The Toll: Nothing Lost

A rather silly selfie I took the day before AT was complete.

I had intended (or rather, hoped) to lose about 5 lbs on this past annual training (AT), but it was not to be. I ended up having alcohol on some of the evenings, and ate out for lunch far more often than I otherwise do or normally can during AT due to our being at our home station, but I have to be happy with the fact that there was no weight gained, either. I stayed pretty much flat at the weight I went to AT at.

How do I feel about this? I’m okay with it. Sure, it would have been nice to drop a few pounds, but ultimately, I didn’t gain any, and I had a really good time. I ate good meals, drank good drinks, and had memorable conversations and experiences. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Now that AT is done, I’m back to eating right and my normal routine. I still have 15 lbs to lose to get back to my final goal, but I have time to get there. I know that I will; it just takes some patience. And I have a lot of that.

Motivation: Where Can I Find It?

This is a very personal subject. The reason for that is because we all find motivation in different places and for different reasons. I can’t tell you how to be motivated any more than I can you what your favorite color should be. What I can do, however, is tell you what motivates me and how I found that motivation.


When I was overweight and unhealthy, there was no single moment that caused me to change my eating habits. There was no single incident that made me decide I needed to get healthy and lose weight. There was a straw that broke the camel’s back moment, but that wasn’t the only reason. It was something simmering inside me for a long time.

I hated how I looked. Whenever I’d see myself in the mirror, I was disgusted by what I saw. I hated that I used to be thin and fit, and what I saw looking back at me was an overweight, unfit man who had given up on being healthy. It bothered me, and I despaired over it.

I hated how I felt. I was always tired, out of breath, and sweating. No matter how cool it was, I was always sweating. I couldn’t climb a staircase without getting winded. When my wife and I were on vacation or day trips, I would have to take breaks often. My size kept me from being able to partake in certain activities that we otherwise might have enjoyed.

I hated how I made others feel. I could see the look of despair on people’s faces when I boarded a plane and people would be hoping I wasn’t sitting next to them. I would notice people looking at me with disgust when eating in restaurants as I stuffed my face with unbelievable amounts of food. I would see people stare at me as I pushed a cart at the grocery store with all the 2 liter bottles of Coke and bags of Dove chocolates.

I hated being told by every doctor and health professional I ever made contact with that my lifestyle was unhealthy and that I was in poor health. I needed to lose weight, and I was reminded of this every time I went in for anything at all.

Most of all, I hated that I had given up on myself, on health, on fitness, and ultimately, on living a long life. I began realizing that I might not ever get to meet grandchildren; to spoil them, hug them, and love them. Worse yet, they would be denied having a grandfather.

One morning, I got up, and I couldn’t tie my shoes without holding my breath because my gut was so large. Right then and there, I realized something had to change. Fortunately, my cousin had discussed Whole30 and Paleo with me, and my friend Matt had also discussed eliminating sugar from my diet. The rest, as they say, is history.

What motivated me first and foremost was wanting to lose weight for my wife and for my kids. I felt that life was ending for me soon, and it scared me. I didn’t want to leave my wife and kids at a young age. I wanted to be around for them, for whatever they needed me for. I wanted to become fit so that I could start having adventures with my wife. She always wanted to be able to share experiences with me; I was denying her that. A simple thing like taking dance lessons was out of the question for me.

I was further motivated when I lost enough weight to begin exercising. I was able to finally run, and lately, I’ve taken up mountain bicycling. I enjoy both greatly. Then, there’s my military service in the National Guard. It was always something I felt was unfinished: my military service. I wanted to complete my 20 years, and the prospect of being able to get back into the military via the National Guard was a motivator to me as well.


Today, I am much healthier, lighter, fitter, and in the National Guard. With some luck, I will be around a lot longer for my wife, kids, and friends. What motivated me to get to where I am today may not resonate with you, but hopefully it encourages you to find your own motivation. When you do, hang on to it, treasure it, and honor yourself by feeding off of it to reach your goals. You are the only person who can do that for you.

If You Listen to Only One Thing I Say

If I had the ability to make you listen to just one thing I say, and to follow through with it, I would say it is this: CUT GRAINS. In every form, grains are not our friends.

Sure, drinks/foods with added sugar are bad, but many of those tend to be grain-based. Most meat (with the exception of bacon and sausage) tends to be sugar-free, and most vegetables are better for us than any grain.

With that said, if you only listen to two things I say, I’d add “Anything with added sugar” to the list.

Cutting grains and anything with added sugar will yield you the most impact on your health and weight. Just cutting out sodas alone can help you lose around 2.5 lbs a month. The more sugar you cut, the more weight you will lose. Give it a try.

What Is The Right Portion Size?

file (4)I am asked this question pretty regularly, and my answer is very specific: It depends.

It depends on a lot of things. Here is a list of considerations when trying to determine the appropriate portion size for you:

  • Your weight/overall health
  • Your level of physical activity prior to/coming up after the meal
  • How hungry are you?

Let’s take these individually.

Your weight. Are you overweight? Do you need to lose weight? Do you need to gain weight? Even with the Paleo Diet, you need to be careful to not over-eat. If you are underweight, you obviously need to eat more. But, to figure out the right portion size? Keep reading.

