My Health Journey: The End of the Beginning

by kriggins on June 27, 2012

This is me on June 24th, 2010.

Click to enbiggen, as if I wasn’t big enough already.

Wowsa. I cringe when I look at what I used to carry around.

I have written two other posts in this series, which you can read here and here, but I will summarize:

Statistic 2010 2011
Weight  235+ 210
Total Cholesterol  249  179
LDL  151  85
HDL  25  43
Triglycerides  365  170
Total Cholesterol/HDL Ratio  9.6  3.8

 

I made some pretty good progress in that first year. Again, details can be found in the posts I point to above, but the short and sweet of the changes I made to affect those improvements were:

  1. Exercise – I started Crossfitting 4-5 days per week. This turned out to be too much for my body to handle and I dropped to three.
  2. Nutrition – I greatly reduced the amount of grains and refined sugars that I ate.

That’s all cool and wonderful, but with a post title like “The End of the Beginning,” I’m sure you are wondering how things are going now.

Still here?

Cool!

In all seriousness, things are going absolutely fantastic. I had a physical today, the 27th of June, 2012, and everything is good. In fact, doc didn’t suggest any changes.

Let’s look at the numbers first.

Statistic 2010 2011 Today
Weight 235+ 210 193
Total Cholesterol (<200 is good) 249 171 179
LDL (<120 is good, <=100 is ideal) 151 85 109
HDL (>40 is good, >=60 is ideal) 25 43 50
Triglycerides (<=100 is ideal) 365 170 99
Total Cholesterol/HDL Ratio (<=3.5 is ideal) 9.96 3.98 3.58
Triglycerides/HDL Ratio (<=2.0 is ideal) 14.6 5.0 2.0
HDL/LDL Ration (>=0.3 is desirable) 0.12 0.51 0.46
Body Fat % (2010 and 2011 est.) 27 18.1 10.8

 

First. Yup, that’s 40+ pounds gone.

Poof. No longer on ma bod. (If by poof we mean gone because of a whole lot of work and a whole lot of change)

Second. Those are some fabulous numbers. What’s more, every other number in my labs was in range, i.e. good. Not bad for a 47 year old. Reminder: Nutrition and exercise, no meds.

The most amazing part is a good chunk of that weight loss since 2011 has occurred over the last 6 weeks or so, with 10 pounds of it coming off in the last month.

How?

I’m going to tell you in just a moment, but first, gratuitous shirtless photo taken on June 24th, 2012. Notice that is exactly 2 years since the first photo in this post.

Click to enbiggen.

A bit less of me than before, huh? Wanna see side by side?

Okay.

click to enbiggen

Just a tad bit of a difference.

Now to answer the ‘how’ question.

It’s really quite simple. Read The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and do everything he says. If you would like to know more before buying the book, you can read The Primal Blueprint 101 online.

However, I’m not going to leave you hanging since this is about my story, not Mark’s. This is how it happened.

I started Crossfit. I saw progress. I started messing with my nutrition. I saw more progress. In fact, I have made many changes to my nutrition over the last 2 years. All of them, slowly, but surely moving me towards stricter adherence to a paleo/primal diet.

About a month ago, I finally decided that I wanted to see what would happen if I bought in whole hog to eating primarily whole foods, avoiding most grains, and removing dairy and refined sugar from my diet. Yes, even cookies and ice cream although I have snuck in some frozen yogurt a couple times. Second admission, I have some rice now and again. Result? I got even healthier and my Crossfit performance started to improve.

I also started paying attention to the other facets of Mark’s fitness plan. Succinctly said, that means lifting heavy things a few times each week, getting some low level activity in frequently, and sprinting once in a while.

What does this mean to me specifically?

This is what my weekly exercise plan looks like now.

  • I go to Crossfit Des Moines three times per week where I lift heavy things .
  • I also participate in the Crossfit metabolic conditioning workouts, i.e. workout of the day (WoD), those three days.
  • I try averaging 10,000 steps every day. I use FitBit to track and make sure.
  • I try to get a three mile walk in on days I don’t go to Crossfit. I try to make  one of those walks longer.
  • I do a sprinting workout once per week.

