Tag: thoughts

Moving on from here …

In an ideal world this would be my Ogden Marathon race recap. Heck, in a even semi-optimistic world this would be my Ogden Half Marathon race recap. But, it’s not.

I could write a country song from everything that has seemed to go wrong with me the past month or so. Whether it was spraining my ankle, DNFing the Salt Flats 50K, DNSing the Tulip Festival Half, getting the flu, having a non-healing ankle, then dropping the Ogden Marathon, Utah Valley Marathon and Ragnar because of the ankle — no beuno.

No beuno at all.

My running the past two weeks has dropped quite significantly, because of the ankle. After running the Provo City Half, I knew it was more serious than I imagined (or hoped for) and something would probably have to be done more than me icing and medicating it. Do I think it’s broken? No. Do I think there’s a ligament tear? No? Maybe?

I really feel like it’s somewhere between a Grade II or III sprained ankle. I mean, I’m no foot doctor, but I know how to navigate WebMD with the best of them. Either way, I decided I really should go see an orthopedic doctor about it. Because maybe there’s something he can do to help me with it? So I have an appointment on Thursday to see an orthopedist.

We’ll see how it goes.

I can walk on it. It’s just constant running or any lateral movement aggravates it. Which could be a problem with my current training, but I’d rather adapt then step back completely from it if I can avoid it. I just signed up for a couple gym classes during lunch that I really want/need to take — a spinning class and express weight training class.

The spinning class will be the hardest one on my ankle. I learned on the first day that there’s no way I can stand and spin. So, I just crank up the resistance and peddle like a bat out of hell. It seemed to work. I was panting and near dead. I just don’t want to give that class up, because I love the intense cardio.

But, we’ll see what the doctor says.

I am not expecting surgery or a boot. I am expecting probably a soft cast at the most? And, I am pretty sure he’ll tell me to avoid too much running for a certain amount of time — which cramps my style for June. I already backed out of Ragnar and Utah Valley. But, I don’t want to give up the Bear Lake Trifecta, Drop 13 Half or AF Canyon Race Against Cancer. That’d kill me.

I am hoping he’ll let me run some of these — especially considering I am not going for any 8, 9 or 10 minute mile pace. But, that’s all hard to say until come Thursday after my appointment. I won’t lie, I’m somewhat impatient about it. It kills me not knowing what the next few months are going to look like.

I am not worried about the worst case scenario. But, I figure I need to figure out how to get myself back to 100% now than wait much later, because my goal isn’t necessarily my next race — it’s my 100 miler. I feel like I’ve stepped back a bit with this injury and past month, so I don’t want to go back any further.

I am going to run my 100 miler in February. I am. There are no other options. But, I got to get there. And, taking care of this now is just one of those steps in the needed direction.

Luckily, most of my races coming up are fairly easy to transfer to another runner or next year. I know I’m not hitting my new goal of hitting 180 by next July, but that’s okay, my original goal of 2021 is still well over pace. And, there are lessons I need to learn in all of this — most unseen right now.

But, the first lesson probably would have been — watch for potholes running down Emigration Canyon. That’s a good place to start.

I’ll get where I want to go. I have no doubt about that. It’ll just take a little improvisation. But, I’ll get there.


SUMMARYAs mentioned above — it’s been a tough couple of weeks since my last post. But, I am really trying to stay positive and focusing on other ways to stay active. I’ll be fine — even if I have to step back a bit for now.

May 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 17.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 73.69 miles
TOTAL MILES — 103.79 miles
Races in May — Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 222.25 miles
Race Miles — 164.52 miles
Walking Miles — 494.1 miles
TOTAL MILES — 880.87 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, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half and Provo City Half Marathon.


FROM GERMANY WITH LOVE

This past week a German film crew has been living and filming our family. Well, mostly, my brother and his family. But, the whole family has been involved with the project. The host travels the world experiencing different cultures and lifestyles for a week — and this week it was living the “prepper lifestyle” here in America.

So this past week we’ve shown them a microcosm of that lifestyle. We butchered chickens, made homemade bread, showed off our food storage, conducted earthquake and home invasion drills and shot guns — lots of guns. Most of them were shot on Saturday down in Holden.

It was a fun week.

It took a little getting used to to having cameras around you, especially when we were eating. My older brother is somewhat used to it, but to have the whole family behind the camera was kind of fun. And, after the week we made some great friends — from the host to the producer and camera crew. And, we all had a blast — especially on Saturday when we played with the BIG guns.

All these hours of film will be condensed into an hour long episode that will air on German TV in September. And, I am sure I will share a link to the episode. Here are a few pictures from our adventures this week …

My Mom’s teaching Maike how to make homemade bread. She’s a true pioneer woman.

