Alcohol and it’s effect on weight

I’ve not been as careful as I should be, and my weight’s gone up beyond what I consider to be acceptable. Starting Monday (after the end of my drill weekend), I will be back to very strict Paleo just like I was when I first adopted the diet back in 2015. There will be no desserts, no big portions, and very little eating at restaurants. Absolutely NO alcohol!

That has been my biggest problem: alcohol. I don’t drink often, but these past few weeks have put me into situations where I imbibe far more than I normally do, and the effects have been staggering. The amount of weight I’ve gained due to alcohol consumption has been truly mind-blowing, and I now understand why it’s so hard for people who drink alcohol to lose weight.

I see this as a learning experience. Since adopting the Paleo diet back in 2015, I haven’t ever really allowed myself to consistently drink alcohol except while on vacation (twice in three years). I thought that the weight gain I experienced was due to the non-Paleo food I ate. I think I may have been wrong since I’ve gained as much in the past two weeks as I normally do on a vacation, and yet I’ve had no non-Paleo foods in any quantity.

So, next Monday, it’s back to square one. I have 15 lbs to lose. I will get it done!

Chasing Weight Loss

This morning, I watched a group of individuals working out at a local church parking lot, and there was a sign posted nearby: “Morning Weight Loss Boot Camp.”


I applaud those individuals for getting up early in the morning and sweating it out (and here in Texas, even at 6 am, they are definitely sweating it out!) and doing the work, but I sincerely hope that their instructor/trainer is telling them to change their diets and nutrition plans. Without that, these people will get strong and fit, but they may not necessarily lose any weight, or their weight loss will be very slow.

I tell people all the time: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Some people claim that they can do just this, but these people are likely the beneficiaries of TOFI: Thin Outside/Fat Inside. This is a condition where people are thin, but their arteries are clogged with fat and plaque due to bad eating habits and bad nutrition.

Yet, there are people out there who sadly believe, based on years of bad information, that exercise is the key to weighing less and being healthy. While it helps, it’s not the key. It’s more like an ingredient in a recipe. Even the most basic recipes have at least 3-4 ingredients. Good health, fitness, and weighing less have more than just one or two ingredients as well.

Weight loss happens in the kitchen. Fitness happens in the gym and on the road.

Are We Ever Happy With Our Weight?

It’s a funny thing, weight. We put all our eggs into the weight basket as it pertains to our overall health meter. When we weigh less, we believe we are healthier than when we weigh more, and while there is some correlation between weight and health, weight cannot and should not be used as a sole measure of overall health and fitness. Yet, this thought persists, even within me: when I weigh less, I’m healthier.

When I weighed 165 lbs, I wanted to weigh 160 lbs. When I got to 160 lbs, I was hoping to lose 5 more. Why? Looking back, I think it had to do with wanting to get back to a weight I was at when I was in my 20’s, but there was no other reason. I felt great at 165 lbs, I fit into all my size-small shirts, 30″ trousers, and exercise was super-easy. Now at 175 lbs, my shirts and trousers are all tighter, and I definitely feel the extra 10 lbs when I run.

With all that said, I absolutely, positively will need to get back to 165 lbs. No matter what, that is my goal. It is where my quest for weight loss will end. When I get to 165 lbs, I will try for no more. I will continue to work to maintain 165, but nothing less. Why? Because I realize that I felt great at 165 lbs. I looked good. My clothes fit great. Everything was where it needed to be at that weight.

I don’t feel right at 175 lbs, and that made me recall something about when I weighed 160 lbs: I didn’t feel right there, either. I was having to be super-super-super strict with my diet and exercise to be at 160 lbs. It was too restrictive and limiting. I am not willing to be ultra-strict with my diet for a weight on the scale when just 5 lbs more allows me to have some freedom in my diet and I felt GREAT.

Paleo works. It works wonders when you do it well, and combined with a good fitness plan and control of portion size and no cheating/sabotage will leave you very healthy. I do a firm Paleo: I will allow the occasional restaurant steak fry or waffle fry into my diet, and every now and then, I have some bread pudding at special occasions, and I just don’t want to do without that little bit of freedom. That extra 5 lbs isn’t worth it to me.

Unintentional Break

I have been off the blog for the past week or so due to my active duty status in the National Guard. I’ve been very busy, and that’s caused me to have to take a break from blogging for a bit. I’m back now, however, and I’m going to make sure to write some posts to not miss days again.

