This is going to be a four part series on my nutrition journey. What people see today is the final result of dialing in my nutrition and making fitness a cornerstone of my life.
This took time. A lot of time. This series is going to be divided by my three deployments to Iraq and then finally what I am doing currently. I chose my deployments as the dividing line for reasons that will become clear as you follow along in my journey.
My First Deployment
Leading up to the invasion of Iraq, I was a 20 year-old, college football player. I wasn’t concerned about my nutrition really, more about just getting calories in to maintain my playing weight(205lbs).
By the summer of 2003, I estimate that I was down to about 180lbs. I don’t know for sure since I didn’t have a scale, but I was eating one MRE a day and running missions two to three times a day.
By the final few months of my deployment, the 82nd Airborne division came to Fallujah and with that, a gym. With the new chow hall, a gym, and a small PX(store), I was able to get back into shape and put on about 15-20lbs.
But a life changing moment happened in Iraq as well, I turned 21.
Making Up for Lost Time
Once home, and before I found a job, I was out at the bars every night.
Making up for lost time. I still tried to get to the gym, occasionally. One of my last times at the gym, I stepped onto a scale. It read 225lbs. That is the heaviest I’ve ever weighed. It wasn’t all fat but it certainly wasn’t all muscle.
The problem with alcohol is that your body treats it as a poison.
This means your body stops processing any other forms of energy i.e. fat or carbs, and works on removing the alcohol. So you can imagine, sitting at a bar, knocking back Jack and Cokes like they’re water, while eating chicken wings or other high fat and calorie meals and what that does to your body.
All of those extra calories you’re consuming gets stored as fat.
Prime of My Life
My diet from 2004-2006 was mostly fast food, food from gas stations, carryout and copious amounts of alcohol. While I didn’t notice or care at the time, my work pants had something different to say.
One day I was squatting down to pick up some money, I was an armored car courier, and my pants split.
Luckily it went from front to back after the zipper, so nobody got a show. What that did mean was I had to go up a pant size which stung a little. But did that wake me up and motivate me to get back into shape? Nope.
I continued eating fast food, going out drinking with friends and family and spending any free time on the couch or in my bean bag chair playing video games.
So here I was, at what should be the prime of my life and I’m wasting it eating like crap, not sleeping like I should and doing next to zero exercise. This somewhat changed in 2006 when I volunteered for my second deployment and that is where the next blog will pick up from.