Daily Update Inspiration Miscellaneous Ramblings

I’m Fat Again, But At Least the Achilles is Healed

I’ve been dreading writing this post. But after a 45 minute walk at my local track, where my usual “I’ve got life by the balls!” feeling was trumped by a pity party, it’s time I step up and admit it.

I’ve let junk food kick my ass. I went from feeling lean and muscular to sloppy fat, seemingly overnight.

Not sure if this post will come across as tongue-in-cheek but I assure you I’m not feeling very witty or funny. I’m downright sad and angry at myself.

A Slow, Downward Slide

To recap (for the hundredth time, but for those of you new to my story…) – I started eating a low-carb, loose Primal diet about 2.5 years ago. A year later, I’m down ~65lbs. In total, I’m down about 71lbs. From ~260lbs down to a steady 189lbs. It was great. I never felt better. My energy level went through the roof, and mostly remains that way to do this day in spite of recent mistakes. Of course, any of you who have read my prior posts know I’ve done everything in my power to screw it up. Like beating myself to a pulp doing that stupid ass CrossFit, or overdoing the stretching to the point of ripping a hole in my achilles tendon, in hopes that I could finally someday achieve a proper depth back squat, etc.

But in spite of my idiotic and obsessive compulsion towards achieving some serious level of fitness, things have been mostly good. Still a struggle to keep eating ‘clean’ while surrounded by continuous temptation and flat out scorn/disgust by those around me it seems. Allison over at PaleoNonPaleo said it perfectly in her latest post:

“I know your family thinks you’re crazy. I know you feel completely alone. I know you feel like it’s never, ever going to work.”

I never let that other people’s attitudes about this stuff bother me before. Well, it did. But I ignored it. For a while, I was right out front telling everyone and anyone about how to lose weight and feel great through Paleo/Primal, and particularly the low carb version of it. Over the past 6 months or so I’ve given up on that. People don’t want to hear it. And it’s always the obese guys who will want to debate with me about it, so I tend to keep quiet now when people ask me about diet. Some people just don’t want to hear it.

I also started questioning things about my approach to diet. Honestly, I’m really annoyed/sickened by the money grab that is Paleo these days. So many bloggers, podcasters, presenters, etc. coming out of the woodwork and Paleo is just so commercialized now. I guess that’s a good thing but I think it will ultimately lead to its demise as another ‘fad’. Someone will come up with a new name for the same way of eating and it will be over. It’s inevitable. But, back to my downfall: So thinking I had my body hacked and this thing called diet by the balls, late last year, sometime before Thanksgiving, I started ‘treating’ myself to a weekly splurge dessert. Often a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. And as I type this, I’m thinking the same thing. As I’ve done for a long time now, I would try some new foods and then see how it impacted my weight. And, surprisingly, the weekly splurge treat didn’t have any effect. Then the holidays come around and a series of corporate happy hours/parties full of beer, then family parties full of beer and what-not, then the holiday dinners and the pressure there, because God forbid I say “no thank you” to some in-law’s shitty food and not receive a look of scorn…

Too Much of This Crap
Too Much of This Crap…and it didn’t even taste good.

All the while, I started indulging more and more. My occasional treats turned into twice a week, then more. About a month ago I even started partaking in the occasional grains, cornbread at a local BBQ place to be exact, for the first time in a long time.  All the while, I would check the scale and I wasn’t gaining weight. And I didn’t feel or look like I was getting fatter. And my waist size was no bigger and in fact, over time, was still shrinking (I’m now down to a 34). So I think I’ve got life good: I’m able to eat whatever I want, so long as I mostly avoid the grains. Mind you, I was still eating clean for breakfast (eggs, sausage, bacon) and lunch (salad). But because of the achilles issues I stopped lifting weights. And the cardio training took it’s place…..

About 6 weeks ago I got the go-ahead from my physical therapist to start running, in order to build up my legs for an eventual 5k race that I needed to run with my daughter. That race was this past Sunday and we did well. All the while during the training leading up to this race, I fell back into the mistaken mindset of, “I’m burning all these calories with all this long-distance running, so I can eat more junk!” And for a while it seemed I could. And then a couple of weeks ago I woke up one morning and went to brush my teeth and looked in the mirror and it’s man-boob city. And a gut that seemingly popped up out of nowhere. I felt fat again for the first time in a long time. And then my newly purchased Summer wardrobe of shorts and shirts in a size that was just right before, were now a bit tight.

