The Road: 2/1/2012: Semper Fi

Posted: February 1, 2012 in The Road


Today’s post is written by my friend, Chad. Chad went primal/paleo a few weeks back and I asked him to write in to talk about his experiences during the transition. Just to prep you a little for this guest post, remember the post about my name? Back in high school my friends called me Vince and Chad is one of those friends. The name stuck. He starts out calling me Pasquale in the first paragraph but it doesn’t stick.


So about two and a half, maybe three weeks ago, I decide to give this Paleo thing a shot. My buddy Pasquale (aka Vinnie, Pat, and Captain Burlap) has been rocking this program out for a little over a year, with outstanding results. The program seems to fit my diet already, as my wife and I generally eat well, but don’t eat enough of the right things, or enough at all throughout the day.


A bit about myself. I am 34 years old and a no longer in service Marine (I don’t care for the term “former”). I am now a full time political science student (destined to be poor), and I work three part-time jobs. I spent eight years as a member of The Commandant’s Own, the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. Yes, we go to boot camp. Yes, we go to the school of infantry like every other Marine, and yes we can (and have been individually) deployed. As a member of that unit, you travel constantly, which means a lot of hotel food, fast food, and temptations to sit in your hotel room and do nothing. I didn’t make unhealthy choices often, in fact, fast food literally makes me feel ill. Eating a McDonald’s burger and fries makes me tired, and I get fairly good headaches. What I did not do, however, was feed my body enough. On the road, I would eat something prior to getting on the plane or bus (usually a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato, or a sausage-egg-cheese bagel from the local sandwich shop), and then destroy a full plate or two at dinner. That would be it. I knew I should have been setting an example, but I just didn’t see the light.

Any Marine must pass strict height and weight standards. Being lucky to have a lump on the top of my head, my height is 6’0 and a 1/2, effectively making me 6’1, and my maximum weight 208 pounds. Trouble was, I typically walked around at 215-220. So, come weigh-in time, you’d find me sweatin to the oldies in the gym wearing a sweat suit and starving myself to cut weight. I always did, but usually punished myself in the process. I would typically cut down from 220 to around 199-202. That meant massive cardio, and surviving on minimal food and water (though I never deprived myself if I felt ill). I was doing more harm to my body than good, all in the sake of taking the EASY way out. Sure I’d done Insanity, P90X, and everything else, but it was my diet that was out of control. If only I had seen the light…

So why go Paleo/Primal? Well, for me, the program is a no-brainer. I can eat meat, eat BACON, and drink beer…which I already do (beer in responsible and moderate amounts I might add). The reality is, I want to be healthy, I want to lose weight, and I don’t want serious health problems at 50. I want the body I had as a teenager (hahahahahahahahahahahahaha….hahahahahahahahahahahahahah). Truth be told, I was a skinny beanpole with some abs and a bird chest) I saw the results Vinnie got, so I had to try.

So, I started this program a couple weeks ago at 220 pounds. This morning, at 5am, I weighed myself in at 210 pounds. Sounds sort of drastic, right? Well, I think so too, and I did it by stuffing my face!!!! I eat all the time now, and am always snacking. Instead of grabbing that bag of chips or whatever from the candy machine, I munch on almonds, fruit, and berries. They taste good, and I know I’m fueling my body properly. I exercise more now, but not an insane amount. I’ll share that later. The point is, just by moving around a bit more, and eating a LOT more, I have dropped 10 pounds. My body is now starting to function the way it’s supposed to and is burning fat and getting rid of toxins! AND I STUFF MY FACE!!! Woo hoo!

Here’s a pretty close example of what I eat on a daily basis. First things first…always coffee. Bad habit, I know, but it kick starts my day (and metabolism)! I also drink a lot of water. Your body needs water to flush the crap out (literally). Breakfast (usually from 5am-6:30am): Eggs and turkey sausage or some type of meat. Always two eggs. Add a little S/P and either scramble them up, or throw em in the microwave for two minutes. Sometimes hard boiled too!

