My Story

My story is about the confluence of diet, genetics and genetic expression - but I state the obvious, all of our stories are the same in this regard.  My blog serves two purposes.  One, it's a vessel for my continued learning, and two, it's an attempt to make information available to the less obsessed learner.  I like to think this blog benefits someone that knows they need to know more, but perhaps has bigger fish to fry in their lives at this point.

In short, I grew up ignorant about food.  I didn't know for sure when I was eating carbs and when I wasn't, or why I should care.  My only dietary challenge until I was 19 or 20 was to solve the problem of being 74 inches tall and skinny (185 as a senior in high school) whilst wanting to play football. Looking back now at my dietary choices, I can see other issues which I didn't recognize as dietary - poor attention span, tendency to feel cold when others didn't, sub-optimal energy levels, appetite spikes and other clues that I was not well fueled.  I ate cereal most mornings, school lunch most days and a variety of good dishes that my mom served our family at night.

My genetic heritage was mixed - my dad had to work to stay at a desirable body weight for his whole life.  My mom could 'eat anything she wanted to' until she was in her thirties.  My beloved sister was more like my dad - from 13 or so onward, it was a tough battle that culminated in gastric bypass.  I never knew my brother to worry about diet or weight at all until he was in his mid to late thirties.  I finally cracked 200 pounds when I was 19, and for the first time had to actually think about losing weight.

I had a go at getting magazine cover abs when I was 23 or so, and did it, reaching 185 pounds with veins busting out all over; I was at or below 8% body fat and it was essentially effortless, but it did not last.

After I entered Naval service in 1989, my weight always stayed in a narrow range of 200 to 205 pounds until I reached age 32.  At that point, I was eating a very low fat, high fiber, high carb diet, and I was training quite a lot.  Three to four times per week, I did some form of cardio and used weights for strength training.  I was also working in a karate dojo three to four times a week, for at least an hour.  My weight reached 216, but the turning point was when, after having to buy a set of uniform pants to fit my now 38 inch waist, those pants began to be too small!

Something had to change, and at that point in time a friend suggested I read "The Zone" by Barry Sears. My education in nutrition began in earnest as I found myself fascinated with the ideas Sears presented.

The results were remarkable - rapid, effortless weight loss, better quality sleep (and I'd always struggled with sleep quality), better times over 1 hour bike rides, and remarkable appetite control.  My sweet tooth no longer got the best of me.

However, I found that as a long term solution, the Zone wasn't a good fit for me.  I needed a simpler approach, one that did not require as much meal planning and preparation, one that was not as structured,  and one that I could follow while afloat on a Naval vessel, deployed with a squadron or aircrew to anywhere in the world, and one that I could use in a much more casual way.  I needed an approach that would work even when I wasn't intensely focused on what I ate.

More learning was required, and I've enjoyed the journey from there to where I am now.  While I've captured (and slightly modified) Coach Greg Glassman's distillation of the Paleo model - eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, and no sugar or wheat - what I've learned through an obsessive pursuit of the broadest understanding I could get is that those words are a brilliant distillation of a significant amount of information.

When I deployed to Iraq in 2006, my weight rocketed up from 210 to 225, the heaviest I had ever been, despite the fact that I walked a minimum of 7 kilometers per day, and ran or lifted weights daily.  The increase in belly fat was so palpable that I could feel it pressing on me when I ran, which I absolutely hated.  I got serious about carb reduction and started CrossFitting in January, 2007, and have maintained my weight below 210, and approximately 13% body fat, since then.  My waist measurement decreased from 39 to 36 inches.  My weight now is 200, with a 35.25 inch waist (July 2012 through June 2012).  All the numbers on a fasting lipid profile look like they should; low triglycerides, high HDL and a good fasting glucose.  I sleep well enough, perform well enough, and sustain a relatively demanding lifestyle parenting four children, whilst being pampered by my lovely spouse and sustaining my career.

I see many people - fellow Naval Officers and the folks we work and live with - who are walking  in the shoes I walked in when I was 32 years old: doing everything I thought was right but still getting fatter and less healthy every day.  What excites and challenges me now is learning how to help those folks succeed in spite of the confusing nutrition and fitness information we must slog through to feel good and live well.

Call me and we'll work to build the nutritional foundation that will enable your best life!!