That may seem like a lot of exercise, but it really isn’t and I feel so much better for doing it.There is also the added benefit of 3-4 hours of think time built into my week as I walk.

The end result of going primal is 10 pounds of fat loss in the last month. 10. You be the judge as to whether it has been effective or not.

Could I have made progress more quickly? Maybe. I could have made all these changes quickly and maybe gotten to this point a lot faster. However, that could also have been disastrous. As we say in Crossfit, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Taking it one bit at a time made some pretty drastic changes palatable and really not that hard. It also gave me time to research everything I was doing and convince myself it was the right choice.

This is getting pretty long so I am going to end with an explanation of the title of this post. By ‘End of the Beginning,’ I mean that I am now what I consider healthy or well, but well isn’t good enough. I want to be fit. I want to excel.

Crossfit believes that there is a continuum that goes from sick -> well -> fit. I want to be fit. That means that my focus is now shifting from being on a health journey to being on a fitness journey. Who know where this will lead me, but I’m pretty excited to find out.

Performance is now the goal, not fat loss and health marker improvement. Those will take care of themselves as I continue to adhere to my exercise and nutrition plan. That plan will take some tweaking to support my activity level, but the what I eat won’t change, just the amounts and ratios.

One final thing. None of this would have been possible without the love and support of my wife. Thank you and I love you babe!

There are a number of other resources that I have come to rely on that I will write about in the very near future.

As usual, comments are welcome below or if you prefer to send me a private message you can email me at kriggins _at_ randommissives.com.

-Kevin

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 io_saturnalia June 28, 2012 at 6:50 am

Well done! Making the changes slowly and focusing on the nutrition angle are definitely the way to go. Drastic reductions in calories, or sudden increases in activity, are a recipe for triggering the “starvation response” and defeating the purposes of “getting healthy.” It looks like you approached things the right way, and the results show.

Also, you’ve probably learned that, while exercise is important for vigorous health and respiratory function, as a weight-loss tool it’s inefficient. Healthy eating and portion control is the way to take pounds off.

One thing I find interesting is that, while your triglycerides cratered between 2011 and today, your total cholesterol edged upward and your LDL, frankly, spiked. This leads me to one of two conclusions (and I am not a physician): 1. the testing betrays a clinical anomaly or 2. (and I think this is more likely) cholesterol is oversold as a marker of health. It’s certainly a beautiful aid to the pharmaceutical industry.

At any rate, keep up the great work. You are an inspiration even to people you’ve never met.

Reply

2 kriggins June 28, 2012 at 11:05 am

Thanks for the comment! I also found it interesting that my LDL cholesterol creeped up a touch. I do think spiked is maybe not quite the word I would use. Mark Sisson just posted this, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-did-my-cholesterol-go-up-after-going-primal/, and I have lost a significant amount of body fat pretty quickly.

I am not worried about it, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

Reply

3 Pam Niell June 28, 2012 at 9:26 am

Amazing Kevin!
You need to send this photo and link to Mark Sisson as well as your crossfire club! You new to be on a poster or a website somewhere. Very inspirational. (and very good-looking I might add). ;-)
Pam

Reply

4 kriggins June 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thanks Pam!

The crossfit club knows :) I have thought about sending the link to Mark. May do that yet.

Kevin

Reply

5 Andrew Mason July 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Well done Kevin!

Always great to see such a success story. Motivation to change your lifestyle is one of the hardest things to muster so you deserve a massive pat on the back for that!

Reply

6 Scott August 2, 2012 at 11:16 am

I just wanted to congratulate you on your great progress! I am also an InfoSec guy, and by coincidence decided that I have had enough of my decaying body 2 years ago (I am now 47). I have radically changed my eating habits and exercise, and have gone from 212 pounds to 187 pounds. It feels great, doesnt it? Keep up the good work, we know it will pay off in the years to come!

Reply

7 Scott August 2, 2012 at 11:17 am

Actually, I have to add – not only are we the same age, we even look quite a bit alike, lol.

Reply

8 sunrisesinthewest.org December 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or guest authoring
on other sites? I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and
would love to have you share some stories/information.
I know my audience would enjoy your work. If you’re
even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

Reply

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