A story is not a story at all with no back story. So lets get into the drama shall we? My Name is Tony, I own Paradigm Fitness and I was fat…. Likely if you’re reading this you probably already knew this, at least that I owned the gym. If you stumbled across this some other way, allow me to fill in the gaps some more. I weighed 214lbs and was 26% body fat, which for the record is almost 10% over the ideal male. As someone who helps navigate people toward their fitness goals, this has clear implications of error. So how did this come to be? On purpose mostly. Truth is this got way out of control, and honestly Im better for it. So while Im down 14%, I did so much harm this is gonna take a few more weeks to get to where I deserve to be.
“Approximately 2 years ago I was presented with a joking notion from a client that I should do that fit-fat-fit thing that was popular on tv. I scoffed at the notion. I for the record was once very large 240lbs in fact, and on my way to a host of health issues. This was before I found CrossFit..”
Approximately 2 years ago I was presented with a joking notion from a client that I should do that fit-fat-fit thing that was popular on tv. I scoffed at the notion. I for the record was once very large 240lbs in fact, and on my way to a host of health issues. This was before I found CrossFit, and the subsequent tools that would help me affect change on my life that I once thought was “genetic” or matter of fact. A state I was in no hurry to ever return too, I assure you.
6 months later, the once terrible idea seemed logical. Paradigm prides itself on our ability to meet our clients where they are, and travel with them to where they need to be. Meaning we identify with them, and guide them to their goals. This is where this bright idea started to make more sense. For a few reasons. The first of which is that it would help remind me of that helpless feeling at one time in my life, and as such make me more empathetic to current situations. Two; it would serve as a reminder to a growing number of my current clients who have adopted the “i can out-work my bad diet” lifestyle. Three; it would be a powerful display of potential for new clients, as well as old clients. Most never knew fat-Tony as he existed before Paradigm.
Paradigm in fact was built on Fat-Tony’s entire life experience, and the mission to alleviate as much confusion and mis-information as possible. That and I never had any before and after photos on the journey.
“If you’ve made it this far you’re likely just reading because you want to know how I did it, the secret that is. Well its simple really. I utilized a paleo-pescatarian model of nutrition, while implementing a state of ketosis during intermittent fasting, while adhering to macros. There ya have it!..”
If you’ve made it this far you’re likely just reading because you want to know how I did it, the secret that is. Well its simple really. I utilized a paleo-pescatarian model of nutrition, while implementing a state of ketosis during intermittent fasting, while adhering to macros. There ya have it! All there is to it, and all there is to the real problem out there. Nutrition isn’t hard, marketing, and gimmicks are hard, and we all by nature are suckers. Why? Human nature has us hyper critical of our own skin our own nakedness is taboo and uncomfortable. Someone peddling a quick solution regardless of the idea always seems like a saint or prophet.
However, there is of course a little bit more to how It happened than the catchy line I just told you, although it was all true. This story is more about the weight gain though than the weight loss. Theres always far more to the story of recovery than just a prescription. Losing weight, reclaiming health, and repairing your relationship with food is 100% recovery. In fact it mirrors in a lot of ways the path to recovery from substance abuse. I am not downplaying the severity of drug addiction in any way either. It is a problem and we need to address it. However so is obesity, and just the same as drugs aren’t always the issue, food isn’t either. Its the psychological mechanisms attached to the reward system of treat-foods and drugs we need to be talking about.
So more about me! The goal was simple, I would gain 15-20lbs over the course of 6 months, and lose it all in a month proving that weight loss is simple. “Just follow these steps..” What I wasn’t prepared for was my demons. See, as I mentioned above I was big once. A lot of which perpetuated by my Doctor who put me on a heart healthy diet of whole grains all damn day. The other reason was I grew up poor, yet wealthy. We didn’t have money, but we always had food, and we always had love. A lesson later in life I attribute more to wealth than the dollar. Anyway. Reward foods started early on for me. In fact I can actually remember bacon double cheeseburgers from the burger king next door to my mothers business being my reward for coming to work and behaving all day. This emotional attachment to food would play havoc on my whole life. Who woulda known? Had your mom gave you cocaine as a reward you’d have likely had some alarm bells, but food doesn’t come with that same warning label.
