Archives For Just Sayin’…

IMG_3379First things first: It’s shortly after 90 days since I committed to a Paleo lifestyle and I have dropped 50 pounds!  Wooooow!  This is amazing!  I feel great and have lots of energy.  In the past couple of days, I have had a couple of people use the term “glowing” in terms of my skin (and they didn’t mean shiny).  It’s good to be healthy.

Okay, let’s move on…

If you are reading my blog, you most likely are already following a Paleo diet (or aspiring to do so). You have also likely experienced a tremendous shift in your health and well-being since eliminating (or at least drastically reducing) grains, beans, sugar and dairy. I know it takes a fair amount of commitment and willpower, especially in those early days, so congratulations to you.  Smooth sailing from now on, right? Not so fast.

Since beginning this lifestyle in May of this year, I’ve learned that there are pitfalls to the way many practice a Paleo lifestyle, as well as tweaks and customizations for the individual that must be considered if you truly want to thrive. Here are the top five that I’ve seen and what to do to guarantee a lifetime of “Paleo joy.”

Eating Too Much Meat.

When one first starts out eating Paleo, its pretty common to replace grains with meat as it’s the way your body can still feel satiated. Once the initial transition is made, it’s very important to limit your protein consumption to 20-35% of daily calories. According to Paul Jaminet, author of the“Perfect Health Diet”, the Paleolithic/Cannibal diet consisted of these macronutrient ratios:

  • Carbohydrates: 13-20%
  • Short-chain and medium chain fats: ~3%
  • Other fats: ~60%
  • Protein: ~15-25%

There are a several reasons why:

1. According to Jaminet, too much protein is toxic to the body: “At a protein intake of 230 g/day (920 calories), the body’s ability to convert ammonia to urea is saturated. This means the nitrogen from every additional gram of protein lingers in the body as ammonia, a toxin. Clearly, marginal dietary protein is toxic, via ammonia poisoning, at this intake level. A reasonable estimate for where toxicity begins is between 150 to 200 g/day.”

2. All meat is not created equal. The difference between a piece of grass-fed red meat with a nice marbling of fat and a conventionally-raised skinless chicken breast is BIG. Its important to have most of your protein come from the ruminants (cow, bison, lamb, etc), wild or organically farmed seafood and organic farm eggs to minimize polyunsaturated fat consumption and maximize saturated fat consumption (and also balance omega-6 to omega-3 ratios). Choosing organic, pasture-fed and ethically raised animals is crucial for your health, the health of the planet and the collective consciousness around meat-eating.

3. Too much meat can cause digestive distress and constipation if not eaten with sufficient fiber (ref). They say that life and death begin in the colon, and your body’s ability to move your food all the way through in a timely fashion is very important.

4. Meat is acid-forming in the body and many experts believe that disease can only live in acidic states. This doesn’t mean, like the vegan community would argue, to eliminate it. Grains, dairy and sugar are also acid-forming, so the answer lies in balancing your meat consumption with lots of vegetables and green juice, both of which are alkalizing to the body.

Not Eating Enough Vegetables.

In addition to keeping your body alkaline, veggies are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants that you simply cannot find elsewhere. The fiber and water in veggies helps keep your insides scrubbed clean and digestion moving. The color of your veggies is linked to the nutrients therein, so the more like a rainbow your plate looks, the better! Make sure to eat raw veggies with your cooked foods as they may provide enzymes to help breakdown cooked food and assimilate the nutrients. According to The Mayo Clinic: “some enzymes help digest food into simple substances that the body’s cells can use for energy. Other enzymes forge substances within the cells that are unavailable in the diet.”

Lack of Healthy Bacteria

Did you know that your body has ten times more bacteria than human cells? Isn’t that amazing?! There is a bacterial war being waged in your body at every moment. The enemy is fed by antibiotics, sugar, dairy, grains, chemicals and pesticides, while the good guys are fed by probiotics in supplement form and fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi. Having strong digestion is the #1 most important factor for good health as all the nutrition from your food is either converted to be used by your body or passed through malabsorbed.

Lack of Variety/Nutrient Deficiency

It’s too easy to get in a rut and be eating virtually the same foods everyday. Chicken and broccoli at every meal does not constitute a healthy Paleo diet! There are some foods that are a MUST to incorporate into your diet.

1. Organ Meats: Chris Kresser reminds us that organ meats are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than their corresponding muscle meats, and a fraction of the cost. They are loaded with vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid and minerals such as copper and iron.

2. Homemade Bone Broth: I fondly refer to bone broth as “the miracle elixir”.  I make HUGE batches and drink it almost everyday!  I love it. In addition to all of the lovely vitamins and minerals, bone broth is loaded with gelatin, which is great for healing your gut, glycosaminoglycan (GAGS) for joint health and connective tissue health and repair, glycine for mental and emotional wellness and collagen for beautiful skin.

3. Farm Eggs: One of the most annoying myths being fueled by the mainstream media is that cholesterol, and therefore egg yolks, are bad for you. Eggs are super nutrient-dense and may actually protect your heart! One egg yolk provides all 13 essential nutrients, are an excellent source of B vitamins, which are needed for vital functions in the body, and also provide good quantities of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development. The vitamin E in eggs protects against heart disease and some cancers; eggs also contain vitamin D, which promotes mineral absorption and good bone health. Eggs are rich in iodine, for making thyroid hormones, and phosphorus, essential for healthy bones and teeth.” It is important to note, however, that some people are intolerant to eggs. If you suspect you are, try an elimination diet for a couple weeks.

Ignoring Your Body’s Signals

I know that many of you have been trained to push through hard workouts, you know, mind over matter. Please don’t do that with your body as it relates to food. Even on a Paleo diet, there may still be foods to avoid, and others your body in particular thrives on. The best way to determine that is by checking in with yourself about 20 minutes after you’ve finished your meal and ask: “How is this making me feel?” Since you’ve already eliminated the grains, beans, and possibly the dairy, this won’t be as straightforward, but intolerances to eggs, nuts, citrus, nightshade veggies and shellfish may still be present (you can have intolerances to any food, but these are the most common Paleo foods). You should have energy and feel good when you’re done eating a meal. If you don’t, there’s still something to tweak.

One of the MAJOR criticisms about the Paleo approach is that the lifestyle advocates NOT weighing, measuring, or portioning food. While it’s true, this is an integral Paleo principle, it IS possible to adapt a Paleo approach to food selection and still weigh, measure and portion your food. Paleo is a lifestyle approach, a framework. In fact Robb Wolf, author of the Paleo Solution advocates the examination of Paleo as a “STRUCTURE” within which you need to pick and chose what works for you, not a diet that requires absolute adherence. Naysayers of the Paleo plan will say that it’s impossible to lose body fat while on the Paleo plan because you’re unaware of how much you’re consuming.

If you’re a Paleo, or looking into becoming a Paleo, the following are tips for achieving fat loss while making the switch!!!

1. ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN. The old saying goes: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Have a realistic goal and set specific targets for your week to reach that goal, with regards to your nutrition. Part of the beauty of the Paleo approach is that it’s so OPEN–you can virtually have any lean protein source, fresh veggies, and fresh fruit. If you’re out to eat, or get caught in a business meeting or other engagement, it’s SIMPLE to make good, adaptive decisions that will keep you on your plan and not derail your progress. As long as you opt for plain grilled items, veggies prepared plain, salads free of dressings, cheese, condiments, beans and grains, and/or fresh fruit options, you’ll be FINE!! It’s virtually impossible to over-eat while being a Paleo because there are built-in defense mechanisms with the food options available to you. Fresh fruits and veggies are full of filling fiber and protein boasts the highest satiety of any macronutrient–even fat! Think about when you’re at your hungriest…how many tomatoes, baby carrots or chicken breast filets could you eat? Not too many I’m sure…yet given the same measure of hunger how many cookies could you eat? EXACTLY!  Stick to the rules of Paleo as your basic framework and structure a plan within that framework. Have no fear of overeating, it won’t happen!

