My Paleo Story

I started this blog in the Summer of 2009 to push myself to stay honest, and lose the weight I needed to. This covers more of the story.

I was always lean growing up. I was the small kid who got picked on, and always got picked last for sports even though I was athletic, fast, and strong. This pushed me to be an athlete all through High School (there is a picture of me with my hair flying all crazy out there. extra points if you can find it) and I ended up dropping other sports to pursue the Pole Vault ending up making it to the Ohio Div II State Track meet my junior and senior years. I kick myself in the ass every day for not walking on to a team in college, but I don't dwell on the past. At Ohio State I fell into the freshman 15 the first quarter from all the dorm food, late-night pizza and gyros, beer, and junk food. I lost all of it on Christmas break. The following year, i started working and going to school, and the lifestyle caught up to me slowly. I didn't hold onto the weight, but my inactivity and poor lifestyle choices carried over for a while. In 21/2 years, I was working 2 jobs, had an internship, went to school full time, had too much social life, and was nearly destitute. My few extra pounds (5'10 205# skinny-fat) weren't an issue yet. I dropped it all and joined the Navy to be an Aviation Rescue Swimmer. I dropped all the skinny-fat by the end of boot camp, and packed on some good muscle in Rescue Swimmer School. Rescue Swimmer school was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, and put me in the best shape I had ever been in.

I stayed in really good shape for the next 5 years, but this is where a lot of the bad habits started showing up again. Late night eating, pasta, beer. It was never an issue staying in shape for the job, since our training and PT was designed around staying in bad-ass mode. I was on a seemingly endless roller-coaster of gains and losses leading me to believe it was genetic to be destined a fatass. I was in a constant battle with my genetics, at least in my mind, so it just made me workout more, dig into the fitness magazines, and drop loads of cash on supplements. I would go from single digit bodyfat after getting back from sea to that extra 10Lbs. that everyone seems to chase. I believed it was the genetics again. "It couldn't be the beer and pasta. Pasta is healthy!" I knew I drank too much beer, but worked hard, played hard. And boy, we did both! I followed the body-building splits, and drank my protein shakes. I Loaded up on Hydroxycut or Xenadrine, or whatever fatburner was new at GNC. I would go stretches where i would get big and lean, then the lean would just stay big without the definition. Living off protein shakes and tuna and easy mac only lasts so long. I would get bored and "fat" again. I never really looked fat, but I was definitely bigger than i should have been. My lifestyle would be an evolving thing. I would go out to sea and lose 15 pounds, then put it back on slowly the next 4 or 5 months, work it off, then the cycle would start over depending on the tempo of the flight schedule. I always stayed within standards, and always passed my fitness tests. My friends in Ohio who only saw me a couple times a year always saw it as a cycle. They knew I was looked different everytime I cam home, so it didn't matter. I worked my ass off in the gym, but lifting weights is boring, and I hated running (mostly because my form had been blown to hell by the Navy). I was left looking for more. I needed a different piece of the puzzle.

I did a lot of good things on active duty, but I decided to be a reservist after my first enlistment, and go back to college.

It is my personality to be a multi-tasker. I'm a natural Renaissance Man. This is actually a strong point of the carreer I picked in the Navy. As a Sensor Operator, you are responsible for running, the Radar, Acoustics, Electronic Support Measures (counter detection equipment), do all the Aerial Gunnery, Utility functions, and Search and Rescue(SAR) by yourself in the back of the helicopter - sometimes at the SAME TIME. My life pretty much still operates like that. I went on reserve status, went to Embry-Riddle, took flying lessons, played solo music shows, and worked as a bartender/ painter/salesman/warehouse manager, and learned to surf. Fitness was the last of my concerns as long as I could pass my SAR Fitness Test. This is where things started going down hill. Life was good, but weight kept sneaking on. One day at the warehouse where I was working, I tripped on a pallet, and severely sprained my ankle. In retrospect, I probably should have gone to the emergency room, but I had no insurance, and my macho Type A ice-and-advil mentality just kept me working. I was black and blue for 2 months at least, and couldn't do much exercise at all for 5 months. I rehabbed by trying to not stay on my feet very much, but I still worked in a warehouse, the majority of the time, on my feet. 6 months later, I found myself at 5'10" 225Lbs. This is the heaviest I had ever been, and the first time I felt like a fat-ass. My clothes weren't fitting anymore, and I had to do something about it.
I was a fat blues-singing gimpy drunk who was getting fatter by the day.

