So, what exactly prompted me to start up this blog? We have to go back a few years to 2010. QUICK, MARTY! TO THE DELOREAN! YOUR HEALTH IS IN TROUBLE!!
I never really took care of myself once I hit adulthood. I wanted to but life seemed to get in the way, working multiple jobs to make ends meet, having a family, buying a house, etc. Stress my friends, is a killer, but you don’t need me to tell you that. I was married to a woman that loved her junk food and was also one of those people that really pissed you off as she could eat whatever she wanted and never seemed to gain a pound. Me on the other hand, in my mouth and straight to FAT, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Growing up, we ate well for the time. Not a lot of processed foods or sugar cereals. We had a large garden (oh, how I hated working in it!) and our parents had a freezer plan for meats. We ate the typical diet of the time – lean meats (chicken, fish, some beef, leaner cuts of pork), a lot of veggies, and the usual starches of bread, oatmeal, potatoes, etc. We always had a good breakfast before school, a lunch, and dinner. Desserts were a treat and not something in the usual diet. I seem to remember really we only had desserts around the holidays. The same went for candy. Junk food was rare, our dad might get a bag of chips and a 2 liter bottle of soda once a month to have while watching the Celtics play on a weekend, otherwise, it wasn’t really in the house. I played sports all through school and all seasons – soccer or cross-country running in the fall, cross-country skiing in the winter, and baseball in the spring through the summer. We were typical 70s kids, if it was light out, we were outside playing. I had a paper route in primary school and rode my bike all over town. As I got older, I worked with my dad doing landscaping. In other words, typically active for the time. Yet, I was always ‘chubby’ no matter how active I was. It was frustrating but I believed that was ‘just the way I was built.’
Getting into adulthood, nothing really changed except I got less active. Bicycle gave away to a car and motorcycle. Sports gave away to running the kids around, shopping, office-type jobs, and sitting in front of the TV. See where this is going? Yeh, right to my belly and ass. A LOT. As I think back, there are very few pictures of me once I hit my 20s. I used to tell myself that was because I was always the one taking the pics but in reality, nope, it was because I was embarrassed about how frigging fat I became and how I looked. The real kicker hit when I quit smoking around 2000 or so, if you ever smoked and then quit, you probably did like me and replaced that addiction with something else and that something else usually is FOOD. Oh, wonderful, glorious FOOD (I’ll cover my thoughts on this addiction in a later post)!! I got fat. No. No I didn’t. I got morbidly obese. After a year or two of pigging out on everything I could get my hands on, it slowed a little. I lost a little. Life wasn’t that bad. Life has a way of screwing you up just when you say ‘life isn’t that bad.’ It got bad. A series of bad decisions, life tragedies, and other events tossed a wrench into things. It was time for a change before it was time to push up daisies.
I’m 5’2″. Yep, I’m a short guy. I’ve always been ‘stocky’ which I learned means ‘fat and short.’ I remember having to get my pants in the section of the store for kids like me and most of them were Toughskins. Remember those??? I dreamed of wearing Levis like all the cool kids, but not one cut or pair could get over my thighs or ass and still fit around the waist. I hit my epic size around 2008-10, hitting a staggering 252lbs. It wasn’t until I realized that not only could I not tie my shoes without getting out of breath, I couldn’t even reach them to tie at all! Of course, in typical American fashion, did I think about maybe losing weight? Nope. I bought slip-ons instead. Yeh. Lazy won. To be honest, I’m not really sure what motivated me to change, I think it was a New Year’s resolution, you know, those things we make and then break January 3rd? In 2010, I made one. I was going to hit the gym, lose weight, and get in shape. This was me about that time:
I read a lot about ‘dieting’ and tried everything I could find on the market. I tried that Alie stuff – a series of rather pricey pills that when you take them, it flushes ‘fat’ out of you. They worked. Kinda. What they really do is flush all the DIETARY fat out of your meals. Quickly. VERY QUICKLY. You could tell when you had something fatty to eat when on Alie, your rectum leaked. Constantly. Following the conventional wisdom of the time, that told me I was fat because I was eating too much fat. Fat is the devil all the medical professions said. Don’t eat FAT and you won’t get FAT. So, I cut fat out of my diet, started doing cardio every night, and became obsessive with reading labels. Guess what? I started to drop some weight. Then more. And more. THIS SHIT WORKS!!! Well, it does and doesn’t. What I know now is when you are morbidly obese and you put yourself in a massive calorie deficit, you could eat nothing but Snickers bars and still lose weight. My diet at the time was very low fat, low protein and high carbs, but, when you are only taking in about 750 cals a day, the macros don’t really mean much. I was constantly hungry so I ate a lot of small meals. I ate a lot of high carb snacks that I thought were healthy because that is what the packages said. I lost a LOT of weight in a short period of time and I got rather lean. How much of a change? When I started in January of 2010, I was 252lbs. By June, I was 145. Yup, over 100lbs in 6 months. This was me the day I went out to get new clothes because nothing fit me any more.
