanting more or hungry. Diets are supposed to define what you eat, not the way you eat temporarily.

Drinking and Eating Sugar After Drill

Sherry and I at dinner after I was gone for five days.

The night I came home from my five-day drill, my wife took me out for a nice dinner. This dinner was the stand-in for our anniversary which is in less than a week, so we decided to go ahead and allow foods and drinks we usually avoid: bread, alcohol, and sugar. I wondered what the net effect on my weight would be the next day, but the actual result was unexpected.

I ended up losing a pound.

Let’s back up a bit. I started the dinner with some bread and butter. One slice of bread was where I limited myself at first, because I didn’t want to fill up too soon. Afterward, I had a salad that had a nice vinaigrette with bacon and egg on spinach, after which we had some escargot that was served with some puff pastry. I ate not only three of those, but also dipped some bread into the melted butter and garlic. For the main course, I had a filet with asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and sauteed mushrooms. As I filled up prior to the main course, I ate about half of it and took the rest home for the following day’s dinner. We then decided to have some dessert which was Bananas Foster.

As for drinks, I had two martinis and finished the meal with a glass of 5-puttonyos Tokaji.

I fully expected to be up 2-3 lbs as per usual, but this time, I was down a pound. I don’t know how or why, but I didn’t swell or hold water like I thought I would. What did end up happening, though, was that I felt hot through the night and woke up a few times sweating. It seems that my body was having a hard time metabolizing all that sugar and was causing my body to heat up. I was able to sleep in the next day, though, which I think possibly either accounts for or at least contributed to the weight loss.

CICO (Calories In/Calories Out)


This past weekend in the field, I inadvertently stuck to a Paleo/Keto/CICO diet. What is the CICO? It’s where you make sure the calories you eat are fewer than the calories you expend. Many people use CICO to lose weight, although personally, I think it’s much more difficult to remain successfully on CICO for extended periods of time without eliminating sugar and starches. However, coupled with Paleo or Keto, CICO an work quite well, and I proved that this weekend.

Going into the drill weekend, I was up a bit on the scale. Not by a lot, and not over my maximum as allowed by height and weight regulations, but higher than I like by nearly 10 lbs. I decided to be more careful with the amount of food I ate this weekend, and I limited myself to around 1000 calories a day knowing full well that I’d be expending upwards of 2800 per day with the heavy work I’d be doing.

I expected to feel weak, and I had planned to eat whenever I needed more energy. I brought Larabars and RXBars to give me some carbs when I needed them, and I fully expected to eat throughout the day. I didn’t expect to be able to eat as little as I did.

Each morning, I’d start with a Larabar which is around 200 calories. Then, my next meal was typically at lunch time, around 1100-1200, and I’d eat an Epic Bar with a Larabar which was around 300-350 calories. Then, at around 1700-1800, I’d either eat some food from our support unit, or another Epic and Larabar with maybe a handful of grainless granola for another 350-400 calories. There were a few times when I’d grab a small handful of the grainless granola, but that was more to give myself a little boost of energy more than anything else. I never did feel hungry between meals.

I attribute my lack of appetite due to op tempo. We were so busy that I never had time to think about food or to even get hungry. That reinforced to me how important it is to keep busy and to occupy my mind whenever I start feeling any kind of false hunger or cravings. Rare as they are, it does happen.

In the end, I’m down about 4 lbs from when I left. I’m happy with that, and I will continue to try to lose around another 6 lbs over the next month before I go on vacation. It won’t be easy, but it also won’t be too difficult as I am quite comfortable at my current weight and size, and if I don’t lose it, it’s not the end of the world.

Back from the Field

My soldiers and I in the field at Fort Hood this past weekend.

I am back!

I apologize for the lack of a post yesterday, and for this morning’s tardiness, but it was a very busy weekend, and I didn’t have the time I thought I would to make updates to the blog. I will do my 60 push ups later and run three miles, I promise!

