What were you doing to get healthy six months ago? A year ago?

If you were doing Whole30 and Paleo and following the rules with no sabotage (cheat days), then the chances are very high that you would have lost a lot of weight and your body would be much healthier today.

When I was fat, I would watch others start diet plans. Some would fail, but others would not, and they would become the healthy people I admired and wanted to become. I would think to myself, “I remember when they started. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, and look at them now! If I’d have done it, I would be where they are today.”

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It bugged me. A lot. Time moves at the same rate for all of us. We’re all time travelers, only we can only move forward at 1x. We get the same number of minutes, hours, and days every year. What we do with them is what separates us from each other. Do you want success or failure? Do you want to make progress or stay stuck where you are? It takes effort. You have to start. Nobody can do it for you.

Whole30 and Paleo (or Keto). Look into them. Start your new life today. Six months goes by quickly. I’m at almost two years in, and I can’t imagine living my life the way I used to anymore.

Discipline: Life and Death

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Having discipline is important as a Marine or soldier in a combat situation. You have to reach deep down inside yourself to take control of your body in the face of fear to keep from panicking, to keep from making a sound that could give you away before an ambush, or step carefully to keep from walking into a trap in hostile territory. Discipline outside of combat can also save your life. Keeping yourself from eating foods that are toxic to your body and killing it from the inside could very well be the most important thing you’ve ever done.

I miss being able to eat anything, anytime, without any consideration for my health. When you’re young, the body puts up with a lot more abuse, and can sustain that abuse for a while before age catches up to us. That’s why so many people gain weight in their 30’s and beyond: the body becomes incapable of sustaining poor nutrition.

I had to use a lot of discipline to keep from eating like I used to. It took a retraining of my eating habits and a lot of discipline to keep me on my diet so that I could once again be healthy. Now that I’m at my target weight, I use that discipline to stay on-track and to stay away from the foods that got me into a precarious situation with my health.

I’m not saying anyone who isn’t thin or skinny is going to die of weight-related issues, but if you’re obese or morbidly obese like I was, the odds are not in your favor. It is very likely that, at some point, you will begin to suffer from weight-related health issues that will eventually take your life.

Life and death. Discipline can make all the difference. Start eating right and exercise the discipline you’re capable of. Your life is worth it.

Being thin doesn’t fix your problems

IMG_6628People who do the diet/gain weight/diet cycle are typically people who adopt restrictive, short-term diets and for they do so for the wrong reasons.

Being thin or skinny won’t fix your problems.

Health problems? It can fix certain issues like Diabetes, cholesterol, fatty liver, and putting stress on your heart, but it won’t fix emotional issues or magically make you a better liked person. It won’t pay your bills or make you a better person. It will just make you a thinner or skinnier version of the person you are now.

Being thin or skinny won’t magically raise your self esteem.

While I feel better and I am no longer embarrassed by my body, when it really comes down to it, I am still the same person with the same fears and dreams and the same social skills. I am still only as outgoing as I ever was; not any more or any less. People respond to me a little more positively in certain situations, and actually negatively in others as compared to when I was fat. It just depends. Bottom line: no real change.

Being thin or skinny won’t make you smarter, faster, wiser, or better with money.

If you struggle with money management, binge drinking or eating, or anything else, being thin or skinny doesn’t fix that (unless the struggle is running three miles; being thin makes that a bit easier to do).

People who tend to be successful at losing weight and keeping it off realize that life-long changes need to be made. You can’t quit pizza for three weeks or a month, lose weight, and then go back to eating pizza again. You will just regain the weight you lost, and according to many studies, even more. I experienced this in the past, and each time I got off a diet, I gained back more weight than I initially lost. I had to break that cycle.

You need to give up the fattening foods (I did’t say fat foods; sugar, grains, beans, soy, and dairy are the enemies here) and try to move at least three times a week. It’s not a miserable existence; I’ve been more active and more alive since I lost the weight and started exercising than I’d ever been.

Don’t lose weight for the wrong reasons. Commit to a healthy lifestyle, and I think you will be surprised at the good things that follow. Just don’t expect to become Brad Pitt, Mila Kunis, or Elon Musk from losing weight. It takes more than getting thin.

If not Paleo, then what?

There are people who are turned off by Paleo because they feel it is a trendy new diet or the diet fad of the moment. I am asked every now and then what other diets are as effective as Paleo. I recommend one alternative diet for anyone who doesn’t want to go Paleo for whatever reason: Keto. Here is a very good rundown of the Ketogenic Diet from the Keto subreddit on Reddit.com:

Low-carb diets are essentially programs that lower carbohydrate intake below 100 grams; strict ketogenic diets are a subset of low carb diets that typically only allow < 50g of carbohydrates per day. The general recommendation of /r/keto is to start with 20g of net-carbs per day. This limit does a good job of eliminating junk foods, refined carbohydrates and any other “fattening” foods.

