What I Ate: Post-Trip Day Four

IMG_8609My morning weight is up just a few tenths: 178.5 lbs. I’m still very happy with this, as I’m back in the 170’s for two consecutive weigh-ins. Just a few more lbs to go and I’m already back in military regulations for my height.


  • The usual: two eggs sunny-side up and two slices of sugar-free bacon


  • Brisket with Brussels sprouts and sweet potato nuggets. This was a good portion: not too much, and just enough.


So, there’s a little background on this. My son wanted to take Sherry, my daughter (who is in town this week from NYC) and me to dinner, so I agreed as long as we ate at a place that I could eat Paleo food at. He suggested Nik’s Steak and Seafood which is a favorite of ours, so we went there. I ate my usual without the sweet potato fries.

  • Dinner salad with oil and vinegar
  • 4 grilled shrimp
  • 8oz Red Snapper filet
  • Broccolli

That dinner was a big bigger than I prefer, but my weight held steady at 178.2 lbs, so ‘ll take that as a victory. Also, I’ll be running again this afternoon, so I look forward to dropping a little bit of water weight after that, too.

The Plan for Losing Weight

20180109aLike any Marine, I make plans before I do things. I do my research (reconnaissance), I weigh the merits, and I make a decision and execute the plan. I’ve lost 150 lbs before, and now I find myself in need of losing 17 lbs. Based on my past successes (and setbacks), I’ve come up with the following plan with my wife.

  • Strict Paleo. That means no sugar, grains, dairy, soy, legumes, or alcohol.
  • Strict serving sizes. While we will not be weighing our food, we will be serving food courses that would fit into the palms of both hands put together to make a bowl.
  • Exercise. While this doesn’t technically make me lose weight, I need to get back into better physical condition for my National Guard service. I have an APFT (Annual Physical Fitness Test) coming soon, and I need to make some improvements over my current performance level. Side-effect will be increased calorie burn which may help with losing weight. Current plan is for 3-5 times a week, but definitely no less than 3. I will run three times a week and hopefully add 1-2 days of either mountain biking or maybe some kettlebells.
  • A positive mindset. I’m gaming this process. I am keeping track of the food I eat, my weight, the amount of sleep I get, and all the exercise/physical activity I will be doing.

I’m actually pumped for this. I’ve said it before, but this is like a game for me, and I know there will be some fluctuations and possibly even some setbacks, but my mind is 100% into making this happen. To me, it feels like a new beginning all over again, and I’m looking forward to getting back down to the 160’s.

What I Ate: Post Trip Days One Through Three

Let me sum up the first two days since returning from my vacation.

Day 1

Morning weight: 187.8 lbs


  • Two eggs sunny-side up and two slices of bacon


  • (I forgot what I had, but it was pretty small)

Dinner (at a friend’s birthday party)

  • Hamburger with Paleo Bun (made by my wife)
  • I also drank two bottles of cider and had two or three small glasses of Auchentoshen Three wood Scotch Whisky.

Day 2

Morning Weight: 183.8 lbs


  • Two eggs sunny-side up and two slices of bacon


  • Two thick slices of brisket (freshly out of our smoker) and some Brussels sprouts with sweet potato pieces

Party Snacks at a Baby Shower for a Friend

  • Two pieces of brisket, 8-10 french fry sized pieces of jicama, and about 6 or 7 cauliflower florets


  • Two thick slices of brisket and some more Brussels sprouts with sweet potato pieces. I really love this stuff.

Day 3

Morning Weight: 182.0 lbs


  • Two eggs sunny-side up and two slices of bacon

Late-morning snack (9:30 am)

  • 9 almonds. This is the first time since starting the strict Paleo that I needed to snack on something before lunch.


  • Whole30 Compliant Beef and Chorizo Meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and sweet potato


  • Baked Salmon with Walnuts, asparagus, and Japanese Sweet Potato Salad (recipes on Sherry’s website)

Before dinner, I ran three miles in the heat, then walked half a mile as a cool-down. I weighed myself before I took my shower and was shocked at what I saw: 178.3 lbs. Wow! It’s amazing to watch how quickly the bloating and water weight goes away after cutting out the grains, sugars, dairy, and alcohol. The body does respond quickly.

My Mindhack for Vacation Recovery

img_2128I’ve covered my weight gain while on vacation in Ireland and Scotland. I knew going on this trip that I would gain weight; I just didn’t know how much. I estimated that I’d gain around 15 lbs, and sure enough, that’s what the scale said. I had time to think about how I was going to tackle losing it again not from the technical or physical aspect, but from a psychological angle.

I thought a lot about it, and how I had tackled difficult things in the past. When it was time for me to start running, I had to get past a lifetime of dislike for running. I decided to trick myself into thinking I liked it and enjoyed it with great success: I actually do enjoy running now. I needed to take this experience and focus it on the task at hand: losing weight.

