After spending a career in the Air Force and being injured in Iraq, I was in pain most of the time. Doctors could not help and said I would have to live with the pain. I gained lots of weight and was taking hydrocodone for pain and Ambien to sleep on a daily basis. This was my life. When I started mixing Hydrocodone, Ambien, alcohol and anything else I could get, just to stop the pain and get some sleep; I knew something had to be done.
We all have seen the amazing crossfit videos. You know the ones where they are flipping big tracker tires, doing handstand pushup on the rings, lots of yelling and everyone has rock hard bodies with six pack abs. Intimidated, it took me more than a year to walk into CrossFit Oahu, but I’m glad I did. I thought if I’m going to in pain the rest of my life, I should at least be healthier and in pain.
After doing the free intro workout with Coach Dan, I knew crossfit was for me. I signed up for a one on one element class. Mainly because I was too embarrassed about how out of shape I was. I did not want to slow anyone down because this fat old guy needed extra help. During the elements class, Coach Dan told me about the Paelo diet and the challenges held at the gym. I felt this was something I also needed.
I was so excited about this new way of life; my wife (Diane) joined crossfit the following month. She is still in the Air Force and wanted to get into shape and maintain the level of physical fitness required by military standards. Though we experience muscle growth and increased power the layer of fat stayed and our endurance was lacking.
Our first Paleo challenge was Primal Potential August 2012. We had to relearn to how to choose fresh fruits and vegetables, map out a new attack plan for grocery shopping, and make time allowances for repeated trips. Let me explain from the last point to the first. We went from a family who ate out 2-3 times a week with daily consumption of prepackaged food to a Paleo family. We couldn’t be lazy about our food and had to plan and execute proper meals. Flavored Coffee Creamers were replaced by coconut milk. Daily meals of rice/noodles were replaced by acorn squash, spaghetti squash, potatoes and the previously rarely seen selection of vegetables.
Back when we went to the grocery store, about once a month, we would travel each aisle and grab whatever appealed to us be it cookies, chips, pizza, or ice cream (the usual). Now we shop every week, often going to the local store daily for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs, meat, and fish. We don’t bother going down the middle sections of stores since all the fresh stuff is normally located by the outer walls. Amazing how many of our previous favorite grocery items listed sugar as an ingredient.
I think one of the secrets to success with Paleo is we told everyone what we we’re doing. Every time there is a new challenge, all of my coworkers knew about it and I encourage them to try it.
Diane weighed around 170 pounds with a waist measurement close to the max allowed by the Air Force. Run times for a mile and a half were also abysmal; she failed her physical fitness test because she had not met the maximum time limit. After three Paleo challenges she weighs 152 pounds and beat the max 1.5 mile run time limit by more than 2 minutes. Strength-wise her personal record increased from 25 pound clean and jerks to RX weight. She lost over 10 inches from hip, waist and bust, dropping four dress sizes.
I weighed about 225-230 pounds last year with 20+% body fat. After three Paleo challenges I weigh 185 pounds and 14% body fat. I used to struggle to accomplish one pull up with the largest size rubber band, but now I can do strict-unassisted pull ups. I consistently do the WOD’s at AV and sometimes RX. I no longer have a goal weight, which is just a number. My new goal is increase my fitness level and accomplish six pack ads. As for my pain, it has gotten much better. I’ve heard that exercise can help with pain management but I never really believed it, until now. I still have some pain and that may never go away. But, I am no longer a slave to pills.