Later, I snack on a banana, or an apple (with almond butter…YUM!), or dried fruit mixed with almonds (double yum!). Lunch is leftover primal meals (money saving too!), then I pack a small green salad with some more dried fruit or something on it. Fast fuel! When I get home from work or school, I find something to munch on whether it be more leftovers or a salad or fruit. Anything to keep the fuel tank going. Want a really tasty superbowl snack? Put some nuts (I’m on an almond kick lately) in the microwave for 1 minute (just to warm, but not make em hot), then sprinkle some sea salt and black pepper on em. Score! My wife usually makes the primal meals and we share the leftovers for lunches.

My workouts are pretty simple. I do at least 10 minutes of cardio when I go to the gym, and some days I just do a half hour on the treadmill. On weekends, my wife and I have pledged to walk at least 2 miles every day when we wake up. It’s cool because it gives us a chance to chat and go grab coffee. I used to be scared of running because I have two bum knees. My feet are also very pronated, and I run like Trogdor, so it just intensifies knee pain. In the Marine Corps, I was always a slow runner (fastest 3 mile was 21:30 in boot camp), and typically ran the PFT (3 miles) in 25+ minutes. Not good. I never ran on a regular basis, and would just gut it out on PFT day. Not a good example for my troops! So, I went out and bought a pair of Asics Kayano-17’s. They feel great! I also got the Nike+ tracker system so I can hold myself accountable and set goals. Personal accountability. That’s the biggest challenge.

What are my goals? Goals are important, right? Well my goal is to run the Disney half-marathon with Vinnie next year in Orlando. I also want to do a Warrior Dash. I have a loooong way to run a half marathon, but I’m determined to make it happen. Also, I want to try to run three miles in 24:30 or less. On a narcissistic level, I want to look in the mirror and feel good about what I see. My target areas are my lats, my gut, and my arms. I have a spare tire that has been my annoyance for too long, and it’s time to do something about it. I want my wife to look at me and go “damn…that’s MY man!” Also, one day I want to be able to be around to play with kids, or my niece and nephews as they get a bit older. I just want to be healthy.

So, what did I give up? Well, I haven’t eaten cheese since I started, nor any dairy at all. I drink almond milk in my coffee, and we keep coconut milk in the fridge too. For dessert, we have a bit of coconut sorbet (no dairy or artificial sweeteners). We also drink a lot of very easy to make smoothies. Do yourself a favor…go buy a hand mixer. You can have 100% natural, extremely yummie smoothies in seconds. We keep frozen berries and stuff in the freezer, so its just a matter of thawing them slightly (if they stay cold you don‘t need ice) and tossing em in the cup. Here’s one I tried the other day that was about two miles south of AWESOME!

The Purple People Eater

  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen, then put in the microwave for about a minute or so to thaw em)
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of almond butter

BOOM! Amazing, fast, and satisfied my sweet tooth (I loooooove sweets)

In the end, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if I can do this, anyone can. Honest truth…I haven’t changed my diet a whole lot. I eat constantly now instead of the ole breakfast, skipping lunch, and then crush half a goat for dinner. I just made a choice to not put crap in my body that isn’t supposed to be there to begin with. Just don’t do it. Make a promise to yourself. Go for a walk at night. Even around the block to collect your daily thoughts. I find that time great to have internal conversations, and to chat with my wife. It’s soothing, it keeps you focused, and it’s keeping the machine running! Seriously…try just a 20 minute walk every day, or even every OTHER day. The point is to start small, then before you know it, BOOM you are off and running. Believe in yourself. Believe in what your body is designed to do. We aren’t supposed to be eating this crap they put in “food” products. Be aware. That doesn’t mean going high and to the right, but just be smart. Before you know it, everything will become habit and just a way of life!


I’m glad to see Chad making the change. In the beginning I didn’t have it exactly right but I learned more as I went along. I’m thrilled to see he lost 10 pounds and I can’t wait to see the results he experiences further in.

Come by tomorrow for the missing link. I’ve found some more good content from around the interwebs! Talk to you later!

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Comments
  1. Marrisa says:

    Thanks Chad! I really enjoyed reading this! I love that I can have beer, too! And I definitely can’t give up coffee. I always have one (large) cup in the morning, sweetened lightly with stevia and organic half/half with a little bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top. If I’m feeling adventurous, I put a little pure vanilla extract (no additives or corn syrup). YUM.

    I do need some help in the personal accountability department, however. Your post was motivating! I’m also going to suggest to Bryan that we take walks like you and your wife do.

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