As we start the new year and set goals for our health, wealth, and family I want to finish the cautionary tale of my Yo-Yo dieting throughout the past 6 years. The success story is that I am now in the best shape of my life! However, along the way I had many ups and downs and this blog post focuses on the downs (up in terms of weight gain). As we traverse into the new year, I encourage everyone to set attainable and sustainable goals.
As previously shared, in December 2014 I was obese, had terrible energy levels, and was likely pre-diabetic. The important caveat here is: I rarely ever ate sugar! Since some sugar-lovers will say they rarely eat sugar too, let me clarify.
- I rarely drank soft drinks (at most once/month). My beverage of choice was water and if I craved something bubbly, I opted for seltzer.
- I never ate dessert after meals. I preferred filling up on a real meal rather than “saving room for dessert”.
- I never put sugar in my coffee, just cream or milk.
- I never snacked on candy or treats. My snacks were typically granola bars, bananas, oranges, or nuts.
- I never ate donuts/danish/muffins for breakfast. My typical breakfast was an egg&cheese sandwich and coffee.
Even though sugar is a common enemy in our obesity epidemic, it clearly was not the case for me. So, how did I gain so much weight with a reasonably healthy aversion to sugar?
In a previous post I discussed my first ever diet that I underwent in 2011. Dropping a clothing size was a big success for me! However, as with most diets, over time I went back to my familiar eating habits. This included egg sandwiches in the morning, sandwiches or pasta for lunch, and pasta, pizza, and french fries for dinner. A pretty standard American approach that seemed harmless to me.
During this time frame, I met my future wife and we shared a love for obtaining deals on food. We created accounts with numerous restaurant deal sites including Groupon, LivingSocial, SaveNowCT, LocalFlavor, DealChicken, and Restaurant.com. In fact, for a short time I even wrote about some of our food-adventures in my first blog. At the time, it was so exciting to get an abundance of food really cheap. Unfortunately, the major downfalls to my health were:
- Going out for dinner 4-5 times per week.
- Large portion sizes at restaurants.
- Minimum purchase value on Groupons/coupons, so we were ordering more food than we normally would have.
- Low nutritional value foods and an improper balance of macronutrients.
- Leftovers to eat the next day.
What really put the nail in the coffin for me was the 8 months that I worked in Perth Amboy, NJ. I was living out of a hotel room for those 8 months and only had access to restaurant food at the time. That, combined with the loneliness of the situation, I could really feel my energy being sapped. I had low energy and barely got by with coffee and frequent snacking each day.
After leaving that job, I was relieved to be back home, but was still struggling with energy levels. Eventually, even coffee betrayed me as I started feeling jittery and anxious. I ended up giving up coffee completely for awhile. I always kept snacks of oranges, bananas, and granola bars nearby for whenever my energy dipped. I even went in to see an eye doctor because my vision was blurring and thought that I might need glasses. The doctor said that my vision was fine and it would be a bad idea to get glasses. I have since found out that blurred vision is a symptom of pre-diabetes…
Without having a clue what to do with my health, my wife had this zany idea to go to a Raw Vegan retreat. I was on the fence about it for awhile, but finally caved and agreed to go. I estimate that I was about 250 pounds at the time. I never expected the amazing results I got or just how much my overall health has improved!
Thanks for reading!