2. GET MORE SLEEP. Sleep does more than help your body recover from a long day — it actually helps you fight fat. In fact, researchers at the University of Chicago reported that sleeping less than 7 to 8 hours can increase your appetite (forcing you to overeat), slow your metabolism (causing you to burn fewer calories) and make the body retain more abdominal fat. Lack of sleep also tends to increase our body’s response to stress, which has a domino effect on cortisol. The more sleep deprived we are, the more stressed we become, the more cortisol we release, AND the more cortisol we release the harder it is for our bodies to handle stress. Elevated cortisol disturbs our sleep, then we go into our day tired, which further elevates stress which further raises cortisol. You see the problem by now; disturbed sleep makes us more prone to stress, which raises cortisol, which suppresses immune function, elevates blood sugar levels, decreases sex drive and decreases insulin sensitivity. Whew, that’s one crazy chain of events! Once sleep gets out of whack, you’re REALLY in trouble. Think about it…for most of us, stresses that would otherwise be manageable become UN-manageable when we’re tired. Staying up too late, neglecting sleep quality, or not sleeping long enough can seriously affect your ability to handle stress. Here’s a fun fact: JUST ONE NIGHT OF MISSED or INADEQUATE SLEEP CAN MAKE YOU AS INSULIN RESISTANT AS A TYPE 2 DIABETIC.  Your physiology simply is not normal when you don’t get your zzz’s. Even if you work out and your food is pretty good, you can seriously undermine your health and add inches to your waistline by mismanaging the amount of hours you sleep each night. So try to sleep more.  Shoot for AT LEAST 8 HOURS of solid zz’s a night, and not on the couch with the TV on. Make sleepy time SLEEP time; dark room, quiet, no distractions, time for zz’s.  Need another reason to sleep more? Lack of shuteye is also associated with bad workouts. Do yourself a favor and get some rest. Your body will thank you.

3. KNOW HOW MUCH YOU ARE EATING. I know I know, this flies in the face of the Paleo (no need to measure) mentality but despite my making the Paleo switch I’m still an advocate of taking into consideration the calories in vs. calories out old school mentality. You need to know what your daily calories should be and if you’re hitting that mark (or close to). You don’t need to be a calorie zealot, within range is perfect, but for most of us, we GROSSLY underestimate the amount of calories we are consuming a day. Research has shown that most people grossly underestimate how much they are eating, sometimes by up to 50 percent! There are a number of ways you can track what you are eating, but whatever system you use the key is consistency and accuracy. I simply write it down in a food log which I made customized to my own needs (on my computer), but there are DOZENS of nutrition journals out there; both online and physical bound journals for writing down your daily intake.

4. SAY GOODBYE TO LIQUID CALORIES. This is the cold hard truth, most beverages out there in WaWa coolers and on grocery store shelves are chock-full of sugar, additives and other gross disgusting carbohydrate and calories.  In fact a recent study L done on 810 male/female subjects from Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Durham, and Portland found that liquid calorie intake had a stronger impact on weight than solid calorie intake. The results are going to be published in the April 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical NutritionNow when I say GOODBYE to liquid calories, I also mean RELYING on liquid meal replacements as well. Stop with the grab and go protein drinks, the store shelf smoothies, ALL OF IT. Say goodbye. Goodbye to sodas, fruit juices and other forms of pre-made drinks. Liquid calories do not satiate as much as whole foods, nor are they as nutrient dense and satisfying. Void of fiber, one of natures built in “over-eating” defense mechanisms, its easy to over-consume when you’re consuming liquid calories. Cut them out, even if they’re PALEO friendly. Look to whole, natural, SOLID foods to sustain you!

5. MAKE YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE. All of us, even the BEST of us, need support in our fitness endeavors. We live in a society that makes it HARD to be healthy…that’s a fact. Announcing that you’re making a change to those around you and inviting them to be a support system for you can make a WORLD of difference in your success. If you don’t think you’ll get the support you need from friends and family, extend your radar. Reach out for a coach or nutritionist. Maybe a personal trainer a few times a week. Join an online forum; there are SEVERAL out there that are Paleo oriented! There are even more that are weight loss oriented!  Join one, join more then one, the more support you have the better! Having someone, or multiple someones to reach out to on rough days, to cheer you on when needed, and to offer motivation and inspiration can often times mean the difference between success or failure on a plan!

