Targeted Weight Loss Ads

It’s interesting. On Facebook, I see ads that are clearly targeted to my demographic: “Weight loss in 30 days for men over 40.” Ok, I used to post a lot about my weight loss on Facebook (on my personal account), and yes, I’m a bit over 40, so I decided to follow the link and see what they had to say. Surprise: not much. You have to pay them to get their “Program.”

Here’s the thing: I have a program that works, and it’s especially awesome for anyone over 40 or who can’t do lots of physical activity. It’s called Lifestyle Change, and it requires you to either do Whole30, Paleo, Keto, Atkins, or any other low-carb diet. If you stick to it and watch your portion sizes, then you WILL lose weight. Add some light exercise to it, and you will even feel better while losing the weight.

The weight loss industry is one of the most sketchy industries out there because it feeds on insecurity, failure, and self-image that is often compromised. People are desperate to lose weight, and they will gravitate toward any new diet that promises amazing results like a moth to the light. Sadly, most fall short because they promise things they can’t deliver on: effortless weight loss without changing lifestyle.

The bottom line is this: You must change what you put into your mouth. You MUST cut down sugar, grains, alcohol, and it’s a good idea to limit dairy and legumes/soy. You don’t have to exercise to lose weight. You can lost weight faster by eating right than a person who doesn’t change their eating habits and goes to the gym every day. If you want to double-down on your weight loss, then yes, exercise COUPLED with a good eating program will get you amazing results.

Don’t buy into the trap of easy weight loss. It’s not easy. It’s simple, but never easy.

Nobody is perfect. Don’t try to be.

fycoPerseverance. Motivation. Dedication. Hard Work. These are all words or terms we hear when it comes to adjusting to a new lifestyle or a new diet, and yes, it’s true: all of those are necessary to be successful. But something most people leave out is forgiveness. You will make mistakes, you will either eat something that’s not on your diet or you will eat more than you should, and you’re going to feel guilty about it. That guilt often leads to people slipping into despair and doubt which then causes them to fall off the diet and out of the lifestyle. The end result is being right back where you started from, or worse.

I know this cycle all too well. I lived it for 20 years. I would try a diet, found it to be too restrictive, and I would fall off for a day. Then, feeling the guilt and weight of the oppressively strict diet, I would contemplate and then finally decide to give up the diet because, in my mind, no diet was worth that amount of suffering. I’d also end up gaining more weight than I originally lost, and this repeating cycle led to me ballooning up to over 312 lbs. At 5’7″, that’s dangerously obese.

Something I didn’t learn until three years ago, when I first began my new healthy lifestyle with a Whole30, was forgiveness. Forgiving myself for lapses in strength, judgment, and restraint. I didn’t give myself an easy out; that’s not what I’m talking about. This isn’t about justifying cheating or making it easy to fall off the wagon. This is about being able to forgive yourself for giving in to temptation so that you can dust yourself off, re-steel your resolve, and get right back on that diet. To get right back into the new lifestyle without the emotional baggage and depression that goes along with the guilt of not being perfect.

While I was on my journey to lose 150 lbs, I had a very strong resolve and I was able to resist nearly any temptation because I had, for the first time in my life, wanted something more than anything else in the world. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to hit a target weight to allow me to re-enter military service. I needed it like a drowning man needs air. The very few times I over-ate or ate something not on the Paleo Diet could have easily derailed me, my mindset, and my progress had I not learned to forgive myself and carry on.

It’s not all about the weight

2011 vs 2018.

My site talks about losing weight quite often, but that’s mostly because right now, I’m working hard to drop some weight due to the height and weight standards of the military, to which I am required to adhere to. My weight is currently below the maximum allowable weight for my height, but it’s too close for comfort. I prefer to have a buffer, so I’m working on losing an additional 10 lbs which gives me the ability to yo-yo without stress. However, I don’t want people to get the idea that weight is my primary concern or goal with eating right and exercising. It’s not. Not even a little bit.

Eating right is all about being healthy and feeling healthy. I realized that I needed to change my life one morning when I bent down to tie my shoes and I could not only barely reach my shoes, but I had to hold my breath. My stomach had grown so large that it physically impeded me from bending over to tie my own shoes, and to push myself forward enough, I had to hold my breath. This was too much.

I knew I weighed too much. I also had begun to realize (after years of being told by nearly everyone around me who cared) that not only was I overweight, but extremely unhealthy, and continuing with doing nothing to improve my situation and health would only lead to weight-related disease and likely an early death. Of course, I was already dealing with things like Diabetes, nerve tingling in my legs, circulation issues in my toes, gum disease (related to Diabetes), and worsening vision (also related to Diabetes).