The noteworthy thing about this past weekend is that, while I was in the field with the National Guard doing cool artillery stuff, I was able to not only eat well, but I was never hungry or craving snacks. How did I do it? I brought my own food, and I was able to adapt what was served to us to be more Keto/Paleo.

First things first: Larabars and Epic bars. These two were my normal breakfast and lunch except for the times when the support unit made us eggs with sausage or bacon. I would also eat an apple with the eggs. For lunch, on one occasion, I was able to find an MRE that had food that actually was very keto-friendly. The flaked chicken (think of tuna in a can, but it’s chicken) with a Buffalo sauce. There’s also a meat patty that is like an Epic bar, and I ate that as well.

Dinner was either a Larabar and Epic bar or it was what we were served as hot chow. One evening, they were serving spaghetti and meatballs, so I asked for just the green beans (the server gave me two portions since I passed on the pasta) and meatballs. It turned out to be the perfect dinner! For dessert, I had an apple.

I insisted on the table cloth.

On our last evening there, our First Sergeant bought the battery (what artillery companies are called) a barbecue dinner from Rudy’s, and I helped serve it to the battery. It was a really special evening meal, and it really will be one I remember for a long time.

Too much sugar (and my night from hell)

img_6748Last week, my wife and I went out for a celebratory dinner, and at this dinner, I had two alcoholic beverages that were prepared with a liberal amount of simple syrup. It was almost too sweet for me, but I figured, “What the heck; it’s a celebration!” and I drank them. Both. And then came dessert. Chocolate torte. It was DELICIOUS, but I knew I was going to have trouble afterward. Boy, was I right.

I went to sleep around 9:30 p.m. and woke up around 1:40 a.m. My body felt hot, and my heart was racing. I couldn’t sleep because I felt like I was too heated up. I tossed and turned for a few hours before I was finally able to fall asleep again. To add weird insult to injury, when I woke up the next morning for work, I felt pretty wiped out (due to the lack of sleep, I’m sure) and I had rashes all over my body. Was this due to the sugar intake? I don’t know and I can’t really say, but it really was the only thing that I had different from all my other normal meals. Everything else on the menu for dinner was pretty normal and keto or Paleo friendly, so I can’t see where else this rash could have come from.

If this is what’s going to happen to me from now on when I have too much sugar, it’s yet another good reason for me to avoid it. I also felt groggier and foggier the next day for hours, and I’m sure the headache I experienced was in no small part due to the two drinks I had.

Overweight Health Advocates

“I want YOU to be healthy like me!”

I see more than a few people online selling pills, powders, patches, products, and advocating procedures or physical fitness plans that are all guaranteed to help you lose weight or burn fat to get your perfect body back. I get it: the health industry, and more specifically the weight loss industry, is huge. It makes people lots of money because we are a nation of obese people looking to lose weight easily, without pain, and without effort.

People trying to make a buck: okay. You do you. But what puzzles me is when people who are overweight and unfit themselves are trying to sell these things and advocating their efficacy based on nothing more than their testimony. If they were so effective, why isn’t the person doing the selling thin and healthy? I’m not talking about health professionals, physical therapists, or even nutritionists. You know who I’m talking about: the people who try to sell these products or services part-time to make extra income.

I’ll play devil’s advocate: maybe they just started in their journey. But if that’s the case, how do they know it’s effective if they haven’t realized the losses these products promise? Is it maybe because they used to be so much more obese or out of shape? If that’s the case, then perhaps waiting a bit to sell these items would be helpful. Maybe it’s a health issue and they are physically unable to lose the weight. If that’s the case, they have picked an unfortunate arena to make money in.

Am I fat shaming? No. Do I think that obese people have no place in commerce? Of course not. Do I think that the health and fitness fields only have room for people who are thin and beautiful? Negative, Ghost Rider. But I do believe it is disingenuous, deceitful, and just plain wrong for someone to try to sell items or services to people who are desperate and to take advantage of that desperation to make a buck on their misery.

