I was skinny my entire childhood. I honestly can't remember a time up to when I was 21 that I ever carried around too much weight.
Since my memory of my earliest years is not very good, I can't really say what types of foods I was fed as a pre-teen. I suppose it is the same type of diet that a lot of mid-western kids eat. There was always some vegetable that I would try to avoid, lots of steaks, potatoes and some kind of desert. I can't say that I remember eating too many snacks, but I wasn't shy about eating deserts.
I could eat as much as I wanted and never gain weight. “You must have a hollow leg” is something I would hear from many adults.
Despite an affinity for Mt. Dew, Swiss Cake Rolls and Doritos, I did develop a few healthy habits. I enjoyed golfing in high school. I also enjoyed going to the only gym in town “Total Fitness”. My preferred method of transportation to the gym was by inline skates. So, I had some good workout habits despite my terrible eating habits.
Unfortunately, I also developed some unhealthy connections to supplements during this time. The advent of the internet gave me access to all kinds of questionable advice from bodybuilding forum members and I didn't know better. I invested a lot of money in things like protein, creatine and testosterone boosting supplements.
The summer after my Jr year of high school, I joined the Army at 6ft tall and 169lbs. I was pretty skinny and in pretty decent shape.
During Basic Training the Drill Sergeants would have to let me eat first because I was always the last out. They let me do this because I would get to trays full of food and I wouldn't look up until I had cleared both of any trace of food. By the time I was done with Basic Training, I had put on 10lbs of lean mass thanks to a rigorous schedule and access to as much food as I could possibly eat.
In 2001 I was transferred to South Korea and I finally had an opportunity to have the Osgood Schlaughters in my left knee fixed.
I was 22 at the time and I still had the same eating habits I had in my teenage years. I was laid up for a few weeks as my knee healed and I put on at least 10 lbs, crossing 200lbs for the first time. When I was finally able to get back into the gym, I took to lifting heavier weights. Within a year I had gotten up to 210lbs. Same eating habits but whatever it was from my youth that kept me skinny was no longer in effect.
By the time I left the Army in 2004 I was 220lbs and not in very good shape. In the course of 6 years I had gone from a lean 169lb to a pudgy 220lbs.
It didn't stop there though.
In the summer of 2006 I started a one-year contract in Iraq as a Systems Administrator. When I wasn't working the mandatory 60 hours per week, I was at the gym or in the chow-hall. Thanks to 24hr operations of the military, the chow-hall was open for four main meals. My favorite was a midnight meal that we would frequent after long bouts of heavy dead-lifting at the gym. All of the time in the gym meant huge gains in strength at the expense of my waistline.
Sure I was pretty strong at this point, but I had also packed on a lot of weight. I plateaued at 262lbs.
Two events took place in February of 2010 that finally got me serious about my weight. First was a serious case of Noro Virus that left me severely dehydrated and in the ER. The second was the beginning of the end of my marriage of 10 years. With a looming divorce, I took out all of my anger by running. I ran miles on top of miles fueled partly by anger and partly by hope for the future.
The stress of the divorce coupled with intense bouts of exercise brought my weight all the way down to 212 pounds from my high of 262. I didn't do this through healthy eating, but shear force of will.
It was several months later when I started dating my now current wife.
We were married in 2011 and even though we were both fit enough when we got married, over the next two years we both put on more weight for different reasons.
We decided to take on a new challenge together by completing a few rounds of the now classic workout program ‘Insanity'. We liked the program so much, we both got certified to teach the class.
I was eating healthier, but I hadn't connected what I ate to my long-term health at this point.
Because I had still not made the connection, I let old habits creep back in and by 2015 I was back up to 225lbs
2017 was the year we first discovered the Ketogenic diet. I was skeptical that it was just a re-branded version of the Atkins diet and I reluctantly tried it with my wife.
We started the Keto diet in Feb of 2017 and I weighed 244lbs at the time. I had great success on the diet and by August 2017 I was back down to 212lbs.
I was feeling great. But it didn't end there, it was only the beginning. In 2018 my second grandparent passed away from complications due to Alzheimer's. This is what finally connected me to my ‘Why'. I finally understood that at the age of 38 I still had time to combat this disease. The good thing is I was already on a Ketogenic diet and reaping the neuro-protective benefits. Now more than ever I am convinced that I am eating for my future health. Eating this way has also enabled me to do things I never thought I was capable of, like fasting from Xmas Eve to New Years day. On Jan 1st 2019 I weighed in at 200.7lbs, a weight I had not been at for over 16 years.
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