Now my intent here isn’t to degrade addiction to a little body fat, it is however to highlight the most often overlooked problem as it applies to health, and that is the behavior mechanisms associated. Which always have implications on what I consider the first most important variable in long term change; Belief. In order to achieve results we must first believe them capable, then we see the potential within, we take action, results ensue, the cycle repeats, as Tony Robbins professes. Belief however can go the other way just as easy, because belief is often tied to experience. Ye be those of little faith, because you have had little success, which is ironically attributed to your belief in yourself. Rest easy though, its not entirely your fault. In order to break this cycle of self limiting thought you must identify its roots, and see why we choose to act the way we do. This is where the addiction cycle haunts us most.
Somewhere in my return to fat hood, I believe around the 205 mark, I too lost faith. The man who is supposed to have the answers and guides so many somehow settled into the potential idea that I am old now, and perhaps this belly is my new shoes. Right, because old people get bellies, right? Wrong. I mean they do have them, so not entirely wrong, but they aren’t matter of fact as some would have you believe. In fact as long as you’re still alive you’re still human and that means you have a profound ability to affect change on any circumstance. Including your bodyweight. It is not your genetics, your not big-boned, fat runs in your family, the list goes on. You’re just pre-disposed to settling for the status quo is all. I settled too. In fact I lost hope in that Id ever be lean again. I actually slipped into depression. Fun fact, it wasn’t till my belly jiggled on a flight, that I was like oh hell no, this is over!
So it began, 10lbs over the intended goal, I would be lean again by my 38th birthday. The reason I tell you all this backstory is this story is mirrored in so many of you. The cast and characters change, but the narrative the same. We lose faith, lose belief, settle for good enough, and slowly but surely we slip further and further down. But hey, the food tastes good right? Sure, but death and medication does not.
To break the belief cycle I had to do something extreme, find a way to displace my lack of faith in myself, and place it in the hands of someone else. This was harder than you’d imagine as a gym owner, all my great coaches were not going to sign up to keep me accountable, and prohibit me from indulging. They would lose their heads! (Except Chris Ryan, he served as my rock in this) So I went to the smartest guy I know (literally, phd at 21 smart) Dr. Trevor Kashey (Click the link to learn more of the good DR.) and paid him a large amount of money to hold me accountable. I knew that his brain, andmy money were the only two things that would keep me on the straight and narrow. So together we started out with the combined goal of fix my shit. (perhaps pun intended) Trevor would help break my self limiting belief because I didn’t need to believe in myself anymore, I had to believe in him. This is the power of Paradigm for all of you. You can rest easy on the hundreds of success stories we have, all of which mirror you. This is why groups always exceed the individual going it alone. With Trevor in place, I began.
The first thing I knew needed to go was garbage. This meant any food that had any relatively well documented negative affects. This left me with no grains, dairy, or sugars. Being a glutton for punishment, I knew red meat was a staple for me, so I went extreme and settled on only fish for protein for 30 days. That meant no whey, eggs, chicken etc. To be fair I cant comment if this was favorable or not. The exclusion of all garbage usurps the value of only consuming fish. I can say once I reintroduced red meat there was no change to blood work, or body mass. So I just ate a lot of Nemo for 30 days perhaps.