Enter Crossfit: I was working in an open-air warehouse during the day, and had managed to sweat out 5Lbs. I decided to enroll at Crossfit Jax, and the game was immediately changed. All my thoughts on fitness, health, diet, lifestyle began to change. I did the opening workout "Cindy" and was instantly transported back to the days of SAR School in Pensacola, where the workouts pushed you to your limit and you kept going. A workout that tested your mettle and separated the weak from the strong. This was what I had been searching for. Hot, Sweaty, no-nonsense workouts that leave you sucking air and reeling from passing a personal boundary you never thought you could reach. I deployed in fins first as if I was jumping out of a helicopter. I read up on everything I could. I read the Crossfit forums. I read the Crossfit Journal. I Read Enter the Zone and started The Zone Diet, I read The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and started Paleo. I read Good Calories, Bad Calories I discovered Michael Pollan, and read everything of his I could. I devoured Mark's Daily Apple everyday. I found Richard Nikoley, and Melissa [Hartwig] with Byers Gets Diesel now of Whole9 fame. Everything started making sense. I realized why I was fat, how I got there, how to be better and faster. The pieces started to fit. I saw the journey I needed to take. I dropped down to 200# by Thanksgiving of 2008. Then I stalled.
photo: Crossfit Jax

Life has a funny way of changing plans. You see, earlier in that year my girlfriend had accepted a proposal to be my wife. I was just a dirt-poor college student at the time, so as the wedding day drew closer, I volunteered to work full time with the Navy Reserve to make ends meet, and save up enough to pay for the wedding. I had to unfortunately drop my classes, stop playing music, withdraw from going to Crossfit Jax, and hold on my own within the next 8 months. I managed to keep the weight off, but I had to workout on my own. I PT'ed at the squadron, trained in the pool, surfed and skated when I could, and used a beach cruiser as transportation as much as possible. I kept the weight off. Life was stressful, but things were good. It was a beautiful ceremony on the beach, and my beautiful wife and I started our life together.

I started this blog after the celebration wore off from the wedding. We needed a detox and wanted to get healthy, so I decided to start a blog to keep me honest. I had been following Mark Sisson's 80/20 principle for years, but the preceding events meant that my 20% was actually more like 45. Having this blog acting as someone to answer to, let me stay true to the principles I had adopted and keep me honest. I also wanted to become a better writer, and the blog was a way to vent. I won't go into any more of the story since it's all in the blog already, but life has been on a steady upswing ever since we got married. I have a great job, a beautiful wife who happens to be the mother of our beautiful little girl, and I happened to have lost a total of 40Lbs while adding significant muscle and strength. 35 have been in the last 18 months, as I put on sympathy weight during the pregnancy. I am faster, stronger, leaner, fitter, and I keep blasting through goals. I look at where I was, and what I know now. I wish the information available now was around when I was stuck in the fitness magazines. I want to go back in time to tell past me to wise up, so I never got int the fat mess I was in.

I started following Paleo Template over 4 years ago, and have been more strict for a year. I started Fasting regularly, and keep holding experiments of 1. I have read volumes of information through books, website, blogs, papers, and forum posts. People are changing their lives by eating real food, and the message is getting louder everyday.

Here is a comparison of me Then:

And Now:

I'll keep experimenting, and working hard on my goals. I'll keep everyone up to date on this blog.

Paleo works, even when you don't have a lot to lose. I'm healthier, stronger, fitter, and leaner. I went from 220Lbs. to 185Lbs over the course of the last 18 months, and I keep seeing ways to improve. I'm not finished, so I won't post an "After" shot until I feel I hit it.