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Bang, bang! We’re ready for some target practice!

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Not much more ‘Murican than guns n’ Yankees.

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Slo-motion fun. Boom boom pow!

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This might as well be the Hansen Family Christmas card.

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This picture is so America it hurts. 🇺🇸

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This guy is LOUD! Wowzers!

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A whole lotta ughs …

The past couple weeks have been tough. Heck, this past month has been tough on me. I’m not using it as an excuse. But, I’d sure like a break or two once in a while.

I’ve been trying to get myself into a groove with my running and fitness and it just hasn’t materialized the way I envisioned it. Granted, I did meet my sub-three time goal a couple weekends ago during the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon. But, that’s about the only success I feel like I’ve truly met.

I’ve been dealing with bad backs, sprained ankles and this past week — a root canal. An expected root canal. My tooth started hurting during my race last weekend and then by Monday morning it was throbbing in pain.

I couldn’t go to my regular dentist, because this was the same tooth that they couldn’t get numb. So they referred me to an endodontist so they could knock me out to do it. And, that wasn’t cheap. But, that’s a whole other story for another day.

I finally got my root canal yesterday — and it really just killed my week.

But, despite all the road blocks, I’ve been trying to keep on track, even if my runs are short and my workouts shorter. And, for the most part — it’s working. I’ve lost about 10lbs. this past month. A lot of that has to do with my diet. So, that’s progress.

I thought of mixing up my diet and routine again, but I think I am going to stick with what I planned this past month. One, because I wasn’t able to get into a good groove or it and, two, I think I can see bigger improvements with a better focus. I’d really like to lose about 30lbs. and I feel like this is a good road. Especially for my thyroid.

I’m going to get a good run in tonight before my race this weekend out in Magna. I’m hoping for a sub-three. But, I’m not sure if I want to push it TOO hard since I’ve got my 50K coming up in the next couple of weeks. But, honestly, I think I’ll be fine. I think the variables that will determine my result really will be my ankle and back.

The focus right now is all on my 50K on the 28th of this month. I am a bit worried about it with my current mileage the past couple of weeks. But, honestly, I know I’ll be fine. The race director knows I’ll be a bit slower — 10 hours or so. It’ll be fun and that’s my only goal (besides finishing).

Plus, the 50K will be good training for my upcoming marathons in Ogden and Utah Valley. Along with my Bear Lake Trifecta races. I’m going to have a crazy spring and early summer schedule, so kick starting it with a 50K is an usual and — I think — good way to launch my schedule.

I won’t lie — I do worry about my back and ankle a bit. But, honestly, I think I’ve cared and rested both well enough that they shouldn’t be a factor. But, it’ll be on my mind for sure — I just don’t want to downgrade from the 26.2 to 13.1 if I can avoid it. But, that’s my last resort and something I don’t really want to entertain right now.

Anyways — I’m focusing on Saltair right now and focusing on getting my groove and consistency back. I just want to pull some big weight-loss numbers in the next month so I can go into marathon season lighter on my feet.

At least I know I’m on the right track.

Thoughts on ‘My 600lbs. Life’

I am not a huge TV watcher. I used to be. If I am going to watch TV it better be something I am really interested in or find value in — because there’s a lot more to life outside of TV. A lot more.

But, that’s a rant for another day.

Recently, I was introduced to ‘My 600lbs. Life’ by my sister. Well, it was actually in passing that I was introduced to it. She was talking about it to another family member and it piqued my interest. Because some seven plus years ago — I was on a road that could have lead to a similar fate.

I was a 400lbs. guy carrying around a lot of emotional baggage — that looked to food for comfort. It didn’t matter the food — I liked it. But, I was especially akin to fast food, junk food and soda. I was a secret eater that wouldn’t bat an eye getting the Arby’s Five for $5 deal — and eating all five sandwiches alone in the car before going home.

My unattended emotional baggage was creating a blueprint to a ‘600lbs life’ for me. And, I feel very fortunate to have woken myself up when I did. But, not only that, but if it wasn’t for the people in my life and those I chose to surround myself with after I made that decision — I don’t know where I would be right now in life?

I don’t want to say that I would be a 600-700lbs. guy, but I know I wouldn’t be who I am physically and emotionally. Running would be just some pipe dream. Luckily, I’ll never have to realize this alternate reality.

But, after catching my first episode of ‘My 600lbs. Life’ a couple weeks ago — I’ve been mesmerized, inspired and emotional watching these journeys.