I was pretty proud of myself. 145 dropped to 130. I had never been this size my entire adult life. I was stoked. What I missed at first though, was that as much weight as I had lost and now ‘working out’ for 2-3 hours a night, my strength hadn’t changed. I had muscle tone but no real increase in strength. I was still constantly hungry as well. I didn’t sleep well. I had constant anxiety and ‘brain fog.’ I would struggle concentrating. This pretty much sucked and I didn’t know what to do to change it. Again, I fell into that frame of mind that ‘that’s just the way I’m built.’ Interesting to think how the mind will tell you what you want to hear, huh? The other side of this was, since I finally hit a goal, I started eating more so I would stop losing weight. I need to make a clear point – I didn’t start pigging out, I just increased my calorie intake to moderate or what should be ‘maintenance’ levels while still eating the same type of foods – low fat, high carb, low-to-moderate protein. Following the advice of doctors and ‘health experts,’ I didn’t see a thing wrong with this. I would be one of those success stories, I lost all the weight and I WOULD KEEP IT OFF!!!
I was wrong.
THEY were wrong.
Slip forward 5 years to Feb of 2015. My diet hadn’t changed at all. My calorie intake hadn’t changed. My exercise levels had dropped some, but I was still relatively active. My body, well, it had changed. 130 became 160. My brain fog was hitting epic proportions. During the past five years, I had split with my wife and had reconnected with my first love. She was also one of those people who could eat whatever she wanted and not gain weight. After this past winter of indulging on wonderful holiday treats (cookies, brownies, PIE!!) from the local bakery, she decided that she wanted to not lose weight as much as change her shape – get rid of some belly fat. She’s one of those people that will research things until she finds the information she needs to make an educated decision and plan. She started talking about things like ‘wheat belly‘ and ‘keto.’ I had no idea what she was talking about and to be honest, didn’t think much about it. I KNEW what I had to do to lose weight – cut my calories to the basement and GET RID OF FAT!! When she started seeing changes by doing things her way, she sent me links to studies and sites, showing me what ‘keto’ was. I resisted. HARD. FAT WAS BAD! CARBS GOOD! The first sweeping change made? No more grains. That meant NO MORE BREAD!! NO MORE PIZZA! No more FRIED CHICKEN. WTF??? Grudgingly, I went along with this, as much because she does 80% of the cooking as it was because I thought she was onto something. I didn’t get it…because I didn’t want to. She’d get frustrated with me because when it was my time to cook, I was screwing up her plan – too many carbs, not enough fat. BUT FAT IS BAD!!!! I just couldn’t wrap my head around anything else. So, while she’s starting to lose some weight, I’m still sitting at the same place and getting more and more frustrated, but would I listen? NOPE! She started talking to me about ‘macros’ and ‘IIFYM.’ And I resisted. I actually refused to accept this. While I was feeling better mentally than I had my entire life, I chalked this up to dropping the gluten from the diet. I still didn’t get the whole carbs\fat thing. Reluctantly (and a little defiantly), I decided to give her way a shot – fully expecting it to fail miserably.
I was wrong.
Very, very wrong.
I love keto. I embrace higher fat. I strive to hit my protein levels. I’m 120lbs as I write this, but more amazingly, my body fat is 14.3% and my strength? Yeh, it is up. A LOT. I’m not just guessing here either. Never in my life could I at my ‘best’ do more than 2-3 chinups. I now do over to 30 after just 6 months. My biceps are up over an inch flexed. This shit works. Period. Excuse the crappy selfie, I still am not comfortable with pictures of myself (and yes, that face in the mirror is corny). Here I am right now.
I will be covering more of what I see as the reasons for this transformation, what exactly is ‘keto’ and how I work out (it’s a LOT less than you think), how we eat more now than ever and still are trim, and most importantly, YUMMY FOOD!!
Thanks for joining me on this journey: