Category Archives: Vices

1 Year of Primal: A Retrospective

Summer 2010

Summer 2010

Throughout this retrospective, I’ll be linking to pertinent milestones in my path. First, if you haven’t read it lately, get to know me as I started this.

Read More – About Me

I weighed 325lbs at my worst. Wore a 46-48″ pant and 3XL shirts. I had high blood pressure and no energy. I’d tried lots of diets with little to no success or will to stick to it. Sustainability of a diet was nil.

I started this journey the day after Memorial Day of 2012 (May 29, 2012). The weekend of Memorial Day was my friend’s bachelor party. Prior to leaving for it I weighed in at 300lbs even (May 25, 2012). After a solid weekend of drinking and not a lot of eating, I came home and weighed in at 297lbs on May 29th. We were off to the races with the Primal Blueprint. We chose the Primal Blueprint because we’d heard it was the best way to get into a primal lifestyle.

Read More – Life Changes and Moves Forward

3 days of Primal, 8 lbs down!

3 days of Primal, 8 lbs down!

I had a lot of hope with this diet, but I was concerned about sustainability. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to afford it or that the food would be crap or that my wife would give up on all the hard work in the kitchen or that sticking to it at work would be difficult. In the above post I outlined my goals.

  1. I want to be able to get out of the shower, look in the mirror and not go “Yecchhh…”
  2. I want to be able to run for a whole mile.
  3. I want to be able to ride a bike without flattening the tires.
  4. I want to be able to buy clothes at the mall and not from the Fatso catalogs.
  5. I want to be able to keep up with my kid as he gets bigger and faster

Here’s my updates as of today

  1. This is getting better. I’ve still got a lot of loose skin, but my gut is smaller, my tits are smaller, I’m not quite so wide and I can see my penis again. So that’s nice.
  2. On May 25th, 2013 I competed in a ‘miler’ run and finished 2nd overall!
  3. I can do this now. I weigh less now than I did when I bought the bike in 1996.
  4. I am now buying clothes at regular stores without digging through the rack for that lone pair of 40-somethings
  5. I can keep up with my 4 year old now, but he’s still got a ways to go and this will be ever evolving.

I decided very early on that I would blog about this adventure and if I was going to do it right, I needed to be honest with myself and my readers. I didn’t expect a lot of readers, but I figured I’d start with the ‘Semi Naked Truth’ Articles where I would put myself out there on display. Read More – The fat, (semi) naked truth [the post]. I knew there would be a lot of challenges on this adventure, mostly food related. It took the constant repeating of “don’t eat that, don’t eat that” to get past it, but it was working. I wrote a lot in June because everything was so new and interesting. My brain was still part fatso so I had that ability to remember how awful I ate and apply it to what I was eating now. The weight was coming off pretty steadily, to my surprise. I wasn’t really exercising all that much and I’ll admit that even now exercising is still a problem. Read More – Exercise ArticlesAfter just 3 weeks, I was already feeling significantly better. I also started asserting my dietary requirements at work. It didn’t always work, but I found one person at the company who helped me by making sure we’d have salads without grains or dairy when possible and would order appropriate food for me when I was working on special project teams on the weekend. Then it happened… in less than a month I lost 20lbs. Despite all the initial challenges I was making it work!

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A good cheat day.

I’m very lucky to have a wife that works harder at this than I do… because I can’t cook worth a damn. She is the reason this is working for me. It was working fast, too. My clothes were already fitting looser and my ‘summer of weddings’ was upon me. My first wedding was a ‘fat guy in a GIANT coat’ debacle. But it was working, by mid July of last year, with only 6 weeks or so into it, I was 55lbs down from my worst weight and 30lbs down since starting. My goal weight at the time was a lofty 205, my doctor stepped in and said I should be at 247. Little did he know that I would blow by that in short order, and then… a Whole30 for August. No weight charting, uber strict paleo… no cheating… except that we did cheat and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT… and then we tried it again and it really worked. I noticed that my appearance was getting tighter… particularly with my manboobs. Another thing that was happening quickly was that my high blood pressure was disappearing.

The Whole30 ended in a great success. I was nearing 50lbs lost since starting my adventure and almost 75lbs since my worst. I really started to feel it. That 50lb mark came shortly after. I was feeling fantastic, but I was still up over 40″ around my waist. I had bought some “Challenge pants” to push me. To help push me, my wife and I embarked on a Whole52 starting in October and ending at Thanksgiving. We figured we needed to prep our bodies for the onslaught of holiday feeding. 240lbs came shortly after… I was back to my high school weight… and I still had some clothes from High School to demonstrate. We did end up surviving ThanksgivingBy December, I had started posting less on here and moved primarily to facebook for my more ‘microupdates’. I left the blog for big posts like my FIRST 5K! It felt great to be able to complete this, even though I didn’t run it to it’s entirety.