To give you a little bit about the series. Each episode is a one or two hour documentary following one person’s year long journey through the process of gastric bypass surgery and the subsequent weight-loss. That’s the series in a nutshell. But, of course there are many ups and downs through each episode — both physical and emotional — which you would expect with such a journey.

I love the realness of each episode. There are many raw and real moments that I can relate to from my own journey. But, then there are moments that put me in tears, because I could only imagine the pain (whether it’s physical or emotional) they’re going through.

I’ve gotten a bit emotional at times when many of these patients realize their self-worth, ability and/or determination. Because — THAT — I can relate to. Very much so.

I will always remember those moments — and I had many — throughout my journey. Whether it was losing 30lbs. my first month or realizing I could do a REAL pushup — those moments are crucial for a journey like these. And, seeing these people realize their worth — brings back a lot of emotions to me.

A lot.

Anyways — if you have TLC, I highly recommend you DVR the show. There have been a lot of reruns lately and I have been catching up on most of them while on running. Even if you haven’t trekked a similar path, doesn’t mean you won’t learn something from each episode.

Each episode creates a great blueprint for achieving dreams for anyone. Being extremely overweight isn’t easy. But, so isn’t living a life of unrealized dreams.

I can’t say enough good things about ‘My 600lbs. Life.’ If anything watching these episodes are inspiring me more and more to act more on my dreams than ever before.

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Figuring this Hashimoto’s thing out …

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me. Besides figuring out this whole Hashimoto’s Disease out — I’ve been dealing with a beastly bout of bronchitis. I feel lucky it hasn’t been the flu, but that hasn’t stopped the fatigue of restless nights from coughing up a lung and a half.

I thought I was turning a corner after sleeping most all day on Sunday, but I ended up coughing all night Monday night and skipped work. It’s been frustrating, because I’ve wanted to get into a good rhythm with my workouts and runs. But, I don’t have the stamina or lungs for it — yet. And, I just need to be patient.

But, while I’m somewhat impatient to get back into my groove — I’ve really been focused on the adoption of my gluten and dairy free diet. It’s been tough. I won’t lie. I haven’t been as aware of labels and food content under any diet. But, this isn’t just a diet — this is my new lifestyle.

I wouldn’t say I have a specific diet down at this moment. To be honest with you I’m kind of trying things out to see what works best for me. I’ve been trying gluten-free breads and other foods to kind of see what I like. And, I won’t lie — not a huge fan of gluten-free bread — or at least what I’ve tried.

I’ve been sticking to a lot of what I ate while doing Whole 30 — and I think that’s where my focus will be mostly on my diet. Meaning, a lot of salad, steak and sweet potatoes — not to mention fresh fruit and veggies.

But, for now, I really want to see what I like and don’t like within the realm of gluten and dairy free foods.

One of the biggest omissions in this new lifestyle is that of cheese. I love cheese. I love it. And, I miss it. I’ve had some tips on vegan cheese that’s a good substitute. I haven’t tried those yet — but, I am sure I will get around to it. Especially when it comes to nachos.

Anyways — this is transition isn’t easy,

But, this week being sick and not able to get a whole blown workout regime in, I’ve had to focus on my diet. Which I think is a blessing in disguise, because focusing on just the food has helped me kind of further — process — what I am going through. Mainly, that this is a new lifestyle and my decision for food need to be precise.

Plus, I need to find that rhythm that works for me and I think I am getting that down a bit better. Not to mention changing my thought process so I’m not focusing on what I CAN’T eat and what I can or should so I can feel better.

I guess in a way, I’m approaching this like any other race or new distance. I’m starting it in slowly — learning, experimenting and doing — while mentally and physically preparing myself for the long haul. While there is no finish line to all of this, the mentality and approach is the same. This journey just happens to be longer than any race I’ve run before.

Anyways — I’ll keep updating you on all of this throughout the next few weeks and months. But, while my focus has been acclimating myself to the new diet, I’m also focusing on my training and fitness. I’ve got a few looooong runs and races coming up that I want/need to be ready to tackle.

This weekend I am running the Olympic Oval for 5-6 hours, hoping to get in a good 20-25 miles. I have the Jackpot Running Festival in about a month I want to get a couple more looooong runs in before I tackle the 12 hour race. And, since you won’t find me running outside right now with the air and weather — I’m taking it inside.

There is a group of runners meeting tomorrow morning at the Oval at 6am and — well — just running. We’re running circles around the ice sheet. It should be a lot of fun. There is quite a group gathering that should make it fun. It won’t be as big as the New Year’s Run Resolution, but it’ll be a party.

Besides Jackpot, I also have my self-supported 50 miler in March and the Salt Flats 50K in April. So, I’ve got some training to do. And, not that I am getting past this stupid cold and bronchitis — I’m feeling up for the challenge. Not to mention now that I am fueling myself even better.

