In retrospect, moving to Texas may not have been the best idea. I’ve always been on the chunky side, but surrounding myself with delicious Tex-Mex food and working for a company that has free soda fountains every 30 feet in the office led me to put on more weight. On January 1st, I decided I had had enough and wanted to be “skinny” for the first time in my adult life. Three months later here I am, “Thin Nick,” and both Robert and Dan have decided to follow my lead and shed some of their extra “tactical girth” too. In furtherance of that goal, Robert has commanded that I put in writing how I accomplished this feat . . .
Like I said, I had put on a few pounds. It wasn’t pretty. I’m a single guy in my twenties, and being a fattie wasn’t helping in the romance department. Additionally, while I was already doing pretty well in 3-gun competitions, I knew I could do better if I wasn’t lugging an extra 60 pounds around with me through every stage. There was no downside to shedding pounds — except for the pain and suffering it would take to do it.
Thankfully, the place I work for my day job has a full gym available to employees to work out when they want. When January 1 came around I cut out all the usual terrible foods, tried eating less, and hopped on the treadmill. A week and a half later I hadn’t lost a single ounce.
One of my co-workers noticed my new-found appreciation for the gym and offered some advice. He was in the same boat as I, having gained some weight after moving to a place where deliciousness surrounds you, but had recently sloughed off that poundage. He shared his secret: reddit.com/r/keto.
The basic idea behind the whole Keto thing is to eliminate ready supplies of easy energy in your body, forcing your metabolism to cannibalize the fat instead. The biggest contributor to those ready supplies of energy (blood sugar) are carbohydrates and sugars, which are easily broken down. Removing those elements from your diet makes your body work harder to get the same amount of energy, and if you cut down on calories and start exercising at the same time the results can be multiplied.
So I figured I would give it a try. I immediately cut out all breads, starches (potatoes, pastas and the like), and anything sugary whatsoever from my diet. I went “cold turkey,” figuring that it was better to just rip out the delicious foods like a Band-Aid off a wound rather than ramping down slowly. I also standardized my workout routine: 45 minutes a day on a treadmill, 3.0 MPH, 2.5 degree incline. As I got used to that workout I slowly sped it up and increased the angle, and these days I run at 3.5 MPH on a 3 degree incline.
One week later, the results weren’t fantastic. I lost about two pounds that first week, which was less than I had hoped, but better than nothing. I figured that I would keep going with the diet during SHOT Show the following week, and see where I was after that. I noticed that my initial cravings for bread and sugar eventually subsided, and even my appetite started to shift. I didn’t need the huge lunch hoagies anymore, I was pretty happy with a smaller meat-heavy meal. After a week of being good and just walking around all day, I weighed myself again and was shocked — I was down 15 pounds.
The pattern continued. One week I’d lose a pound a day, the next week I’d lose a pound every three days. I wasn’t making any drastic dietary changes, it just seemed to be the way things worked. There were defined “plateaus” that I hit, and by sticking to the diet they worked themselves out.
When I started, I weighed 270 pounds. More than I’ve ever weighed in my life. Today I’m down to 210 (just weighed myself).
The good news is that chopping out bread and sugar doesn’t mean chopping out delicious food. Here’s my normal daily diet (mainly for Robert’s benefit as he figures this thing out):
For breakfast, I start by slicing a tomato. I lay these slices on a plate, and then add a slice of fresh mozarella cheese. Each stack then gets a basil leaf, and in this specific early version I topped the whole thing with a balsamic vinegar reduction. I’ve since switched to a drizzle of olive oil for flavoring as the balsamic vinegar reduction had a little too much sugar for my taste, and removed the basil leaf due to laziness. Along the bottom I have five slices of Italian sausage, which has no carbs and no sugars yet is incredibly delicious. Especially dipped in the excess olive oil.
Total calories: ~640
Other options for breakfast include meat-based omelets, scrambled eggs and ham, and just about anything you can think of where eggs are the primary ingredient. This lovely bowl of scrambled eggs with a side of ham and pepper jack cheese was prepared for me one fine morning by our own Tyler Kee and it was absolutely delicious. Before this diet I hated everything about cooked eggs as a primary ingredient, but now I love them. Omelets galore, my friends! Just no potatoes.
As for lunch…truth be told, I don’t really do lunch anymore. Usually it consists of a couple more slices of sausage, but it can really be anything you want that meets the rules. I once had a lunch that was simply a 1/4 pound of bacon, and not only was it delicious but I lost weight that day. When I did have just a big pile of bacon, I tried to keep it to 1/8 pound or less. Otherwise my heart might try to strangle me to prevent any more cholesterol from entering my bloodstream.
1/8 Pound of Bacon: 300 Calories
Dinner is where you get the most variety. Options include everything from chicken Caesar salad (~800 calories) to regular hot wings (50 calories a pop). Fancy dinner? Steak! Easy night in? Salad! Heck, you could just get yourself a whole mess of cheese and chow down on that if you really had the inclination. But really, there’s always something on the menu that you can eat without breaking the rules.
All of that works, but my favorite is a bacon cheeseburger. I know, like I haven’t had enough bacon already, right? Anyway, I enjoy ordering a bacon cheeseburger from the Whataburger down the street, and then when I get back to my desk at work I carefully extricate the meat and cheese from the buns.
But the food isn’t my favorite part. My favorite part is offering my buns to my coworkers. As in, “Holly, would you like to put my buns in your mouth?” Or “Ben, I’ve got some some hot buns for you here, would you like to put your face in them?” Makes the impending heart attack all worthwhile.
Whataburger Bacon Cheeseburger (sans buns): 390 calories
In addition to the above mentioned items, I’ve got a couple go-to snack foods. Peanuts are pretty good, but they have carbs so any more than a couple handfuls a day is too much. Cheese sticks are pretty good as well, but they have a ton of calories. Pickles are just about perfect,except for all the salt. All tallied, I probably have a 1500 calorie diet these days and I still feel completely full.
Why is this on a gun blog? Good question!
In short, being thinner means being quicker. You can run faster, push harder, and go higher than if you’re lugging around an extra 60 pounds. That translates into quicker times on the 3-gun course and faster movement in a self-defense situation. In order to succeed in the physically demanding art of modern shooting, fitness goes a long way to achieving your goals. And while the diet I’m on won’t “pump you up,” it will deflate your spare tire and unshackle you from that rock you’ve been dragging around. Which is a step in the right direction.
That, and Robert told me to do it. Blame him.