#30ThankYous Day 13: Diamond Dallas Page

Hey DDP,

I played sports in high school. (I almost said I was an “athlete,” but a more factual statement is that I was sufficiently competent at sports in a very small school, so I got to play on some teams.) I worked as hard as I could, but I matched my workouts with big re-feeds and kept my not-so-svelte 250 pounds all throughout high school. When college came, I maintained the eating but not the activity.

You can see where this is going.

I’ve been severely overweight my entire adult life. I’ve tried diets and workout regimens, and even flirted with some distance jogging/walking. But I never could keep it consistent, and my weight has stayed in the high-400’s for more than a decade. And for the longest time, I was able to manage okay in daily life. Popped some buttons and seams from time to time, and busted a few unsuspecting chairs, but physically I felt okay.

Once I hit 35 or so, things seemed to take a turn. I began waking up every morning with aches and pains, struggling with knee pain when I climbed stairs, and was generally feeling out of breath and gross all the time.

About a year and a half ago, I heard about DDP Yoga on a podcast and finally decided to look into it. After doing my research, I decided to sign up for a year-long online membership for 2 big reasons:

  • It’s not religious in nature.¬†This is a BIG DEAL for me. The number one reason I never tried yoga before was because of its religious aspects. I’m a committed Christian, so I could never take part in yoga’s meditative spiritual practices in good conscience, because it feels tantamount to false worship. I was very pleased to find out that DDPY is specifically not religious in nature, and that you don’t engage in the “mindfulness/mediation” side of yoga. (I have to admit, though, your occasional “positive thinking” comments during workouts do make me roll my eyes a bit!) By seeking to separate the spiritual/mystical elements of yoga from what is really just a rigorous stretching and movement program, you have made it accessible to folks like me who would otherwise have passed on it for moral reasons. Please, please keep it that way.
  • It’s adaptable to any fitness level. One of the things I love about the way you and your team run the DDPY workouts is that you teach the modifications and encourage those of us who are struggling to use them. Rather than feeling frustrated that I can’t hold a position or do a stretch, I can keep making progress and just try to improve every day.

I really want to be able to tell you that I have been transformed, that the pounds have magically fallen away, but we both know that’s not how this goes. Honestly, I still struggle with consistency in diet and exercise, and while I’ve had some success on the scale, it’s plateaued in recent months.

But the thing is, I’m not giving up on myself anymore. I want to be around to take care of my family and serve my Lord and His church. And however long it takes me to get to my goal weight, I’m pretty sure that DDP Yoga is going to be a huge part of that process.

Thank you for creating a program that guys like me can actually do. Thank you for showcasing the stories of guys like Jared and Arthur and Jake who have lost a bunch of weight and gotten healthier, because by doing so, you should guys like me that it’s actually possible with hard work and perseverance.

I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way to “owning it.” So today, I’m both excited and scared about the “Synergy 40” workout that is gonna kick my butt this evening after work, because it’s one step closer to that next level.

High-five from a grateful fan [BANG!],

Dave

Keto Update: 2 Months Down

I wanted to give an update for those who were interested in our progress on our new eating plan!

For those who were not aware, on June 1st, my beloved wife and I started a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) eating plan, patterned after the “ketogenic” diet. Without getting all science-y on you, the basic premise of the LCHF diet is that dramatically reducing your carbohydrate intake causes your body to begin burning fat for fuel, breaking down fat molecules into ketones and other things. This helps to regulate insulin levels, control hunger hormones, and provide a consistent, long-term energy supply for the body, so that your system is not constantly craving the quick hit of a sugar spike (followed by the inevitable sugar crash). Think of it as grilling by using lump charcoal instead of briquettes soaked in lighter fluid–low and slow, but steady.

The thing about this approach to eating is that it’s not for everyone. Despite what some diet and fitness gurus would claim, there’s really not a one-size-fits-all method, and it’s not just a matter of calories in vs. calories out. The proportions of calorie types do matter, and you have to tinker with it a bit. The trial-and-error nature of this approach may be off-putting for some users. I’m all-in, mainly because I’ve seen this kind of approach work for me pretty dramatically in the past. My body is carrying so much extra weight in stored fat, and was so sugar-addicted, that this approach was a much-needed shock to the system.

