On Eating Healthier and Exercising Regularly

Despite the title of this blog, I’m actually not overweight. I’m 6 feet tall and weigh 172 pounds, well within the normal range for a nearly 47-year-old man. What I am not is in shape.

I was once. Actually, I was multiple times throughout my life. When I was in my early 20’s, for example, I was a competitive martial artist. Not only did I have visible abs, I was flexible enough to do Jan-Claude Van Damme like splits. That all ended with a severe separation of my left shoulder.

Shortly thereafter, given I could no longer to do the punches, throws, and rolls of my favored fighting style, I took up marathon running. Running over 100 miles weekly ensured that I kept my six-pack while still eating 4,500 calories daily. That all ended with the severe damage to my knees and back. In fact, as a result of the latter, I learned that I suffer from a degenerative disorder that is slowly causing my vertebrae to crumble. A decade and two discectomies later I am an inch-and-a-half shorter than I was in college.

Since then, my weight level has fluctuated widely. At my heaviest, I weighed nearly 200 pounds. At my lightest, shortly after my recent hospitalization, I was a mere 160 pounds. My healthiest was actually right after my wedding, the result of six months of intense workouts and careful eating, although I was in pretty decent shape until my recent bout with peritonitis kept me out of the gym for over three months.

My problem, as you might guess, is not motivation. My problem is time and the fact that I tend to eat like a four-year-old. Savory snacks, in particular, are my downfall and I am still struggling with the temptations of all the chips, crackers, and other salty snacks that clutter our house following the holiday season.

So how to handle this? Starting tomorrow I will be back on the wagon and following a Whole30 diet plan. For anyone who has never heard of the Whole30 plan, it is pretty simple. You simply ditch all of the processed crappy that normally makes up the bulk of the modern American diet. Specifically, you focus on eating only fresh good-quality meats and vegetables while avoiding grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol. All of these prohibited foods, according to the theory behind the Whole 30, are linked to systemic inflammation, hormonal fluctuations, and imbalances in your microbiotic flora. That said, I usually continuing eating dairy as I am an not lactose intolerant and I come from an evolutionary background in which these sorts of foods made up a large part of the diet.

I’ve done this in the past and, while I rarely lose (and do not need to lose) a large amount of weight on the Whole30, I usually feel a hell of a lot better once I get over the initial sugar withdrawal. I also find that it is a cheaper way of eating, helping with some of my financial goals for this year. The only downside, as far as I can tell, is wasting all of the food we have in the house that is not Whole30-compliant.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll also be tracking and posting publicly all that I eat in the hopes that this will dissuade any cheating.

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