Lessons Learned

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206 on the left and 179.5 on the right!

I’ll be honest, I was so embarrassed after Vanessa’s pregnancy and when I first started working to get myself back into shape that I didn’t take any pictures. I know that seeing 213 on the scale was the catalyst for me to start this process. If you’d like to look back at some of the things I did to get the ball rolling, I explain it here.

When I saw that number I contacted Jim Eaton to help me develop a program that would help people get their rear in gear and make lasting changes to their nutritional habits.  This initial conversation turned into Evolve Your Eating, and this is a little bit about what I’ve learned over the past 4 months of being on point with my eating habits about 98% of the time.

I went really hard with my training, eating, working and dad-ing for those 4 months.  I know that I have a tendency to red line for too long and then I inevitably burn out and want to have nothing to do with whatever it is that caused the burnout, so I decided that I was going to take September “easy” so as to preemptively head off said burnout.

A little less of all the aforementioned categories (sans the dad part, I’ve still been going at that one with full force) in an attempt to find a happy balance with everything, not something I tend to be good at.

I took a couple weeks off of jiu-jitsu and am getting back into it now.  I’m back to lifting twice per week and I’ve still been walking and hiking quite a bit.

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My weight class was 181, so imagine my surprise when I saw this!

I have still been eating well. My default now for the most part is week 2, for those of you in the Evolve Your Eating group, you know what I’m referring to.  If you are unfamiliar with what this entails, participants are issued an approved food list weekly.  The first week eliminates some commonly know food irritants but still allows a nice amount of leeway so as to get people acclimated to making these changes.

Week 2 eliminates some more foods that tend to not agree with people and then week 3 gets even more specific in terms of the approved food list.  Week 4 is designed to teach people how to systematically test foods as they reintroduce them back into their diet.  By doing it in this manner, you will be able to see what foods negatively impact you.  Phew, now that we’ve got that cleared up, we can move on!

I have experimented with some things this month (I was almost entirely compliant to the program the prior 4 months) and as such am beginning to learn a few things that I thought I would share.

Dairy: I used to ingest a TON of dairy.  A gallon of milk/day, cheese on everything, mounds of sour cream, mmmmm.  I have had next to none for the past 4 months and I tried some full fat Greek yogurt the other day. Surprisingly I didn’t notice any negative side effects…until a day or 2 later. My skin has been pretty much clear the past few months and I suddenly noticed that I broke out a bit the last couple of days. Seems unlikely to be a coincidence as nothing else has changed.  I’m going to move forward with very minimal dairy nonetheless.

Gluten: My stomach was a disaster prior to beginning this program.gluten-free I was taking super duper probiotics that Jim recommended to help manage it, and within 3 days of beginning the program it was smooth sailing and I no longer needed the pills. I’ve only had a couple of things containing gluten over the past week or so and noticed that soon after I got heartburn; something I haven’t had in months prior. My GI system hasn’t been impacted with the small amounts I’ve had, but the heartburn is a big red flag for me.  Gluten containing foods will be a no-go for me indefinitely.

Sugar: Like many others have realized, sugar gives me a RAGING headache without fail. It’s like I’m hungover and is truly not worth the misery to me. This is the biggest and most blatant issue that I’ve come across. I can no longer eat sugar or I will pay dearly.

Chocolate: After months of abstaining, I began snacking on some dark chocolate labor day weekend. Bad move. By Monday I wanted chocolate for breakfast. No joke. Months of no cravings and in 3 days I was addicted again. As diligent as I am, I still can’t overcome that one. Happy to say that I’m 3 or 4 days chocolate free again! I’m going to whip up some more avocado pudding to satisfy my taste buds.

Booze: I haven’t been a big drinker for years now so this has been quite easy for me. I can literally count the number of drinks I’ve had in 4+ months on one hand. This is a huge area that many people will see tremendous value if they are able to decrease their alcohol consumption.  Keep in mind that booze tends to be mostly sugar dipped in poison, and you can probably see how your body will function better if you limit your intake.

Caffeine: I thought that this was going to be brutal, but it has been surprisingly easy (granted I was 1-3coffee cups/day, so not a huge consumer). Obviously some of the people participating in the group were physically addicted as demonstrated by the 3 or 4 days of headaches, but I had no issues and no real cravings. I’ve had a couple coffees over the months and was easily able to refrain again immediately. It was a psychological addition for me as opposed to a physiological one, and I feel like it probably is for many others as well.  Even working to decrease your caffeine intake will pay dividends over the long term.

Portions: As I was dropping all of the weight I decreased my portion sizes drastically and have since slightly increased them again, but still nowhere near as much as they were previously. Even when I was training super hard and reducing my intake I never really felt tired or deprived.  See the FAT section below for more info on this.

Frequency: I used to have to eat ALL THE TIME or I’d crash. Now I can eat 3 times in a non stop 16 hour day with no problem. I tend to not eat my first meal until 10:30 or later and that made an big difference in how much I ate during the day.  This would have been blasphemy to my in the past as I ALWAYS smashed a huge breakfast first thing, but I’ve really been enjoying pushing that first meal back to later in the day.

Fat: This is a huge factor in much of this, but especially Selection of healthy fat sourcesthe last 2 topics. By eating more fat I felt more satiated for much longer than I did when addicted to carbs. Additionally, once I became fat adapted and my body got used to using it as my primary fuel, everything changed for the better. I felt that it was week 7 or 8 of being DILIGENT that the magic really started to happen, so hang in there and stick to the program.

Weight: I started at 213 and weighed in for my tournament at 179.5, a 34.5 pound loss in about 4 months. I’m happy to report that even with easing up a bit this month I have been hovering between 182 and 185 with 184 showing this morning.

Hopefully this will be helpful for you in some way.  If you would like to learn how you can take control of your eating habits once and for all, please visit the Evolve Your Eating and feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

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