LET’S DO THIS THING!

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Thoughts before my first 50 …

Deep breath.

After months and months of training — here I am. I’ve got many thoughts running through my head and emotions wanting to be felt. But, here I am, on the cusp of doing something once thought impossible.

I want to feel fear. I want to feel peace. I want to feel nervous. I want to feel confidence. I want to feel anxious. I want to feel strong. But, this feeling I feel is all of those emotions wrapped into one — and I just stand here ready to run. Ready to experience what is ahead of me and tackle the task at hand.

I stand here looking back at the road behind me and acknowledge the path that got me here. It didn’t start months ago, this has been a path made years ago. This path was begun when I made the decision to seek joy in my life. I lived my life too long in darkness, devoid of joy and without vision. But, I never would have imagined that my decision to seek joy would lead me here.

But, here I am.

As I stand here in contemplation I am filled with not just joy, but joyous gratitude. I am grateful to God for a body that works. I am grateful for a spirit that dreams. I am grateful for each and every footprint that has lead me here.

A majority of those footprints have been taken solo, but a good deal have been taken with others. Some have fleetingly passed through this journey, while others have staked claim to many moments I’ll always cherish. Many have cheered me forward when I needed that encouragement and I have tried to return that favor by paying it forward. And, because of them, here I am.

My heart pounds in anticipation. Nerves are being felt — and cherished. I love this angst feeling of the unknown. These same feelings rushed through my body as I stood at the starting line of my first races.

I have long missed these feelings. They are feelings that I have grown accustom to over the years racing a lot. This may be one of the reasons why I pushed myself to do something daunting like a 50 miler — I simply miss those intense feelings of anticipation.

But, here I am.

I know this is going to hurt. I know this is going to suck. I know this will be difficult both mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But, none of that is going to keep me back moving forward and completing the task at hand.

I used to live a life avoiding pain, difficulty and adversity. But, when I made a decision some 6-7 years ago to live a life of joy — I didn’t fully grasp the concept or idea that I would also have to accept pain, difficulty and adversity. But, quite honestly, that’s been all the difference.

Running has taught me to embrace the pain, accept the difficulty and invite adversity, because it is those moments we learn. It’s in those moments of suffering we learn the most about ourselves, our resolve and what matters most in life.

And, what matters the most in life will never be found on a trail or a mountain. It will never be found in the counted miles of the day or accomplishments and honors of life. What matters most in life will always be what you hold close to your heart. That’s why I run.

I run to live. I run to love. I run to learn. I run for joy. I run for peace — and everything in between.

My heart pounds, anticipation runs high, and, I am simply ready to run. Ready to experience what I am to experience, to feel what I am to feel and gain victory over the task at hand.

Here I am.

Let’s do this thing.


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The Whole30 Diet: My Whole30 Experience

I’ve been debating when I wanted to share my experience and thoughts on Whole30 for quite some time. I wanted to share it in detail mid-way through my first 30 days, then after my first 30 days.

I could have easily shared my thoughts after my first 30 days. But, knowing I was going to do at least another 30 days — I wanted to wait. If I was going to share my thoughts on Whole30 I felt it would be more beneficial to share them more from an experienced point of view then a beginners. It’d be like going to get running experience from someone who just barely ran their first race.

Now, with that said — I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at Whole30. Like at all. There others much more dedicated and knowledgeable than me. Experts you’ll find throughout the Whole30 community and even amongst my friends. So, I am really speaking from my own experience.

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But, I wanted to share my thoughts on this journey, because a number of friends have asked me about Whole30. And, I guess more than anything this post is a resource for them that I can point them towards.

When I started my first round of Whole30 I weighed 281.2lbs. I had been stuck between 270-280(ish) for about a year and a half or less. I couldn’t get less than 270 and thankfully I never went heavier than 285lbs. I was depressing enough gaining that weight.

It’s been difficult, because having lost so much weight and consistently sitting around 225-235 for a number of years — you fear going back to “Fat Josh.” It’s a mentality I hear is fairly common for individuals who’ve lost gobs of weight. Some of my most depressing nightmares would confirm that.

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A lot of the issues around my gain were due to my thyroid. I couldn’t get it balanced like I was able to for a number of years. Part of that is due to age. But, I hate that excuse. Just because I am in my mid-thirties doesn’t mean I should give up. So, it’s been a fight in the gym, road and even doctor’s office. Pretty much to no avail — or very little success.

I had to fight hard to just maintain and not gain. That’s the curse of dealing with thyroids. You can be trying everything and working out like a beast — but, all be damned if you don’t gain 10lbs. with little no effort. Hypothyroidism is no joke. I hate it.

