Hey there! Kevin, here.
My role in Crunchy on the Inside is to look at the evidence-based research on our topics of discussion and to get into the nitty-gritty on the connections between nutrition, diet, the gut, and our microbiome. I geek out pretty hard on science and the beauty of life in general. You’ve been warned.
I am a dad, and my son is, in every way, my “why”. He’s why I worked so hard to get my PhD, why I never stop trying to improve my health, and why I want everyone to know that you *can* reclaim your health. I strive to be an example to him in leading a healthy, fulfilling life full of love.
My road to healthy living has been a long one, and I’m nowhere near finished. As Jenna might tell you, my expectations of myself probably exceed healthy limits, but that is because I feel like I was robbed. I spent almost two decades of my life obese, lethargic, and all-around unhealthy. For years I spun my wheels exercising more, eating less, to no avail. I read book after book, talked to “experts” and “trainers” (the quotes denote derision), but I only got bigger. By 12 years old I was 240lbs @ 5’9″. I was ashamed, bullied, and fed up, but I had another 10 years to suffer before I cast off my fleshy shackles. I never was someone who could simply “love myself the way I am” as I was so often told. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of body shaming or those that engage in it, but how can you love a body that can’t do what you ask of it?
In college I learned a lot and enjoyed it, but my weight continued to be completely unresponsive to calorie restriction, cabbage soup diets, powerlifting, and even fat-burning supplements. Jenna and I were engaged to be married, and I vowed that I would do anything to whip myself into shape for that all-important date. I would like to tell you that I delved into scientific literature and emerged from those dense and weighty texts with a magic bullet of knowledge from which all fat flees, but in reality I just kept trying anything that hadn’t already failed. In this case I stumbled into the second-luckiest chance encounter of my life–Jenna is the first. I found a diet so left-of-center, so far from anything I had seen, that I had to try it. There isn’t any point in extolling its virtues here, a critical eye a while later showed it to be a lot of hokum spun around only a kernel of truth. However, some things can be right for the wrong reasons. In this case, the diet mandated eschewing most grains and legumes, which is part 1 of the two-part combo that started me in the right direction. In an attempt to “reset” my system and get my gut cleaned out I decided to do a 14-day, 400 calorie/day juice fast. Looking back, that fast probably went a long way toward healing my gut, killing of a prolific Candida albicans infestation, and helping me prepare for avoiding wheat, corn, and soy. Within two months I went from the picture on the right to more or less the picture you see above. That’s 70lbs, folks…in 2 MONTHS.
The responses were mostly backhanded compliments: “Wow! But, Kevin, that’s so unhealthy!” “You look great, but are you sure you don’t have cancer?” “Hey! You’re not fat anymore! That must be nice.”
I know. I know what you’re thinking. I’ve heard it all. Losing weight that fast is unhealthy (is that so?), it’s all just water weight (compare those two pictures again, friends), you’ll just gain it back (5+ years and counting). I got a lot of sage wisdom too. “It’s because you went low carb, obviously.” “Your stomach must have shrunk during the fast.” No and no. I ate plenty of rice and potatoes, and I even ate MORE than before the fast.
As it turns out, I have a nasty reaction to wheat and several other grains. Bummer for me. Except not really. Oh, and I can’t eat peanut butter. Really, truly, GINORMOUS bummer there. On top of that, I’ve got some insulin problems thrown in, but hey I’m down to a healthy weight.
The end, right? No way. I still haven’t reached my goal for myself. All those years of being obese took a serious toll on my metabolism (thus the insulin thing). If I ever stop being vigilant about what I eat I gain weight. Fast. On the order of pounds a day. I’m not even talking about wheat, even small amounts of that make me feel so bad that I never want to eat again. But one bad meal with too much rice or a bag of potato chips and I start to retain water. If I keep cheating, (I’m looking at you Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter) pound after pound of fat invariably find their way to my love handles and glutes. I refuse to accept that as my life.
So, here I am. Writing a blog with my wife about our life. Health, family, food–we tackle them all the best we can; as nature intended.