In my previous post, I wrote about my current struggle with my weight. I’m still doing well, and I’m still fit, but I’m just a bit heavier than I would like (and than I’m allowed) and I need to fix that. It’s weighing heavily on me, and I have to admit it’s causing me some mental anguish. I have a weight range that I’m happiest in, and I’m outside of it.

Add to this the fact that my trousers are all a bit tighter. Again, it makes me mad because I let this happen. Yes, I’m beating myself up about it, but that’s what I need to do to fix this. And fix this, I will.

I apologize for the lack of new content. That also is fixed now. Expect more daily updates from me again starting today.

The Problem with Success

file-3 (1)I have a problem. I have learned how to effectively and easily lose weight, and that knowledge has caused me to become more lax in my diet than I should be. As a result, I’m having a hard time getting rid of these last 15 lbs I need to lose. I have yo-yo’d between 169 and 179 lbs for the past month, and I need to stop doing that.

A big reason for the rollercoaster ride on the scale has been alcohol intake. I’ve allowed myself to partake far too often in drinking alcoholic beverages. I’ve also allowed myself to not run three times a week as I like to. I’ve further allowed myself to eat larger portions, and my wife and I ate at restaurants a few times more than we typically do. All these things put together have caused my weight to rise.

The worst part is that I know I can lose the weight, and that’s what I’ve used to justify allowing myself these indulgences. Well, that has to come to an end immediately. I’ve begun by being very strict with my lunches, and I’m sticking to my exercise plan. I’m cutting all alcohol effective immediately, and I’m going to go back to my strict portion sizes.

The interesting thing I’ve noticed is that this all happened because of conscious decisions I made to allow myself indulgences I typically don’t allow myself to partake in. I did this to myself. Therefore, I need to fix the problem within, and then attack the problem on all fronts. You can take the person out of the military, but you can’t take the military out of the person. In my case, the military even takes the person back in. Regardless, I’m going to get back on track immediately, and get back into the 160’s before the fall.

Active Duty Again and Lunches


I’m on Active Duty in the National Guard for a few weeks to help with some logistic needs for our unit. That means I work closer to home, but it also means I’m working with a bigger group of people who like to go to lunch. While I bring my own lunch to work at my normal job, and I’ve been bringing my lunches to my work here, I haven’t had the ability to eat them. That will have to change.

My lunches are made for me by my wife, and they are healthy and the right size. The food she makes me allows me to maintain my good eating habits in terms of portion control as well as content. Eating out for lunch every day makes me lose focus, lose control, and ultimately, makes me gain weight.

I am currently just within the DoD height and weight requirements. I don’t want to exceed them; I worked hard to get where I am at now and I don’t want to have to do that work again. So, starting with today’s lunch, I’m back to eating my good food without exception (unless, of course, the MAJ or MSG want me to go eat lunch with them).

Oops… more time off than I wanted

I ended up taking another week off from running. This was unintended, but between the weather and being busy, I didn’t have the time I needed to get my runs in. I ran once last week, and although it was a great run, one run a week just doesn’t cut it. If the weather cooperates for me this afternoon, I’ll be running after work.

I will take it easier than normal. I usually tend to go out and run really hard after not running for a while, and the last few times I did that, I was sore. Really sore. So, tonight, I’m going to resist the urge to blaze the roads and I’m going to shoot for a slow and easy pace. I may even dial back the distance a bit and then work more on the speed Wednesday or Friday this week.

The important part of getting back into fitness after any missed periods of time is getting back into things with the knowledge you can’t hit it with the same intensity and expect to just pick up where you left off. You need to dial it back a bit to avoid injury. I will be heeding my own advice this afternoon, and while it’ll be annoying to run so slowly, I need to do so to keep from injuring myself. I want to run pain-free on Wednesday.

The Scale

This is the nemesis of nearly everyone I know who is trying to change their lifestyles to a healthier one. We have been taught all our lives that our weight directly correlates to our health: high weight is poor health and lower weight is good health. While this is an oversimplification, it does have some basis in truth. However, weight is not a one-stop indicator of our health and wellbeing.

I’ve written in the past about TOFI (Thin Outside/Fat Inside) and how dangerous it is. These people are able to appear thin (they weight less), yet on the inside of their bodies, their arteries are clogged with cholesterol and they suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and other typically weight-related maladies. This group of people shows why using the scale alone is not a good indicator of your overall health.

