Jonathan Chandler Webb
My Health Journey Part 5

One of the biggest aspects of this health journey has been the ability to recognize which foods are bothering me and which are giving me fuel. Before I started this, I felt bad after almost every meal. I had no energy and fell right into the trap of trying to find quick fixes to boost that energy. A soda, some candy, a candy bar were all options for me to stave off that afternoon nap. What do you think happens when you eat or drink things with tons of sugar? We can all stand up and shout the answer…YOU CRASH! Sure, you may have some moments of energy and fire away on your afternoon work emails, but that goes away very fast. Then what happens? You head to the break room to find another quick fix. And on and on the cycle goes.

Here’s where I’m at right now. I don’t get hungry in terms of those intense, stomach growling hunger pains that used to bother me. When you work through the diet I described in Part 3 your body starts to transition from a sugar burning machine into a fat burning machine. And this is where you want to live!

People a lot smarter than me have written tons of material on eating good fats and staying away from the processed foods that are full of sugar. I’ll give you a few suggestions below as these are some of my favorites and ones that are sitting on my book shelf:

Fat for Fuel – Dr. Joseph Mercola

Headstrong – Dave Asprey

The Keto Reset Diet – Mark Sisson

There are also numerous podcasts out there as well, some of them hosted by these guys above, that spend a great deal of time discussing diet and burning fat instead of sugar. Bulletproof Radio and The Doctor’s Farmacy are two of my favorites.

When my body started burning fat I could literally feel the difference inside. Those crazy hunger pains were gone, I could go much longer in between meals (we’ll get into that in an upcoming post), and I was no longer craving candy and soda. It was as if my body completely switched to a different operating mode…because it did!!

You see that silly picture up there? That’s just me having some fun on a recent trip to New York. But, if you’ve been following this series (and if you haven’t get to it!! Haha! I’ll link to the other posts at the bottom) you will remember my picture from Part 1 in which I’m wearing a large shirt and sort of resting my arms on my belly. At that moment I weighed almost 200 pounds (195 to be exact). In the above picture from New York I am wearing a medium shirt and weighing in at a crisp 167. Look how flat my stomach is in the picture!

I share that to just keep it real…I am proud of the hard work I put into this change. I want you to experience the same thing. We are too reliant on bad foods in our diet and it is slowly killing us. We are tired, crabby, and not sleeping well. We get out of breath when we walk upstairs, our clothes don’t fit anymore, and we are losing any sense of self confidence we had before.

All of that, all of it, was me. I am not judging or trying to shame, I’m talking about myself here. And since I’m no longer that person I want to celebrate. And, I want to bring others with me! I could go into 1,000 – 5,000 word essays on the food industry, the American diet, and all that stuff and maybe one day I will. But it honestly doesn’t matter what those jokers do, we can choose to eat differently. I used to pull into McDonald’s but now I just bring some water from home or stop by the juice/smoothie place. Or I could just not eat at all.

So, if you get anything out of this hear this…it takes work but you can do it! Stay tuned for more…

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

 

 

Good food, no sugar and now we are rolling! I really wish I had taken pictures with my shirt off to see the progress but you’ll have to trust me…my body was changing. Plus, I’m not sure I’m willing to put a shirtless picture of myself on the internet these days. Haha!

After 1 week on the diet I described in Part 3, I was down 5 pounds. After 1 month I was down about 12 pounds. But as I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t just concerned with my weight. I wanted to feel better, to have more energy, and to change my eating habits. I accomplished all of the above and then some!

That guy right there? That’s my granddad, Thomas Webb Sr. I never met him as he passed away before I was born. Why am I showing you a picture of my granddad? Was he some health guru? No, he was probably a normal dude in his day with how he ate and lived. I am showing you his picture because for me this whole thing is about legacy.

We hear people talk about changing their family tree in terms of finances, education, and career tracks. I don’t hear as much conversation about changing our family tree in terms of diet and healthy living. My granddad left a name I can be proud of, a legacy of service and of caring for others. I honor that and cherish the fact that I can hold my head high as a Webb. I want to do the same thing to my family in terms of health.

You see, as the weeks wore on with this diet the hardest thing wasn’t finding the right foods to eat. Its quite easy to order a side salad instead of french fries in terms of that being an option. Its quite challenging to actually want to order a side salad instead of french fries. That side salad got ordered because this thing is much bigger than me.