6. VARIETY IN YOUR WORKOUTS. As with food, variety in workouts is extremely beneficial. This is directly in line with the Paleo lifestyle.  For a high-impact workout that will kick up your metabolism in a short amount of time, try alternating cardio and resistance training in a circuit. For example, start with 5 minutes of cardio (treadmill, bike, elliptical) immediately followed by a dumbbell circuit of cleans, cleans and press, lunges, military presses and bent over rows, where each exercise is performed for eight repetitions. By using compound movements you’re recruitig total body co-operation for maximal burn.

7. EAT MORE FAT. Did you know that the Institute of Medicine recommends that a diet be made up of 35 percent fat? Turns out, high-fat foods like avocados and healthy oils can help you lose fat faster than other diet approaches. Fat from healthy sources such as lean animal fats, coconut oil and raw coconut (chalk full of MCT’s), seeds, avocados and healthy oils are EXTREMLY beneficial in improving body composition and stimulating weight loss. Just remember that peanuts are a legume NOT a fat and peanut butter is NOT Paleo. Cut it out. Look for fats with good balances of Omega 3′s. Keep in mind if you’re REALLY trying to lose a ton of weight that nuts should be limited to no more then 4 ounces a day as they can hinger your progress. However if you’re already lean, you can eat more nuts especially walnuts which have a favorable omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Macadamias, Pecans, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds are great. Olives and avocados are good too. Also look for olive oil, walnut, and flaxseed oil. It is my choice not to eat any nuts.  For one, I want to lose weight and I have found nuts to work against me.  For more information on this, read my post, “Are You Nuts…

8. EAT MORE PROTEIN. Protein helps you maintain lean body mass (muscle, not fat), and increases the thermic effect of your diet. In order for your body to GET energy from the food you eat, it must expend some of its OWN energy. This phenomenon is called dietary induced thermogenesis (D.I.T) and protein has a higher DIT then body carbohydrates OR fat.  This can subtly contribute to the “calories out” side of the energy equation. As a bonus, eating protein keeps you fuller longer, and researchers have shown that it can reduce how much you eat per day by hundreds of calories. Look for healthy, lean protein sources; farm raised, cage free, grass fed if possible. Those types of meat have healthy ratios of protein to fat, such as 80/20. Look for skinless turkey breast, shrimp, lean pork tenderloin, lean beef tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, sirloin, lean ground turkey or ground beef, Omega 3 eggs, egg whites, cod, halibut, haddock, salmon, tuna (in moderation due to mercury), bison, venison, etc….

9. BECOME A HEAVY DRINKER. No I’m not talking about alcohol. While there’s nothing magical about water, the process of consuming lots of liquid can trick you into feeling less hungry. What’s more, when you’re dehydrated you burn 2 percent fewer calories per day, says University of Utah researchers. So if you struggle to control your appetite, drink up before your meal. Then drink some more. You’ll be more likely to fight off fat. Adequate water intake also aids in digestion and in the absorption of nutrients. It helps your body to flush and dispel waste and toxins and it lubricates joints and muscles for exercise.

10. TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING. Intermittent fasting is considered one of the more controversial eating habits. Intermittent fasting combines long breaks from eating (12 to16 hours) with a shorter feeding period (8 to10 hours), or fasting for 24 hours once per week. While the behaviors might seem extreme, research indicates that this method not only is linked to healthy weight loss, but also preserves muscle mass.

Well, I’m really not happy about my weigh-in this morning.  I went from 216.3 to 218!  That is almost 2 pounds in one day…in the wrong direction!  And if you are wondering, no I did not eat anything that wasn’t Paleo.  My only thought is that I had too much salt in my meals yesterday.  I don’t think I had 2 pounds worth…but that is the only thing I can think of.  Here’s is hoping that my body is gearing up for a big weight loss over the next few days. Urghhhhhhh!

Mark-Before-and-After-070613It’s another milestone to celebrate.  I have just made it past 60 days on a Paleo diet and I’m down a total of 35.5 pounds!  I updated my pictures and I can really see the changes now…much more than before…especially in my profile.

Let me continue this posting with some Q&A:

How was the second 30 days?  Did you have any new challenges?

