To celebrate my 20th blog post, I thought it would be fun to change it up and do an interview with someone for another perspective. It’s interesting that even though my brother and I were raised together, we hold slightly different “food philosophies”, while still using nutrition as a science to accomplish our goals. In fact, discussing nutrition in the past couple of years has brought us closer together than we had ever been growing up. We listen to each other’s goals, trade calorie hacks, and encourage each other to be the best version of ourselves. The following is our interview.
Tell me about your weight loss and muscle building story.
I started working out 7 years ago, while I was in prison. When I got out, I was going to Planet Fitness 4-5 times a week for 1.5-2 hour sessions… But I was also eating way too much. I wanted to eat everything that I hadn’t ate in years, which was mainly buffets and McDonald’s all the time. There were two events that caused me to want to change what I was doing. One, I asked you if I looked like I worked out and you said “No”. I was so mad because then when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t tell, either. The second instance was when I was trying to play a half court pick-up game and I fell over. I had no endurance, and it was just half court. I said, “Something’s gotta give.”
At first, I took some bad advice to “eat clean” and have one cheat meal a week. I did lose 20 pounds in the first 3 months, but I was miserable. I also did not experience any muscle building during that time, just weight loss. That’s when I started researching online, asking questions to get the body I wanted. I watched YouTube videos that got me on the right track. I spoke to guys who had the body I wanted, not just the guys bench pressing a lot of weight. I found out that I was more successful when I used supplements that increased my endurance, because I really didn’t have much at the beginning. It took 4 months, and I started to see abs. I went from 245 pounds to 189 pounds. I’m now 205 pounds, with abs, by the way.
Tell me about your motivations. What helps you continue to press forward?
Do you want to elaborate any more on that? *giggle*
You’re either going to have a dad bod and look sloppy or be shredded. It takes a lot of determination to get and keep abs. I do it for the look, I don’t care about strength.
How would you describe your “food philosophy”? How does nutrition play a role? Do you follow a specific diet?
I don’t follow a diet. I focus on caloric intake. It’s the Law of Thermodynamics; calories in, calories out. I don’t follow macros except protein; I make sure that I stay within my calorie limit and eat my protein needs, that’s it.
You explained to me once your theory that food is a drug. Can you tell my readers what you meant?
Food is dope. You can have short-term and long-term negative effects from overdosing on it. Gluttony or anorexia… Too much or too little and you’re sick. I hear people all the time, “I can’t stop eating sweets” or “I can’t stop eating chips.” You’ve become addicted. If you eat those high salt, high fat, high sugar foods for a few days, you’ll be fine. Keep eating them every day and you’ll become addicted. If you want to stop, you will go through a form of withdrawal.
The food industry knows food is a drug. Look at the check out aisle in the store. They know you’re going to be standing there, waiting, with candy, chips, and jerky staring at you. The real addicts can’t help themselves but get some every time it’s convenient like that. You see the drive-thrus full at breakfast, lunch, and dinner time… Full of addicts, ready for their next fix.
What advice do you have to my readers who are addicted to food?
Substitutions are where it’s at. Everything has a sugar-free, low-fat, low-calorie substitute. Don’t ever feel like you have to cut out a food, just substitute it for a lighter version. Some of my favorites are homemade protein ice cream and protein French toast. Halo brand ice cream is also good. If you want something salty, I like Smart Pop brand popcorn. Skinny Pop isn’t really “Skinny Pop”, it’s Fat A** Pop. Some foods look like they are healthy and low-calorie but surprise people when they look at the calories. I’d rather eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets over Veggie Sticks or a Boltinghouse Farms juice.
What other advice do you have for my readers?
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s not about just putting down the fork, but also putting down the drinks. Never drink your calories, because that means less food, and you’ll not feel full.
My wife and I talk about calories like they are cash. “I don’t have that much to spend right now.”
No matter what your health goals are, nutrition as a science can help you reach them. My brother struggled for years to lose weight through exercise, but then realized that by cutting calories (no matter where those calories were coming from), he could achieve the body that he wanted. He eats what he wants, but knows what his caloric limit is and continues to work out consistently in the gym. I also have to admit, he definitely looks like he works out now.