Anyways — I don’t want to digress too far down that road. But, after going to about 3-4 different doctors — I just kinda decided to go about finding a solution myself. The medical side of things weren’t working in finding a solution. And, I felt like I just had to take back the responsibility for my health problems. I could no problem solely rely on pill bottles and stethoscopes.

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After trying a number of diet plans with some success, the yo-yoing continue more than I liked. So, I just kept looking for a solution. And, that’s kinda how I stumbled upon Whole30.

A number of my friends online had done it — some once, some a number of times. And, a few posted their results. That caught my attention, because the more I looked into the more successful results I saw.

I think when you see these kind of results and cult follows you become somewhat skeptical. I’ve done enough diets to understand that not all diets are created equal. You might have lost 20lbs. this month, but in a couple a months you might find that 20lbs. again — but, it’s identical twin.

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But, there was something different about Whole30 that I liked. Yes, it was extreme, but I saw the wisdom in it. And, I saw components that I liked that I could adopt long term. Plus, it relied heavily on gluten free foods and having issues with my thyroid, I knew I needed to go gluten free for a while to see if that would have an effect on my health and weight.

Which it did.

So after a couple of months of watching others on Whole30 and reading up on it, I decided to take a stab at it. I knew I could do at least a month and go from there. If it didn’t work or benefit me — after 30 days I could walk away from it. But, I was going to give my best for those 30 days.

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And, after those 30 days — I lost nearly 18lbs. Something that hadn’t happen for quite a while. The one aspect of Whole30 that I really like is that you don’t weigh or measure yourself during those 30 days. So when I jumped on the scale I felt like I was weighing in on The Biggest Loser (sans the beeping and commerical break).

But, I knew I had lost a big number even before I jumped on the scale. I had been feeling the change throughout the previous month. Not to mention I could see the difference in the mirror. I was actually losing weight. I was actually not dragging throughout the day. I had energy! Something I longed for, for too long.

Then this past Saturday I finished my second round of Whole30 and weighed in. It was nowhere near my 18lbs. loss from the month before, but I was still down quite a bit and going in the right direction. Not to mention, I was starting to be able to fit back more comfortably in my XL shirts. When you have successes like that — numbers really don’t mean much in the scheme of things.

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I am doing one more month of Whole30 that will take me to my birthday. It wasn’t really planned that way it’s just how it happened when I started in May. But, I love the symbolism behind it — what better birthday gift to give myself, huh?

I’ll get more into what’s after my third round of Whole30 in August later. I may do a fourth round, but odds are I will adapt it some. Probably bring in some whole grains and add some of my Isagenix shakes to the mix. But, we’ll see. Stay tuned into that later.

Anyways, I wanted to share a few tips, thoughts and feelings on certain aspects about the Whole30 diet that would help you decide whether or not it’s something that is right for you. Again, I am not speaking from an authoritative role, just from experience. So please keep that in mind.

It’s not easy, but it’s simple

When describing my experience to others, I’ve kinda adopted this as my motto. The Whole30 isn’t easy. It’s not. It’s hard to give up bread, cheese and other delicious dairy products (I’m looking at you yogurt and ice cream). Then there’s the whole sugar thing. The first couple of days being off the added sugar nearly killed me. It wasn’t fun.

But, it can be done, because it’s simple. Very simple. If you follow the guidelines and rules — you’ll find success. Your own success I should say, because no one is going to have the same experience. The simplicity is what drew me to the diet. I like simplicity. I value simplicity. Especially when you can easily equate — this + this – this = this result.

Simple, simple, simple. But, it will take some initial willpower to begin and determination to continue it throughout the whole 30 days. Especially if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have total control of the food offered.

Find support in others, don’t go about it alone

When I started my weight-loss journey, I started it alone, but I didn’t go it alone. One of the first things I did was build a support team around me. This included family members and close friends. Some were there as cheerleaders, others as examples and others to keep me accountable. It took a village to get me where I am now.

The Whole30 journey is no different. Build yourself a support system that can help you succeed. There are a number of Whole30 forums online and on Facebook that are great resources for accountability. But, look closer to home as well. If you can — find a family member or friend that will do the program with you. Your odds of success are much greater when you have a partner in crime alongside you.

That’s not to say it can’t be done going solo, but there’s really no reason to when you have amazing support systems all around you.

Do your homework before diving

I will be the first to admit that I didn’t understand the Whole30 completely when I dove into it in mid-May. I was drinking my black Postum for the first couple of days. Postum has barley — which is not Whole30 compliant. Oops.