Three plus years later, I weigh 175 lbs and I can run sub-8 minute miles. I lost the weight and got into fitness not because I wanted to look better or fit into some norm that society expects or accepts. I didn’t do it because I wanted to see a lower number on the scale, or because I wanted to have a beach body. I did it because I wanted to feel healthy, to be able to go hiking or to take long walks on vacations, and because I didn’t want to die young.

People who never knew me at my heaviest often don’t believe I was ever 312+ lbs. Some have gone so far as to think I’m being disingenuous or pulling a hoax by using someone else’s “Before” photos. I wish. I felt horrible almost all the time. I was always tired, my knees were always sore, and short walks and a single flight of stairs would leave me winded. I never want to feel that way again.

Eating right, for me, is not about losing weight. It’s about living.

Checking all the boxes


Sometimes, you find yourself seemingly doing everything right, yet nothing is happening on the scale. I’ve repeatedly discussed not using the scale as a single source of success or failure when it comes to a diet’s efficacy. However, when one measure of your physical fitness and readiness in the military is your weight, it becomes something one can’t ignore. I am in this situation.

My maximum allowable weight is 176 lbs for my height. For the past few weeks, my weight has been going over this number anywhere from 1-4 lbs. No matter what I was doing, I would get right down to 176 lbs and my weight would rebound and climb again. Regardless of how well I was eating, increasing my exercise, or getting enough sleep, the scale was punishing me. I was seemingly checking all the boxes to success, yet not reaping any of the rewards.

What I did notice is my clothing getting looser. I talked about this in the past as well, how my body seems to either lose weight or lose size, but never at the same time. It’s either one or the other. This past week, my trousers have been getting more comfortable, back to my pre-vacation ease of wear. As of this morning I finally saw movement again on the scale. It was only a pound, but it’s going in the right direction after stalling at 177 lbs for three days in a row (to the tenth!).

I’ve made sure to do everything to the letter. No snacks. No large portions. No going out for lunch or dinner. I’ve been getting enough sleep. I’ve been getting enough exercise (although, as I’m taking my APFT this evening, I didn’t do any exercise since Saturday morning to ensure my legs, arms, and core are ready and rested). Starting after today’s APFT, I’ll be back to increasing my distances and working on speed as well as adding biking to my exercise regimen.

Results will follow solid work. Sometimes, it just takes longer. And that’s okay.

Food Prep on a Budget

My wife is out of town on business this week, and she left before she normally does our (and in this week’s case, my) food prep, so it was up to me to get it done. I decided to do an experiment and see how much food I could make for $25. It turns out, you can eat for a week.

Now, the bad news is that it’s all chicken. That’s something I try to avoid; eating the same food all week. That leads to palate fatigue, and is one of the main reasons people fall off diets and stop eating healthy. They just get bored of eating the same food over and over again. There are some who have steel will and can eat the same food over and over for weeks, months, and even years on end. I’m not one of those people (except for breakfast; I love my bacon and eggs!). When it comes to lunch and dinner, I need a varied menu.

This week, I still had a few leftovers from last week’s food prep, so I knew I wasn’t going to be stuck eating just chicken all week. With that said, I smoked two whole chickens with nothing more than salt and pepper sprinkled onto the outside, and I put beer into the water container in the smoker instead of water. I smoked the chicken at 250 degrees for just under four hours, and it was incredibly juicy and tasty.

For some veggies, I did two things. First, I got some red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and an onion, and I sliced these all up and put them into a frying pan with some coconut oil and some seasonings. I under-sauteed them so that I could put the veggies into the lunch containers and I figured that the microwave will finish the cooking of the veggies. This will keep them from getting over-soft.

I also made a Hungarian cucumber salad. This is more for dinner use, as I like to have some sort of salad side with my dinners. It’s very easy to make: peel three cucumbers and then with a mandolin, slice them thin into a bowl. Add salt and garlic powder, and let sit in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours. Remove the bowl and wring out the cucumber. This literally takes as much of the water out of the cucumber. After you’ve wrung out as much of the water as you can from the cucumber (discarding that water by placing the wrung out cucumber into a new, smaller bowl), add vinegar, a little water, and either some honey or monk fruit sweetener to taste. I used monk fruit this time, and it came out very well.

I packaged no fewer than 8 packages for lunches and dinners this week coupled with the leftovers from last week. Had I needed a second meat, I could have purchased a roast or some pork for another $10-15 dollars and perhaps 2 or 3 sweet potatoes for another $3. Instead of sweet potatoes, I could have bought some cauliflower or broccoli as well. That brings us to under $50 for a weeks’ worth of food for two people. It’s not exciting, but it’s all easy stuff that can be done in a smoker or a crock pot, which means very low effort food.

