Category: Low Testosterone

KETO UPDATE: One Month In

I’ve meant to post this earlier this week. But, thanks to not feeling too hot after my race this past weekend and working on that race recap, I’ve taken my time to get to get to it. But, that’s okay, it’s still relevant.

The past month has gone by pretty quickly — it’s hard to believe that I am a month into my 36th year. Almost as hard as it is to believe that I am 36. I mean, adults are 36. I have actually really loved my thirties, so I’m not complaining too much. It’s hard to believe sometimes how fast time goes.

I’ve been following a keto diet now for a month and I feel like I have finally gotten the hang of it. The first couple of weeks were kinda stumbling and bumbling while faking it until I got it. But, I think I got it?

I’m down -21.8 in the first month. Sometimes that I am, quite frankly, surprised and happy about. My body has really responded to the diet, which is something that hasn’t happened a lot in the past 2-3 years. It’s giving me hope that I’ll get where I want to be physically for my 100 mile run and future fitness goals.

It’s been hard dealing with my Hashimoto’s Disease, but this diet really seems to minimize many of the affects to my body. I have noticed a jump in my energy, attitude and hunger cravings. I’ve found a groove the past week, week and a half, that I haven’t felt in quite a while. I’m happy.

I know I have quite a bit of work still cut out for me. And, that’s fine — fine and fun. I am exercising 4-5 times a week, which includes a weight training class three times a week along with 2-3 runs during the week. This is all on top of my daily physical therapy for my foot — which really isn’t a workout — but, it is. I count it.

The changes that I have seen aren’t just with my energy levels, but I’ve seen changes physically as well. I am noticing the change in how my clothes are fitting and looking in the mirror. It’s a great feeling when you notice your pants slipping a bit off your waist.

I have also noticed the change in my appetite. I have included intermittent fasting into my diet, so I don’t eat usually until 11am to noon depending on the day and then eat my meals within about six hours of that first meal. I seriously don’t have any major cravings — which has surprised me. But, when you’re on spot with your fat — you shouldn’t be craving much or anything, especially sugary.

I am excited to see what this next month will hold for me. I don’t expect to lose another 22 lbs., but I’d love to lose another 10lbs. to put me over 30 lbs. lost since I started this diet. That’d be amazing, because I was hoping just to lose 30 lbs. in the 90 days I was planning on following the diet. I am well on my way to that goal.

I do have a few things to figure out about this diet, mainly about what I am going to do with it after the 90 days. I will be in Greece for a couple weeks in November and I am not planning on doing a strict keto diet while there — it’d really be impossible, especially since I am going back to the “homeland” and spending time with family there.

But, I want to continue to follow the keto lifestyle after my return. I am sure I’ll put on a little weight. But, I want to stick to it throughout the holidays. I am sure I will make a few adjustments here and there, but I have a couple of months to do my homework on that. But, I need to have it on my mind now as not to blind slide myself when I get back from Greece.

Anyways, here are my numbers along with my workout routine that I’ve been following for the past month …

START: 282.2 lbs. (8/16/17)
CURRENT: 258.4 lbs. (9/15/17)
OVERALL LOST: -23.8 lbs.

MONTH #1 START: 282.2 lbs.
MONTH #1 LOST: -23.8 lbs.

MONTH #2 START: 258.4 lbs.
MONTH #2 LOST: 0.0 lbs.

MONTH #3 START: 0.0 lbs.
MONTH #3 LOST: 0.0 lbs.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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Experiencing the “Keto Krash” …

Remember how, when I started this diet, I said that I didn’t know what I was doing? Yeaaaaaah — last Saturday — I had NO idea what I was doing. While running the Run Elevated Half Marathon down Little Cottonwood here in Salt Lake, I totally crashed.

Not the kind of crash where you fall down scrape your knees and whatnot, but physically, mentally and emotionally — CRASHED. It took me almost over a half hour to finish the last miles. It was bad.

But, luckily for you, I am alive and able to blog about my experience. Not to mention to share a few things I learned from my experience, that I will be doing differently this weekend at the Nebo Half.

So let’s start off by identifying what I did wrong …

  • I didn’t fuel properly for this phase of my diet. I focused on drinking electrolytes the night before and morning of the race, but that wasn’t enough. I mainly fueled with fats and protein.
  • I don’t think I ate enough food in the morning — I ate some turkey and cheese, some hardboiled eggs, dill pickles and couple slices of pork I cooked the night before. That seems like quite a bit of food, but it wasn’t and I felt that fairly early in my race.
  • I ate two hardboiled eggs a half hour before gun time. This didn’t settle well on my stomach and gave me some unpleasant gas. I felt sorry for the downwinders. It was a bad decision all around for me.
  • I didn’t properly refuel with electrolytes during the race. I started taking sips of Gatorade, but to avoid the extra sugar I focused on hydrating with more water. It’s no wonder I crashed at Mile 11 with this game plan.
  • And, lastly, I didn’t research enough of what I should have done for the half having just started this diet.

