It’s not easy. If it were, everyone would be successful at everything. But, we’re not. We struggle. We face temptations, we face cravings and hunger, and we have to work against habits that we’ve had our entire lives. This is no small task, and taking on too much at once can be overwhelming. That’s why perseverance is so important.

Tackle one thing at a time. I started with a Whole30 to tackle my sugar addiction. Through Whole30, I was able to get out from under the Sugar Dragon and enter into the Paleo lifestyle in a much stronger position making it easier for me to succeed. It wasn’t until I lost over 100 lbs that I began to run, tackling my lack of fitness.

Perseverance is trusting in the process even when you’re not making any progress you can see on a scale or feel in your clothes. Perseverance is sticking to the lifestyle even when you really want a pizza or some pasta. Perseverance is saying no to dessert when you see your favorite chocolate cake or apple pie is on the menu. Perseverance is food prep.

Stick with it. That’s the first key to success in any process. We may trip, we may fall, but only the successful get back up and keep at it in the face of adversity.

10 lbs and New Recipes

The latest update from Sherry.

Our Daily Bacon

Well, I know I went off the grid for awhile, but it’s been good…  my work situation is stabilizing a little, and E.J. and I decided to spend September doing a “quiet” Whole 30 – basically we have been following the Whole 30 rules all month, with the exception of special occasions, and choosing meals that are as compliant as possible when we eat out.

For me, this was a much needed self-check.  I had managed to gain about 20 lbs of my original 70 lost 2 years ago.  Some of it was just falling back into old habits of eating too much and craving sweets after dinner, even when the meals and sweets were fully Paleo compliant.  Some of it was the 2 European trips we took where we threw healthy eating out the window for 2 weeks each.  Most of the recent damage was actually due to emotional…

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Stubborn Weight


I hate that this week, I’ve lost no weight. In fact, my weight shows up a few lbs even though I’m doing everything right. Well, everything except for one thing: sleep. I’m not getting enough quality sleep.

I’ve mentioned in the past about the important role sleep plays in our weight loss, and once again, when I look over all the factors that influence my weight loss, the one area in which I’m lacking is sleep.

It’s not that I’m staying up crazy late; I’m not. I’m actually missing the mark by just a little bit, but for me, that little bit has big consequences. I have found through a lot of trial and error that I need at least a solid 7 hours of sleep for my body to process, rest, heal, and rebuild properly, and if I short myself even just 30 minutes, it just won’t happen properly. I’ll wake up with more soreness after a run, I will feel a bit groggy, and as the scale is more than happy to report, without any weight loss (or worse, a slight gain!).

So, yet again, I am beating myself up for allowing myself to short-change my sleep. If it weren’t for the good football game on TV last night, I’d have been in bed sooner, but it was a nail biter, and I wanted to see it through to the end. I’m glad I did, but the cost is no weight loss. Oh well; there’s always tomorrow (and yes, I am going to sleep in!).

I really didn’t want to do it.

There are days when I REALLY don’t want to run. No matter how much I know I need to, even knowing fully well that I need to train for an upcoming APFT, sometimes, I just feel like being lazy and not running. When the weather is bad and I don’t feel like running, I’ll seize on that opportunity to be lazy. But when it’s 75 degrees out, cloudy, with a nice cool breeze, and I don’t feel like running? I do it anyway. And today, I’m glad I did.

I got my second fastest 5k time ever, just missing a new personal record by 6 seconds. SIX SECONDS!!! AAAAAAH!!! As for the run itself, I actually felt pretty good, and my heart rate was well under my max.

The lesson I take from this experience is that most of the time, the lead-up to an exercise session, a run, or anything else we know is difficult is worse than the actual task itself. For every run I’ve had in the past three years, this is definitely the case. Sometimes, those most dreaded runs become the most memorable or momentous. In my case, I almost had a personal best while feeling really great during the run.

What did it take to push me past not wanting to do it and just getting it done? Integrity. I told myself that if I want to claim that I have integrity, that I need to exercise that integrity with myself and just get the work done. Besides, it’s under 30 minutes of effort, so it’s really not all that long of a time to be uncomfortable. 60 push ups and 3.11 miles later, here I am, feeling great, eating a delicious food-prepped stuffed mushroom lunch, and having a nice cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee (unsweetened). It feels good.

Results Don’t Lie


I had a conversation with a neighbor about weight loss. She’s been trying to lose weight through a lot of running (and I mean A LOT of running). She asked me how I had lost my weight, and when I told her that I did it mainly through adopting a healthier lifestyle and managing my diet by avoiding sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes, and soy, she told me that there was no way she could give up grains. She doubled down: she said that she would be able to lose all the weight she needed to through running. I (sincerely) wished her the best of luck, and told her that I’m always here to help with advice on how to get healthy and lose weight.

