When I was a kid I played outside a lot. I would explore the woods, build forts, jump over creeks, climb on things and ride my bike everywhere.
To lose weight, I followed a low-fat diet, kept track of how much I ate and ran at least three times a week. This was the beginning of my health journey. Back then, (when most young teenagers weren’t concerned about their weight) I began reading Nutrition Facts Panels, keeping track of grams of fat and started running regularly. All this work helped me get my weight down to 185 pounds though I was still sort of chubby and perplexed with why I couldn’t get the extra fat weight off.
When I went to college I had gained much of my weight back. While in college, I lost weight twice by strictly watching what I ate and diligently exercising. I easily regained weight and attributed it to allowing myself to slack off my regimen of diet and exercise.
These struggles with weight lead me to study nutrition with my along with my studies in Biology. However, I was afraid to pursue a career in nutrition as the conventional wisdom around weight loss was very difficult to consistently follow (i.e. it didn’t seem to work very well) and the last thing I wanted to do was work as a nutritionist in a hospital. During my studies in nutrition, I was introduced to Food Science – which I found very interesting. I liked it so much that I decided to add it as the second major with Biology and after I finished college, I went to graduate school for a master’s degree in Food Science.
This began a 15-year career in the food industry where I worked on many products like cheese powder, mayonnaise, salad dressing, frozen pizza and energy bars. I learned all about how processed food is made and marketed.
During those 15 years, I had several swings up and down with my weight. In 2007 I read Gary Taubes Good Calories, Bad Calories and started following Mark Sisson’s Blog Mark’s Daily Apple and read his book The Primal Blueprint. I started following a Paleo/Primal/Low Carb diet and lost weight despite not doing a lot of cardiovascular endurance exercise to burn calories (my old strategy) and found my sensation of hunger was much reduced most of the time. I lost weight and got strong!
The food industry was very dynamic with lots of interesting things to work on but I found that I was really bothered that profit margins and marketing were most important when designing a food product. How the product fit into a healthy diet was always an afterthought. None of the products I worked on fit into the healthy diet that I had found and adopted.
Unfortunately, over the next 10 years I reverted back to a calories in/calories out paradigm and Standard American Diet for my eating patterns before I found out that I had again allowed my weight to creep up to 195 lbs and that I had developed high blood pressure too! This really got my attention and I immediately started a paleo version of a ketogenic diet. I diligently followed keto and added bodyweight and functional strength exercise to my routine. I have since managed to drop my blood pressure and get into the best shape of my life, even surpassing the fitness that I achieved when I was younger.
After this health transformation, I decided to stop working in the Food Industry and pursue ways to help others that have had struggles like mine.