Physical activity. If you ran 5 miles before your meal, you can probably safely have that extra slice of bacon or the extra egg. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t burn fat when you exercise. You are burning energy. What you are trying to create is a deficit of calories over a period of time to keep your body from storing excess energy. If you know you are going to be running after a meal and need some energy, bump the carbs a bit. I usually will have an apple or some almonds 30-45 minutes before a run to help with energy during my run.

How hungry are you? This is my guide. If I’m hungry, I need to listen to my body. If I’m not, once again, I need to listen to my body. There’s nothing worse than over-eating or not eating enough. There is a big difference between hunger and cravings/appetite, however, and you need to be able to recognize the difference

In the end, you know what the right portion size is. Experiment. Eat smaller and smaller portions until you find the right size. Also, put less on your plate than you think you need. My wife and I also use the small plates for meals, now. It’s easy to go get more if you need it, but if you’re like me and tend to clean your plate, don’t load up. You’re just asking for trouble with a loaded plate.

Over 1,000 Posts


This is not the 1,000th post on that happened a few days ago. But only now am I recognizing the fact that I’ve posted over 1,000 times here.

That’s quite a milestone.

I’ve been a blogger since the 90’s, before MySpace, back when Napster was still a thing. AOL was still being used by most people, and ISP’s were finally starting to connect people to high-speed Internet. I began blogging on a self-hosted server, and after transitioning it a few times, I finally settled on where it’s been since.

This blog started in the fall of 2015 when my wife and I finally decided to do something about our health and weight and did our first Whole30. Afterward, we adopted the Paleo Diet with some stints of doing Keto. Nearly three years later, we have successfully kept the weight off, we are both fit, and I’m even in the National Guard.

1,000 posts of my opinions, experiences, tips, recipes, and mind hacks. That’s a lot of info to digest. I recommend you not try to read it all at once!

So, here’s to another 1,000 posts! I hope to be able to provide value, knowledge, and my experience to help others get healthy, get fit, or to lose weight.

Summer Fare

Sherry’s latest summer foods update!

Our Daily Bacon

Hey guys, I don’t know if the rest of the country is feeling it, but we’ve had a steady run of highs in the mid to upper 90’s down here in Houston since E.J. and I returned from vacation.  I’m not generally a fan of the heat – my idea for surviving June-September is simply moving between A/C and the pool, but warmer temperatures do mean it’s time for grilled meats and fresh summer produce.  The strawberries we’re getting in the stores this year are amazing, and I’m looking for new ways to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into some lighter dishes.

Here are some of the summery dishes we’ve really enjoyed recently:

  • Sweet Potato Salad – this one has been on my Favorites page for awhile, but it continues to be a crowd pleaser.  I broke this out for EJ’s National Guard leaders when they came over one evening…

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More Diets (CICO, South Beach, Atkins)

I wrote a post a few days ago about my opinions and experiences with diets I’ve tried. I thought some more about it, and those were all diets I succeeded with. Some more, others less, but I feel that those four were pretty good plans to go with. What I realized is that I should have mentioned other diets I’ve tried and did not experience as much success with. While I am about to do that now, I want to stress that there are plenty of people out there who have succeeded with the diets I am going to be discussing below. If you’re one of those people, then great! I have always said on my site that what works for me may not always work for anyone else: that’s why I recommend people find a diet or plan that works for them and then stick to it. It’s the “Stick to it” part that is the most important.

So, without further adieu, here is the list:

Calories In/Calories Out (CICO)

This is the most basic diet in the world. The premise is rooted in solid science: Eat fewer calories than you expend. The problem with this is that not all calories made alike, and the makeup of the food will make CICO easier or harder on you depending on what you eat. For example, 100 calories of apples is a lot different from 100 calories of chocolate in how full you feel and the nutrition you gain from those 5100 calories. Add to the equation that apples are harder to digest, and thus, your net calories are actually below 100 calories total. My experience with CICO was that I was always hungry and I snacked a lot. When I ate food, I was never satisfied, and I got hungrier and hungrier as the days passed until I would break and then eat everything in sight (and then seek out even more). The end result was that I would lose weight initially, but then not only gain it back, but an additional 5 lbs or more. This is, in large part, how I reached 312 lbs.

South Beach Diet

This diet seemed to make some sense when my doctor told me about it nearly 20 years ago, but it was based on the low-fat premise which we now know is completely baseless. On this diet, I lost almost no weight. The food was okay, but nothing spectacular. To be honest, it was mostly pretty bland and Sherry and I both fell off this diet very quickly.

Atkins Diet

This is actually quite similar to Paleo, but with allowances. It’s the allowances that got me into trouble. It gave me a false sense of security, and in a strange way, it made it okay for me to binge here and there on grains when I should have been avoiding them like the plague. Also, Atkins is big on fruit, and while Paleo is perfectly fine with fruit as well, I should have cut back a lot on the fruit and stuck to more meat and vegetables instead. This diet failed for me because it wasn’t rigid or firm enough to keep me from the sugar-filled or grain-filled foods.

I might do this again with some more diets, but these three are diets I tried and didn’t succeed with and thought I’d give my thoughts on these as well.