After the 5k
After the 5k

I finished the 5k and am glad I did it. But I now know that Mark Sisson and so many others were right when they talk of how useless cardio training is when it comes to fitness and/or weight loss/maintenance. It has robbed me of the muscle tone I had, seemingly overnight. The cardio thing is complete bullshit. Will I ever run another 5k? Yeah, absolutely. I will probably start running them pretty often as a ‘fun time’. But will you ever catch me jogging distance at the track or training FOR a 5k by jogging? Hell no. And the sad part is that I knew better…

Starting now, I have to go strict on a 30 day challenge. It will be difficult. But I don’t have a choice. I’ve got to nip this thing in the bud. I’m seriously thinking about a Whole30. And back to the weight training, but this time I’m going to take it slow and focus just as much on mobility. Oh, and in case you still think I’m not completely nuts, I got a doozy for you: I recently bought a 1 month unlimited pass to a local Hot Yoga studio. LOL. I plan on going there for the first time this week and will surely blog about it. : )

The Achilles Is Healed!

On to a happy update…the achilles is healed! The physical therapy, specifically Active Release Therapy (ART), was what did the trick. Doing eccentric calf raises helped too I’m sure, but not until I found a physical therapist that understood that those like myself with insertional achilles tendonosis need to *alleviate* the stretched tendon and not stretch it out worse. A combination of some rest followed by heel inserts, along with the ART is what worked for me. But I’m not completely out of the woods – my other achilles has been sore recently, from the distance running. So I have started doing the calf raises and will be doing some serious mobility work to ward off messing that tendon up too.

Inspiration Miscellaneous Ramblings Nutrition/Weight Loss

Low Carb and Paleo Stigma Still Alive and Well

Saw this article pop up on, which is one of the handful of sites I check most days. Always a good tip or something of interest on there:

While this guy does everything he can to avoid saying it, what his formerly-Vegan ass realized is that it’s all about the carbs, and that eating meat is pretty much necessary for optimal health. Why won’t he just admit it? Cus there’s a stigma about eating low carb. We can thank big agriculture, government, and the animal activists/vegans/vegetarians for that. Oh, and the countless personal trainers, dietitians, and doctors who continue to misguide so many people with the whole ‘Healthy Whole Grains!’ bullshit.

Even in spite of the research proving that cutting carbohydrates is the best ways to lose weight, there is still a stigma about admitting one’s success on it. This started, I believe, back in the initial Atkins era. While I myself have bashed the Atkins plan on numerous occasions, I also am quick to recognize that he seems to have been the first to ‘re-discover’ what our grandparents and descendants already knew – that bread, pasta, sugar, and starches were fattening, and that exercising just made you work up an appetite.

The problem I have with the Atkins approach is that it is strictly about the carbs. Eat all the Splenda and other processed stuff you want. Eat those slimy processed pepperoni slices they sell in the plastic container at the grocery store – as much as you want – even though that shit will last a century without spoiling. And guess what? He was right. Most people WILL lose weight without hunger that way. I know I did. I ate all that shit for a while and dropped 65 pounds painlessly and felt great doing it. But what I found was, when I really started to succeed, I *really* focused on what I was eating. And that’s when I limited all of the chemicals and processed food out of my diet. I don’t know if it made a difference, but logic says it would. I’ve continued to hone my diet, almost without thought, to the point no where I’m pretty darned strict Paleo with the exception of dairy in the form of grass-fed butter, heavy cream, and occasionally cheese. That said, I still do a ‘cheat’ once a week that is quite extravagant – either an ice cream with the family, or a dessert of some sort out, or, if none of that happens, I will go and grab a pint of the most delectable ice cream on the planet: the Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But The…”. I get away with that because of the CrossFit, or at least I tell myself I do.

Regardless, I figured I’d post the above article. An interesting, yet somewhat annoying reminder of the depths to which folks will not just come out and say it: cut the carbs, lose the weight.


Inspiration Life Primal/Paleo

The Most Difficult Thing About Eating Paleo or Low Carb

I know what you’re thinking after reading the title of this post, but I assure you – it’s not not eating bread, or potato chips, etc. At least, not for me.

The biggest struggle I’ve had is that I’m doing this almost entirely alone. And that makes it one hundred times more difficult. I probably should go out to Google Images and grab a photo of a violin right now, to cue the whining. Writing this post has been on my mind for months, and every time I start I quickly delete it as it’s way too personal and, quite frankly, a bit painful. But it’s too important as I know others out there are dealing with similar situations.

Inspiration Miscellaneous Ramblings Nutrition/Weight Loss

An Update on the Fit2Fat2Fit Guy

Remember that personal trainer who made the news a number of months ago for purposely gaining a ton of weight, just so he could ‘walk in the shoes’ of a fat person? At the time, I thought it was a complete farce. And, quite frankly, I still do. I won’t go into why again – my reasons are in my original post on this topic and have not changed.