The second 30 days was great.  I didn’t take a break after the first 30 days.  I just went right into the next month.  My weight loss did slow down, but my losses were somewhat consistent.  I think I really found my groove in days 31 to 60.  I came to realize what foods I really liked (grapefruit) and what foods I didn’t really care for much (fennel root).  I experimented less with recipes in my second round.  I repeated a few that I really like and that my body seemed to like in terms of responsive weight loss.

The only real challenge was keeping up with my food journaling / tracking…but not for any reason you might think.  I had trouble writing down what I ate because what I ate was pretty much always the same…well, it was always the same in terms of variety of what I consumed in the Paleo realm.  I really did eat 100% Paleo.  When I say I was perfect, I mean I was perfect…not even a sugary breath mint!  I think if I was 80% Paleo, I would have tracked my food to see how my body was reacting to certain foods.  However, I stayed consistent and just took notice of how my body was reacting to clean eating and weight loss.

Any significant changes to your body in this round?

Yes, a few.  Something I’ve noticed is that my posture has become much improved.  I have always tried to have good posture, but that becomes more difficult when you are carrying extra weight at your core.  A few people have mentioned that I look taller…lol.  Another significant change is that my sleep has just been stellar.  I haven’t had one sleepless night since I changed my diet.  As you know, you can’t cheat sleep.  A sleepless night means a weary and less productive day.  Getting great sleep has helped me with focus and productivity.  That alone is such a big win.

How have you been doing with your exercise regime?

I’ve been good but I could have been better.  To my credit, I have been exercising 5-6 times a week (spin class and walk/sprints).  That is huge and a great thing.  You can never underestimate the value of any exercise.  What I have been lacking is a commitment to weight resistance training.  I started to get on track with my friend and business partner Michael, but our schedules keep conflicting.  I am on track to work with him this week and I have several appointments lined up for the future, so I hope that this will kick-start my desired exercise plan.  To really lose body fat you need to build muscle.  Cardio will only get you so far.  Lean muscle equates to a lean body.

Are you going to do another 30 day challenge?

Yes, but no.  I can’t say I’m going to do another 30 day challenge because I plan on maintaining this Paleo lifestyle, in some capacity, for my the rest of my life.  Will I always be at 100%?  I’m not sure…hopefully.  I’ll take it day by day.  Each day I wake up and recommit to my pledge to living a healthy lifestyle.  In years gone past, I have tried various diets which did get weight off and allowed me to gain muscle, but I always struggled with hunger.  This Paleo lifestyle is the first way of eating that has completely erased my overpowering appetite and allow the weight to just fall off.

What’s next?

I will continue to post about my weight loss on this blog and share my journey with you.  I do post my weight everyday no matter what.  In that way, I am posting daily.  I would love to hear what YOU want me to write about.  Please send me an email or post a response here to let me know what topics you would like me to discuss or share.  If you have any questions, I will gladly answer them.  Just ask.

That’s it for now, I’m going to go enjoy this beautiful day and go take a long walk in the sunshine.  Okay, here I go now…

It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.

~Harvey Milk

It takes no compromising…

This post was inspired by Michelle

Sometimes we all need help.  We all know deep inside when our spirit might be bruised, or energy extremely low, and it seems difficult to keep our head in the game of “taking care of self.”  The problem is never the needing of help, it’s the not asking for it that becomes the problem.  Why don’t we ask for help?  Hmmmmm, I’m having to believe that the answers to that question could be varied and plentiful.  Generally, I would have to say that we don’t ask for help for one of these three reasons:

  1. We’re afraid of looking weak or vulnerable.
  2. We’re convinced we should be able to solve our own issues.
  3. We don’t even know what’s really wrong, so we don’t bother exploring the issue.