Here’s what I probably should have done …

  • I should have slightly spiked my carbs before the race — like a half banana, half an orange or some kind of carb-filled fruit. Nothing processed, but a whole food.
  • I should have run with my applesauce packets I am accustomed to running with lately. Each packet has about 13 grams of carbs and if I sipped this throughout the run it would have helped me a lot in the middle of the run.
  • I should have packed my own Powerade Zero to drink throughout the run. If I was so worried about the sugar — there’s an easy solution to that problem.
  • I should have read and researched more — and not been so stubborn in not allowing myself to eat a few extra carbs right before and during the run.

And, finally, here’s what I am planning on doing differently this weekend during the Nebo Half …

  • I am going to read more about what I should doing to avoid a crash during a run while on a keto diet. That’s a must. I need to avoid that as my #1 goal for this weekend’s race.
  • I am going to eat a half banana about 10-15 minutes before the race — just to give myself the jump of energy.
  • I am going to run with two applesauce packets. I am going to sip from one as long as I need to, keeping the second as a backup plan.
  • I am going to bring my own Powerade Zero — either on my waste or on a hydration pack. I haven’t decided yet — I kinda hate both — so it might be a game time decision which one I go with. But, it might be the backpack, belts make me feel weird.
  • I am not going to eat hardboiled eggs before my run, but I will load up some peanut butter, meat and cheese the morning of the race. I need more calories — lots more. But, not too much where it’ll make me sick.

I think these are good assessments and good directives. I’d like to say that I don’t need the half banana or applesauce, but I feel like right now I do. Plus, it’s unprocessed and not too carb loaded. I hope to ween myself off it completely within the next month.

But, we’ll see?

I just need to listen to my body and take the cues it’s giving me so I don’t have a repeat of Saturday. That’s not going to happen again.


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It’s time to bet big … on myself

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”

Beyoncé

When I started running, I had no idea where I was going. I started because I wanted to lose weight and I knew it would help me in that goal. But, beyond that, I had no idea where it was taking me?

Less than a year into my weight-loss journey my trainer, Kevin, challenged me to run a 5K in the midst of a plateau. He gave it to me as a challenge to work towards. So, I put in the work and ran my first 5K. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fast. But, I did it.

But, then something happened. I looked at my results and said — “I can do better.” So, I set out to train for another 5K. One that I could run that would be faster and much, much prettier. And, I did.

So, I just kept running trying to improve. This lead not just in the desire to run faster, but longer. Soon, I had my eye on a 10K which naturally lead to a half marathon.

Training for my first half marathon — I thought THIS would be it. This is the crowning achievement of my running career. The thought of running any further — especially a marathon — was unfathomable. I wasn’t a REAL runner, so I couldn’t possibly do that.

Well, after I ran my first half marathon in July 2011, I ran another and another and another. I got faster and actually enjoyed running 13.1 miles — then I started entertaining the thought of doubling that mileage.

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And, before I knew it I was registered for a marathon. A FREAKING MARATHON! That race distance that only REAL runners run.

Once again, I thought this would be my crowning achievement in running. When I crossed the finish line I could cross off the accomplishment on my bucket list and go back running half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. But, then something happened — I signed up for more marathons. And, before I knew it, I had run a total of three marathons by the end of the year.

By this time I had a goal to reach 180 races by age 40. So, I kept training and running. Along the way, not only did I enjoy the accomplishment of racing, but I made countless friends and created many enduring friendships. Running was changing my life in nearly every faucet of my life.

But, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It’s been quite tough at times, actually. Whether it was dealing with my Mom’s breast cancer, the death of close family members or battling my own health issues — the common denominator has always been — running.

Running wasn’t a way to escape reality, but a time I could deal with reality. Running gave me time to process the challenges. It gave me moments of reflection, motivation and inspiration. It was leading me where I wanted to go.

Nearly three years ago I started having problems with my thyroid once again. The health issues took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It was frustration being as active as I was — and feeling fatigued and slower. Not only that but I was slowly gaining weight after a years of maintenance.

But, I didn’t let (or want) those issues to stop me. They couldn’t stop me. I had a goal at hand. Plus, I knew if I stopped I would signaling the white flag of defeat — which I could never do.

So, I just kept running.

I was much slower. And, it took a harder toll on my body, especially in regards to my stamina. But, I was now one of the last runners to finish, but I kept going.

Around this time I looked for ways to keep me motivated. I knew just running wasn’t enough. I had to do something new — something that scare and motivate me all in one.

And, since I knew I wasn’t getting faster, I started looking at longer distances — ultra races. I knew a number of ultra runners who spent their weekends in Utah’s backyard and it always appealed to me. But, running anything longer than a marathon didn’t.

That lack of appeal eventually subsided and I found myself registered and committed to running a 50K. So, despite everything going on with my health — I trained for the 50K around a schedule of marathons and long runs. It wasn’t easy, but I did what I needed to do to prepare myself for the race.

When race day came I was lucky enough to run with some great friends that helped me get through those 30-something miles on Antelope Island. The last half of the race was spent trying to meet cut-off times, dodging stubborn bison and battling the dark after my headlamp died.

But, I made it. And, I earned the title of ultra runner.

The accomplishment felt like crowning accomplishment of my running journey. After spending over 10 hours running 30 miles of dirt trails — I couldn’t think of any reason why any sane person would do anything longer.

Then I remembered — I wasn’t sane.

Within a few months I got talked into running a 50 miler. I wish I could say it took a lot of convincing, but it didn’t. It was the first time I formally met Blu Robinson and Jed Jensen from Addict II Athlete and they casually talked about the 50 miler like a novice runner would about a 5K.

And, like any long distance race I’ve run, I found myself registered and committed to running the Pony Express Trail 50 Miler. The biggest selling point was that each runner was required to be assisted throughout the race. Meaning, I had a car stalking me — stocked full of fuel, water and food throughout the whole race. This basically translated to me that I wouldn’t die.

My training for the 50 miler was no joke. It was tough. I did a number of 20 milers, including one on a treadmill in the middle of the night. Not to mention a number of marathons specifically laid out to help prepare me for my 50 miler.

Once race day came I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I relied on my training and just focused on the goal at hand — getting to the finish line.

There were a lot of ups and downs — physically, emotionally and even spiritually. But, after nearly 17 and a half hours — I got to the finish line. I reached my goal — I ran a 50 mile race. I did something I felt at times nearly impossible, even just days before the race.

But, I made it.


“If you think you can — you can!”

Ronald Reagan

I really fell in love with the longer distances — for a number of reasons. Not only did I love the physical challenge, but I really learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about pain. Because that happens a lot during an ultra race.

I never cried as freely and openly as I did at mile 45 of my 50 miler. But, I learned how to process the pain I was feeling — and control it. Being able to manage and control pain is a remarkable feat and I believe a true test of one’s character. Ultra races were becoming great teachers to me.

Since that 50 miler, I have run a couple more ultra races. A couple weeks after that 50 miler I ran the Antelope Island 50K once again (cutting off nearly an hour on my time — mind you!), in February I ran 40 miles in 12 hours at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas and then there was my ill-fated Salt Flats 50K that I DNF’d last weekend. But, if I didn’t fall ill with the flu I would have tackled that beast!

My favorite ultra race so far has been the Jackpot Running Festival, I like the idea of a timed race on a looped course with the goal to see how many laps you can do within that time. Not only do you get an aid station every two miles or so, but you’re literally competing with no one else — but, yourself.

Jackpot has a number of timed races — a 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour race. They also had a 100 miler, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K, but most of the runners did one of the four timed courses. The winner of the 48 hour race managed over 210 miles.

Yeah, you read that right.

In fact there were nearly 30 runners who ran over 100 miles, including six runners who ran over 150 miles. Mind boggling numbers if you ask me.

I read all of these results as my legs were still recovering from my 40 mile run — and I couldn’t shake the feeling that “I could do this” from my conscience. Every time I dismissed the thought — it just came back stronger. Even when I reminded myself of the pain I experienced at mile 45 of my 50 miler — the feeling remained.

So, I did the only logical thing that came to mind — I signed up for the 48 hour race in 2018.

Yup.

I signed up to run my first 100 mile race.

Typing this makes it feel very surreal to me, even a couple months after doing so. I am running a 100 miles. The thought makes me want to pee my pants out of sheer terror and excitement all in one emotion.

I’ve kept my registration relatively private since February. I’ve told a couple of close friends and family members. Heck, this is the first that my parents are hearing of this news. It’s just been a lot to process and this is a HUGE goal and milestone for me.

I still have my doubts about my ability. And, I am sure others do too. Heck, my parents definitely do, because their fear of my running is that one day my legs will fall off.

But, I have to at least try. I have too.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I’ve journied so far from my first 5K — heck, from the couch itself — that I can’t stop myself now without trying. To borrow a phrase from a favorite song of mine, “If you never try you’ll never know, just what you’re worth.” (Fix You, Coldplay).

When I stepped on the scale back in 2009 to start my weight-loss journey, I started the journey accepting failure — and success. I didn’t know where my decision that day would lead me. I accepted the consequences to my decision to LIVE my life. And, it’s lead me here.

I don’t see this decision any different. I am accepting the possibility of failure with the determination of success. I don’t know what lays ahead for me in the next nine months — but I’m going to find out. I’ve got a training plan in the works that I fill will give me the chance of success come February.

The motto for the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival is “BET BIG. RUN LONGER” — it’s something that’s on their shirts and medals. And, it’s something that I took to heart during my run this past February — especially since I signed up for the 48 hour race.

I feel like I am betting big with this goal. I am betting big on myself. Because, this is a gamble. There’s no guarantee of success, but there’s also no guarantee of failure either. So, I’ve got to place my bet.

But, unlike casino gambling, I can control more variables to my advantage. I can control my effort. I can control my training. I can control my preparations — both physically and mentally. And, I can control the odds come race day. But, with a goal like this, it’s going to take much more than this — in essence, I am not just betting big on myself — I’m going all in.

So, all in it is!

As a reminder of this goal and the needed commitment and dedication I’ve been running with a poker chip on me since I registered for the race. Every run — training and race — I run with it on me. I’ve tucked it in my pocket, but I really should make a necklace out of it to keep it on me better.

But, it’s just this little $100 souvenir poker chip that reminds me of not just the 100 mile goal at hand, but the bet I’ve placed upon myself. I might be a cheesy little emblem, but in the three months that I’ve been running with it — it’s been my reminder to keep going, keep pushing and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t dare say that this will be my one and only 100 miler. I’ve learned from my past that’s just a temporary lie I tell myself on occasion. But, I don’t know? And, I’m not worried about. My focus is simply on the journey in front of me.