I’ve been meaning the last few weeks to check on his progress. I have no doubt he’ll ‘miraculously’ return to Jersey Shore shape quickly. And, as I suspected, he’s got all the ‘As Seen On [insert TV show]!’ ads lined up already for his future benefit on his site, which, let’s be honest – that’s what this is all about. A publicity stunt.

But, here’s where it gets interesting….I just looked at some of his daily meal plans on his site, that outline what he’s eating every day in order to get back to his ‘fit’ state. And guess what? He’s not only doing low-carb….he’s doing VERY LOW CARB. Isn’t that interesting? Looks like he knows how to lose weight very effectively.

Here is a typical day’s worth of food for this guy. It’s super low carb. Full of processed junk, but if your only goal is to lose weight then there’s nothing wrong with eating shakes, ‘protein bars’, etc.:

From –


DAY 182

First thing upon waking up is to chug a 16 oz bottle of water

Meal 1 approximately 375 calories- Spinach Shake without the ½ banana–  (1 scoop of IsaPro Vanilla Whey Protein (or whatever kind you decided to use), 3 cups of spinach, 2 tbsp. of peanut butter, ¾ cup of unsweetened almond milk, 2 cups of ice

-Men’s Essential with Product B from Isagenix (or other multivitamin after your shake)

– 1 serving of Ionix Supreme (For those that bought it. If you did NOT then don’t worry about taking it)

Meal 2 approximately 350 calories (Approx. 3 hours later) – 1 can of tuna with 2 tbsp. of mayo with olive oil, 1 handful of almonds

Meal 3 approximately 500 calories (Approx. 3 hours later)  – 2 cups of leftover Low Carb Turkey Chili with 2 cups of kale/broccoli mix with zero calorie butter spray.

Meal 4 approximately 250 calories (Approx. 3 hours later) – 2 scoops of WholeBody Green (or protein shake of your choice) mixed with 1 scoop of Vanilla Whey Protein with water and 1 packet of naturally sweetened powdered drink mix

Meal 5 approximately 500 calories (Approx. 3 hours later) – Caramelized Onion Glazed Salmon- 4 filets of salmon, 1 white onion, 8 slices of turkey bacon, 1/3 cup low calorie brown sugar. Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the onion into small slices.  Cut the slices of turkey bacon into thirds.  Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Place filets of salmon in the 9×13 pan.  Place slices of onion on each salmon.  Next, layer each salmon with turkey bacon.  Then, sprinkle the low calorie brown sugar on top of each salmon.  Cover the top of the pan with foil and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes or until salmon is cooked all the way through.  Eat 1 Filet tonight with about 2 cups of steamed green beans on the side. Save the other filets for tomorrow.

Meal 6 approximately 250 calories – (This meal will be used as your pre and post workout meal depending on when you work out during the day) – 2 scoops of Isagenix Vanilla Whey Protein. Drink ½ of your shake 30 min. before your workout and the other ½ immediately after


The above daily meal plan is typical, based on the handful of other days I looked through on his site. Aside from some misguided, senseless decisions he’s making (egg whites instead of the whole egg), he’ll surely drop lots of weight on that plan, and if that’s how he’s directing his clients to lose weight, then I’m all for it. I applaud the guy. And I sincerely hope that that is truly how he’s been telling his clients in the past how to lose weight, instead of the ‘low fat, calories-in/calories-out’ mantra that Conventional Wisdom dictates.

Of course, his current diet is not a practical long-term way of eating, in my opinion, unless he wants to eat Quest Bars and protein shakes every day for the rest of his life. But for an initial phase of a diet, it’ll do. And do well. Of course, he could be eating tons more dietary fat and be feeling more full/satiated and lose weight just as quickly yet more comfortably, but that’s his business…

I gotta admit – I’m both very disappointed and encouraged at the same time. On one hand, I wanted to see him go on a low-fat diet, do lots of chronic cardio, count ‘points’ or some other assenine diet, etc. But when push came to shove and he knew he had to lose weight, he’s doing it – low carb.

He’s set to ‘unveil’ his new-found body on national TV in a few weeks. And, I’m sure he’ll say it was all about watching calories, etc. instead of the real reason he’ll inevitably return to Mr. Atlas form – he’s doing a very-low carb diet. Will he be allowed by the network to admit that? Will he call it something else? We’ll see!