As I said, there could be many reasons, but I do think that these are the big three.  I generally fall into reason “2.”  I usually think that I have the answer to my problems–even if I’m wading in the dysfunction of producing no positive results–I’ll keep telling myself that I will “get it” eventually.  In other words, my perceive own experience being enough and I don’t need to seek the advice of others to help me find a solution.  Nine out of ten times this might be true for most of us, but there are those times when reaching out to others is the definitive answer.  But why?  Why is reaching out for help, at times, important?  There are two important reasons:

helping_hand(1) We define and understand who we are in the world through dialogue and discussion.  There’s a very true statement we all have uttered at least once or twice in our lives.  The statement is, “I just needed to talk it out.”  Talking it out is key in becoming self-aware of our situation and understanding if we have become cause in the matter.  Somehow talking out loud about what’s going on inside you with another person becomes much more productive than working it out in our own head.  To that extent, journaling, a form of talking it out on paper, has always been, for many, an amazing way for discovery and self-actualization.  Talking it out helps us see what is really going on.  It assists us in helping us distinguish that facts of the matter versus the stories we’ve made up about what happened.  When we keep all of our concerns, fears and frustrations inside, they ramble through our brain in non-linear form.  We can go from sad to mad without any logical connection.  The mind is where emotion and fact become fused and indistinguishable from one another.  Talking it out help us to make sense of our own thoughts.  Others can offers us feedback and ask us questions that place our experiences in perspective.  We  are social creatures who define ourselves in relationship to others and the specific roles we play in their lives.

(2) Inner strength developes from the synergistic and regenerative nature of assistance.  Did you know that we all have something in common with a hybrid car?  Well, we do.  Humans have a kind of regenerative breaking.  What is regenerative breaking?  Here is a standard definition:

regenerative brake is an energy recovery mechanism which slows a vehicle or object down by converting its kinetic energy into another form, which can be either used immediately or stored until needed. This contrasts with conventional braking systems, where the excess kinetic energy is converted to heat by friction in the brake linings and therefore wasted.

So in simple terms, when you put on the brakes, the energy you use to stop is converted back into energy to move you forward. Humans have regenerative breaking too.  When we take the time and put on the breaks to slow down and ask for help, that energy converts back into energy we will use later to power our transformation forward. Just look at it this way, when you slam on the breaks because you are going in the wrong direction, the energy you use to stop is waiting for you to power up your moving forward in the right direction.

We all need help at sometime.  Asking for help and receiving help is an extremely powerful experience.  It’s quite instinctive for us to want to help others and to ask others for help.  What gets in the way are the conversations in our head…the ones we make up…about what asking for help means.  Asking for help is simply asking for help.  Period.  It encourages your own self-growth and validates both parties in their unique abilities to contribute to society.

Big picture:  Ask for help when you need it.  It’s a WIN WIN for everyone.

Fashion Forward…

June 13, 2013 — Leave a comment
My pants are getting very loose!

My pants are getting very loose!

I’m currently in that awkward stage where my clothes are just a little too big but the next size down is just a little too tight.  I am currently wearing a 38 waist pant.  I’m actually closer to a 36 waist now, but it is just a bit too snug for my comfort.  I’m pretty confident that by the end of the month I may be fitting to my 36s.  I stored them all away knowing that I would get back into them.  Um, that was over two years ago!  The truth is that my normal waist is a 32.  Somewhere in a storage box I have my 32s, 34s and 36s.  I shouldn’t have to go buying clothes until some time in the near future.  I say I shouldn’t have too, but I will…like I did yesterday.  In all fairness to me, I had a 30% off coupon for Kohl’s that expired to today, so I had to go shopping.  Hey, 30% off is a big deal.  It would almost be a sin not to take advantage of it. Right?

My closet is an ocean of dark colors heavily weighted with black.

My closet is an ocean of dark colors heavily weighted with black.

So I went to Khol’s and bought a few things.  A few pairs of shorts and a couple of colorful T-shirts.  Well, colorful for me that is.  I admit, I’m a “black” man.  Thin or fat, I have always liked wearing the color black.  Black is always in fashion and it always leans towards the air of dressy to matter what the cut.  My closet is an ocean of dark colors heavily weighted with black.  Anyway, back to shopping…I looked around and I found my eye being drawn to some colors…like a muted salmon color.  Okay other guys would say orange, but I’m a graphic designer here folks…correct color identification is my life!  So I bought the “orange” T-shirt and another royal blue one.  I would have never bought these colors at 250 pounds.  I would have definitely felt like a Macy’s day float.  I know some of you know what I’m talking about.  The last thing an overweight person wants to do is draw attention to themselves.  I’m going to try to add more color to my wardrobe.  I know I wear too much black when friends comment enthusiastically that I’m wearing anything of a remote color.  I saw a very close friend the other day.  I was wearing a sky blue shirt.  She was in awe and repeatedly told me how good I looked in that color.  The underlying message?  “Hey Mark, you’re not  Johnny Cash nor a 75 year-old grieving widow.  Let’s lighten it up at bit shall we?!”  Message heard and noted.