I touched on this a little bit in Part 1 but want to continue to talk about it because its that important. You need a why…a reason that you are doing this or you will get stuck. Its hard to completely change the way you eat, to change the way you see food, to go against a lot of the ‘common knowledge’ that is out there without a strong sense of purpose. The times when I was sick and tired of eating broccoli were the times I leaned on that purpose. The times when I wanted french fries and a piece of cake are the times I would look at my kids and remember why I was doing this.

You have to identify those things if you are going to push through those moments when it gets challenging. I can take you to the grocery store right now and show you things to buy that can replace what you are currently eating. But, you have to want to do that. You do. You need to make a choice, a decision that you want to improve your health. And when you make that decision, you must have something there that keeps you going.

I didn’t want to get healthy and change my lifestyle so I’d look good with my shirt off. Ok, that will definitely be a perk and make the swimming pool more fun but seriously, its a bigger issue than that. In the next post we’ll continue to talk about my diet and journey but I wanted to spend a few moments on the legacy piece. Thanks for reading and we’ll talk again real soon!

 

In Part 1 I talked about my ‘why’ for doing this. Those reasons alone were enough for me to explore the options and decide to jump on this train. In that process I decided that I could do anything for 3 months. That is only 90 days and 90 days in the grand scheme of things is minimal. So, I called my friend Matt and got started on his program. He gave me an eating plan and an opportunity to really see how food was impacting my life.

Now that I was working on kicking sugar to the curb I had to deal with another love of mine. Bread. Yummy, delicious, bread. You see, I grew up in Tennessee where it is a state law that rolls must be served at dinner (lunch) and supper (dinner). Like, we had bread at every meal. I can remember those ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo where the loaf bread was so soft it would stick to the roof of my mouth while I was eating. Anyone else remember those? So good.

So, what exactly did I eat? I eliminated bread, I eliminated sugar, I eliminated beans, I eliminated rice. Gone, gone, gone, gone. I replaced those things with veggies like broccoli and cauliflower (which I couldn’t stand before this diet). I added brussels sprouts. I ate almonds. I started to love macadamia nuts. Essentially, I was replacing carb heavy foods with higher fat foods. Avocados became a staple in my diet. I also started cooking with avocado oil, getting that extra fat.

For 2 weeks, I ate 3 meals a day without any snacking. Here’s an example of a day for me as I started this process. Also, check out Matt’s program for more detailed information if you are interested.

  • Breakfast – Eggs (cooked in avocado oil with butter), an avocado, and bacon. The amounts differed each day depending on my hunger but I ate until I was full
  • Lunch – 4-5 ounces of a fatty protein, some nuts of some kind, and tons of veggies! That’s not specific I know but think about having 3 to 4 handfuls of leafy greens, cruciferous veggies. I would also add some olive oil on my leafy greens for added fat.
  • Dinner – 4-5 ounces of a fatty protein, adding oil and butter as I’m cooking for the added fat. Same as lunch with the veggies and nuts.

Again, my friend Matt really breaks all of this down and has a ton of information and knowledge so I encourage you to check it out.

Ok, so the hard part for me was not snacking. I had to ‘train’ my body to not crave food all the time. Its harder than it sounds. I learned that its ok to not eat, its ok for my body to go through a fasting period (more on that in future posts). Does this sound hard? Does it sound easy?

So to recap, for 2 weeks I ate a form of the above example every day. What I can tell you even though everyone’s body is different is that I stopped being hungry for dinner around day 4. It was an amazing transformation. My energy level increased and I was sleeping better. But the most noticeable improvement was in my joints and throughout my body. I stopped being sore. Without sugar the inflammation was gone.

Food is powerful and the needed fuel for our bodies. Through all of this the key is to pay attention to how you feel when you eat. You shouldn’t be tired, you shouldn’t be drowsy after you eat. That would be my main point in all of this…pay attention to what you are eating. It takes more time, forces you to read and do more research, and will change your grocery shopping habits. But it is so worth it!

 

 

I have mentioned briefly my health journey over the past year but in this post I want to start going into a little more detail. Since I don’t want to make this an abnormally long post, this will be broken down into a few parts so stay tuned for future posts!