The Happiest Family on Earth

The Happiest Family on Earth

Then the major goal happened. 100lbs down since my worst. I had blown past my 40″ goal pants right into a set of 36s. My wife and I reached our goal weights and part of a contract I had with her was that when she reached her goal weight, we would go to Disney World. We went, and we tried to stay paleo… for a few hours. Eventually we gave in and went full fat-American-Tourist mode to see what would happen to us. Luckily, we only packed on about 8 or 9 lbs in our extended stay (thanks to the Blizzard at home). However, when we got back and went back to a full strict paleo, I lost the weight in a few days and suffered from a fainting spell which claimed my glasses and gashed my skull. To this day we have no real answer as to why this happened. Low blood sugar is still the explanation despite me never HAVING it the entire time.

In April, I declared our Paleo Adventure over. It had become our lifestyle now and was less an adventure. However, now I’m thinking that I need to reinvigorate myself and get back on the wagon. I feel that I’ve been slipping badly and my scale is showing it. This morning I weighed in at 229lbs. That’s up 13lbs since my best weight on this. That’s a LOT. I’ve been cheating more and more. It’s time to get back on the wagon and do it right again. It’s time to go into Year 2. The Primal Empire Strikes Back!

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The Thin 40-inch Line – Challenge Pants

The memeification of this site continues

A few weeks ago I bought some ‘Challenge pants’. 40x32s. When I put them on in the store, I was able to button them but there was some serious muffin topping going on. It was actually quite comical and I wish I’d take some detailed photos. I was round about 250lbs at that point but felt like I could get them to fit soon.

Fast forward to 247lbs and I’m getting ready to go to the Highland Festival as mentioned in my last post. My wife suggests I try them on and see how they fit. I figure that I’ve only lost 3lbs and that’s probably not enough. To my surprise they fit with minimal muffin topping and off to the races I went. I spent the entire weekend in them and drove the 250miles back and forth with nary a discomfort. It was rather surprised by the whole thing.

I felt really good in them. They were a good fit through the legs. I think I looked pretty good too.

All this talk about muffin tops… here’s a recipe I googled.

Now, a quick discussion about cheating over the weekend. We actually maintained pretty well until we… actually ate some food beyond our snacks. We had Scotch Eggs, which are rumored to be Paleo. At least until you cover them in mashed potatoes and sausage gravy. That was about the extent of our cheating while we were at the festival. Of course, you have to eat after that, so off to the Common Man for our 6th Anniversary Dinner.

We started by looking at the Gluten Free menu. What we eventually ordered started off as paleo. My wife had a 12oz prime rib and I had the pot roast with vegetables. We did have white potatoes with our meal. My son had chicken cutlets which we shared with him. Then came dessert. I have no idea what my wife got because I was face deep in a hot fudge sundae with my kid. My wife felt like garbage for the rest of the weekend, I more or less shrugged it off with only mild nausea and phlegm. She feels better today and my tally for the weekend was +1 lbs. Back to 248lbs.

At least my pants still fit.

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Need a kickstart.

God damned cheater.

My activity level is way down lately. I’m still walking a lot but I never did finish the 21 day challenge. I’ve been looking at doing paintball once a month… I had a lot of fun doing it last time and it was a good workout running for your ‘life’. Part of the reason my activity levels have fallen off is that since our big work move, we’ve lost our gym. I’ve upped my walking to longer, more difficult routes, but that’s not cutting it. I really need to find time to work out. I’m thinking of early in the morning in our nearby park and doing the 21 day challenge workouts all over again, but it’s the matter of pushing myself to do it. My dad’s pool has opened up and we’ve gone twice already, but standing in a pool isn’t a workout.

On top of that I’ve had a few cheats over the past few weeks. Yesterday was probably the worst. We didn’t have adequate food here at work and I decided to go to the local BBQ place and get their BBQ ribs special. 3 ribs and something called BBQ Mash. They said the mash was just a bit of all their pulled meats. What they didn’t mention was the 2-3 fingerling potatoes mixed into it. For the price I paid, I couldn’t justify throwing it away so I just ate it. To make up for that, I’m taking a fasting day today. I’m not hungry, but I am craving what’s for lunch. Also, we’ve had a few parties and at the parties I had some hard cider. I’ve read through the ingredients and there’s nothing there that’s outright off the books. They’re listed as gluten free. Though I am just defending my urge to have a drink here and there. I was good at the latest wedding short of a small glass of white wine that I drank. The wedding food selection was perfect for us so I was able to eat to my heart’s content. I’ve also fallen back to eating full fat Greek yogurt occasionally. I’m trying to curb that right now. I’ve had a few cups when I was really hungry over the past few weeks.

