Whole30 Number 5 Complete

As luck would have it, I’m not at home on the day that I complete my Whole30, so I can’t weigh myself to see how much progress I’ve made. The last weigh-in I had a few days ago had me at -12 lbs from when I started, and I’m happy with that. I’d have been happier with 15 lbs, but I’ll take what I can get.

I feel better, my appetite has been adjusted, and I’m eating healthy foods which makes continuing down this road to better health easier. I’m running again, too, and although my shoulder is still injured, at least I’m able to run.

I have noticed my clothing feeling a bit better again, and my sleep is improving. Most importantly, I’m back on track 100%. I have no desire to eat off-plan, and the fire within me to keep going and to continue eating well (and avoiding alcohol) is burning hot within me. I’m no big drinker, but every little bit sets me back. I won’t have that.

I have a solid goal I’m working toward, and I know it’s going to take me another 3-4 months to get there, but I’m motivated and I’m going to continue to work hard. I will be seeing a doctor about my shoulder again to find out if there’s anything long-term wrong with it. The pain should have been gone by now; it’s been almost 3 months since I injured it. Fortunately, I don’t need my shoulder to eat well and to run.

So, here’s to a new start. Although the end of this Whole30 means we can get back to Paleo, I’m going to stick to the tenets as closely as I can for the time being. I need to continue to be strict and reject anything not on the plan.

My Backup Plan for Food

I’m currently at drill with my National Guard unit, and we were told we were having lunch at a local establishment. It was a fixed lunch, and basically, we will be getting served whatever they serve us. They made it sound like we won’t have the ability to pick and choose what we eat which will likely mean a very carb and grain-heavy lunch.

To prepare for meals like this, I always pack a bunch of food with me. I’ve done three annual training exercises (known as AT’s) this way as well as just about every drill weekend for the past three years. Here’s what I put in my food bag

RXBars. These are a staple. I eat them very slowly, and they are filling. They come in at around 210 calories, and for breakfast, I’ll typically eat one RXBar with some nuts or a fruit. At lunch or dinner, the RXBar will be augmented with another bar.

Grain Free Granola Bars. In this case, I’m using Autumn’s Gold, and these come in at 210 calories also. They taste good and are pretty filling in the morning coupled with a few small beef sticks.

Country Archer Beef Sticks. Each one of these little sticks has 50 calories, so I typically eat two of these with a breakfast if I don’t have nuts or fruit to eat with a bar.

Cave Man Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut bar. They are 220 calories of chocolate goodness that I put into meals when I need to sate a chocolate craving. I’ll use this as a finishing bar when I’m eating a dinner meal.

Nuts. I like almonds, but any real nuts will do. I’ll typically eat a handful (small handful), and I eat these very slowly. Nuts are dense in calories, but also very healthy, so I eat these sparingly.

Fruit. I am very careful when it comes to eating fruit because although fruit is naturally high in fiber and good for you, it’s still a lot of sugar, and I try to reduce the amount of carbs I eat. I enjoy an apple or orange with a nut bar from time to time as fruit is available.

Today, I’ll have an RXBar, a granola free bar, and a beef stick with me in my pocket just in case. I typically have two to three weeks’ worth of food with me at any time in one of my ruck sacks, and it gives me a safe way to refill the fuel tank with good, healthy foods and not be forced to eat high-carbs and non-Paleo foods.

Starting the Week with Knee Pain?

Me after my run on Friday afternoon.

My first thought was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” The last thing I need right now is knee pain. I’ve been making great progress on my runs, and I’m finally at a point where I can run and not feel pain after a run; just a nice, even “good” burn. You know, the way your muscles are supposed to feel after exercise.

But this morning, I have a bit of pain in my right knee. It started actually on my last run in the last tenth of a mile. I was lucky that it was the end of my run, so I didn’t give it much thought. I figured it was just me being tired at the end of a run, and the pain went away completely until just before bed last night when I stepped wrong or did something (I honestly don’t remember) and the pain shot back. I took a Motrin and went to sleep, hoping it was an anomaly.

Nope. Still hurts.

I’m being careful on it, and against what some would call better judgment, I will try to run on it later today. I will take a very slow pace (much, much slower than usual) to just try to move for 30 minutes. I have drill this week and I will have to run a few times for sure, so I can’t just stop running.

