When I was in Minneapolis this past summer working the All-Star game for FOX, Brandon Warne waited patiently through our post-game coverage to say hello. I knew through twitter that he followed the blog, but his desire to shake hands made the interaction human. It was this same humanness that has made his nutritional adjustments a challenge, despite his best efforts. It’s also what makes his most recent step and achievement especially inspiring. The mic is yours.
I hopped out of bed this morning. I ran around the apartment last night. My wife had to remind me not to do that because, after all, I’m still a pretty big dude.
But I wasn’t doing these things last year – or last month, even. It’s all because of how I’m feeling lately. In short: phenomenal.
I’ve been somewhat health conscious for pretty much my entire adult life. When I left home some 10 years ago, I wanted to make sure I took care of my body, even though I wasn’t exactly sure how. I figured a good multivitamin was a good start, and maybe some fish oil and a few other things.
What does a healthy person eat? I don’t know. Or I didn’t know. My first year of college, I stuck with a ton of vegetables. I worked out semi-religiously (which is funny, because I was at a Bible school) and subconsciously did other things I didn’t know I was doing that made me healthier.
I spent that summer running three mile intervals and playing my last season of Legion baseball, and the last time I looked at a scale before heading back to school it said 212 lbs. WOW! I played (read: watched) high school football at about 225-230, but this was something else. I looked and felt great.
Back at school for my second year, I let it slip a bit. Instead of running, I rode a bike. Sometimes at the gym, I’d just sit down and watch Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn and head back to my dorm without setting foot on the fitness floor.
My fitness level slipped a bit over the following years, save for a brief spell playing college baseball in 2008. I put in a season behind an All-Conference first baseman, and I was perhaps on my way to some playing time. I couldn’t make it work financially though, and that will forever bug me. During this time, I never did step on a scale though, so I didn’t have much of a baseline to work with here.
I drifted further and further from my glory days, and so too did I drift from my ideal body weight. I thought I held it together pretty well, but looking back at pictures…no, not really. A lot of things played a role in me drifting away from fitness. I’ve worked a few jobs prior to my current one that I simply abhorred, including ones at a fitness center (ha) and as a manager of a shipping outlet.
Hating your job plus having a physical issue can really hamper your workouts. I broke my spine when I was eight, so I’ve always had small issues with that. Couple that with a history of diabetes in my family, and it’s surprising my wake-up call didn’t come sooner.
It should have. Three years ago on New Year’s Eve I went into the emergency room. I had been feeling lousy in my southern hemisphere for about two weeks, and was legitimately worried I had either a hernia or some other malady, to put it delicately. down there. When they took my blood pressure, it was 174/111. I’m pretty sure only steam comes out if you tap into a vein at that rate.
I made some small changes – most notably, kicking my soda habit – and managed to get the blood pressure down. Still, I wasn’t making any meaningful progress physically, not even by visiting my gym and honest-to-goodness working out 12-15 times a month. I know this, because our insurance pays back half of the gym membership if we get there 12 times or more a month. February makes two years at Anytime Fitness, and I haven’t missed it once.
I was running, doing some lifting and doing some cardio as well — what was I missing?
As I gorged myself on Thanksgiving dinner, I prepared myself for the stomach pains I knew would come soon thereafter. It was nothing too serious, but there was always some discomfort that would subside before too long. Still, that’s kind of scary to have happening on a regular basis. As I sat on the couch during a brief reprieve from working that weekend, I was reminded of something I had read on this website that suddenly made a ton of sense: Gabe’s grain fast from November.
I had long known the difference between complex and simple carbs and had done my best to go with complex as often as possible. But when it comes to food, I’ve always had a tough relationship. Think of it as a reward mentality co-mingled with an addictive personality. I love food.
But if what Gabe’s post said about grains as irritants of the stomach was true, maybe that’s what I was feeling? Admittedly hastily, I threw together an idea and ran it by my wife. True to form, she told me she was worried and to make sure it was safe.
I read her both grain-free posts, and she begrudgingly said “OK,” but with a couple conditions. I had to have a regular cheat meal, and I had to be willing to still drink the Isagenix shakes she has in the house. “Fine,” I relented.
We returned from the weekend on Sunday; on Monday I started my hastily-designed plan. Incidentally, that’s Dec. 1, and I had promised my wife I’d just “try it for a month” — akin to Gabe’s plan.
Amanda was worried I wouldn’t get carbohydrates, which I assured to her I would be from all the fruit I’d be eating. As far as a simple breakdown of what I’ve been eating, well, it’s not terribly difficult. I’ve eaten multitudes of meat, and all different varieties. Fish, chicken, turkey and, of course, beef. I’ve had steaks, rainbow trout, turkey burgers and even veggie burgers. I’ve been generous with my portions and the condiments. I prefer a good honey mustard or Trader Joe’s ketchup.
I’ve eaten fruits and vegetables by the truckload. Strawberries, apples and the occasional banana have been the fruit fare at the Warne’s place, and any time I’m feeling hungry I just run my apple slicer over an apple or a pear or crack open a flat of strawberries. Trader Joe’s string cheese has been a life saver, too.
I have also become a salad fiend — hold the croutons. You can get a salad just about anywhere. As this plan evolves and I look to get something other than just “not heavy,” I suspect I’ll find more nutritional, sustainable ways to get my salad fix. I know that’s what Kap would suggest, too.
Cutting out breads has been even easier than I expected it to be. If you ask my wife, it is because I had a somewhat silly vision in my head to begin with. I’m a bit of a dreamer, and I fall in love with my ideas and pursue them really hard at first before tailing off. She was convinced this would be the same, but if results are any indication, I think this will be an aberration. She’s still right most of the time, though.
When I hopped on the scale today, I was down 10.2 pounds from Dec. 1 — a span of 18 days. That was with an alteration in my diet — I refuse to call it ‘being on a diet’ — and an altered fitness routine that finds me going to the gym nearly every day. And if that sounds daunting, it shouldn’t. I’m very much an express fitness guy. I prefer to be in and out in half an hour, so I’ve taken to running two miles at 5.0 mph on the treadmill. I didn’t even know I could do that without stopping until a few weeks ago.
I’m not sure what to do for a conclusion here. I will say this: I was pretty carb addicted and still have found the strength to do this. Yesterday, in the break room, I stared down the barrel of a fully loaded cookie from Cookie Cart and said no. That felt really empowering. I knew eating that cookie would taste good for about two minutes, but the guilt would stick with me the rest of the day. I opted for a Chipotle salad — double chicken, extra black beans — and a big bottle of water (a serious must – drink more water people!), allowing me to hop on the scale and see two completely new numbers today.
I can’t tell you how that makes me feel.