In terms of my diet and weight loss, things are still going steady and strong.  I’m still eating 100% Paleo and I can’t say that I have had any glitches along the way.  I’m averaging 6 days of exercise in a week.  Yesterday I did Spin in the morning, went for a walk/sprint in the afternoon and took a walk after dinner.  I’m finding it slightly harder to sit still.  After a somewhat early dinner last night, I couldn’t resolve the fact that I would be relaxing on the couch until bed.  I just didn’t want to sit down after eating so I went for a walk.  I felt better after a 30 minute stroll around the neighborhood.  It just goes to show you, a little exercise can work wonders.

My first 30-day challenge has been over for just about two days now.  However, my daily routine has not changed.  For all intents and purposes, I’m continuing on with the challenge.  As you can see to the top right of this blog (as of 6-6-13) I’m keeping it going with another 30-day challenge.  This time I’m on my own.  There won’t be any coach and there won’t be any other people in the same Paleo boat as me.  It’s not scary at all…but it is rather quiet.  I don’t know why it seems quiet, but it does.

Do you know what’s not quiet?  Other people’s opinions about me taking on a Paleo diet challenge, or for that matter, my approach to getting healthy.  I’m lucky.  For the most part people have been amazingly supportive.  Friends and acquaintances have generally been waiving their banners of “GO MARK!” along my virtual route towards good health.  I know some people have been worried, quietly, behind closed doors about my somewhat rapid weight gain and my inability to get it off in the last two-and-a-half years.  They haven’t known what to say to me or they worried I’m going to get upset and hurt my feelings.  At least for me, this is untrue.  If you care about me, say something.  Don’t pretend you don’t see the elephant in the room (oh, maybe not a good weight loss analogy) But again, that’s me.

what_people_thinkAlthough I welcome loving encouragement towards health, I don’t give any energy to those who want to criticize and judge me.  I learned some time ago that people’s judgements and criticisms have nothing to do with me.  Their ideas, concepts, and view of the situation are all based on their experiences and how they see the world.  It’s their past and their interpretation of that past which moves them to making a judgement or criticism in the present–towards me or anyone else in their life.  I don’t own any part of that.  I’ve been a longtime believer of what other people think of me is none of my damn business!

I would dare to say that many people are similar to me when it comes to support.  I don’t require the people in my life to set off fireworks and hire a marching band for every accomplishment I make along the way, but I do need to be noticed.  I do need to know that someone is paying attention and they care enough to say “good job” once in a while.  It gets down to being validated; we all need it in some complicity.  What I don’t need is other people’s own self-doubt and insecurities wrapped up in a trojan horse named concern.  In other words, don’t come to me with concerns for my wellbeing when in actuality you are just projecting your own fears and anxiety.  We all know people like that.

It’s clear when someone who is really concerned for you expresses their feelings.  You feel good and uplifted.  You gain strength and you feel supported.  Their words aren’t laced with critical euphemisms.  Their comments are usually reinforcing their commitment to you.  Sometimes the most supportive sentence that packs the most positive effect is a simple “I love you.”

30-DAY-PICTURES

The challenge is over!  How did I do?  Drum roll please…I dropped a total of 22.8 pounds in 30 days!  Wow!  It just feels amazing.  I could feel that I lost weight in my face and core, but it became very apparent from the before and after pictures.  I have to say I’m so thankful to Christine, Kevin and Michael for supporting me in this challenge.  It’s been a great experience.

The best part?  I’m going to keep going and going.  Today begins a whole new 30-Day challenge for me!  My goal is to drop another 10 pounds in June.  I will continue to share more recipes and let you in on how I’m doing, in detail, with my exercise program.  I promise that if I feel it or think it, I’ll put it down in my blog.  Okay, here I go now…

Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.

Your beliefs…