Note: I’m doing my best to intentionally say “eating plan” or “eating approach” instead of “diet.” Diets are always associated with short-term restrictions of food to accomplish a goal, followed often by total relapse. I’m trying to change the way I see food, the way I enjoy food, and the way I use food to fuel my body. This is something I could feasibly keep going, at least for the vast majority of the time. So it’s not a “diet” as most people would use the word.

So now, two months in, what are my results?

I’m officially down 26 pounds since 6/1/18. There was an initial drop of 6-8 pounds, then a bit of up-and-down ever since. About halfway through June, my weight stalled and then increased slightly. I realized I was consuming too many calories overall. Once I adjusted my total caloric intake, I started losing again. I stalled out again about 2 weeks ago, and I’ve been holding steady at the same weight for all that time. I know some of the reason why; while I’ve been following the basic principles, I haven’t been tracking the amount or proportions of my macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs) lately. I also haven’t been exercising. Honestly, I’m not terribly upset by this. I chose to rest a bit during a busy couple of weeks. I haven’t lost any ground or gone back to any bad habits. Now I’m ready to lean in a bit more and see more progress.

The thing you should understand is that the scale only tells part of the story. The real difference for me comes down to mindset, control, and hunger.

In the past, I treated regimented eating plans and “diets” as punishment for my sins. I was abstaining and denying my cravings because I had to pay for what I had done, calorically. (Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea super-sized culpa!)¬† Even so, I still indulged in sweets all along, just factoring it into the totals. (Even on Weight Watchers, a repeated refrain is “You can eat whatever you want–just not all at once!”) That consistent intake of my drug of choice made it harder and harder to control my portions or deny my impulses, until I’d finally give in and binge, usually around the 6 month mark.

This time, I find my mindset is totally different. Not only is this plan doable, but it’s satisfying. My brilliant wife has found all sorts of recipes and substitutes so that I don’t feel like “I can never have ____ again.” (Hello, keto-friendly–or at least keto-non-antagonistic–sweets!) Furthermore, we are realistic about life. So when birthdays come around, or we decide to go out for a fancy dinner, we can choose whether or not to eat “off-plan” for a meal, without it sabotaging all of our progress.

Not only is my mindset different, but I find I have more control over impulse eating. I used to be a total snack scavenger, scooping up the remnants of birthday cakes or meeting refreshments that graced the break room or coffee alcoves of my office. No secretarial candy dish was safe from my scouring. To be honest, this created a great deal of shame for me, because I felt like a taker.

Now, by the grace of God, I can walk past a dish of my formerly-favorite sweet treats without grabbing one. I am able to say no to break-room donuts and meeting-room sodas. My addiction to sugar, while not totally broken, is now under control so that I can make wise choices. This is a gift from God, and I am thankful to walk in it.

The best part of this new paradigm is my appetite. Y’all, there was a time when I would essentially follow a hobbit’s dining schedule: breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, snack, coffee, dinner, late-night snack. I wish I were exaggerating that, but I’m really not. I’d need some kind of snack every 90 minutes to 2 hours. I would ride one sugary wave after the other, subsisting on the chemical highs of sugar and caffeine for years. I would hit up fast food joints on my way into work and on my way home from work, at around 500-1000 calories a stop. When the McDonalds drive-thru workers recognize your regular order and ask why they didn’t see you the other day, you have a problem.

While married life has encouraged me to control my caffeine intake a bit better, it’s only been in the last month that I’ve gotten a handle on my appetite. As a result, I can easily skip meals without freaking out or letting it affect my attitude or behavior. Breakfast is no longer biscuits or “peanut-butter-cup” oatmeal; often, it consists of just “bulletproof” coffee (with butter, cream, and coconut or MCT oil, along with a few drops of stevia).

Overall, I’m probably eating between 500 and 1000 fewer calories a day than I did in the last couple years (and probably 2000 fewer than I was knocking out in my bachelor days!), but I don’t feel deprived in the least. I’m satisfied with what I’m eating, because I’m eating real food with healthy fats that give me sustained energy.

It’s not perfect yet, and I’m still working on the details, but overall, I feel pretty great. I’m learning how to better care for my body without acting as a slave to my appetites, and my hope is that doing this consistently will lead to better health and a longer life to follow my Lord Jesus, love my family, and serve my neighbors.

If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter or post in the com-box below. I don’t want to turn into a keto evangelist (that’s even worse than being a vegan crossfitter!), but I’m happy to answer questions.