This is a journey of a thousand miles. I know it will get daunting at times and there will be doubts. There will always be doubts. But, I know if I just focus on that footstep in front of me, it will take closer to my goal and a place I once dreamt possible.

It’s just up to me to take that next step.


“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Stephen King

RACE #143: Emigration Canyon Half Marathon

Welp, I finally got the Emigration Canyon run I’ve been wanting since at least last week. And, I can’t be any more happier with my effort AND results. It’s been a good two years since I last ran down Emigration Canyon — well okay — 18 months-ish? Whenever the Haunted Half was in 2015? Anyways — I’ve needed a good Emigration Canyon run for QUITE A WHILE.

And, I got it this past weekend.

Canyon races here in Utah have a tendency to be seen as pure downhill courses. While that may be true in some canyons and for some races — this is a different kind of race. Sure, you get some AWESOME downhill, but you’ve got to earn it first. The first 4-4.5 miles of the race are pretty much all uphill. It’s kind of a beast.

I ran this race back in 2014 so I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to suck. I knew it was going to be tough. But, I knew if I endured it well and ran it smart, the rest of the race should be a fun brisk run down the canyon.

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Even with the daunting first 4.5 miles of the race, I felt I had it in me to do really well and get the sub-three time goal, I’ve been pining for the past couple of races. I just had to be smart, be patient and keep my goal in my mind during those first few miles.

I was still trying to figure out exactly how I was tackle the climb at the starting line. I knew I was going to have to employ some sort of run/walk method. If I tried to run those first few miles I would burn out before I got to the summit. So, I had to reserve some energy, because once I hit that summit I was planning on cruising down the canyon.

So, that’s what I did. Once the gun sounded, I started doing a two minute run/one minute walk. I did that for about the first mile or so and then I did a one minute run/one minute walk. After a while it went to a 30 second run and minute and a half walk. And, when the climb was a bit too steep, it went to a nice fast mall walk.

Basically by mile 3-4 my pace was kind of all over the place.

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It was hard to gauge where I should be putting my effort and where I should be holding back so I don’t tank my later miles. So, I just kind of played if by ear and tried just listening to my body. I reached the summit (mile 4.5-ish) in about an hour and five minutes (14:27 min/mile). I didn’t know how I felt about it, but in retrospect, I was okay with the pace. Especially, considering the last 8.5 miles were much faster (.12:35 min/mile).

But, once I hit the aid station at the top of the summit, I just hit cruise control and immediately felt right at home. I was on familiar terrain. I immediately passed a couple of runners. I was a bit worried I was going out too fast — and while I thought about it, I didn’t really care. I figured my 4.5 mile warm up was enough and I’d just listen to my body the rest of the way.

Which is what I did.

I walked the aid stations and ran most of the way. There were a couple spots around miles 11 and 12 that I had to walk, but I tried to focus on my goal at hand — and that was to sub-three the race. So I pushed myself.

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The last mile was really tough on me. I was just gassed. And, part of that — meaning all — was because of fueling. I brought some Clif Bloks with me, but I figured I’d be fine with the water and Gatorade at the aid stations. The only problem was — the aid stations had only water. This threw me off, especially as we ran out of the canyon and into the warmer valley. My body needed those electrolytes.

I was worried about depletion so that is why I slowed down a bit those last couple of miles. And, because, I just didn’t have much else to give. As I turned toward the home stretch I kind of chuckled of the thought of someone carrying me across the finish line like those two runners did to the one runner in Philadelphia a couple weekends ago. But, I carried myself across the finish line and double pumped my fist when I saw the clock read 2:52:21.

I did it. I reached my goal.

And, not only did I reach my goal, but I also placed AGAIN! I was third in the Clydesdale Division! This was the second time in the past two races that I placed! This made the effort and result that much sweeter.

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As much as I am happy with the results, I know it’s just the beginning of what I want to do with my running and training. As much as I’d love to get back to my 2:08 hour PR days, now isn’t that season. I have a few ultras I am planning on running this year and ultrarunning doesn’t mix with half marathon speed training. At least for me.

But, I want to consistently get back to my 2:25-2:35 race times and I feel like I can do that with my ultrarunning hand-in-hand. It’s just a matter of continuing to train smart, continue losing weight and temper my Hashimoto’s. I know no doubt I’ll get there — and I want to be there by the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in September.

I’ve got a lot of running coming up in the next 4-5 weeks — including my 50K at the end of the month. While my focus is on that — the Riverton Half is next week and I really want to build upon what I have right now.

Which I know I will.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Here’s to the Happiest of Birthdays to my dear mother. Words can’t fully express the love and admiration I have for her. She’s simply amazing. Besides ALWAYS going above and beyond what’s expected, she has the purest of hearts I know. She’s the greatest example of “The Golden Rule” in my life. I’m also grateful that she never told me what I could or couldn’t do in life. She never, and still hasn’t, put limitations on my abilities. Even when everyone else tried to. As tacky as it sounds, she gave me wings. She’s also taught me the value to fight. Seeing her fight breast cancer … AND WIN … showed me the necessity of faith and grit with a side of stubbornness to overcome and accomplish anything truly great. Happy Birthday Mama!