The full premise of a keto diet is far more than just minimizing carbs, it is a lifestyle about overall health. The diet promotes long, intense bouts of energy, an increase in healthy, delicious food and an overall better outlook on your life. It is easily sustainable with a plethora of options and often is an answer to improving health that many people struggle to comprehend at first. A Ketogenic diet is not easy and will test your willpower but transforms the way you think and understand about yourself, food, and health in general.

Throughout my own weight loss journey, I have gone into ketosis a few times. I did this intentionally with the purpose of jumping my weight loss a bit. Personally, I prefer the Paleo Diet, but the Ketogenic diet works wonders and is very safe.

For the smart among you, I’m sure you noticed that there are a lot of similarities between the Ketogenic Diet and the Paleo Diet. You’re right! However, for some people, it may be easier to do than Paleo. I’m all for people doing what’s easiest for them to raise their energy levels, lose weight, and regain their health.

So, if you want to learn more, go to this excellent resource on the Ketogenic Diet on Reddit.

Diets, Dietitians and us

People out there are getting it. I’m happy that others see through the food industry and government’s charade of the “Balanced Diet” and are finding that a wholesome diet of clean foods (meat and veggies) is what our bodies need to thrive.

My Pants are too tight

I was in a book store the other day buying the Whole30 cookbook and I was struck by the huge array of books about various diets, written mostly by people claiming to be dietitians, and it struck me what an industry has developed as a result of us humans eating the wrong stuff.

Our constantly busy lives force us to try to save time in everything we do, become “more efficient” so we can cram more into our days.  The food industry has been a big part of that and invented processed food that we can heat quickly in a microwave, or that comes ready prepared simply to pop in the oven.  Because the food gets cooked quickly and has to stay “fresh” for longer, we’ve added preservatives, coated things in breadcrumbs and developed ever faster ways of cooking (microwave, high temperature oven cooking).  We’ve added sugars to otherwise bland…

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Whole 30 #3 – Week 3

Our Whole30 week 3 recap by Sherry. Lots of yummy food and lots of wins all around!

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Week 3 is always when things start to finally feel better.  On each of my Whole30’s, week 3 is when the swelling is pretty much all gone, my clothes feel looser, I’m sleeping better, and the scale is starting to cooperate again (down 7 lbs now).

This week we had E.J’s favorite meatloaf, brisket, smoked ribs, and Crock Pot Orange Chicken.  For dinner on Monday we had Crab-stuffed Tilapia, which I took to the next level by using Primal Kitchen’s Chipotle Lime Mayo and adding some crushed red pepper  to the stuffing… OMG, serious yum!

This weekend, we even had a little impromptu pool party IMG_2784where we served some Whole30-friendly summer fare that everyone really enjoyed.  E.J. grilled up some sugar-free smoked sausage from one of the smokehouses out near Weimer, TX, and my friend Anita contributed her now-famous Cucumber, Tomato, & Avocado salad, which is perfect…

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Older does not have to mean overweight and unfit

Something I’ve noticed a lot when looking through the Facebook profiles of many former service members I know is that a lot of them are overweight. These are all people who were in excellent shape in their earlier years, but today find themselves having gained a sizable amount of weight.

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Just because you’re getting old doesn’t mean you have to get fat.

I was fat. Really fat. Hell, by medical standards, I was morbidly obese. That means my health was in extremely poor shape, and I was at high risk for dying from weight-related diseases or maladies. I had Diabetes, fatty liver, and my cholesterol levels were rising. I had circulation problems in my feet, and I was beginning to experience nerve damage from the Diabetes. This was completely preventable and due to me lacking the discipline to control my weight.

I turned it all around within a year. Heck, a blood test just three months after I started confirmed that my body was on its way to being healed: Diabetes and cholesterol were in normal levels and liver enzymes had returned to normal. All within three months.

So many people joke about how getting older means getting fatter. This does not have to be the case! Getting older means the opposite; we need to be MORE careful to take care of our bodies, our health, and maintain our fitness. So many people wish they could stay young, but what they don’t realize is that they can still feel young. That’s because what they miss isn’t being young, but how they felt when they were young, and that feeling was being fit and healthy.

I mistook feeling tired and being out of shape for being old when in fact, I was just unhealthy and unfit. Once I got back to a healthy weight and got fit, I surprised myself by feeling young again. Only then did I realize that the feeling I remember from my youth wasn’t anything else other than being healthy and fit. Now that I feel that way, I truly feel young again!

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Don’t accept being fat. Don’t accept being unfit. Don’t accept your lack of energy and mobility as the new normal as you get older. Attack it and do something about it. The best part is all you have to do is eat right and it will come naturally.

Source: Me. I was healthy and fit, turned fat and unfit, and got back to being healthy and fit at 49. I did it and I know that you can do it, too.