Saturday, 14 January 2012

How I Got Here

You see, when a man and a woman love each other..... wait, that's a different story.

How I get HERE is not such a long tale but parts of it will sound familiar to many of you. Recently I had my 45th birthday. I had recently heard someone talking about their bucket list (the things you want to do before you die) and while I was wistfully thinking about my dream of playing a soldier in the Nutcracker I realized that, given my family history and current health state, I was likely past the half-way point in my life. Now I'm not the sharpest fry in the Happy Meal but I know you have to be ALIVE to actually check something off of your bucket list.

Add to that the fact I was on high blood pressure medication and high cholesterol medication which I was really not keen to be on because of the possible side-effects.

OMG I'm bigger than Godzilla!!!!!!
So, I needed to figure out a way to lose some weight and get into a fit physical state. I looked around the house and noticed a fairly recent issue of Air Force Times with an article about the ongoing struggle for some people to pass the Air Force fitness standards. BINGO! I set my first goal: pass the Air Force PT test on or before my next birthday. The exam consists of performing a timed one and a half mile run, waist measurement, and a certain number of sit-ups and push-ups in one minute. Being a non-exercising carefree-food-choice kind of guy I knew it would take a good amount of time. The running and sit-up / push-up parts were covered (see running and exercises) but what to do about the dreaded waist measurement?

Eating is the key as we all know. But it isn't as simple as X calories in and X calories out. I already had a decently sufficient intake of vegetables. In the past I had lost a good amount of weight with the Adkins diet but even a meat-eater like me has limits. South Beach slimmed me down but I hated the whole portion control hungry feeling I got. I had had a couple of brief exposures to something called a Primal lifestyle. One was a story on CNN about a Primal restaurant opening in Europe and I'll admit I had a good laugh at what they were serving (but like most places in Europe the plate was dang-near empty and fancifully decorated). The second was a much more positive experience of a lady also here in Japan and after a short talk or two I went to her blog and read her story as well as seeing her results. Now this was interesting because I not only saw the before/after but I could talk to her (we were both on committees that met regularly).

Debi was kind enough to send me a few links and then let me do my thing: research. Being a nerd has certain advantages and finding things on the internet is one of them...HA! I soon began reading quite a bit from a blog written by Mark Sisson called Mark's Daily Apple. At first what he was suggesting sounded, well... heretical. Meat and saturated fats on purpose????? But I had seen the results and was willing to spend the time learning before I brushed it off and continued the search. So I read and cross-referenced and scanned research reports and eventually came to the conclusion that, hold on to your hats folks, it makes sense!

Shortly after that weekend of intense activity I decided that there were some changes I could make immediately: cutting out the processed foods I so loved like THE WHITES (white sugar / bread / rice) and boxed meals (easy-peasy 1-2-3!) that made life simple but not necessarily healthy. I then followed with all processed carbohydrates like pasta and sugary drinks as well as my beloved but ineffectual Diet Cokes. After two weeks of this I have to say I began to feel much better, like a fog had been lifted off of my brain. With the exercise that I'm doing I feel good whereas for years I was happy to reach mediocre.

And that is how I got HERE.

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