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Moana Singalong Chorus.

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Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. And, those might be filled with race medals too.

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GET THAT GLUTEN OUTTA MY FACE!!! 🚫🍞

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Weekly Review

It was a great week of running for me. Not only did I meet my race goal time, I got some really good training in. I am being coached by RYR (Run Your Race) and I got some awesome assessment runs in — along with a couple good recovery runs. I had a fast clipped 5K and all out mile run to do — and they were beasts. But, that will give my coaches a starting point to help with my race goals.

I am hoping to gain some speed, but also endurance for my ultra races coming up in the next month and year. I’m excited to start seeing my progress.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 7.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.17 miles
TOTAL MILES — 44.27 miles
Race(s) this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 44.1 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 110.52 miles
TOTAL MILES — 180.82 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 0.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 2.7 miles
TOTAL MILES — 15.8 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 181.75 miles
Race Miles — 109.22 miles
Walking Miles — 328.16 miles
TOTAL MILES — 619.13 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon and Emigration Canyon Half Marathon.



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Feature in Dr. Jason R. Karp’s “Run Your Fat Off” Book

A number months back, I got contacted by Dr. Jason Karp — aka “The Running Doctor” — asking if I wanted to share a little bit about my story on a running weight-loss book he was writing. And, of course I said that I would love to. I’m always willing and wanting to share my story, because I don’t know who I will inspire or motivate. If it wasn’t for others that inspired me — I am not sure what direction my life would be in. I want to pay it forward the best I can, whenever I have a chance.

After a few interviews and email exchanges, including the selection of ‘BEFORE’ and ‘AFTER’ pictures with Dr. Karp, I just waited for the book to be released. And, well — it arrived yesterday in the mail! Dr. Karp was nice enough to send me a personally signed copy.

I thumbed through the pages looking for my story and picture and was quite surprised to find it on page 18 of the book. I was one of the first stories he shared. But, I kind of forgot what I had shared with Dr. Karp and it was fun to go over the content of the interview again.

I loved the piece of advice I shared for new and aspiring runners …

“It doesn’t matter what your size, experience l, or fitness level; just get out and run. No one cares how you look running, because everyone looks ridiculous running. Have you ever looked at race photos? Don’t worry about it. Be out on the road or trail for the right reasons. For you.”

I’m glad I was able to share a small part of my journey in Dr. Karp’s book and it also further motivated me to continue to work on my book. A book that has always seemed like it’s been a work in progress. Because — well — it has. It’s something I wanted to start back in 2010 after I lost 100lbs and it’s kind of morphed into something else, because my story has grown, progressed and evolved since then.

I’m learning that it is less about my life changing as it is me living life more and more.

So, I continue to write a little bit more and more each day. And, when the time comes I’ll reveal and share more on my writing projects. I just don’t know if now is the time to share all of that.

Whatever your fitness running goals are check out Dr. Karp’s new book “Run Your Fat Off” you can find it pretty much anywhere online and I am sure if you’re into those things called bookstores they’re there as well.

But, I must publicly thank Dr. Karp for allowing me share that small part of my story in his new book. It really means a lot and I hope someone out there reads it and finds that motivation and inspiration to live a life they never dreamed.

Lessons we can all learn from ‘My 600lbs. Life’

This past week has been kind of tough for me. On Monday I went to the dentist for some dental work — and after a couple of hours of poking and numbing they couldn’t get my tooth numb. So they did some other work on me that didn’t require much numbing. After about three hours of being in the dentist’s chair as I got up — my back went out.

If you ever want to feel 36 — it’s moments like those that will make you feel like 36. This whole week I have being dealing with a wretched back. A week I was planning on upping my workouts and mileage in preparation for my 50 miler in a couple of weeks. It kinda felt like leaving the car dealership with a new pair of tires and driving over a nail.

Not fun. And, very deflating.

Will this derail my 50 miler? No. Will this derail my weekend run down Big Cottonwood Canyon? No.

Sadly, I’ve been here before. It’s that whole part of being 36 and with some rest, stretches and activity I know I’ll rebound and be back where I need/want to be.

So, this week I’ve focused on what I can do. Running hasn’t been an issue, especially non-treadmill miles — so I’ve dedicated a couple of my lunches to a few “slow” runs. The movement oddly helps the stiffness. I say oddly, because I have no idea the science behind why (remember, I’m a communications major?) it is the way it is.

It’s moments and mild setbacks like these that give me pause and perspective on my journey. I always seem to go back 10-15 years and think of what Fat Josh would do compared to Phat Josh of today. Would I throw in the towel and just give up? Honestly? Probably, yeah. Well, okay, yes he would.

But, when I compare the two Joshs — I really see the Josh that acts and lives and then the Josh that exists and is just “there.” I often wonder if I didn’t make the changes when I did, where I would be right now? I know I wouldn’t be a runner. But, I often wonder would I be in the same boat as many of the people on ‘My 600lbs. Life?’

I was on that road. I was over 400lbs. with no direction or goal on the horizon. I was just there. Addiction had ahold of me and I dealt with my anxieties, fears, depression and uncertainties in a very unhealthy way. Because more often than not I found comfort in food.

