Walking into the kitchen early Sunday morning, I proclaim to my wife, Laura, who is having her morning coffee and enjoying her book: “I am done eating this way. I can’t do this any longer.” She has this look of ‘what the heck are you talking about’ on her face but patiently waits for me to explain.
You see, the day before we were planning on going out to dinner and I was running a few minutes late for our reservation. I jumped in and out of the shower in a flash and into the closet to grab my jeans and a shirt. This is where my nutrition makeover story begins.
Stark Reality of a Nutrition Makeover
In my hurried state, I grabbed a pair of blue jeans, size 34, that I was wearing a short year before but had progressed to wearing a size 36, my comfort fit jeans. Still oblivious, I started to put on my size 34 jeans and quickly realized they were not going any further up my legs than my thighs.
Angry, and well let’s leave it at angry, I started to take off the jeans but stopped dead in my tracks. I wrestled the pants up over my waist and secured the button then proceeded into the bathroom to stare at myself in the mirror. I stared at my reflection into what Navy Seal David Goggins, refers to as the accountability mirror for what seemed like minutes and I was horrified by my observation.
Mirror, Mirror … Who is That?
I looked unhealthy, overweight and felt older than my years. At that moment, a decision was made, a paradigm shift of major proportions needed to take place in my nutrition, exercising and overall health if I wanted to live life to its fullest. That takes me back to Sunday Morning.
After explaining to Laura that I needed to make a change and why, she was on board. She admitted to me that she had put on a few extra pounds and wasn’t happy with where she was at either.
So together, we approached this lifestyle change and determined that eating a whole food diet that was low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats– or a ketogenic diet — was the way to go.
The reduction in carbohydrates puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis where your body can become incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.
Carving Out New Nutrition
We saw the benefits of cutting out simple carbohydrates such as bread, oats, pasta, white flour, which eventually turns into sugar. Instead we began eating protein, fibrous carbohydrates such as kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, berries, apples, bananas and nuts and seeds. I found myself eating a large kale salad for breakfast and totally enjoying it.
We also both committed to working out 6 days a week incorporating running, swimming and weights into our routine. We also took it one step further and signed up for a half marathon. Working toward a goal of that magnitude kept us focused on the process of eating ketogenic and getting in our workouts.
To be honest, this change came very easily to both of us. I documented our story each day in my journal and made sure Laura knew what day we were on and how I was adhering to this new lifestyle. I would say to her, “I ate very good today.” And she would say, “Of course, how else would you eat.” It became a joke that I would say this to her, as if she expected anything different.
Training for Life
As far as training for our half marathon, I have to admit that my running was not going well when we made this change and signed up for this race. So, I started at the beginning and walked 4 minutes, ran 1 minute for several weeks with Laura right by my side.
As I dropped the weight, very slowly but consistently, my running got easier. I was no longer carrying around extra pounds to hinder my performance.
As the weight fell off, I progressed nicely to running more and walking less. When finally I was able to run 3 miles straight I felt I had made a breakthrough. I felt that I was moving toward my goal of finishing a half marathon.
As race day approached, I knew we had made the right choice to get on track to living life to the fullest by eating healthy and exercising daily. I can’t tell you how good we both felt and looked.
We were carrying around less weight, thinking more clearly and feeling stronger and functioning at a higher level than ever. And these feelings culminated when we both finished our half marathon together – Laura taking 3rd place and me taking 2nd place in our age groups. What a feeling!