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:
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…
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.
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!
In Part 1 I introduced the problem and mentioned a few reasons why I needed to start improving my health. This is going to be a much shorter post because once I did that the weight magically fell off and I felt better in like a week. Haha! You don’t believe that I know but sometimes we start a process like this thinking it will be smooth and easy because its the right thing to do. Honestly, the right thing to do is often the hardest in my experience. Doesn’t make it bad and that doesn’t (sorry for the double negatives) mean you should quit. It just means we need to be ready for what its going to take to reach our goals.
In order for me to lose this weight and improve my health I knew I needed help. This is an important point I don’t want you to miss…find someone you can work with or at least a friend who will hold you accountable. I had support at home but I needed more. I needed men who would push me, ask hard questions, and hold me accountable. It is extremely hard to drive by a McDonald’s, want to stop and go in, and not have someone you can call and help talk you out of it.
That person for me was Matt. You will here more about him throughout this series but he is a great friend and also a fitness coach. I won’t embarrass Matt too much here but he was one of the first people I reached out to for help. The other was another great friend, Michael, who was also on a fitness journey of his own. I couldn’t have done this without those two men. These two men provided a much needed support system when the going got tough.
I talk about anchors a lot in my writing and when I speak and here is why…anchors ground you and keep you from being tossed around. In eating and physical fitness, we need anchors to keep us steady and focused. The first anchor I put down involved sugar. You see, I had a problem. I didn’t get to 195 by accident, well maybe a little, but I made choices along the way that took me there. Let me tell you a story.
There was this guy who felt the need to always have something to drink while he was driving a car. It didn’t matter if he was driving from the house to the grocery store or if he was driving for 4 hours, a drink had to be purchased and consumed. So this handsome, very cool guy pulled into gas station after gas station. He bought hundreds of 32 ounce sodas. Do you know how much sugar is in that much soda?
There are 65 grams of sugar in a 20 ounce. 65 grams. That information is straight from Coca-Cola’s website.
So, I was getting more than 65 grams of sugar every time I threw down my 79 cents for that drink. Now, there is a lot of conflicting information on how much sugar you should have in a day but no one recommends that much. And the worst part is what’s in these drinks is not even real sugar, its high fructose corn syrup. Gross! Oh, did I mention that at times I drank more than one of these in a day?
After talking with Matt and after he sent me a food program to try, I knew I had to stop consuming sugar. Cold turkey. I will dive into the diet in the next post but for 3 months, I didn’t even eat fruit. I wanted as far away from sugar as possible.
I experienced sweating, shaking, and significant withdrawal symptoms when my body did not have sugar. I had never experienced those type of feelings before and was shocked at how my body reacted. What was I putting in my body that would cause this reaction when it wasn’t consumed? My relationship with sugar would never be the same.
We’ll dive into the diet a little more in the next post as well as some more insight into the mental aspects of this journey. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you in a few days!
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:
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…
Are there times during the day when you feel tension? Not necessarily stress but a tug and pull between where you want to go and where you are going? If you are human then your answer to these questions is yes…we all deal with tension, that tug and pull throughout the day. It is normal and part of life.
The key is to push through it and learn where it’s coming from. We don’t always have time to stop and write down every thing that is happening in the moment. But hopefully after reading this you will have a couple of tools in your tool belt to deal with it when it shows up in your life.
The very nature of life is tension and release (creation and destruction). Remembering this is central to moving forward in this area. Understanding this is beneficial to navigating life’s moments. Like speaking in front of a group of people, you have to understand your audience and where they are coming from. Guess what? You are the speaker and the audience is yourself! No one talks to us more than ourselves, whether out loud or in our own heads.
You see, often times when tension comes up we stop, afraid that we are doing something wrong. You’re not doing anything wrong! That tension is you wanting to flourish, to shine through all the mess that is going on around you. Does that make sense? You feel tension when you are pushing against something that you’ve never done before or that you are still learning.
For example, when you learn the guitar your fingers experience significant issues during those first few weeks. They aren’t used to bending certain ways, they aren’t used to moving that quickly at times, and they develop blisters from overuse. Your fingers experience tension when you learn how to play the guitar. Is that tension bad? Certainly not! You are bumping up against something that you’ve never done before and are learning something new and challenging. This is the mindset I want you to have when discussing tension.
For today, can you think of any areas you notice tension in your daily life? Areas where it seems like every time you try to move forward you get stuck or something always happens? Take out a journal or a pad of paper and write those down. Be honest with yourself, no one has to see these things but you.