I don’t try to ponder much about that road anymore, because that’s not me. And, I believe not the person I was destined to be. But, I bring that up, because I do look at the similarities of my journey with many of the people on ‘My 600lb. Life.’ Not just in how they learned to medicate through food, but in their recovery, self-discovery and weight-loss.

This past week as I have been laid out a bit with my back, I’ve watched a few more episodes of the show — and I’ve noticed more so than anything this is a show much deeper than weight-loss. This is a show about life. And, there are many things in the show that we can learn no matter our weight, fitness level, ability or age in life.

A few themes that popped out to me are …


Find Your ‘Why?’

Each episode usually finds the why fairly easily and early. Some of the whys are as simple as — to be less dependent on spouses, partners, parents or children. You can usually tell if they found a why because when they do — success isn’t far behind. The why is what keeps them on track with the diet Dr. Nowzaradan gives them and what gets them active and moving more and more each day. Invariably if that ‘why’ or purpose isn’t found — those are the ones that take an extra month or two following the doctor’s diet.

‘Whys’ are north stars. No matter the size, purpose or reason of our journey or goal, if we don’t have that ‘why’ clearly stated and focused upon — then what’s the purpose of putting our effort into it?

So find that ‘why’ and hold onto it. And, don’t be afraid that it changes or evolves as you do. You’ll notice that happens a lot to many of the patients on the show. That why will change from a simple desire for dependency to something deeper and richer.

But, find that why.

Believe In Yourself

One of the saddest parts of the show for me is seeing many of these patients struggle with believing in themselves. I’ve been there. Heck, we’ve all been there to different degrees. But, many of these patients seemed to have just completely shut that off completely in their lives.

For whatever reason some patients will have a hard time believing that they can follow Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet — and that will show in their actions. Those are the ones that either gain weight or lose far less than what the doctor expected to lose.

Now flip that same scenario with a mentality of self belief and it’s a different story. Holding a belief that you can do something leads your actions to — well — act accordingly. And, the task gets easier. It makes the temptations of derailment and diversion less appealing, because you hold the belief that you can follow the course ahead.

It’s amazing how far you can go physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, financially, etc., etc., etc. by simply believing in yourself and your ability to do what you need to do. Even if you have to fake it to make it at first (which is a completely different post for another day).

Set Good Simple Goals For Yourself

If you want a good example of goal setting — watch ‘My 600lbs. Life.’ Seriously, I love Dr. Nowzaradan’s simple approach to goals. Based off his experience and knowledge he knows what kind of goals to set for the patients. You would think for many of these patients being 600lbs or more would require wildly specific goals and expectations.

Nope.

His goals for his patients are rather simple. Stick to a 1200 calorie per day diet, get active and lose 30-50lbs (or whatever) within the next month. That’s about it. And, if the patients are true to those goals they’ll meet those goals in order to get their weight-loss surgery.

Watching the show has really made me reevaluate my goals. When I started my weight-loss journey some seven and a half years ago — I basically followed those simple goals for the first couple of months. I ended up losing between 30-40lbs. with those small changes.  Now, granted when you are 400 or 600lbs. it’s easier to get those kind of numbers — that’s not my point.

My point is how often do over complicate our goals? I fall into that trap often. I’ll freely admit. If I am not careful I will put unrealistic expectations on myself to hit certain goals, etc. And, the more complicated I make them — the less likely I’ll hit them.

That is one reason why I’ve had to teach myself (over and over again) to just keep it simple. Focus on what I can control and reasonable do and build on that — keeping the goals challenging, yet simple. Whatever the goal is — inside or outside of the gym — we do a disservice to ourselves with overly specific, unrealistic and complicated goals.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

I love how blunt Dr. Nowzaradan is with his patients. Especially return patients who didn’t hit their goals — or happened to gain weight. Invariably, he asks — who their enabler is. Especially if he knows they don’t drive or walk much. And, yeah, it’s usually a spouse, partner or loved one who’s buying the food.

I’m grateful that I had a good support system around me when I started my weight-loss journey. Besides having parents and family members eager to see me make changes, I found outside of my immediate family many who wanted to support me. Something, I didn’t expect — but look back with gratitude. I couldn’t have had success without the likes of my aunt, grandma, a number of close friends and my trainer. They were my ‘A’ team.

That’s why I feel sad for those patients who don’t have a support system. Not just like mine, but period. I know if I couldn’t have found the needed support within my family or close friends — I could find it by constructing it.

Now, I am not talking about a support system full of cheerleaders. But, a team. I wish the show delved a bit more into this subject because it’s really important for long-term success in weight-loss or any goal. The team should have cheerleaders, but also those who hold you accountable, those who are your emotional support, those who are your partner in crime, etc., etc., etc.

Sure many of these roles can be held by one person, but if you want success — meet those needs through others. You don’t have to go your journey alone. Your team doesn’t have to necessarily be your immediate family. Just find your team and build it, so they can help build you!

Long Term Success Doesn’t Come Overnight

One thing that interests me in every episodes is how many ‘trail months’ the patient has to do with Dr. Nowazaradan before they approved for surgery. I am not sure if the patients know they have to do a trail month before the surgery, but some get it — and some struggle with it. I’ve seen a few take 3-4 months to “get it.” But, I love how Dr. Nowazaradan acts in these situations — he is easy to praise and has no problem ‘getting real’ with his patient.