I decided that I would do two things to help me drop the pounds:

  1. I am using this experience as a learning tool and to remind myself of how difficult it can be to lose weight.
  2. I actually look forward to working toward a goal and experiencing making progress again.

For the first item, I find that it’s good to experience the difficulty of losing weight again. It’s been almost three years since I took my first steps toward getting healthy and losing weight, and for the most part, I stopped losing weight over a year and a half ago. For the past year, I’ve been in maintenance mode with my weight fluctuating within about 6 lbs. It was never too difficult to drop a few lbs here and there. Now, I have to lose roughly 15 lbs more. This is a much more serious number, and closer to what many people actually look to do.

To the second point, I actually enjoyed the process of losing weight when we started nearly three years ago. While it was a bit difficult in the beginning to get past the cravings and the flu-like symptoms, I enjoyed watching the lbs tick off on the scale, being into a new decade of numbers every month. It seemed surreal, and the continuous success was exhilarating. I’m looking to recreate that excitement this time over the next month or two.

I started over this past Sunday, and my weight was 187 lbs. This morning, I was at 182 lbs. My goal is 165 lbs, so that’s another 17 lbs to go. I am not as bummed or upset about it as I thought I would be. To the contrary, it’s like being accepted into a game or tournament, only I am competing against myself. I hope to see some successes, but I know the reality is that weight loss is not always a linear process. I will be reporting here honestly and truthfully on what I’m doing and how it’s going, both good and bad.

Paying the Piper

Ireland and Scotland were amazing for everything but my weight.

When I left for Ireland and Scotland, I was weighing a bit heavier than I’d like: 171.2 lbs. When I returned from my trip, I weighed in at 187.8 lbs. That’s ridiculous. It’s hard to imagine that I was able to put on that much weight in so little time. That tells me some things.

  • The diet I was eating before was good for my weight maintenance.
  • The diet I went to while on vacation, which included grains, sugar, dairy, and alcohol, caused my body to retain a lot of water and to gain some solid weight.
  • The diet I went to is pretty much the same diet I was on before I decided to eat healthy. That diet is unsustainable long-term and not conducive to good health.

Now that I’m back, my wife and I have decided to get back to a very strict Paleo diet. We aren’t necessarily doing another Whole30 just yet: we’re going to see how sticking with a strict Paleo diet helps in dropping the weight we picked up in Ireland and Scotland.

So far, in two days of mostly eating right (we had a birthday party and a baby shower to go to this weekend that had me drinking and eating more than I want to right now), I’m already down to 182.0 lbs. That’s 5.8 lbs dropped in three days of good eating. I know that it’s mostly water weight, but that’s because now that I’ve cut off all the inflammatory foods, and my body is both reducing its swelling and getting rid of the excess water I’ve been retaining.

I’ve decided I’m using this experience to allow me to once again to experience the excitement of reaching weight loss goals, and I’m also using it to reiterate the healthiness of the Paleo Diet. I’m going to stick with it as I always have, except I’m going to be more strict with the portion sizes and allow the process to work. I’ll be reporting in on my progress as my work toward my goal of 165 lbs.

Back from Vacation

For the first time since I started this blog nearly three years ago, I took a break from blogging here. Not because I was tired, worn out, or didn’t have anything to say, but because I was on a 12-day trip with my wife and another couple through Ireland and Scotland. While I was able to keep up for a few days with writing posts in between the sight-seeing and other activities, Internet connections were not reliable, and it was becoming difficult to find the time to properly write my articles. As difficult as it was for me, I made the decision to just take a break and to resume writing for the blog when I got home.

We arrived back home on Saturday evening, and I took yesterday as a mental health day to allow myself to get back into the swing of being here. I thought a lot about the posts I want to write and the things I want to talk about, and I will be posting about them in the coming days. The topics I will cover will include how I ate on vacation, the weight I gained, how I’m tackling losing it again, exercise while on vacation, and my mindset and how I’m hacking myself to succeed in dropping that weight.

I had an immensely great time in Ireland and Scotland, and part of that involved eating. I don’t regret the food I ate and the decisions I made while there. To the contrary, I think that if I had not eaten and drank the food I had while I was there, I would have missed out on some of the best that those two countries have to offer. The next time I travel, I will likely modify a few things, but otherwise, I won’t change much.

Thanks for sticking around and for reading this blog. I now resume regular programming.

It’s Not As Bad As I Made It Out To Be

So, I’m not eating good food, and I’m eating too much, but I’ve noticed something today: I’m not nearly as bad off as I thought I would be. That’s not to say I think that eating lots of carbs, grains, and sugar is okay. It’s not. It’s just that in my mind, I had this idea or fear that eating any amount of grains or sugar would cause me to swell up and gain weight like crazy.

