Category: Changes

A Trail by Fire

A Trail by Fire

Thanks for noticing, but no, I didn’t misspell “trial.” I was just being clever. It’s an intentional twist on a popular phrase. Why? I’m glad you asked. 

I was recently invited to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I was invited to take a week off and hike a 100-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. I immediately accepted, and over the next 24 hours, I was excited, giddy … and terrified. The prospect left me feeling a little like Frodo. “I will take the ring! I will take the ring to Mordor … though … I do not know the way.”

I’m not exactly in shape. Granted, “round” is a shape, but I don’t plan to roll along the Appalachian Trail, so I need to get into another shape. And how’s that gonna work? Well, let’s start with diet. Not “diet” as in “let’s eat little-to-no food, and when we do eat, let’s have Styrofoam-tasting wafers.” I mean “diet” as in “di·et /ˈdīət/ noun: the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” (Thank you, Google!)

Basically, Frodo went to the fire to achieve his goal of destroying the One Ring. I’m going to have to go through the fire to reach my goal of destroying the One Ring Around My Belly. And I think I’ve already put together a good guide. I’m sticking to it at least for breakfast. (Don’t judge! I’m slow to start sometimes … most times.) Anyway, dinner is being worked on by my sweet wife. That leaves me with lunch … in downtown D.C. … Wow. Yeah. So many restaurants, so little time. And that’s why I’ve decided to boil lunch down to this: A protein shake. “But Ken, won’t it be hard to drink your protein shake while others are sitting at the table with their luscious, scrumptious food?” Ha! Get thee behind me, Popeyes! That’s exactly what the next part of the plan is for.

Exercise. And I don’t mean “exercise” as in “do cardio till you can’t walk, and lift weights till your muscles cramp, you ball up into the fetal position, and whimper like a little baby.” I mean … no … wait. That is what I mean. But I’ll do it during my half-hour lunch break. I have a gym in the basement of my building at work. (Quit looking at me like that. I’ve been down there before! They have a water cooler. Yeesh!)

I’m going to be mixing it up with cardio (mostly treadmill), and weight lifting, because I’ll be carrying a hefty pack on my back throughout the trip. — unless I can hire someone to carry it for me. … which probably isn’t a good idea. Yeah, nix that. I’m probably throwing in some core exercises as well, although I admit that I currently have no clue as to what those are. Enter Google. I’ll find ’em.

So, all this to say, I’m planning on dropping as much weight between now and the first week of June. I’d rather carry as little with me as possible over 100 miles of trail. And, if I’m able to keep up the pace, I’ll have made some good, lifelong habits. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: I didn’t really lose a lot before the hike. I tried, but c’mon, I have a Dunkin Donuts right around the corner. Oh the inhumanity! However, I did lose 14 lbs. the first four three days of the hike. I’ll take whatever I can get.

The Man with the Plan

The Man with the Plan

So I promised a plan, and I have one. This worked for me several years ago. It’ll work for me again. I maintained it for a year. Then I fell off the bandwagon. Why? Because this is the most extreme form of my eating plan. I never got around to doing one that I could maintain once I reached my target weight. That one would have been a medium-carb diet as opposed to a low-carb diet. So, I need to work on that, and I’ll post it once I have it. But enough of that. Let’s dive in!

Things you need to know

I didn’t come up with this on my own. There. I said it. I’m not a diet guru. Good heavens! Would I weigh almost 280 if I were? Anyway, that being said, my source material for this diet plan — Ugh! I hate that. “Diet Plan.” Let’s go with “Paradigm Shift” or “Eating Plan” or something else — comes from two books: Sugar Busters and Transcend.

Sugar Busters was a good book. Very readable. Easy to understand. I liked it. You’d learn a lot just from picking it up.

Transcend was fascinating. You have to look past a lot of the caveman blathering (much like you do with Paleo blogs), but the science and medical portions are well written and engaging. How does a heart attack actually happen? What starts it? Fascinating chapter. I wish I’d paid more attention to it. I might have avoided my double bypass.

Anyway, what’s done is done. Let’s move on from here to a more healthy you (and me!).

Download the Live and Flourish Eating Plan. [Update: I’ve tweaked it slightly and made a low-carb version (the original) and a moderate-carb version (which really only includes the addition of whole grain breads and pastas).]

~ Live and Flourish ~

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the Live and Flourish blog.