I’m hoping this post might make me look at what I’m doing to myself and nip it in the bud. Yesterday I was 272, today I’m 274. I don’t want to mess this up. I would love to see the 260s before my birthday in 12 days. Hopefully this fasting day will help me get my head straight.

What’s up, Jerky OR More Sriracha!

I love jerky. I’ve always loved it. My wife has not been a fan of my obsession with it. She always said there’s too much salt, too many bad things involved… While this is true of most store bought, cheap jerky… making your own would allow me to determine what goes into it.

Your food, dried… for your play-zhurrrr

So, with that, I put a food dehydrator into my amazon wish list (which is basically the “Buy me this for birthdays/father’s day/Christmas” list). I chose the Nesco FD-80 square dehydrator. I’d read a lot of reviews and this seemed to be the best. I also put the Jumbo Jerky Gun Kit into my list as well. These both arrived in time for Father’s Day, which was lovely.

It sat for a few weeks because I didn’t have any meat that was low enough in fat to use. After some cursory reading of jerky making, I found that leaner meat makes better jerky. It also makes jerky that’s less likely to go rancid. The dehydrator and jerky gun kit came with spices, but the spices contain nitrites and I wasn’t about to use those right away. Eventually, I found my way to the grocery store where I bought some cheap, lean ground beef. My wife was not happy with my choice as it wasn’t grass fed, organic beef. She told me that if I bought that I’d be eating it myself as she wouldn’t have it. I told her I wasn’t going to blow a big chunk of change on my first batch in the great odds that I screwed it up. So, a pound and a bit of jerky all for me then… or so I thought.

When I got home, I seasoned a bowl with some salt, pepper, Tabasco chipotle sauce and Sriracha sauce then dumped the meat in and started blending it together by hand, occasionally adding more of the above seasoning to it. In my head I was thinking “more seasoning than I need because it’s going to burn off…” THIS is incorrect. You need to use slightly LESS because dehydrating makes the season MORE potent. I loaded my jerky gun (which is basically a huge extruder and started working it onto the tray. I tried doing it in a circular pattern (don’t do this, you waste a LOT of space). The gun is kinda weird. It doesn’t come out as smooth as the above picture. It kinda burps a bit. Also, have a knife on hand to cut the strips off when you get to the end of the tray. Lay your strips out as the above picture, in straight lines. The other problem is when you get to the end of the gun, you’re left with this little hockey puck of perfectly good meat. Don’t do this: don’t slap it on the dehydrator and expect it to dry properly (or at least at the same length of time). It’s too thick. Either press it down a bit and put it on the dehydrator or cut it up a bit. I ended up just drying it as is. I set it on high and let it go for 4 hours. After 4 hours, I had a piece… it was good, but over-seasoned. I ate the hockey puck… it wasn’t quite cooked all the way through. I didn’t get sick, so there’s that…

I offered my wife a piece. At first she turned it down. Then, a few minutes later she tried a piece… and another… and then a few more exclaiming, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten…”

Thursday Weigh-In – 274lbs

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80/20 OR Cheating… and Zits?

I promised myself I’d stay on track for 30 days… I didn’t quite make it the whole way. Yesterday for father’s day, my family and I went out for frozen yogurt. This new place called Orange Leaf opened up so we bought one (giant) cup of it and shared it between the 3 of us. It was really good. We got all the fruit flavored ones and then added fruit and nut toppings to it. The neat thing about Orange Leaf is that you pay by the ounce and not by the cup size, so we loaded up on real fruit. I didn’t feel terrible after eating it and it was a nice treat. It luckily didn’t ruin my weight loss goals as I ended up down 2lbs since the day before.

I love you, I HATE YOU, I love you, I HATE YOU
Let’s just be friends.

Then there’s the cheese. The primal diet says that you can partake OCCASIONALLY in hard, raw milk cheeses. I’m not 100% sure what I got was raw milk cheese, but it is very hard. It’s the Whole Foods Robusto (which I think is a heavily aged and smoked gouda). It’s not cheap either, but it’s damn good and you only need a tiny cube of it. I think next time I’ll just get the much cheaper Raw Milk Smoked Gouda to compare. I love this cheese though. It’s got a bit of a crunch to it.

Beyond those two cheats I did have a cup of black tea with lemon out of a K-cup… so that’s probably not totally kosher. I’m sure the lemon wasn’t ‘real’.