But I didn’t.

So, at least some of the fear has subsided for me. I am heavier, and yes, a bit puffier from water retention, but it’s not the end of the world. It’ll go away when I eat well, and my weight will get back down to where I like it to be. I haven’t run again since that first time in Dublin, but I plan on running either tomorrow or the day after, so I’ll at least get some cardio while I’m here. I ran twice in Spain over the two weeks I was there, and I will do at least that as a minimum while I’m here in Scotland.

So, it turns out I am my own worst enemy when it comes to putting fears into my head. It’s good to eat right, and I lost 150 lbs eating well, but eating like crap while on vacation isn’t the end of the world. Oh, and I’m having a great time, too!

Never Give Up

I tried more than once to lose weight, and I failed. Miserably. I even gained all the weight back and then some after each attempt. The main reason I failed was because I didn’t understand the relationship between diet and weight loss as compared to fitness and exercise. On top of that, for me, eating carbs and sugar and grains kept my weight up even when I tried to count calories. That just didn’t work for me like it works for others.

When I finally did a Whole30 and then went Paleo, I found great success. Going Keto a few times also gave me the weight loss I had always looked for, and adopting a Paleo and Keto combination diet has allowed me to maintain my weight for almost two full years after starting my weight loss journey nearly three years ago. Although I’m on vacation right now and I’m not being strict with my diet, as soon as I get home, I will be right back to weight-loss mode, and I will be as strict as ever.

I never gave up trying. I realized that not every method works for everyone. It was up to me to find what did work. Although I thought of attempting Whole30 as sort of a last-ditch effort to get healthy, it validated what I’d always known: we are all different, and we lose weight in different ways. I know people who have been successful with Calories-in/Calories-out. I know people who went low-carb. I know people who can eat carbs and still lost weight. I just wasn’t one of those people. I’m lucky I found what did work for me.

If you’ve failed before, that’s a good thing: you have now confirmed what doesn’t work for you. Now, try something different. CICO didn’t work for me. Extreme fitness didn’t work for me. Whole30, Paleo, and Keto did. Find your path, find your success, and stick with it.

Trying Not to Go Crazy

I have mentioned before that I have an eating disorder: I like to eat too much. It is something I’m struggling with as I’m on vacation right now, and I’m eating everything in sight (or so it seems). I have been doing a lot of walking, and I’ve also been running while on vacation, but I know that maintaining my weight is primarily the function of the diet I eat which, admittedly, has included far too much food.

I have some anxiety over this. Okay, a lot of anxiety. I worry about the weight I’ll gain, and I worry about the work I will have to do to lose it again. The only solace I have is the knowledge that diet works to reduce weight, and that I’ve done this before. Successfully. I also know it’s impossible for me to regain all the weight I lose in 12 days, and while I can feel myself swelling from the retained water, I know deep-down that I’m not getting overweight. I’m eating too much: yes. I’m even eating foods I never allow myself to eat: yes. But I’m on a vacation, and possibly on my only trip to Ireland and Scotland, so I will enjoy it to the fullest.

With all that said, it’s hard not to go crazy with anxiety and guilt, but I refuse to deny myself this once-in-a-lifetime experience of living it up in Ireland and Scotland. I’ll deal with my weight when I get home. In the meantime, I’ll be as sensible as I can, and I will get as much exercise as I can to make sure I remain physically fit. I may be a little heavier when I get home, but at least I’ll still be fit.

Eating A Lot on Vacation

I’ll admit it; I’m eating a lot right now. I’m eating mostly foods that are made of whole ingredients, but I’m eating larger volumes as well as foods that contain grains or sugar. I am doing this knowing the following will happen:

  • I am going to gain some water weight; roughly 5-10 lbs in the next two weeks
  • I am going to gain some solid/real weight; roughly 2-3 lbs
  • I will lose some muscle definition, especially in the midsection
  • I will feel slightly guilty while I’m eating, and very guilty afterward (when I get home)

I could be sticking to just Keto or Paleo food, as there are a lot of options here in Ireland for that, but honestly, a big part of traveling is experiencing the culture through its food. I’ve had some of the best fish and chips I’ve ever had, and some of the tastiest ciders I’ve ever tried. I ate a chowder today that, in and of itself, was Keto friendly, but the brown bread I ate with it definitely was not. However, it was very dark, very dense, and actually not that much bread.

I will deal with the guilt later. I’m enjoying my trip, and enjoying the food. It’s not like I eat like this all the time, and Sherry and I will be staring our fifth Whole30 sometime soon after we get home.

I always tell people it’s important to enjoy life, and to not miss out on special occasions and holidays. This vacation for us is a special event, and I’m not going to spoil it for her, for our friends, or for me by sticking to a diet that would keep me from experiencing some of the local flavor. Oh, and the chocolate torte and bread pudding here are to die for!