I weigh myself daily. I know that not everyone can do that. However, I do not use the scale as my sole indicator of health. I also consider the following:

  • How I feel. This is the most important one. Do I feel energetic? Do I feel rested? Was I able to sleep through the night? Do I feel hot when I shouldn’t?
  • How I look. Do I have any swelling? Puffiness? Am I retaining water? How do my cheeks look?
  • How my clothes fit. Are my pants getting tighter? Do my shirts still fit loosely? How does my wedding ring feel on my finger?
  • Blood test results. This is a good one, and since I do annual physicals, I use this data to determine my actual physical health.
  • EKG. As a person over 40 in the military, I receive an EKG test annually which is also a good indicator for how healthy my heart is.

The scale is one data point among a data set that tells me how I’m doing. It should never be used as a single-source for determining how healthy you are. Sometimes, the scale will read something contrary to everything all other data points are telling you. That happens to me a lot. I’ve learned to not invest too heavily in the number and instead focus on the overall picture all the data points paint. I’m much happier for it, and I don’t sweat it when the scale reads up for a day or three here and there. I know I’m healthy, my nutrition plan is solid, and my fitness is good.

What’s the best shortcut to losing weight?

I get asked this a lot. And when I say a lot, I should say all the time. People are always looking for shortcuts to lose weight. The problem is, there was no shortcut to gaining the weight. We didn’t get overweight overnight, yet we want to lose all that weight immediately. The sad news is that it just won’t happen that way. There are no shortcuts.

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However, there are ways to make it a little easier. For me, it was Whole30 and Paleo. I was able to continue eating delicious and filling foods that made it feel like I had found a cheat code to life. Eat delicious food and still lose weight without starving between meals?!? YES, PLEASE!!!

I didn’t exercise at all while losing the first 130 lbs. Let me restate that just in case you somehow thought it was a typo: I didn’t exercise at all while losing the first 130 lbs. All I did was change my diet. On top of that, the diet I changed to allowed me to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner while enjoying what I ate and getting full after each meal. The content of my meals kept me free from cravings. If that’s not like using a cheat code in a videogame, I don’t know what is.


Mindset is important. I’ve said in the past that it’s the foundation upon which your success in getting healthy and losing weight is based upon. As long as you have a positive mindset and you will accept nothing that sabotages your progress, you will succeed. Perseverance is key, and when you are in it for the long game, the little dips and bumps fall away and give way to the successes and triumphs.

Anything worthwhile takes time and effort. Losing weight and getting healthy isn’t easy, and there are no shortcuts, but there are ways to go about losing weight and getting into better health that make it seem almost like a shortcut. Almost.

Stop putting it off

file (2)I know there are more than a few people reading about doing something, anything, to eat healthy, lose weight, and maybe even to try to get fit. I have one simple message with a lot of explanation after word: stop procrastinating and start now. Make today Day 1.

I get it. There’s a lot of stuff to read, and a lot of information to digest (pardon the pun). You want to make the best start, pick the best plan, and give yourself the best chance to succeed. That’s all well and good. But you’re not making ANY progress unless you start. And you might as well start now.

What should you do? For starters, cut sugar. All sugar. Anything that’s got added sugar and a crap-ton of carbs. I’m not saying cut fruits, but really limit the amount of fruit you eat. Don’t use fruit as a crutch when trying to eat better food. Sugar is sugar, even when it’s natural. Next up, try to limit the grain intake. Personally, I follow Paleo, so I exclude grains from my diet completely, but limiting them (if you’re not considering Paleo) is a good start. Also, get rid of dairy. And stop drinking alcohol. With these four things, you’re well on your way to a good start, no matter what you decide: Keto, Paleo, IF, CICO, Atkins, or others.

What do I recommend? Start with a Whole30 and transition into Paleo. Why do I recommend this? Because it helps get you off sugar and resets your body from a lot of the anti-nutrients present in foods like grains, legumes, soy, and dairy. After the first few days (to first few weeks depending on how much sugar you normally eat), you will begin to feel a lot better and more energized. You will feel more awake, and you will feel free from cravings. Then, once your body is clean from the effects of sugar, you can transition into Paleo which is just an extension (as far as I’m concerned) of Whole30 with a little more leeway in foods (like breads made from nuts, pizza with crusts made of anything not grain-based, etc).

The hardest thing to do is to get something stationary moving. Once you get it moving, however, momentum helps, and it becomes easier and easier to pick up speed. Living a healthy lifestyle is the same. It’s tough to get started, but once you do, it gets easier and easier. The lifestyle my wife and I live today was unimaginable three years ago, yet here we are, living healthy, eating well, and fit to boot!

You can be where I am. You won’t get there in a day or a week, but eventually, you will get there. I used to think it was so far off, but the next thing I knew, I was down 130 lbs, running, and looking at losing that last 20 lbs.