Once those are written down, walk away from the paper for a little while. Do your best to remove yourself from that situation and take care of something else for a while. After an hour or so come back to your list.
On that same paper or on a different page, write down 3 things you can do to move forward in those areas you wrote. 3 things that you can do to push through that tense situation or at least a few ways to look at it differently.
You see, often times we are looking at things through a certain frame of mind without exploring different avenues. Sometimes by just taking a fresh look at something changes everything. That’s what I’m asking you to do here.
So, you have your homework! Think about moments that bring tension, write them down, then explore ways to move forward and/or improve those areas. Remember, tension isn’t a bad thing. Let’s get our there and create!
What’s that dream you have that has been sitting inside? You know, the one you think about and it makes you smile. The one that sometimes keeps you up at night because you wonder what life would be like if you pursued it. That one. Guess what I want you to do? Write it down right now. Don’t read another word until you put that dream on paper somewhere.
Got it down? Ok, now do not overthink that dream. Don’t try and put it into a category or justify why you have that dream. Don’t worry that its not cool enough or as big as someone else’s. Its your dream and you have every right to pursue it.
See that picture above? That was the completion of one of my dreams. I have wanted to play baseball at the Mets’ spring training facility for several years and knew about a camp that would allow me to do that. I kept thinking about it and dreaming about it but never thought it would be a reality. I made every excuse in the book…’we don’t have enough money,’ ‘I won’t be very good if I go,’ ‘There are more important things to do,’ and on and on the list goes.
In January of this year I played baseball for a week wearing that uniform. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. You see, your dream is your dream. My wife could write down 1,000 things to do and this would not be on that list. And that’s ok! We get so caught up in what other people may think that we lose sight of what makes us excited.
So, one more time, what’s your dream? I don’t care what category its in or what it looks like. As you can see, mine had nothing to do with business, writing, or anything like that. I wanted to play baseball in a Met uniform alongside some former professional baseball players.
Here’s the thing, dreaming and accomplishing this one for me opened so many doors. It showed me that I can do it if I push for it and that I am capable. That’s what I want you to see today. Dreaming is good for your soul, good for your heart, and good for you to just open up and smile a little bit.
We all have them and we all need to let them out. I keep a small notebook with my dreams and I encourage you to do the same. This is important and I believe a necessary step in helping you grow and enjoy life. Take some time to smile a little bit and dream big!
Many times in this journey called life we get so busy in ‘doing’ that we lose sight of ‘why’ we are doing. Could you sit down right now and write the reasons why you do ________? Fill in that blank with whatever you choose. The answers do not have to be elaborate and deep. I just want you to think about why instead of flying into the day. If you can’t that’s ok, we’ll discuss more about this below.
Each of us are doing what we are doing for a reason. Sometimes its more serious and reflective than others and that’s ok. I believe we all have so many gifts and talents to bring to the table that I get sad when I don’t see people living those out in their daily lives.
Here is a statement that you don’t have to agree with but I want you to take it in and think about it – “It is my responsibility to bring out my talents and gifts to the world.”
Comparison stops you from moving forward and embracing the talents you have been given. That is why it is so important to not let what others think about you crowd out your ‘why.’ If I know why I am doing what I am doing, it doesn’t matter what someone else may think. My why is strong and the driving force, not other people’s opinions. Knowing my ‘why’ also moves me forward even if I go against the cultural norm of the activity or task I’m completing.
For example, I recently lost over 30 pounds eating the Keto diet. This diet is high fat and low carb. There is no sugar allowed. None. Like, I haven’t eaten a piece of fruit in several months. This diet is, in the eyes of many, weird, strange, and not normal. Guess what? I don’t care. My why is bigger than what others may think about how I am eating. I needed a dramatic shift in my thinking regarding sugar and this was the best way I found to do that. Your examples may not be that serious but hopefully your why is just as strong.
The best way to combat this comparison trap and let your gifts shine is by creating anchors. An anchor is solid, heavy, and buried into the ground. It is immovable and will keep your ship from being swayed by the currents of life. Instead of running to the fear and worry, run to your anchors. One of my anchors is my family. No matter what crap life may throw at me during the day, I can rest in the love and support of my family. Its strong and immovable.
Take some time today and write down why are you doing what you are doing. Spend some time finding those anchors. Put those stakes in the ground that are strong and steady. These are your markers, the places you are not moving from no matter what life throws at you. The world needs what you have to offer!