On the brief topic of Whole Foods and grass fed beef… I find it very hard to find grass fed in even the poshest of butcheries. After coming up empty at the Meat House in Beverly, I went to Whole Foods where I know I would spend a large percentage of my recent paycheck. They ended up having some good, cheap tri-tips that were grass fed and not an arm and a leg. However… I think i set a new high score at that register for me: $224. Motherf… I digress. One other thing I became aware of was ‘grass-fed, grain-finished’. I had never heard of this before and after some simple searching I found this to mean “conventional”. One butchery I called said “Yes, we have grass fed beef that is grain finished.” I was like, “Oh, that’s good, thanks.” Then I started googling. Sure enough that could mean ‘grass fed once’ or it could mean grass fed until brought to slaughter. I’m planning on taking my meat business to North Hollow Farm starting next week. The price per pound is cheap, but it costs a bit to ship. I think once I get it all in order it’ll still be cheaper than getting it at Whole Foods or as my wife (and I think everyone else on the internet) likes to say: WHOLE PAYCHECK *nyuk nyuk nyuk*. Yeah, it’s not cheap…

On to the next thing. Because after discussing food, I know you want to hear about zits. If you don’t… then stop here. If you do, read on:

Monday Weigh in – 280lbs (-17lbs)

Continue reading

Crumbs!

My work has quiche on Fridays. I like quiche. I cut the crusts off now, but one thing begs the question: DO I WORRY ABOUT THE CRUMBS!?!?!? Crumbs can come from anything. I’ve stripped a sandwich for it’s insides, I spent about 10 minutes harvesting meat from pizzas in the office (after everyone had had their fair share of intact, unmolested pizza). The answer is a resounding

I have no idea.

What do you do? Are you so stuck on the plan that even crumbs stop you in your tracks? Or do you plow through and try to avoid them? Does an errant crumb blow the whole thing or am I just over reacting?

I mentioned Pizza day on Friday, but I’m going to go back there for a minute. I’m not entirely sure the overall stance of paleo/primal is when it comes to dairy. I have been avoiding it when I can but I will put a little feta on a salad or not dust each piece of stolen pizza meat of it’s cheese hangers. I’m thinking I’m in such bad shape to start, I’ve got a bit of wiggle room for crumbs right now. But am I doing something to the potential ketosis my body is going through?

When life sucks, add bacon AND god damnit… Pizza Day

There’s a salad under there, I swear.

I love bacon. I have a shirt that says
BaconStrips&
BaconStrips&
BaconStrips&
BaconStrips& 
BaconStrips&

This isn’t some sort of sudden meme bacon addiction, I have ALWAYS loved bacon. When I got onto this diet I was alerted that I could eat bacon. I could also eat jerky (as long as it was pure jerky). I have a thing for crunchy meat. My wife shares my love of bacon, but is working on her love of jerky. She decidedly doesn’t like crappy jerky (Slim Jims, Matador, Oberto…) but lately she’s been getting into the more pure jerky that’s available. I’m eyeballing a nice dehydrator and jerky gun right now, with the hopes that I can start making my own strips.

My son ALSO loves bacon. His ideal meal is bacon and broccoli. Now this was even before we went primal. He wanted that stuff whenever we’d do it for him. Unfortunately, GOOD bacon isn’t cheap. We’ve convinces him that jerky is also bacon. That kid plowed through a really nice stick of jerky last night just like I would. My one problem with eating jerky is that I want MORE JERKY. I blame this on my tendency to demolish food. Chewing’s for suckers, I want that stuff in my mouth then in my gullet in as minimal time as possible… This is stupid. I have always raced my food down. I tend to take like 3 to 4 good chews and then try to swallow any foods. This leads to some rather humourous moments involving me casually choking to death on meat once in a while. I end up looking a bit like a cat hacking a hairball, except the end result ends up being a puddle of expensive steak. I’ve always been reprimanded for eating the way I do. My wife, my mom, my dad… they all have told me to “Slow down and enjoy it”. But, there’s just something in my brain that goes “FOOOD!?” NOM NOM NOM SWALLOW CHOKE BURP!* Even just this second, I totally INHALED a nice piece of Vermont Jerky (on sale at Whole Foods this week!). I think a lot of this has to do with my attention span while eating. I find it difficult to relax and enjoy the moment and live in the now. I’m always onto the next thing. I’ve always got 18 things going on at any one time. I’ve heard some people mention that this diet has helped their collective concentration so maybe this will help me relax and enjoy my food.

Today at work is Pizza Day. What once was a wonderful day full of about 4 slices of pizza and 2 pieces of calzone is now… a salad. Luckily, we had some bacon left over from yesterday but ultimately, I’m unprepared in terms of having enough meat. God damnit Pizza Day. I hope you die. I shall be going back for seconds of salad for sure. I hope the dinner at our event is a bit more friendly.

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