Eating right can be done on the cheap. You just have to plan ahead and using the least processed food, even when it comes to meat, helps reduce the cost a lot.

One Size Does Not Fit All

You’ve read me saying it before: find what works for you. When it comes to diets, just like everything from medicine to exercise routines, due to our diverse genetic makeup, one diet does not work best for everyone.

One of the top comments I receive in person is that while they know I do Paleo and it’s done wonders for me, they’ve tried it and they didn’t get the same results. Fair enough; that’s a valid point. But these same people then go back to eating the way they did before trying Paleo. And that’s not good.

One diet that most people seem to have is the, “It’s food, I like it, so it’s going in my mouth” Diet. Let’s call it the IFILISIGIMM Diet. (Read that out loud; it’s kind of funny!) The problem is that this diet is a one size fits all diet, but worse, it increases everyone’s size dramatically. Of course, the main culprit is sugar, but grains and dairy are doing us no favors, either. For those whose ethics are important to them, the vast majority of prepared foods are not ethically sourced, so there’s that nugget, too.

There are a lot healthy, safe alternative diets to the IFILISIGIMM Diet; Mediterranean, Atkins, Whole30, Whole9, Keto, IF, among others. I can almost guarantee that your body and genetic makeup is compatible with one of these diets. The hard part is on you: find it and stick to it. But don’t try it for a week. Give it a good three-four weeks and see how it goes.

Don’t be fooled by Facebook

This is a reminder: I’m a Marine. I tell it like it is. If you don’t like having your sensibilities challenged or easily become offended, this might not be the blog for you. I am very careful to be tactful, but sometimes, I need to bonk people on the head with some reality. This may be one of those posts for some people.

2018-10-11 12_31_14-(3) Facebook

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you see countless recipes and articles posted by friends or by Facebook itself (targeted marketing) that claim to be healthy. Some of these are, sure enough, pretty darned healthy. Others, however, are healthy in title alone.

As someone who is strict Paleo, I find articles that lump whole grains, corn, or “organic” sugar into a healthy group as dubious, at best. Organic sugar is to sugar what lab produce meth is to street meth; still the same, and still bad for your.

It makes me sad when I see people I know fall prey to these articles and recipes. It further makes me sad when I hear them complain about difficulties with losing weight, health problems exacerbated by weight, or their seeming inability to eat healthy. They try, they say, and yet I see them posting these unhealthy recipes saying things like, “Now here’s a healthy list I can get behind.”

I’m not the Paleo Police. I don’t judge anyone’s eating habits. But when you ask me about eating right, changing your lifestyle, and adopting Paleo and then throw all that advice away only to go back to old habits and then complain to me and others that you can’t achieve the same results that Sherry, I, and countless others have, well, you can see where I may get a little upset. Of course, I keep it all inside (except for on my blog, it seems) because I don’t want to upset or insult anyone.

Do you want to lose weight? Change the food you’re putting into your mouth. Do you want to get fit? Do some exercise. Best yet: do both (within reason and commensurate with your physical abilities and limitations). But talking about it and eating Paleo half the time while eating junk the rest of the time isn’t doing you any favors. I don’t care if it’s Paleo, keto, IF, CICO, Adkins, or whatever diet you’re following is called. Just follow it to the letter. Stop cheating yourself. If it’s not working, then you can adjust and try something else. But not giving any diet a 100% chance and effort is keeping you from achieving the results you’re looking for.

Food’s Power Over Us


Food holds an incredible power over us. We need it to survive, and we need to refuel often and regularly. Our bodies can only use so much energy, and the rest is typically stored for later use, although our body prefers to use new energy to keep stored energy available in the event a new energy source in unavailable. For this reason, our brains are wired to acquire new sources of energy throughout the day. One of our most basic urges is to eat and drink. We can’t get eliminate this basic need, but we can decide what energy we fuel ourselves with.

When it comes to food I eat, I try to choose foods that were purchased whole, and natural. Meat, vegetables, and fruits. The fuel I put into my body is the best I can put into it. Afterall, we do become what we eat. I want to be the best I can be.

When dealing with our most basic need, it’s impossible to ignore the impulses. Hunger is one of the strongest (if not the strongest) feeling we have aside from fear. What a lot of people don’t realize, however, is that while we can’t get rid of hunger, you have the power to decide how you sate that feeling. The food you eat to make that feeling go away is completely within your power. If you’re craving something specific, it doesn’t matter.

I am a sugar addict. Much like others are addicted to drugs or alcohol, I feel like I’m a recovering sugar addict. It’s why I am so adamant about not cheating/sabotaging my lifestyle. It feels like a very slippery slope. In fact, while on vacation to Ireland and Scotland earlier this year, I allowed myself to eat anything and everything, which was great! But when I got home, it was very hard to get back to eating right. I had the cravings and false appetite for days afterward. It was miserable.