This led me to realization number two as it applies to overlooked problems in recovery and transformations. Were looking for immediate gratification, for a long term problem. Everyone wants to try everything in their power to overlook the truth of caloric load, and circumnavigate it with a fad. [Read:Keto] Fads can have a favorable and quick impact on your transformation, they however do not set you up for success to unlearn 30+ years of eating like an asshole. Meaning: replacing one asshole behavior with another does not make you less an asshole. Perhaps even more an asshole. Now before anyone attacks me with their cousins case of how Keto saved their life. I am team Keto, I believe as fats and carbs go, fats are the lesser of two evils for the mass majority of us, and our activity levels. The ketogenic state is incredible, it is however more likely to see a a unicorn than it is to see these people in a state of ketosis. Sadly If I grab 10 people on Keto, 8 of them do not test. This is a problem in that it an infinitely fluctuating state and has to be accommodated. I digress. Keto, is fine, carbs are fine, maybe even dairy.
Problem three touches on both problem one and two. This is the reward state, immediate gratification, and the equation of struggle vs reward. Specifically the notion we can outwork a bad diet. What was cool or terrifying in my case was how “fit” I was able to stay while being “fat”. Meaning few of my benchmarks fell off, at least not far enough to cause concern. This is a truly remarkable capacity of the human body to adapt. The truth is Exercise is hard, CrossFit especially, and that is a quick cost benefit calculation away from a pizza afforded cheat meal. Assuredly a near death level of workout intensity awards you a donut? After all your favorite athlete you follow donuts and deadlifts, you did the same workout, you get the same food. Fun fact during my 8 weeks my Calories were an average of 1500 a day… WHAT?!?! Ya, because my daily expenditure: aka one hour of CrossFit class 5x a week doesn’t afford me more than that. Losing weight is really simple, consume less calories than you burn, you lose weight. I.e: a deficit. Eat more calories than you burn, surplus. Gain weight.. This becomes more fascinating when you look at a week. Eat well Monday thru thursday, half of friday, go to happy hour, then dinner, saturday is international cheat day right, Sunday football and wings. Congratulations you’re on a 60/40 split of being a responsible adult working toward a goal vsself destructing.
This honestly was my most metered change. I travel a lot. 30 weekends a year. All of which come with a vacation mindset of course because rewards and experiences duh. So each weekend Id eat what the city afforded me. Burgers, pizzas, deserts, the list goes on for whatever regional cuisine they were known for. I earned it! The workouts I did on monday and tuesday were super hard.. No, I didn’t earn it. So I cleaned up my weekends. Why? Because the pain of staying the same, outweighed the pain of change or sacrifice. This realization is where I think a lot of us run astray. One, were not in enough physical, mental or emotional pain with ourselves to delay gratification. The larger issue is we attribute way too much value for what little bit of strenuous activity we do. Your total daily expenditure, against your intake is a startling reality check. I often tell people there are only two people who cant lose weight or gain mass: liars, or people who are bad at math.
The last realization for me, or what we will call number four. Was a goal. This ties together one, two and three, and gives them gravitas. I gave up goals when I gave up competing, so it was no surprise I could fall from grace so hard. Setting a simple goal of lean by my 38th birthday, coupled with being held accountable, coupled with not being an asshole, and respecting caloric expenditure, lead me to success. However you cant just set number 4 and win. I needed to put 1-3 in place just as much as I needed number 4.
So I learned a lot, I was embarrassed and also victorious. I went into 38 in the best shape of my life with a renewed relationship with food. I reclaimed a powerful position in my ability to help others reach their goals by being reminded what it was like to be in their shoes. I also empathized with my current clients and respect how they have gone astray. Most importantly was reminded that as the leader it is my job to lead you all, and this whole exercise was an attempt to better lead from the front. All of the resources and lessons listed here are pillars of the Paradigm Nutrition model, and from working with super minds like Trevor Kashey. All things that are available to each of you in a capacity to simply do and not even have to think. I destroyed myself to relearn each of you, to relearn myself, to restore my faith and belief in not only myself but Paradigms ability to change how you view your health. Learn and laugh at my lesson, but please by all means be your own success story! The moral of the story is this; you’re an adult every decision you make is moving your toward or away from your goals. As that applies to nutrition that is simpler still in saying every calorie is potentially helping you or hurting you. Despite any fad you’re consumed with, they all are grounded in one truth, calories.