Being a viewer, it’s easy for us to judge these patients for not getting it the first time. And, honestly, I think shows like The Biggest Loser have helped shape that mentality for us. We want to see immediate results, we want to see big numbers right off the bat. And, while most patients do see big weight-loss numbers because of the surgery — immediate results and changes in behaviors are not reality.

But, like many of these patients we can learn from them to simply never give up. Take the licks. Roll with the punches. Be open to criticism. And, always have your ‘why’ in view to help you keep going when the ups becomes downs and the doubt creeps in (because they do).

It’s a process.

Have Patience In The Process

Just as I noted above — have patience and trust the process. Change — “real life changing” change takes time. Doesn’t matter what aspect of your life you want to change — it takes time. It takes being honest with yourself and those around you. It takes the ability to build a sound support system around. And, most importantly — it takes you to believe in, trust and expect the best — from you.


Now, I’m sure there are a lot more I could add. And, there are. But, the point I am trying to make is — big changes in life are tough. They’re not easy. They’re difficult. But, they’re doable. They’re achievable. They’re within reach.

You don’t have to be 600lbs or severly overweight to get a lot from this show. Just have an open mind and open heart. The lessons are there. Even if it teaches you compassion and sympathy — that’s a lesson the whole world could learn right about now.

What are your thoughts? Have you watched the series? What do you get out of the episodes?

#Fight4Phat: The Bulletproof Diet

I’ve been a little quiet about the progress of my diet the past month and for good reason. I haven’t really been following one the past month. As has been heavily chronicled the past 4-5 months, I had been following the Whole30 to success of a 35lbs. weight-loss. Not bad.

This past month my plan was to follow a bastardized version of the Whole30 — or basically a Paleo 80/20 diet plan. But, I learned two things this past month — one, the body needs a rest from aggressive weight-loss and, two, it’s hard to follow a diet when you’re sick. Especially when it last 2-3 weeks.

This that an excuse? Yeah, probably. I won’t deny that. But, it’s also a learned lesson about my body that I need to remember and honor. Physically, my body just can’t be expected to go through more than three months of aggressive weight-loss. But, I think that probably applies to pretty much anyone.

But, it wasn’t that I gave up after one roadblock. About three weeks ago I got a pretty nasty cold and it’s just lingered for waaaaaay too long. It’s hard to stay on a specific diet (at least for me) when I am sick. Mainly because all I want to do is drink gallons of Powerade, hype up on vitamin C and eat nothing but soup and sandwiches.

I am kind of surprised that during the past three weeks I managed to run a couple of marathons while keeping my weekly workout regime. Probably not the “smartest” thing in the world to do, but — hey, I didn’t die — so no harm, no foul. Right? Right.

So about two weeks ago I just made the decision to maintain my diet. I didn’t want to worry too much about my diet, just maintain my workout regime and running plan. This was made not just because of my lingering cold, but also the realization I just had to give my body a rest. So I decided to pick up where I left off with a “month break.”

In addition to that, I also gave my body off a week from running after the Huntsville Marathon. My cold was still lingering with a nasty sore throat that wouldn’t go away. I just needed the rest — so I just focused on my strength training, gave my legs and cardio a rest and decided to get back at it this week — which I have.

So, here I am.

Instead of rebooting the Paleo 80/20 — I decided to follow another diet plan. It’s similar to the Whole30 in many aspects, but with a few different factors. It’s called the Bulletproof Diet. It’s nothing new, it’s been around for a while, but the first I heard about it was from my cousin who’s been following it for a quite a while with some pretty great results. And, with about 20lbs. left of what I want to rid myself of, why not give it a try?

I’ll give a brief synopsis of it below. But, for the most part you can read about here, here and here. Like I said, it’s very similar to Whole30’s approach, except for the rigidity of the diet. And, the biggest thing for me — is the emphasis of not eating a lot of fruit. Especially with my love for bananas and grapes that helped me through the Whole30.

Don’t worry though — I am sure I’ll eat my share of bananas during and around my races. But, I’ll share more about that later as I get a firmer grasp on the diet.

But, if I learned anything from the Whole30 during the summer it’s that — I can do it. And, mentally, this past month has been a good break from that mentality. It’s made jumping into Bulletproof a lot easier.

Anyways — I’ve jumped into the diet today with the goal of mapping my progress on the 24th of each of the next three months. So, October 24th, November 24th and December 24th with a free day on the 24th before starting again on the 25th. Basically in November and December that’s Thanksgiving and Christmas. And, if you have to ask — yes, I’ll be having pumpkin and mincemeat pie both holidays.

I am going to reassess the diet after each of those 30 days as well, just to make sure my body is handling it well and I have the strength to do it. I am a little hesitant to do it three months until Christmas, but that’s all going to depend on how I feel come November. I think the important thing here is listening to my body.

So what is the Bulletproof Diet all about? Some describe it as a Paleo 2.0 diet, which can be argued is valid. A lot of the diet’s emphasis is on grass fed proteins and wild caught foods, This isn’t much of a problem for me since I only eat grass fed beef and have chickens (that last sentence sounded like I exclusively shop at Whole Foods … forgive me). And, there is a lot of emphasis on how you prepare your foods as well.