Basically, I was clueless in how I approached health. I ate a lot of processed foods, consumed large amounts of sugar, and didn’t get enough exercise. I knew better, I knew my body did not like how I was eating, and most days I was so tired I could barely make it to bedtime. I also have hypothyroidism and even though I took Synthroid I just didn’t have enough energy. Something was definitely off.

 

In this picture I weigh between 195-200 pounds. That shirt I’m wearing? Its a large so I can wear it untucked and cover up my belly as much as possible. If you look closely, you can see that my arms are kind of resting on my stomach. And, I felt awful. My body was packed with inflammation, I was constantly sore (even though I didn’t work out), and I was sluggish mentally and physically. I knew better.

What changed for me? There were several factors:

  • I had just turned 40
  • My dad had passed away the summer before from dementia
  • I could not keep feeling like this and expect to play with and support my children in their daily activities
  • I was not being kind to my wife and treating her with love and respect because I always felt like crap
  • I knew better (have I mentioned that yet?)
  • I wanted to live a long and healthy life
  • My levels in all my blood work were sky high and things that I used to do would now cause me to be short of breath

That’s a pretty good list isn’t it?

The first thing I want you to see when you read this is I’m not a medical professional. I do not have a background in physical fitness. I am not a personal trainer. I am just a dude who knew how I was feeling and knew that something was definitely not right. Did you know you are not supposed to be tired after you eat? I didn’t! I thought it was normal to want a nap after lunch. Its not. At all. Food is supposed to fuel your body not deplete it. I had a lot of learning to do.

Here’s the crazy thing about all of this. My wife is healthy and focused on healthy living. We have books in our house that I could read at any time on any health topic. I have tons of friends who are trained in health related issues. I have friends who are doctors and friends who are nutritionists. I knew better.

Have you ever been in a spot that scared you but you didn’t do anything to correct or change? That was me in that picture. I was living in fear of what might happen, of what was going on inside my body that I couldn’t see, and how close I might be to ending up in the hospital or worse.

So, that is the beginning of this journey. Some of these things I’ve never shared before but I want this to be open and honest. I firmly believe we can’t improve without being honest with where we currently are. For too long I was not honest with myself. I knew better.

Stay tuned for Part 2…

I’ve spent the last few posts talking about disappointments while pursuing life’s dreams. Throughout this process for me, one thing has been consistent. My family has always had enough money to buy food, put a roof over our heads, and keep the lights on. For that I am grateful and thankful to the Lord for His provision. This consistency has shown me the importance of keeping the main things the main things and not getting caught up in side issues that are temporary and fleeting. Don’t get me wrong, careers are important, jobs are important, and I believe work is a good thing. However, there is one thing bigger than all of those.

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As a man, it is easy to get caught up in the career and lose sight of what is my most important job – raising my kids and loving my wife. You see, if I go out and make other folks’ lives better, make a ton of money that is donated to charity but destroy the most intimate relationships I have in the process, it is not worth it. My kids only have one dad; what a tremendous responsibility! It is not something to be taken lightly and I strive every day to make sure I am involved in their lives and there for my kids.

Often we ask the question, what am I called to do? Again, take the time to honestly look at your heart and passions as you pursue any career opportunities. But, above all of that, if you have kids you are called to be a parent. Our kids need us more than we can ever realize. It is hard, exhausting, frustrating, awesome, fun, rewarding, and the list goes on and on. The sleepless nights are exhausting, but is there a better feeling in the world than walking through that door and being greeted with hugs and kisses? Hearing my little girls scream, ‘daddy!’ when I walk through the door after work makes everything right in the world.

I have more than my fair share of moments I’m not proud of as a dad. I wish I could write and say I enjoy every moment with my kids and that I’m always ready to read that next book with them. I’m not perfect and struggle just like everyone else. Of course there are trying times and times that stretch your mental and emotional energy, welcome to life!

My kids are just that, kids. They need so much help and support and my wife and I are the ones entrusted with the responsibility of raising and teaching them. There is a moment in almost every day that I look at the three of them and shake my head. How fast they are growing, how much they are learning, and how much I miss things I never thought I would. For example, my son no longer needs help putting on his clothes and shoes. Soon enough my daughters will be the same. I don’t want to miss a moment because once it’s gone, it is not coming back.

Over the next couple of posts, I want to dig deeper into the idea of fatherhood. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. What is the hardest thing about being a parent? How do you work on balancing career and family?