I’m a recovering fat guy.

I was an active kid who ate garbage and stayed fit.  I was a high school swimmer who ate garbage and stayed fit.  I was a soldier in the Army, where I ate garbage, smoked cigarettes, drank too much – and was in the best shape of my life.

I changed my Army job from one where I would spend hours digging holes to a cushy, sit-on-ass tech job.  I gained 10 pounds.  We had a baby.  I gained 10 pounds.  I quit smoking.  I gained 10 pounds. Burger King started serving burgers for breakfast.  I gained 20 pounds.

I deployed to Afghanistan and began working out several hours a day and had my first go at low-carb eating.  I lost a lot of fat, and gained a lot of muscle.  Unfortunately that environment, saturated with testosterone, bodybuilding mags, and guys who are bigger and stronger, led to some (thankfully) brief experiments with hardcore supplements.    The kind of stuff that can (and did to some guys I knew) give you man-boobs.

When I came home they gave me my Honorable Discharge and I became, quite literally, a “Fat, Happy, Civilian”.  I quit working out completely, began eating garbage and drinking too much.  Add that to the rebound effects of my “supplements” and the results are predictable.  At my heaviest I had ballooned to 265 pounds, standing 5′ 11″ and 28 years old. And I was no longer happy.

In September 2005 I decided to make a change. I started by eating small meals every couple hours – Yoplait yogurt, turkey sandwiches, string cheese, pasta – you know, “healthy” stuff.  I also signed up for karate lessons with my son.

And it worked! 2 years to the day later I was 198 pounds.  Then the holidays hit, and a vacation and a week-long family feast-fest had me back around 215 again.  So, like so many others at the start of 2008, I was looking for to get back on the wagon, but wasn’t really looking forward to my sandwiches again. Somehow I wound up at the Weston A Price Foundation website. I read the articles, and the evidence. The work of Mary Enig really caught my attention. Could it be true that the “healthy” food I was eating was making me fat? Was saturated fat really good for you? I came to the realization that the food industry had “blinded me with science”. I had always honestly believed that the things they cooked up in the lab were superior – that we had improved on nature. It was a hard pill for me to swallow. I had scoffed at the “hippies” and their “whole foods”, all the while smugly downing my margarine smeared bread. In hindsight I think it’s because my mom has been a chronic yo-yo dieter. The kind that could lose all that weight if she only had the latest gizmo/diet plan/miracle drug/superfood. Yet I can’t remember a single time when the pantry didn’t have chips and crackers in it, or no soda in the fridge.

Anyhow, Weston A. Price led to Mark Sisson and Rusty Moore, and thus was I reborn!  I began the whole food lifestyle.  Mark’s Primal Blueprint was my starting point.  I made some adaptations to include cheese and yogurt as I believe they are a great source of fat and protein, and are basically pre-digested by bacteria.  I had been walking several times a week, in addition to my twice-weekly karate sessions.  Now my walks would include primal movements.  I found a peice of palm tree trunk that made a perfect club.  I would swing that bad boy all around while I walked.  If I found a nice heavy rock, I would do thrusters, or just throw it ahead of me.  Four months later I had dropped to 185 pounds.  I was deemed “too skinny” by the wife, and relaxed my diet a bit.  I have maintained around 195 ever since.

I’ve been working on a low-carb, lower stress, primal moving lifestyle for about a year now.  There have been setbacks, carb binges, weight gains and losses, but it is getting easier all the time. The blogosphere has given me daily motivation and education, so maybe I can return the favor and motivate someone else.

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