That kind of speaks to the complexity of the diet, but also the need to do your homework about what the Whole30 is. It can be overwhelming for some (or all). But, if you do your homework and read up on it — it really simplifies the whole thing. At least for me.

You don’t need to buy the book to do the Whole30 (though I highly recommend it) or get two friends to get two friends so you can get free product. The Whole30 is very much a culture welcoming of anyone and everyone who wants to do it. It’s essentially “free” (I put free in quotation marks, because we all know nothing is absolutely free. I mean you have to buy or grow your food, right? That’s definitely not free) to join or do.

But, if you’re going to succeed you gotta know what you’re doing. Here are a few resources that I leaned on for help, especially during the first half of my first 30 days.

The Whole30: The 30-day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom (the book!)
Welcome to the Whole30 Program (always a good place to start, eh?)
Whole30 Program Rules
 (great resource — study and memorize these)
Whole30 Program Downloads (seriously a great resource — it’s all there!)
Nom Nom Paleo (they have some AWESOME recipe ideas)
The Nourishing Home (another site for great recipe ideas)
Good Cheap Eats (yet another great site for recipes — there are BUNCH of good sites FYI)
Of course there are LOTS of Whole30 Pinterest boards.
Blogger Testimonials — you can read some here, here, here and here. There are tons more all over the internet.

Don’t let the information overwhelm you. Just do it. And, continue to learn as you are doing it. The goal isn’t to just change your eating habits for 30 days — it’s a changing your eating habits for a lifetime.

Plan and prepare ahead — make it a routine

In the past most diets I’ve followed could be adapted on the go. It’s harder on Whole30 to do that, because you need more control than most diets to assure what’s going into your body is compliant to the diet. Like for instance, if I was road tripping with family and we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch, I knew what I could and couldn’t eat according to that diet. But, with Whole30 — I’m pretty sure the only thing I could eat is — ummm — ice water.

I did Ragnar when I was in the middle of doing Whole30 and I had to adapt and prepare. I brought along a lot of sweet potatoes, grapes, bananas, apples and oranges along with a good stash of Larabars. It was tough, because it would have been easier if I relied more on a Subway or gas station for food. But, I made it work by simply preparing ahead.

The same principle is true in the day to day aspects of Whole30. Planning and cooking ahead will save you from temptation. But, even beyond that — getting yourself into a routine is even better.

I am a creature of habit so eating basically the same thing every day doesn’t bore me like others. I’d boil some hardboiled eggs on Sunday for the week and pack a couple for a meal along with a few bananas, grapes and whatever other fruit and veggies I found in the fridge — usually an apple, orange or green peppers. Then I basically ate the same thing for lunch every day between a salad or steak and a sweet potato. The same thing went for breakfast and lunch — with the addition to the occasional omelet or scramble.

The predictability helps a lot. I can cook my meats ahead of time or cook double for lunch the next day. And preparing enough meals throughout the day protects me from temptation of snacking or getting a Slurpee.

Fueling for workouts and runs is fairly easy

One of the biggest worries I had going into Whole30 was fueling for races. Especially for during races, since Clif Shots and GUs are non-complaint to the diet. And, after running seven races over 13.1 miles and numerous 3-5 miles since beginning my journey I can say affirmatively — it was a non-issue.

First off — pre-race carbs loading for most runners is kinda a sham. If you’re eating a balanced diet of good whole foods you don’t have a need to carb load. Sure that’s not fun, especially looking forward to pasta night at the Olive Garden before the big race. But, it’s just not needed.

One thing I have done though is to make sure I am fueled properly before a race. My pre-race meal usually consists of a sweet potato and some steak. And, then in the morning I’ll eat my usual banana and maybe a half sweet potato if needed. Of course alongside my usual water.

During the race, I’ll carry some raisins and almonds in my pocket in case I need some quick energy mid-run. I’ll also carry a banana if I know the race won’t have them at aid stations. I’ll usually eat this about halfway through my run (6.5 miles during the half). I found that I really don’t need much while I’m running, but I do need energy perks at certain points of my run to keep from bonking.

After my race or long run is complete I then usually eat another banana and the other half of my sweet potato that I stash in my drop bag or car. Then, just drink lots of water. I do find that I still can mindless wander around the kitchen after a run looking for food — so I make sure to be around plenty of bananas, grapes, watermelon and apples (all favorites for me after a summer run).

Really though — the key is fueling is more in the timing than it is in what you’re fueling with. Well, that is important too, but my point is that you don’t need energy drinks, sports drinks and other gels to fuel properly — it can be done simply. Just make with a bit more effort on the when and how.

