When I first went to meet with a recruiter, I knew I was overweight. But I had already been running for well over a year, as I have completed the Couch to 5k program and have completed two 5k’s. I figured I had a chance, but I received QUITE an awakening.
I didn’t own a scale. I haven’t owned one for a while. I don’t judge my weight loss by pounds, but by how my clothes fit. I met my recruiter at CampParks to get weighed. That was scary. I got weighed and taped (where they measure your body fat). I failed both tests miserably. It was depressing to hear the facts. But you can’t argue with facts. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t want them to see it.
I could have quit right then and there, and I really did consider it. To lose about 25 pounds (safely) in such a short amount of time was going to take a lot. It was February of 2012 and I had to enlist before my 35th birthday in early June. That was less than 4 months. A lot of determination, a lot of scheduling around my already busy life – it was going to take a lot of WORK. I wasn’t sure if I was up for the challenge, but I also didn’t want to live with regret. I decided to go for it.
I started out with the Atkins diet once again. It had worked several times before. But then I learned about the Paleo diet. That made more sense to me. Similar to the Atkins diet in the sense that it is low/no carb. But with the Paleo diet, you eat REAL food. You don’t eat processed Atkins boxed snacks. Don’t get me wrong. On the Atkins diet you do eat real food. But, you also have an option to eat processed boxed foods under the Atkins label.
I felt it was easier because we sort of already ate that way at home. I just had to remove the carbs; wheat bread, brown rice, etc. And for a while, I removed fruit due to its (although good) sugar content. I ate eggs every morning, and I pretty much still do. The rest of my meals consisted of a protein and veggies, lots of water and green tea.
I found a Paleo hack for coffee at Starbucks. Til this day, my favorite drink is a tall Americano with a splash of heavy whipping cream. It does not contain any sugar, but it does contain fat, which is OK on the Paleo diet. If I went to a store that I didn’t frequent, I would have to watch and make sure that they were adding heavy whipping cream instead of a large amount of whipped cream.
(image from www.hyphenet.com)
I switched from peanut butter to almond butter. I removed carbs completely. I drank a lot of water and green tea. I did not drink any juice due to its sugar content. I tried my best to adhere to the strict rules of the diet. And honestly…..I felt GREAT! I was slimming down, my complexion was clearer than it’s been in a long time, and I just felt awesome.
Although many just stay true to the diet, I wanted to help speed up the process. I needed to. I was on a time crunch. And I also needed to increase my endurance and perform the exercises they perform in the Army. The Army has an APFT; Army Physical Fitness Test. This is based on your gender and age group. In BCT, the requirement to pass is 50%. For AIT, the requirement is 60%. I worked my butt off to make sure that when I left for BCT, I could pass the APFT with a 60% score.
(image from armyrotc.smugmug.com)
I ran a lot. And I mean A LOT. At the time, I was able to run outdoors more often, so I ran outdoors 3days/wk. This helped a lot because I ran on pavement, dirt, gravel, on level ground and hills. It was getting warmer as the days went by. Knowing that I was going to ship out somewhere humid, I also wore a hoodie during my runs. Yeah, that added weight, as well as bumped up the sweat factor by a bunch. But it was working. I was getting stronger, running faster (for me at least) and losing weight. At times I could not believe this was really happening.
I also dropped weights altogether. No dumbbells, no machines. I just used my body weight while exercising. I was doing planks, push-ups, sit-ups, a couple hundred jumping jacks, squats, lunges and I’d throw in some mountain climbers every so often. I would perform some sort of workout at least twice a day. Sometimes I’d add in another workout just for the heck of it. If I had any free time, I was doing push-ups or jumping jacks; something. I’d often sneak into a quiet room at work and pop out about 30 push-ups. I made myself do 100push-ups every day. And it paid off BIG time in BCT!
(image from cielitolindoranch.org )
For me, there was no secret pill or shake. No false cream that melts fat away. No timing when to eat meals. My weight loss was based on good ol' fashion clean eating and exercise.. which is what we are supposed to be doing in the first place.