Pain comes in three varieties for me. They are exercise pain or what I call phantom pain, bad pain (injury), and good pain (“The burn”).

Phantom Pains are those that pop up just after I start a run. These manifest as a pain in my shins, my knees, ankles, heel, or other areas of my legs that mimic injuries, but aren’t. They’re my body’s way of being sneaky and saying, “Dude. We don’t need to do this. Running isn’t something we should be doing right now. Let’s chill.” Fortunately, I know what my legs are up to, and I don’t trust them, so I keep running. Sure enough, the pain goes away, and I’m able to run normally.

Bad pain is an actual injury. If something starts to hurt, but not really badly, I know it’s a phantom pain. If the pain is very sharp, hot, and shooting, then I know it’s an injury, and I stop immediately. These indicate a serious problem, and sometimes medical attention. The bad pain is what I try to avoid at all times and is why I’m especially careful with my progress to keep from pushing too hard.

Good pain is what people call, “The Burn.” This is the good feeling you get after a good workout. This is what people chase when they start getting addicted to working out. It’s actually a very satisfying feeling, and I get it. There’s also the good pain you get while running: exerting your muscles beyond normal daily usage can bring about a soreness while you do it, but again, it’s a good pain.

The pain I’m feeling this morning is more like phantom pain, but I won’t know until I start running. Once I run, if it’s an injury, it’ll shoot through my knee like a bolt of electricity, and I’ll stop immediately. Otherwise, I’ll run through it, and once it goes away (hopefully), I’ll increase my pace and run out the rest of my scheduled run.

Today looks like the weather will be nice, so I may actually run outdoors today. I could have run outside all week last week, actually, but I’ll have to be honest that I preferred running on the treadmill in our gym because it has a TV in front of it, and I was watching a series on Overlanding which is very interesting to me right now. It also felt a bit safer in the event I needed to stop running for some reason; I’d just have to jump off the treadmill and I’m already home.

Health and fitness go hand in hand. Even though I lost 110 lbs without any exercise, I felt much better once I did start running. My body composition improved greatly, and it transformed the way I looked from “Soft” to a more fit me. There was even a distinct change in my face about two or three months after I began running even though my weight didn’t change much.

Use those muscles. Do something. Anything. I’m not asking you to become a marathon runner or a weightlifter. But I am asking that you do something active. You will learn to enjoy it, and you’ll definitely appreciate it. Best of all, your heart will be better for it, and it’ll even help you psychologically.

Abandon the Blame Game

Making excuses is easy. Blaming others is easy.

Back when my shoulder wasn’t hurt and I was weightlifting 4x a week.

“I gained weight because I had a kid.”

“I gained weight because I got out of the service and stopped running.”

“I got out of shape because I hurt my foot and never got back into it.”

“I am genetically predisposed to being overweight.”

“I am overweight because I can’t exercise, and I have very limited mobility.”

Blaming anything or anyone at all is easier than taking responsibility for your own health and fitness. The truth is that you don’t need to exercise to be at a healthier weight (and healthier weight means not obese). I know that there’s a huge movement afoot to accept all body types, and I agree that not everyone can have the thin and slender look, but there’s a difference between a healthy weight and an unhealthy weight despite looks. But getting to a healthy weight can be accomplished through a few simple (and I didn’t say easy) steps:

  • Cut grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, and anything with added sugars (aka Whole30 or Paleo Diet).
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night (may vary +/- 1.5 hours for some people).
  • If you can, do some exercise. You don’t need to be a gym rat or become a heavy-duty runner. Just something active for 30 minutes, three times a week.
  • Persevere. Do what it takes to resist temptation and stick with the plan.
  • NO SABOTAGE. That means no cheat meals, cheat days, etc.

Don’t be a victim. Don’t play the victim. Take responsibility for yourself and your health and do what it takes to get it done. You can be healthier by eating right. The list of people who have turned their health, weight, and fitness around is growing in my personal circle of friends. I was not an anomaly. My wife is not an anomaly. We are the average people putting in average work and getting normal results. You can get the exact same results by being honest and doing the requisite work.