She had known me at this point for seven years, and when she met me, I was morbidly obese. She saw me go through the transition from unhealthy to healthy, from morbidly obese to average size. The results I had achieved didn’t lie, and neither did I when I told her that I accomplished all of this through the use of diet alone.

I am not saying (nor did I say to her) that my way is the only way. There are many successful people out there who have lost weight and become healthier through the use of different lifestyles, many of which include insane amounts of physical exercise. I get it; it’s possible. If you put in enough work, you can achieve results. My point is, was, and will always be that I lost all the weight (150 lbs) with LITTLE/MINOR/TINY AMOUNT physical effort. I felt as if I’d found a cheat code to life with as easy as the weight was coming off me (in relation to the amount of physical exercise a lot of people I knew went through to lose weight).

Maybe (and I just thought of this) it comes down to the kind of hardship you are willing to accept. Some people (like me) are more able to deal with utilizing discipline, self control, motivation, and perseverance to lose weight while others are better suited for using extreme, hard, and difficult physical exercise and conditioning to create a caloric deficit required to lose weight. Again, to each his/her own.

I took the way that was easiest for me to not only wrap my head around, but allowed me the greatest chance of success. I chose changing my diet and my lifestyle, and over three years later, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. In fact, I feel the opposite; my new lifestyle has allowed me to achieve things that I thought were well past my ability to achieve at this point in my life. I’m also in much better shape, and definitely much healthier. For me, I believe I made the right decisions. After all, the results don’t lie.

Run all day, ’til the running’s done


When I was in boot camp, the drill instructors would sing songs they called “Jodies,” and I remember one of the verses went like this:

Up in the morning with the rising sun,
We’re gonna run all day ’til the running’s done.
Mile one; just for fun
Mile two; just for you
Mile three; a PFT
Good for you; not for me
Mile four; want some more
Mile five; I feel alive
Mile six; just for kicks
Mile seven; I’m in heaven
Mile eight; feels great
Mile nine; doin’ fine
Mile ten; let’s do it again
Ooh-rah; feels good; oh yeah!

So, I never get past the “…a PFT,” on my runs, but it’s good enough. Many times when I’m running, even if I’m listening to music, my mind will wander, and I will hear these Jodies as sung by my drill instructors going on in my head. I hear their voices, their motivation, their yelling at us to keep up the pace. 32 years later, I find myself bringing up the pace to not let them down.

I ran hard yesterday. Probably the biggest effort I’ve put into a run in about a year, and I surprised myself. I also tried a new breathing technique that didn’t tie itself to my steps. Usually, since running in the military forces you to have to time your breathing so you can sing on cue, you get used to running with a pattern of breathing. This is good, because it helps build stamina. But for speed running, it’s not quite so good. Yesterday, I let myself breathe as I needed while running as hard and as fast as I could. The result was the fastest two miles I’ve run in nearly a year, and a great 3 mile time.

I felt good afterward, and as I did my nearly mile-long cool-down walk with the dog (who always enjoys my post-run walks), I looked at my run data on Strava and found that my heart rate stayed about 20 BPM lower than slower runs where I tied my breathing to my steps. It seems that the key to running faster for me is to breathe independent of my steps and more in line with the effort I’m pushing with.

This is earth-shattering.

I have, as I have mentioned yesterday, an APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) coming up in a month, and while I could pass it well today, I want to do my very best on it. I will continue to work hard, and I will crush that APFT. I don’t know if I can beat my last APFT run time, but I’m hoping for it. With a little luck and a lot of sweat, I’ll get there.

As for my weight, I was back down near my lowest this month even after a weekend of food and alcohol. The body is resilient, and if you treat it right, it will reward you. I also feel like a pair of trousers I wore in Ireland and Scotland were much looser today off the hangar than they were when I was there on vacation. So, even if the weight isn’t coming off right now, my size is decreasing (which is good).

Stick with it, keep your eye on your goal, and never waver.

Post-Drill Weekend


This past weekend was a three-day drill for me in the National Guard, and now it’s time for me to get back to my schedule of proper eating, no alcohol consumption, and exercise.

It’s not that I don’t eat right during drill weekend; I do. It’s just that I tend to eat a big lunch, and then after dinner, I end up imbibing alcohol with the men and women I serve with. It’s not that I drink too much (I don’t), but it’s that I drink at all. I shouldn’t, but I know that whatever weight gain I get from the water retention due to drinking will be gone within a day or two afterward, so I allow myself the indulgence.