Inspiration Nutrition/Weight Loss

My Cholesterol Test Results on LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat) Diet

So the proof is in the pudding (no pun intended).

I’ve been on a low-carb, high-fat diet for close to a year now and today I got the latest cholesterol blood test results back. So in this post I’ll list 3 sets of blood test results that I’ve received over the past couple of years, so that I (and for those of you interested) will have a record of the impact of being on a LCHF (low carb, high fat) diet.


Before I reveal the results, I want to explain why I’ve gotten my cholesterol level checked multiple times in a one year period (2011). Basically, the first time was a month or two into the LCHF diet, when I still wasn’t sure exactly what the effect of a diet consisting of dietary fat as the majority of caloric intake would be. Of course, per the literature and prior *objective* scientific research, the expectation was that my HDL (good cholesterol) would go up, bad cholesterol (LDL) would stay the same or go up some, and Triglycerides (i.e., fat in the bloodstream) would plummet. But, hey, like everyone else I was always told it would result in the opposite, so I wanted to get them checked.

I then had another set of tests done midway through the year, simply because the company I work for hosts a free annual “Health Fair” on site. Basically, a bunch of medical folks come and take over a floor of on of our buildings and they do all kinds of tests: blood tests, weight, skin tests, etc. At the end, after performing all of the tests, there is a “Health Advisor” who you meet with privately and he looks over the results of your tests and gives the good or bad news, and steps to rectify. Those results were overhwhelmingly positive, showing marked increases for the better. But, I seem to have misplaced the paper with the results so I’ll leave that set out of this post. No need as we have tests both prior and after to compare.

So, without further adieu, here are the results of the three sets of blood tests I’ve taken throughout the year. Specifically I’ll list the cholesterol, triglyceride, and inflammation test results. For comparison, I’ll also list the blood tests I had gotten as part of an annual physical in early 2010, when I weight about 260 pounds thanks to my body’s inability to cope with the typical high-carb, low-fat SAD (Standard American Diet).

Inspiration Nutrition/Weight Loss

A Fork in the Road

From this post forward, I’m going to shift the focus of this blog. At least the perception anyways. I’m not happy with the tone of some of my writing. I don’t want to come off as a ‘know-it-all’, and unfortunately my shift in domains from to probably doesn’t help perceptions. I’ve received plenty of comments from folks (almost always personal trainers or ‘calories-in/calories-out’ proponents) that were, ahem, less than nice. That made me re-think this blog and its purpose. That and, let’s face it, I haven’t posted much the last 2 weeks. I just ran out of topics that really interested me to write about. One can only go so long on ‘it’s INSULIN, stupid!”

I’m no expert on anyone else. I don’t claim to be. But I do know how fat tissue is both stored and released in the body. There isn’t any debate on that – the science has been clear for decades. For some reason, very few people want to believe it. When I first stumbled on this information back in January, I thought I had uncovered a cure. A miracle. The SECRET. And, for me, it was and has been. I learned what foods produce an excess insulin response in my body, and I either stopped eating them altogether or I ate them in varying levels of moderation. Nothing to do with reading any fad diet book, no “Atkins” no “Zone”. Nothing to do with calories (I have never counted them and never will). And I only work out because, once I lost weight, as the science predicted – my body wanted to move more. I enjoy physical fitness now. That has been my whole point of this blog: that being lazy is a result of being fat, not the other way around. Taubes made this clear and my personal experience has proven it for me. I urge any naysayers who are obese to simply stop eating carbs for a couple of weeks and they’ll see. I urge any naysayers who are not obese to move on. Nothing here for you.

So…back to the real point of this post….going forward this blog is really all about my personal experience and opinions in maintaining my weight loss, particularly in regards to how my increased focus on fitness (which is a completely separate thing from fat loss (I just can’t stop can I? : ) ). My goal now has shifted from losing weight to achieving a higher level of physical fitness. I started focusing on this the past 2 weeks and it’s going well.

Why the shift in focus? Because I enjoy reading blogs that take all different approaches, but my favorites are those where the writing is of one’s personal experience, including the setbacks. I don’t want this to be an info blog. I want to write about my experience more. Day to day. My favorite blog the past few months has been this guy’s. He’s honest. He’s real. And he struggles. I’ve been fortunate to not struggle much. For reasons I’m trying to figure out. How does a guy who has been somewhere between way overweight and obese since the age of 9 or 10 turn it all around in one year? Why was I able to do it? I’ve just recently come to the realization that it isn’t simply knowing how to get your body to release fat cells and burn them. It’s more than that. I’ve seen folks who know the science yet still struggle. So just knowing why we get fat is not enough for many.