But, I’ll outline most of it below, but you can read a lot about it here, here, here, here, here and here. There are also a number of critiques about the diet out there too, which is important to consider — you can read some here, here and here. Like any new diet or routine, I think it’s important to see both sides of the story. It’s also further proof that everyone is different when it comes to fitness.

One aspect of the Bulletproof Diet that I am not planning on — at least right now — is the Intermittent Fasting. Mainly because that involves consuming the Bulletproof Coffee. Being Mormon there’s obvious reasons for that. I’d like to do a week of it intermittent fasting in some kind of way. But, until then — intermittent fasting is a no.

But, that’s about all I’m not planning on doing. I’m excited to get it started and see what it does for my health and energy levels.

14 STEPS OF THE BULLETPROOF DIET

Okay, so there are 14 steps to the Bulletproof Diet, they’re fairly simple, but important to follow, They are …

1. Eliminate sugar (including fruit juices and sports drinks that contain HFCS, honey, and agave) .

2. Replace the sugar calories with healthy fats from the Bulletproof Diet such as grass-fed butter, ghee, Brain Octane™,  Upgraded™ XCT oil, or coconut oil.

3. Eliminate gluten in any shape or form.  This includes bread, cereal, and pasta.  Do not make the mistake of resorting to gluten free junk food, which can be almost as bad.

4. Remove grains, grain derived oils, and vegetable oils such as corn, soy, and canola.  Also remove unstable polyunsaturated oils such as walnut, flax, and peanut oil.

5. Eliminate all synthetic additives, colorings, and flavorings.  This includes aspartame, MSG, dyes, and artificial flavorings.

6. Eat significant amounts of pastured, grass-fed meat from big ruminant animals such as beef, lamb, and bison.  Pair this with fish, eggs, and shellfish.

7. Eliminate legumes such as peanuts, beans, and lentils.  If you must have your beans, soak, sprout (or ferment), and cook them.1

8. Remove all processed, homogenized, and pasteurized dairy.  High fat items can be pasteurized, but they should be grass-fed.  Full fat, raw, whole dairy from grass-fed cows is okay for most people.

9. Switch to grass-fed meat and wild caught seafood.  Eat pastured eggs and some pork, chickens, turkeys, and ducks.

10. Switch to organic fruits and vegetables.  This is more important for some plants than others.  See this site for details.

11. Cook your food gently, if at all.  Incorporate water into your cooking whenever possible and use low temperatures.  Do not use a microwave or fry.

12. Limit fruit consumption to 1-2 servings per day.  Favor low fructose containing fruits like berries and lemons over watermelon and apples.

13. Add spices and other flavorings from the Bulletproof Diet.  Favor herb based spices such as thyme and rosemary over powders. Use high quality ones, recently opened.

14. Enjoy your food.

(source)

SO WHY BULLETPROOF?

I’ve had a couple friends and family ask me why I am switching up my diet — and specifically to Bulletproof. Especially when it’s so similar to the Whole30 which I did from May to August. All good valid questions. So I thought I would sum it up here.

When I started my weight-loss journey I started with literal baby steps. I didn’t jump right into a diet. I just watched what I ate and progressed from there. Eventually, I hired a trainer and got a diet plan set up that helped me lose a lot of my weight.

One thing I learned about my body — it hates routine when it’s trying to lose weight. Meaning, eventually within 6-8 weeks — my body will plateau if I stick to something too long. I realized this early enough in my journey that I made the conscious effort to continually change my diet every 6-8 weeks. And, for the most part it’s worked.

This change is pretty much in the same vein of mentality. I knew Whole30 wasn’t a longterm solution for my weight-loss goals. And, that showed when I lost something like 5-6lbs. during my last round. Honestly, it was a round too many.

Now that doesn’t mean I am completely done with Whole30 or a paleo diet. Bulletproof is very much a paleo diet. I believe in paleo diets. And, when I ready to maintain my weight I want to do so on a paleo diet. But, my body right now just needs to change things up.

So why Bulletproof? Well, there were a couple of things that persuaded me. My cousin has been following it for a while and strongly suggested I give it a try. And, the more I read up on it, the more I liked what I saw. I love the emphasis on grass fed and wild caught proteins and organic fruits and veggies. That’s something I’ve been trying to make sure to consume. Having chickens helps this. I hate store bought eggs. Hate. But, that’s a story for another day.

I was also intrigued by the notion to limit consumption of fruit. I won’t lie — on Whole30 fruit was my savior. Bananas, watermelon, grapes, berries and melon were go to foods when I wanted to down a birthday cake. So, limiting those — especially bananas — will be a will of testament at first. But, I’d like to see what happens with the restriction.

With marathons, half marathons and my 50 miler still planned during this time I fully plan on fueling more with fruit than anything else, much like Whole30. So there will be the exception to that. But, I have also taught my body to fuel off of sweet potatoes — so reliance on bananas and other fruit shouldn’t be too neccessary.

The next 30 days should be an adventure, especially considering that my 50 miler is less than a month away as well. That will be the big test, but I am honestly not too worried about it.

Here goes nothing, right?


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