We all need to change our vocabulary. We need to move away from so much negative talk and really focus on the words we use on a daily basis. This is sometimes referred to as transformational vocabulary. Transformational vocabulary sounds like a new age phrase or some fancy term to describe a word. Its not. Its the idea that you can change the words you use, you can turn around how you talk to yourself.
On most days, we interact with people as often through electronics as we do through personal conversation. When this occurs, it usually leaves us being alone with ourselves and our thoughts quite a bit. And you know as well as I do what happens in those cases. If you are like me it becomes a lot of second-guessing myself, a lot of wondering if I’m doing the right thing, and on and on the list goes.
Do me a quick favor as you are reading this. Spend a few minutes writing down as many negative words as you can that you catch yourself saying on a daily basis. Don’t overthink it and don’t try and categorize them, just start writing. For example, some of mine are: can’t, unable to, not qualified, problem, worried, missed. These words are used in multiple settings and in multiple ways throughout the day.
Now, the way we work to remove those words is by not just trying to stop saying them. We need to replace those words with more positive ones. I’ll give you an example. Instead of saying ‘this is hard’, say ‘this is challenging.’ Challenging implies there is a reward at the end while hard is a brick wall. This may be difficult for you as you may not even realize the words you are using on a daily basis. So please take your time and come back to this later if it isn’t working for you today. No worries on that!
The idea here is to capture how you talk to yourself, how you really view yourself when no one is around. We beat ourselves up all the time and most of the time we don’t even realize it is happening! Let me give you another example from me.
I went all the way through high school, undergraduate, and graduate school telling myself I was a procrastinator. Well guess what would happen any time a project was due? That’s right, I’d put it off until the last minute. I’m a procrastinator so why would I do it early? The problem with that is I am not a procrastinator. I was believing something about myself that simply wasn’t true.
My true personality traits, my true self is actually a very organized and detailed person. I hate being late. In fact, I’m usually 10 minutes early to everything. By beating myself up with false words I was not living out of my true identity and being myself.
Its not easy but it is necessary. I challenge you to take this to heart and see the impact the words you are using are having on your daily life. Changing that vocabulary will be powerful for you and those around you. Give it a try!
If you were asked to speak in front of a group of people, would that create some tension for you? Would you start to sweat and wonder how you got in this situation? Would you say no to the invitation as fast as humanly possible?
Why? Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as a good speaker. Maybe you just don’t like being the center of attention (or so you tell yourself) and would rather sit back and watch someone else. Maybe you are simply afraid and don’t want to step out of your comfort zone. Guess what? All of those reasons, and any others you can think of are perfectly normal. We’ve all been there in many situations, some much less dramatic than public speaking.
My thought for you today is this…how do we continue to learn and grow when situations like those above present themselves? How can we move through something that may be uncomfortable and unenjoyable? You see, we all deal with instances every day that are not necessarily fun. I mean, life can be challenging sometimes.
One way we can continue to learn and grow is through questions. Good questions can be instrumental in getting to the root of an issue and/or learning through some experience.
What are you currently working on that has lost its positive feelings? Is there something that used to be a ton of fun but now is dragging you down? Maybe its the new job that isn’t going as well as hoped. Maybe its a project that seems like it will never end. Maybe its a financial goal. Maybe you’ve been asked to do something out of your comfort zone like our above example. Whatever it is, take that thing through the following questions.
1) Where’s the best place to put my energy?
2) How can I continue momentum?
3) What’s great about this?
4) How can I enjoy this process even more?
Do you notice something in questions 3 and 4? Its a focus on gratitude and not fear. In those difficult moments, I want us to practice replacing fear with gratitude. Learn to appreciate the challenges as they come and work hard to move through them. Yes life is challenging. Yes there are things that absolutely kick us in the teeth, sometimes on a daily basis. I do believe that we can learn from them.
There was a point with the item you chose that was enjoyable. There was a moment when you felt like time stood still and you worked for hours. For me it is writing. I have a book I’ve been working on for 2 years. Rough draft is done but the edits have been taking me a long time because I forgot why I started writing in the first place. I took my book through the above questions and came out the other side with a better understanding of why I wanted to write it in the first place. Those answers will be the key to pushing through the mess.
Remember, you can do this! We all struggle with things so there is nothing wrong with you. Stop, take some time, and ask some questions.