Editors Note: This is a guest post from Cody Wheeler of Academy Success
Up until my late twenties, I was one of those dudes who could eat just about anything, and never gain a pound.
In fact, I often went on eating binges to try to put on weight so I wouldn’t look so skinny.
I didn’t really realize it at the time, but I was getting quite a bit of activity, as anyone in their early twenties probably should.
Between golf, snowboarding, tennis, basketball, my regular gym routine, and other random pickup sports with friends, I was burning off anything I took in pretty easily. And it wasn’t forced. It’s just what I did for fun.
Couple that with the penny pinching of a college student, which meant I didn’t eat out very much, and it all added up to a lifestyle where I didn’t†have to worry about my food intake all that much.
Fast forward five years… I’m at at a desk 40 hours a week, am usually rushed when I’m eating, and have more than enough money to throw around on take out.
Now instead of an active and healthy lifestyle that is naturally occurring, things have totally flip-flopped on me. I am faced with making health and fitness part of my routine without having to force it.
It’s a transition that nearly all of us go through, and some do better than others.
A Life Changing Discovery
I’ll admit it, things were pretty tough there for a while. After about a year at my big boy Project Manager job out of graduate school, I had gained about 15 pounds while slaving away at my desk. And this wasn’t a good 15 pounds.
I felt sluggish, tired, was getting moody, and worst of all, my abs that I had worked so hard to get had disappeared!
Knowing a thing or two about health, I knew I had to make some changes to be more active, but this lifestyle was all new to me. How was I going to be active without it being a natural part of my life?
I didn’t want to force fitness in the form of boring gym workouts. I never cared for the environment of big box gyms that much, so I knew that wasn’t sustainable.
I wanted to enjoy being active as a part of a sport as I had five years earlier – something I could aim to be better at and look forward to, and something I could do for a long time to come.
By a stroke of luck, I discovered CrossFit when a good friend of mine opened a gym of his own, Four Barrel CrossFit.
This was exactly what I was looking for. Weightlifting, cardio, new skills, and varied workouts all combined into something that was actually fun to do.
A new sport. The sport of fitness!
The workouts were challenging. The people were friendly and motivating, and the environment was even a bit anti-mainstream, which I tend to sometimes be.
But then I hit a bit of a wall with my workouts. I was at a point where I needed to focus on my nutrition to continue my progress.
Eating Like a Caveman
With another stroke of luck, the first Paleo Challenge was held at the box (that’s CrossFit slang for the workout facility).
It was a 30 day challenge to see who would lose the most percentage of their body fat, and improve their workout time the most.
It was the moment that I accepted that challenge, which would change the way I thought about nutrition forever.
Before that… I thought it was just calories in, calories out. I never knew all of the effects that grains, dairy, sugars, and other processed foods could have on your body – the way they could make you feel, the way food manufacturers engineer them to be addictive, the way they could actually strip your body of the nutrients it needs.
Throughout that month I read all about Paleo and adjusted as well as I could. It was tough at first. Not just because of the chemical addictions I had to things like sodas, but the routine itself took some getting used to as well.
This was a pretty big adjustment. I was used to mostly cereal, sandwiches, and burgers. I went from that, to cooking eggs and bacon, cutting up fruits and veggies, eating fresh nuts and jerky, salads for lunch, and some things I had never even heard of for dinner (like spaghetti squash!).
Grocery shopping more often was a bit different as well, but I figure between the time and money I spent eating out, I probably actually saved time and money in the end. And it got easier and easier each time.
Limitless365 turned into a great resource for that with it’s free guides, many of them dedicated to Paleo.
I thought the food was going to suck honestly, but it was actually great. I started to notice flavors I had never noticed before, and I actually looked forward to eating because it not only tasted good, but it made me feel amazing.
Eventually things became easier. I started to learn more recipes and snack options and I started to mold the lifestyle into my daily routine. Paleo became routine, and easy enough to put on auto-pilot.
After only about 15 days, my body was already changing dramatically.
I hadn’t had that much energy since I was 17, I slept like a rock, and I was completely balanced throughout the day. The highs and lows were non-existent, and I no longer crashed at 3 pm every day. I felt awesome, and I was getting a lot more done each day as well.
To be honest, I just wanted to get my abs back when I started all of this. The fact that my energy levels skyrocketed like they did was just as amazing, if not more amazing than the results in the mirror.
The Final Results?
After it was all over, in just 30 days, and a total of only about 8 hours of gym time, I went from a tubby 187 pounds (the largest I had ever been in my life), to a lean and athletic looking 172 pounds.
My body fat percentage went from 15% to 9%, I was stronger and faster than I had been in 5 years, and best of all, I could finally see my abs again.
I never thought it would be possible to make such a dramatic change in such a small amount of time, with such minimal effort.
All I did was make great food, eat it, and work out a little bit. It was that easy.
I have no doubt that if I didn’t discover Paleo nutrition and CrossFit, and didn’t have the confidence in myself to try something new, I would probably be pushing 200 by now, and on a road to a life full of health problems like so many people I see around me.
So, if you’re still on the fence about Paleo, my advice to you is this.
Just make the†commitment to give it a shot for 30 days. Use the resources on Limitless365 and let Justin be your guide if you need one. If you don’t notice results in your weight, body fat, and the overall way you feel, you haven’t lost a thing in the world.
If you do, well you’ll be a much improved individual, and you’ll be armed with a life changing piece of knowledge about nutrition you can make use of your entire existence.
How Cody made it work
1. He looked back at what worked in the past – Cody realized he was in his best shape when he was his most active, participating in activities he really enjoyed like surfing, basketball, and snowboarding. He didn’t have as much money at the time so he was preparing more meals at home. Here are some of my favorite cookbooks you can take advantage of.
- Easy Caveman Cookbook: 40 Easy Paleo, Low Carb, And Gluten Free Recipes
- Pigskin Paleo: Paleo Recipes for Gameday
- Los Paleo: Mexican Paleo Recipes
2. Made it a part of his life and not the other way around – Cody realized his lifestyle had changed. It wouldn’t be as easy to just go play basketball, get in his workouts, or take those snowboarding trips. He had differently commitments and responsibilities but he took the time to make health and wellness a part of his life but no his entire life. He found a program that worked for him and his schedule (Crossfit) and stayed consistent with it… I’ll repeat that, CONSISTENT
4. He did it his way – He stayed motivated by keeping measuring his progress, focused on consistency above all else, and paid attention to other markers outside of his weight loss that kept him excited (how he felt so much more alive and energetic each day.)
Resources: Take advantage of the Fit-Fast Guide to help you get a jump start on your health and wellness.
What do you have going on the next 30 days?
Cody Wheeler is a Self Improvement blogger at Academy Success†and author of The LifeHacker’s Manifesto. He believes there is always a better way, and we shouldn’t ever hold ourselves back from doing the things we dream of doing. Grab The LifeHacker’s Manifesto and start finding a better way now.
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