I eventually got over the cravings, but it once again reinforced to me how powerful sugar is, and how easily I can get addicted to it. It also reinforced to me the importance of sticking to my healthy lifestyle, with eating foods made from whole ingredients, and of sticking to/with food prep (and helping Sherry as much as I can when she makes our food).

Don’t let food run your life. Make food the fuel for your life. You decide what you do, when you do it. Don’t let food make those decisions for you. The more you practice restraint and control, the easier it gets. It never stops being a concern, but at least you gain control over your eating habits and can better control your hunger.

Who ran 5 miles yesterday and didn’t die?


A joke I used to make after EVERY SINGLE RUN I finished on Facebook was, “…and I didn’t die.” I made that joke because of a comment I made years earlier that I don’t run because I would probably die.

Yesterday after work, I set out to complete a 4+ mile run. The weather was beautiful: 81 degrees Fahrenheit with a slight, cool breeze from the East. I started with a slow pace, knowing that I’d be running a longer distance than usual. I left myself open to the option of doing 5 miles but figured I’d make that call when I hit mile 3. Well, I hit mile 3, and decided to go for a new distance best (since starting to run again two years ago) and try to complete 5 miles. The crazy part is I did it and I felt good.

I was tired. My legs were tired. But I wasn’t spent. I didn’t feel like I just wanted to sit and not move. I actually felt alright. My pace was still slow, but honestly, it was right at what most training sites say it should be based on my fastest run times right now. The science part of my wanting to run longer distances is that it helps your shorter distance runs by building up the mitochondria in your cells to store more energy. You can then draw on that energy on shorter runs by running faster. Since I have an APFT coming up soon, I’m doing what I can to increase my 2 mile run speed. As far as push ups (and most likely sit ups) are concerned, I’m good. Honestly, I can pass the run, but I want to do the best I can.

As for food, I ate some carnitas Sherry and I made on Sunday along with some caulirice that had some of my home made chipotle in it. It was yummy! I also had an apple to help with my muscle recovery. I then went to sleep a bit early and slept like a log. When I woke up this morning, I felt great, energized, and only slightly sore from yesterday’s efforts. The scale was nice to me, and I dropped about 4 solid lbs from yesterday morning’s weigh in (which was high, I’m sure, due to the sweet potatoes I had at dinner the night before).

Tonight, I’ll be going to a Johnny Marr concert (he was the guitar player and co-writer for The Smiths), so I won’t be doing any normal exercise, but I will be on my feet for a few hours, and I’ll likely be jumping around, so there’s that. I plan on doing a much shorter and faster run tomorrow after work, and then a bike ride on Sunday morning with Sherry.

Remember: I lost 130 lbs before I even began to exercise. Weight is lost in the kitchen; fitness is built in the gym or on the road. You surely can exercise while losing weight; the mental benefits are huge. But you cannot exercise away a poor diet. That five mile run I did last night? It burned 655 calories (roughly). Think about that. That’s a Snicker’s bar worth of calories I spent nearly an hour running for. A much more effective way to build a calorie deficit is to eat less than your body burns during the day.

The Run I Hated

Monday’s run was terrible. I had high hopes for hitting 5 miles, but set a mental minimum of 4, yet I couldn’t do it. I had to stop at 3. Why? Because my legs were burning so badly, I couldn’t contemplate another mile. I hadn’t actually felt this spent during a run in the past three years, so I had to consider why it was happening, and I had to listen to my body.

To be fair, I had run 4.5 miles the previous Monday, 3 miles fast on Wednesday, and then walked all day at the Texas Renaissance Festival on Saturday. Sunday morning, Sherry and I rode 9.3 miles on our bikes, and then I set out for a long and slow run on Monday. It seems like I was being too aggressive, and my body was screaming at me. I tried to push on. The extreme soreness actually started when I hit mile 2, but I pushed onward to at least complete 3 miles. Then, I stopped.

I took Tuesday off, and today, I feel much better and prepared to hit another four mile run this afternoon. The weather should be nice enough, and my legs feel strong enough. I’m hoping to hit at 10 minute/mile pace or better, but I’m not pushing it. At this point, I’m trying to hit distances, not speed. I work on speed during my 3 mile and less runs.

The lesson in this is while we all set goals and we work hard to meet them, it’s important to listen to your body to avoid hurting  yourself. I probably could have pushed to go to 4 miles, but at what cost? And for what good reason? There were none. Now, I feel rested, ready, and able to hit 4 miles tonight. I’m actually looking forward to it.