“Whoah, PaleoMarine! Who are you calling desperate?!” I am referring to the millions of people who buy into those pills, powders, patches, products and procedures. They are trying to shortcut a well-documented and well-researched process: weight loss and fitness. We know what it takes to lose weight and to get fit. It’s no secret, and it’s remained the same since the beginning of time: eat fewer quality calories than you expend, and move 30 minutes a day at least 3-5 times a week. That information is out there, it’s free, and best of all, it works. The problem for most people is that it takes discipline, motivation, and PATIENCE. Yes, patience, because you can’t drop the weight magically in less time than it took you to pac it on. You can’t magically get fit from using one machine with one repetitive exercise.

Who do I trust? Those who have walked my path. Those who have taken the same journey I’m on. If I’m going to New Jersey, why would I ask someone from Sacramento who has never been to New Jersey where the best pizza joints in Newark are? The same applies to weight loss. Taking advice from people who have never had to go through the struggle of losing weight can be efficacious (anyone can learn the science), but there’s more to it than just science: there’s the emotional aspect of it that you just can’t understand until you’ve been through it. I’ve spoken with many life-long thin people about it before, and they just don’t understand the pain and emotional distress we’ve been through.

That’s what makes the overweight weight loss people more insidious to me: they know the pain, embarrassment, and discomfort that we feel, yet they prey on it to make a buck.

I know this is going to be controversial, and it may not be a popular post, but it’s something that’s been boiling up inside me for a long time now, and I just saw another Facebook post from an overweight person who is advocating a fitness program they are on that promises an amazing body, yet after years of being on this program, the person is still as large as ever. Sure, maybe they have a health problem that precludes them from attaining the perfect bathing suit-ready body, but if that’s the case, then why prey on others promising a result they themselves can’t attain? That’s like me selling cars with no engines and telling potential customers that the cars will eventually start: you just have to keep thinking positive and keep turning that key.

If I hurt your feelings, I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. I’m the PaleoMarine, not the PaleoFluffyCuddleBuddy. I tell it like it is, and it comes from my heart. If this hurts your feelings, perhaps you should take a look at why it hurt your feelings and look within yourself and your motivations and find the reasons there. I care about my readers, and I want them to have good, solid, honest advice that has a chance of helping them. I will never sell, advocate, or recommend anything I didn’t either try myself or do myself or that I didn’t find to be beneficial.

Oh, that big guy in the photo there? That was me when I weighed roughly 312 lbs, and I had all kinds of advice to give people about losing weight that I never took myself. I cringe at the thought of me giving weight loss advice back then. If I could go back in time, I’d slap myself.

Eating THIS FOOD will give you crazy health benefits!

IMG_8609I see Facebook posts all the time that say, “Eat THIS food that will solve all your health problems,” or “Eating THIS food will give you crazy health benefits!” Those headlines are clickbait at worst, and just plain stupidly false at best. If there was a super food that solved all health problems, don’t you think we’d all know about it by now?

I believe that whole, natural foods are better for us because they are the closest to natural as we can get. It’s why I advocate the Paleo Diet: it’s not just about cutting sugar, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy, but also about getting ingredients that are good for your body, don’t contain anti-nutrients, and are sustainably and ethically sourced. I know some people have a problem with the last part of the last sentence, but it’s a personal decision to try my best to adhere to that. If I can’t, it’s not the end of the world. Not every food source can meet those requirements, so I always do that best I can. That’s the least I can do.

If you’re looking for that one super food to fix all your problems, I have some bad news for you: you’re in for a very long wait, because it doesn’t exist. The best thing to do is to eat right: purchase natural, whole ingredients and take the time to cook your food without the use of additives and chemicals that you can’t pronounce. The simpler the food, it’s likely that it’s better for you. And yes, butter is actually good for your. So is bacon. And eggs? They’re probably the best food for us on the planet.