Tonight I went on a 30 minute walk at my local high school’s track. It was really refreshing and allowed me to clear my mind after an extremely stressful week. I was trying to think about why, when I see so many others struggling with their weight even when they know the science, why was I successful? After 15 minutes of increasing my walking pace it hit me…

I’ve been so laser-focused on weight-loss this past year because my life otherwise has been really quite shitty the past few years, and my own body has been the one thing I can completely control. I guess it’s like those angst-ridden teenage chicks that get anorexia. I like to think things aren’t that bad though, and they really aren’t. But the stressors that have hit me at this time in my life, I think, have driven me to probably have OCD when it came to weight loss, and thus fueled my success.

An example of these stressors: 2 years ago I blew ~$50k in cash and equity in the process of downgrading my primary residence, due to poor decisions, poorly chosen representatives, and poor communication. When I hit 40 years of age I thought I’d have been in a McMansion and life would be easier. Quite frankly, it hasn’t been. I’m in a house I could care less about. Can’t do anything about it. No control.

My career has gone well the past few years, with multiple promotions. And in a down economy especially, I’m extremely grateful. But the work isn’t as gratifying as it once was as we’re in the middle of trying to…I’ll leave it at that. In a nutshell, I don’t have the control I expected. Quitting isn’t an option – not because I can’t find something else. I could, easily. But because I truly believe in the end-game that we’re striving for. It’s just an awfully annoying and painful journey getting there. And I can’t control it. At least not to the level I expected.

My schedule and day to day responsibilities, beyond work, are increasingly hectic. Beyond hectic. And 90% of what I do every day is not of my own choice. And half the time I stop and say to myself, “Why?” I don’t control it. I need to, but I don’t.

Cue the violins….lol

So maybe my lack of control in all other aspects of my life are the secret to my weight loss success. Whatever works. I just know, as pessimistic as this post likely comes off….I’m happier these days than I was when I was fat.

Inspiration Miscellaneous Ramblings

As Obi-Wan Once Said – Nothing Here…

It was exactly one year ago tomorrow (November 1, 2010) that I decided I’d had enough of being tired all the time and not able to enjoy sports, being outdoors, etc. I weighed 258lb. I had just gotten back from an annual work event – a conference that the company I work for puts on for our customers once a year. Last year it was in Orlando. This past week it was in Las Vegas, which is why I haven’t posted.

I normally work out of a Starbucks or local cafe, going into the office maybe a couple of times a week for face to face meetings, since it’s only 10 minutes away. Because of that, I normally don’t do ‘business casual’ dress. My workplace is very casual – shorts in the summer, etc. But over the years, with a constant stream of new hires, the place has morphed into a dressier climate. You know – those dorks that think Dockers and plaid shirts are a fashion staple.

I promise to post something of value soon! I have an idea to research further what the original Weight Watchers diet was. It was, believe it or not, pretty low carb. They had it right, but I guess they had to chase the money. A successfully skinny client is no longer a client when you’re in that business…

Needless to say, I haven’t had clothes that fit me, outside of workout gear, in months. Didn’t really need it until this past week when I had to be dressed for various presentations, cocktail parties, etc. while in Las Vegas. Many of my colleagues and industry contacts only see me once a year, during this event. A handful came up to me, wide-eyed with a look of concern, and whispered, “Are you okay? You look like you’ve lost a lot of weight. You sick?” It was funny. It was fun. It was even more fun putting on a size large shirt and a 36″ waist pants, all of which I had to buy for the trip. Last year I was a size 44″ waist and 2XL shirts, and the shirts were too tight.

So it’s been one year. I’ve done it. 60 pounds dropped. Moving on to year two of this total transformation. With the majority of fat gone, I no longer need to worry about the workouts stunting my weight loss, which is what happens. Beginning today the focus for this year is on getting ripped – the goal is to put The Situation’s six-pack abs to shame. In my 40’s now I think it’s possible. Not sure yet about the best way to go about it, but I’ll get there. Miracles CAN happen. With just a lot of research and a little sacrifice. Just a little.

Inspiration Nutrition/Weight Loss

Low Carb Inspiration – How I Got Started

In lieu of any more cool low carb pizza recipes, I wanted to write today more in tribute. In tribute to a person who, like me, was fat and learned the secret* to weight loss for fat people, and had the balls to go on his extremely popular tech podcast and go off-topic by telling everyone about it. Thank you, Paul Thurrott. * readers of this blog already know this isn’t really a secret, but the general public is still oblivious I still remember the evening in January, laying in bed, listening to that week’s installment of Windows Weekly podcast.