2017 through October

2017 clearly started poorly. My healthy eating was out the window, and I just got through the holidays eating badly. No one was commenting on my weight yet, but I could certainly see it, and that was bad enough. The unpleasant reality that I was outgrowing pant, belt, and shirt sizes quickly set in. I was once again on the slippery slope of weight gain. I fell into despair because I had already used the nuclear option of weight loss, bariatric surgery. What was left?

Heading into the summer, my weight crested at 256 pounds. I was now less than 100 pounds away from my all time high. That was unacceptable to me. I worked out harder. I tried a feeble attempt at dieting, but nothing stuck. Then, my family decided to go on a camping trip to West Virginia that, I believe, changed me forever.

First, I love West Virginia. We stayed in a cabin at Lost River State Park, and it’s beautiful there. I was able to have the manliest hike of my life, to the top of a bear infested mountain with a handgun strapped to my side and my dog leading the way. It was terrific. I was overweight again, but at least I was basically in shape enought to handle a rigorous hike.

Me and my dog, Zeus, packing heat (and pounds), and ready to hike!

The hike was terrific. I survived the experience and I didn’t die of a heart, or bear, attack. Zeus proved himself to be a very capable trail dog, as well. The following day, the park rangers had an activity about nature life at a nearby stream. My wife wanted to take my daughters, so I watched my 1 year old at the cabin. I was bored, so I turned on the TV (fortunately they had satellite reception), and began to watch infomercials.

I stumbled upon an infomercial for Body Beast. I should note that I’ve NEVER bought anything from a TV infomercial in my life. I generally watched them for pure entertainment value as they suckered customers into buying their products. However, on this particular day, the infomercial spoke to me directly. Yes, they featured the typical attractive people with bulging muscles swearing up and down that Body Beast made them buff. However, the infomercial went through a decent amount of detail about the videos, and the type of workouts they do. It was basically the same stuff I did with the personal trainer, but in a more structured manner. The program almost exclusively uses dumbbells and an EZ curl bar, both of which I already had in my house. I immediately found the videos on Amazon for slightly cheaper than the infomercial and ordered it for $60. It is worth noting that I paid that same amount for every workout session I went to with my personal trainer!

The moment I got home from the trip, I cancelled my personal trainer, and began the Body Beast program. I was determined to follow it! I also took a long, hard look at my eating, and decided to incorporate Dr. Fuhrman’s input, Dr. Brownstein’s input (more on him in a future post), the Body Beast meal plan input, and common sense into the most amazingly simple plan, ever. I would try my best to only eat unprocessed foods the way God and nature made them. I would eat fruits, nuts, berries, and veggies as much as I possibly could. However, this time, I would also eat lean meats, legumes, fish, and other protein sources. The only things I would somewhat avoid are complex carbohydrates, dairy, oils, and other processed foods.

This does not mean I’ve shunned all complex carbohydrates. If I order a salad in a restaurant and it has croutons, I eat the croutons. I just try to avoid eating them as a primary food source, and I don’t add them to the meals I prepare. I’ll detail my current eating plan in a future post, but it’s quite easy and satisfying to eat this way. Unlike every other plan I’ve ever done, I don’t feel like i’m getting cheated or missing out on any particular food item.

Interestingly, I’ve since come to dislike and frown upon processed foods, for the most part. I honestly believe they are the reason Americans are so fat and unhealthy. I am also convinced that most people don’t understand nutrition, and that even includes some nutritionists. Some people would avoid fruits and berries because they technically have sugar; however they don’t contained complex processed sugars. Some people would avoid nuts and legumes because they have fats; however, they contain unprocessed unsaturated (healthy) fats. We have been so brainwashed by macro-nutrient tracking, that we’re missing the big picture on nutrition. What is that big picture? The processed foods that we’re eating are making us fat and sick. They contain chemicals, process out the essential micro-nutrients that we need, and leave us malnourished and full of harmful toxins.

Where am I at now with weight loss? Well, Body Beast did not transform me into the physique you see in the infomercials. However, my muscles have definitely taken off and are the biggest they have ever been in my life. My strength has increased and I’m reaching new max weights in my workouts. My muscle mass is growing for certain. My arms and legs are getting larger while my waist is reducing in size. Overall, my weight loss has been somewhat slow, and I attribute that to the muscle mass increase. Regardless, I have followed this program for 16 weeks now, and I have lost 38 pounds. That, paired with the strength and muscle increases, has pleased me beyond belief. The Body Beast program was only designed to be 3 months long, and I’ve decided to continue it indefinitely. As of today, I’m now entering week 17 of the program. The eating program I’m following is simple and is clearly working. I’m losing roughly 2 pounds a week, so the proof is clearly in the pudding (not literally!). I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds, as I feel that I’ve finally found a sustainable workout program, and a sustainable eating paradigm. I’m no longer tracking foods, or depriving myself of anything that I want. I eat sensible foods, and I can find a healthy yet satisfying option anywhere I ever go. I love it!

Me hunting in October 2017, weighing approximately 220 pounds.

Thank you all for following my blog so far. Consider yourselves caught up with my past and present. Now, I will happily share my thoughts on health, nutrition, and weight loss. I will happily answer any questions or information requests that you all have, and hopefully will inspire you to begin, and continue your weight loss journey. Please note that you will never complete the journey. There is no finish line. As soon as you realize that, you’ll be much closer to discovering the weight loss plan that works best for you. Best of luck!

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is based entirely upon my experiences and observations. I am not a medical professional and you must do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your eating, fitness, medication, or supplements. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.

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