I am now working toward an APFT in October. The APFT stands for Army Physical Fitness Test, and I will need to run two miles and do a maximum number of push ups and sit up within two minutes each. I can pass it now, but I want to get faster and stronger to get a better score. I also need to make sure I’m well beneath my maximum allowed weight when the APFT is held. Not because I can’t pass the tape portion (where they use measurements to determine your body fat percentage) because I am well under the maximum allowed, but because I prefer to not even have to be taped.

So, over the next month or so, you will see a heavy focus on running and strength exercises from me accompanied by a renewed sense of urgency to eat right. I’m looking forward to it! I had a great/faster run last Wednesday, and I’m going to continue with that level of effort over the next four weeks to make some progress and to bring my run times down.

32 Years Ago…

When I graduated USMC boot camp, I weighed 138 lbs.

In February 1986, I swore an oath that would lead to my enlistment in the Marine Corps. On September 23rd, 1986, I left on a Southwest Airlines flight bound for San Diego, CA for my final destination: Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego. It would be my home for the next 13 weeks with two stints at Camp Pendleton for rifle training and field training.

When I left, I was a soft civilian who weighed around 145 lbs. I could barely run three miles or do more than 5 pull ups. When I graduated from boot camp, I could run the three miles in 19 minutes, I could easily do 20 pull ups, and 80 sit ups within two minutes. I weighed around 138 lbs. I was in the best shape of my life up to that point.

While in the Marines, I kept up with my physical fitness until a surgery about a year prior to my discharge. That surgery had lasting complications that kept me on convalescent leave for half a year, and that led to me getting over the official height/weight standards. I left the Marines at the end of my term of enlistment with one month shy of 11 years of total active duty.

img_0335After my discharge, I continued to gain weight and become unfit. I didn’t do any exercise at all, and my weight ballooned, topping out at a whopping 312 lbs. That’s morbidly obese for someone of my short stature: I’m 5’7″ tall.

Fast forward 20 years. I decided that enough was enough. I took control of my life, my health, and my fitness. I changed my lifestyle through Whole30 and adopted the Paleo Diet. I began walking, then jogging, and finally, running. Three years later, I am still a healthy 51 year-old within the DoD height and weight regulations, and I easily pass the Army APFT.

Today, I look back at that day 32 years ago and I’m humbled by the memories of the great Marines and Soldiers I’ve had the honor of serving with. I am the man I am today in large part due to their guidance, motivation, and mentorship (and sure, maybe a few butt-chewings here and there).

simplyhdr56141990-1People often ask me if I had to do it all over again, would I still join the Marines out of high school instead of going to college? If everything I’ve lived through, experienced, seen, and done led me to where I am today, and to who I have in my life today, then the answer is clear: I would not change a thing. It may not have been the easiest road, but it is one that got me here, and I am happy with who I am and where I am. That wouldn’t be possible without the ups and downs that got me here.


Drill Weekend

Drill weekends can be hectic for me, and this morning, instead of having my usual bacon and egg breakfast, I had a few small bars. They are good, and from a caloric standpoint, they are pretty much the same as if I’d eaten my bacon and eggs, but gosh darnit, I miss my normal breakfast!

With that said, my weight has been up a bit the past few days after reaching a motivating low, but I’m not letting it deter me or slow me down. I’m keeping motivated, keeping active, and continuing to eat right. I had two small shots of alcohol last night, but aside from that, it’s all sticking to the plan.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Playing the weight yo-yo game again

So, the last two nights, I didn’t get much sleep at all for one reason or another. That means no weight loss. It’s very predictable for me: no sleep = no weight loss. There’s also the matter of not having regular bowel movements for the past few days and, well, I’m heavier: 3 lbs, to be exact.

It’s annoying when I’m making good progress to have the scale tell me that I weigh more when I know I’m still doing everything right. That’s the real struggle and the test of working toward losing weight. Right now, I’m in weight loss mode, and it’s these little speed bumps that used to derail me. Now? They make me more determined than ever.

The way I see it, or at least the way I’ve trained myself to see it, it’s like my weight is a foe that I need to defeat. It works for me. Different people need to find their motivation and what works best for them. My goal weight is more than just a number. It’s also where I feel physically at my best, where I fit my uniforms and my clothing the best, and I feel the most nimble. Running is easier when I’m lighter, and I’m much faster. I am just between 9-11 lbs away from my goal which, according to my schedule, I should hit sometime by the end of November if I can sustain my rate of loss.

I will continue to do what I need to do: trust in the process, keep eating well, keep exercising, and continue to keep motivated. Perseverance is key. I’m in this for the long haul, and this is a long-term process. Short-term gratification with bumps in weight loss are nice, but it’s not what the game is about. It’s about getting to my goal safely, and steadily, even if my weight bumps up a bit every now and then. It’s all a part of how this game is played, and I’m going to continue to kick it’s butt.