Sugar is in pretty much everything we eat

One of the biggest things about Whole30 is the elimination of added sugar. That’s why you’re eating whole foods and not processed foods that sit on the store shelves for months. Because those processed foods are (more than likely) full of sugar — whether it’s white sugar or “natural” sugar like honey. Whatever the source — sugar is sugar.

Now, I could write 8-10 paragraphs about sugar and how it’s the leading cause of the obesity epidemic in our country. But, I’ll pass on that here. If you really want to know the stranglehold the sugar industry has on this country all you have to do is turn on Netflix and watch documentaries like — Fed Up, Sugar Coated or That Sugar Film — to name a few.

I will refrain from further comment, because I could seriously go on a whole 8-10 paragraph spiel about sugar.

Read your labels religiously

I’ve had a few people ask me for tips to the Whole30 diet. And, my response is usually — “read your labels.” Seriously, that will save you more than anything. If you can’t pronounce what’s in your food — don’t eat it. And, odds are it’s just a substitute for sugar anyways.

But, I found that the more I read labels the more I didn’t eat boxed or labeled foods. I started leaning towards more fresh food — fruits, veggies and meats. Not only was it easier for me to keep thing simple, but I knew exactly what I was eating — because I was eating exactly what I was looking at.

The more I read labels I also knew which processed foods I could eat — there were plenty of times that Larabars saved my life. Especially during long runs. Most Larabars are Whole30 compliant — so I knew right away what I could and could eat.

Reading your labels should be a practice we ALL do. Not just because we’re doing Whole30, but it really is eye opening to discover what is going on with our food. You’d be surprised what food companies are throwing in seemingly healthy foods. Whether it’s hidden sugar or substituted chemicals and additives — why do our bodies need crap like that?

They don’t.

Read your labels.

It’s okay to have a sweet tooth

Okay, that header is a BIT misleading, but not really. Of course you’re not going to be downing Cinnabons and chocolate cake while following the Whole30 plan. But, if you’re like me and have a wicked sweet tooth — it can be cured.

When I am craving something sweet I indulge myself — like a banana (naturally), a cup of strawberries, maybe some watermelon or my ultimate favorite the past couple of months — grapes. I can’t tell you how much I love grapes. I eat them like I’m pregnant with twins.

But, the body craves certain nutrition for many reasons. And, it’s important to listen to that. And, usually when we’re craving something sweet, it’s usually because our blood sugar has dropped and we need a pick me up — or simply habit.

You don’t have to answer that craving with cookies and milkshakes — when all it needs is a little boost via some nutritious whole food.

But, boy oh boy — I’m craving some grapes right now just writing about them.

Little changes, make big differences

This is true with pretty much any diet — but, there are certain aspects of the Whole30 that I found successful. And, really, it was because of small simple changes. Changes both physically and mentally.

For one, I love that you don’t weigh or measure your progress during the 30 days. You go off of your success during the diet by feel and look. You can tell how you’re feeling. You can see it in the mirror and feel it as a whole. For being someone who’s lost 150+lbs. — I needed this reprieve from the scale. It’s too easy to be held captive by it while losing weight.

Why?

Not only does it enslave you. But, it can also stress you out. Which — well — for most of us means we’d end up eating our stress. I mean, I would. Nothing tastes better than a stack of stress pancakes … well except for how skinny tastes. I really love that Whole30 focuses to eliminate as much stress as possible so that you can focus on you. And, that’s the whole reason you’re doing all this, right?

Secondly, making small changes to your eating habits will bring about big differences. Again — this is true for any diet. But, learning to obsessively read your labels will help you make good food choices. Simply resolving to cook your own meals, will keep you from the pitfalls of eating out. And, eating small meals throughout the day will keep your energy levels up and away from non-compliant foods.

Small and simple changes, small and simple changes — that’s all it takes.

Make up your mind that you’ll succeed

There are a lot of rules to the Whole30 diet. So much so that it can be somewhat daunting for some people. And, I get that. I was one of them. It took me a while to finally commit to doing it, because I was somewhat overwhelmed with everything I’d have to do.

But, I made up my mind that I’d do it. I saw my other friends’ success and I felt if I gave it my all, I’d reach that kind of success. Besides, I had nothing to lose. Nothing else had worked for to that point in trying to regulate my thyroid. So why not?

I didn’t go into the Whole30 blindly, I read everything online and understood this isn’t the diet for everyone. There were some people who didn’t seen a lot (or any) success during their 30 days. And, I get that. Totally get that. Because, that’s been me with my thyroid the past couple of years.

So, I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t see those results. But, I was still going to give the diet at least 30 days to see what happens. Even if I “failed” (I hate using that term) I knew I could still come away from the experience with something. Whether that’s a new perspective, direction or insight. You really have to learn how to accept failure and how to use it for your benefit in order to truly succeed.

Geez, I feel like Tony Robbins right now.

But, seriously, decide now that you’ll see success — in whatever shape or form. And, you will.

Just do it

There’s power in doing, right? So, just do it. Learn as much as you can about the diet and practice what you learn. One thing I found worked for me, especially during the first couple weeks of the diet was to constantly read Whole30 blogs, forums and articles — so I could immerse myself in the mentality and culture. And, it helped.

It might be hard for the first few weeks, but just keep doing it. Keep following it and by the time you realize it — you’ve created a habit. The lifestyle has become who you are and it’s easier to resists temptations, because (at least for me) sugar cravings aren’t as intense. And, can easily be satisfied with a banana or a cup of grapes.

As I said before — there’s a power in doing. It’s really that simple.

There is probably a lot more that I could add about my experience with Whole30. I have nothing to complain about. Well, maybe except my lack of nacho consumption the past couple of months. But, really — it’s not been that bad. I will say this though — I used to eat a lot of cheese. Being lactose intolerant that was kinda stupid. But, that’s a post for another day.

I’ve mentioned this above, throughout this post and throughout my experience. The goal of Whole30 isn’t to just crash diet and change your eating habits for JUST 30 days. It’s about resetting your health. It’s about creating new healthy habits. It’s about weaning yourself off sugar. And, helping you recognize what you’re putting into your body.

Your health is your responsibility. Nobody else’s. Nobody forces you to eat anything — besides yourself. What goes into your body is really up to you. And, I think this concept really resonated with me, because I’ve had so many issues the past couple of years with my thyroid.

I looking to doctors for a solution, when really I just needed to take back that responsibility and change how I was fueling myself. My thyroid has responded positively. A lot of that I believe is because my body reacts negatively to gluten (typical thyroid reaction). So, when I finished with my third round of Whole30 — I’ll continue that aspect in my diet.

But, don’t be afraid to do it. Especially if you are seriously about changing your health or righting a ship that’s gone wayward. It will make a difference. It might not be THE difference, but it will make a difference.

Feel free to contact me with any questions about my experience. I also Instagram some of workouts and meals on @fight4phat — and sometimes on @josherwalla. So feel free to check them out if you wish.

PEACE OUT.



A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on

Adding to March’s Madness …

When I sat down to schedule out my 2016 race schedule — I wanted to keep myself true to what I planned out. Partly to focus on my health, especially earlier on in the year — and partly, because I wanted to focus on getting faster again.

My original race plan saw me running two half marathons between January 1st and May 7th. And, besides a two week sick break — I’ve been used my training to lead up to the Provo City Half on May 7th.

Originally, I was going to run the Zion Half Marathon on March 12th — but, weddings and obligations have made that an impossibility. So, the original plan was to just focus on Provo City instead of finding another half marathon.

Well, I found another half marathon.

The March Madness Half Marathon in Woods Cross. Happening this Saturday.

The start and finish is actually less than a 5K from my front door. I was tempted to actually run (more like walk) to the start line … but, that seemed a bit too ambitious. Especially considering running a half marathon right now is definitely a bit too ambitious.

The race is rather simple and small — it’s an out and back course along the Legacy Parkway Trail. I am not sure how many participants are signed up, but I’m putting my money on me being last. Which is totally fine with me — last is still better than ‘didn’t get off the couch’ .. right?

The game plan is simple. I am going to treat it like a training run. I am bringing along my Galloway Run/Walk Timer and focusing on that. I haven’t decided if I am going to do a 4/1, 3/1 or other run/walk ratio set? I’ve been training right now with a 3/1 ratio — so that might be the best bet?

Either way, I am not going in for a time goal — I am expecting it to be 3+ hours. I just want to do my best and get some of my pent up race wiggles out. I can’t tell you how hard it’s been NOT racing anything over a 5K the past couple of months.

So in preparation for this weekend’s race, I ran a 5K on the treadmill this morning. I am planning on another 5K tomorrow before resting on Friday — but, with the weather looking so good this week, I am tempted to run outside tomorrow night. We’ll see.

But, I need this run. I need the challenge. It’s been a tough month with being sick and being setback some with my training. I am trying to be smart about my comeback — but, it’s hard not being able to run like you once were able to.

I just want to fly — and sometimes, like right now — I feel like the Spruce Goose.

I am hoping this race will help that mentality change. I need to be happier about my small successes — and successes in general, than by focusing on things I can’t control.

And, mentally, I am getting there. I have no doubt that I will.

But, oh, how I want to soar now!


A photo posted by @my.run on