Fat for the Holidays

I always used to hate when I was younger and people pointed at the Holidays as an excuse to gain weight. I come from a family of definitive food enthusiasts (to put it nicely), and I remember every year as a kid, when the holidays rolled around, there was always this level of excused gluttony that was pronounced as we began to stockpile the feast that would be Thanksgiving, and roll right into the New Year. Here's the catch though: our behavior over that period of time was no different than the other 365 days of the year. It was sort of just a announcement that, for these 2 months or so, we would no longer feel guilty for it!

I've definitely battled with weight my entire adult life. Every since I stopped playing competitive sports in high school, it was something I could never get right. After graduation, I began ascending the corporate ladder, and with each promotion came more travel, more long days, and you got it: a terrible diet. 

My discipline levels have always been strong emotionally. I don't crack under pressure, I rarely feel stressed from day to day things, but when it comes to diet and exercise, it has always been a challenge. I often find myself in discussions about exercise and nutrition with friends (I live in Los Angeles, it can't be avoided) and the most common feedback I receive is "wow, you actually know a lot for someone that's clearly in as horrific shape as you're in!" 

I had a moment about 5 years ago when I "hit bottom" so-to-speak. I was walking through the Tucson airport. I had just returned a rental car, and began the long trek to the ticket counter. It's probably about 1/2 mile, but it felt like 10. By the time I got to the ticket counter, I was covered and sweat to the point in which I had to make a lame joke about the AZ weather to try to avoid the shame that I felt. At that precise moment, I decided a change was in store.

At the time, I had weighed probably around 280 pounds. I'm 6'0 tall, but that still put me about 100 lbs overweight. I ordered a NordicTrack exercise bike online (the whitest thing anyone could ever do), and got to work. I didn't know much then, so I focused on taking vitamins, eating Chipotle as much as possible, and rode for about an hour a day. In 90 days, I had dropped nearly 45 lbs. By Christmas that year, I was down to about 225 lbs - the lowest I had weighed since High School. 

It was crazy to me how little it took to get into that kind of shape. I was about 27 at the time, and the weight just flew off. From that moment forward, I had always maintained some kind of exercise regiment, up until about 2013.

In 2013, I experienced my first major life change. I decided on a career change after a tumultuous few months at my last few jobs: acquisitions, pending sales, industry shifts and changing of company cultures had me decide to make the leap. I was to quit working in corporate America, and focus on comedy/entertainment full time, while supplementing my income by driving Uber. 

Coupled with a daily activity far less active, what I didn't plan for was the depression that would follow as a result of not having something that was a big part of my life for so many years. I was no longer leading people in a business setting. I didn't have the mentors around to listen to my ideas, or mentor me in difficult times. Sure, they were a phone call away, and many of us are still close, but it wasn't the daily touch base that existed. 

As a result, old habits came back. I ate fast food bunch, and my workout routine slowly dissipated until it was a once-a-month ordeal. I went from about 235 in fall of 2013 (I had began quite a bit of weight-lifting, so this was probably a healthier 235 than my 225 low), and today I sit around 272.

I should also mention that I started filming a show centering around my love of food, so that has made me have to shift emphasis even more greatly on watching what I eat when I'm not "on the job." It's tough though! I host a podcast about food, and nobody wants to listen to us talk about salad for 90 minutes. 

I decided yesterday to kick into a ketogenic diet: essentially eliminating all sugars and carbs from my diet, and kicking my workout routine back into full gear. I've heard a ton about ketogenics by listening to Joe Rogan's podcast, and after recent bouts of silent reflux and gallbladder build-up, I've decided I'm going to give it a shot. 

It may come as a surprise to many of you, but I take the platform of my show very seriously. I want people to watch it and love food the way I do, but I also feel a responsibility to present both sides of the argument when it comes to gluttonous behavior. Sort of a "drink responsibly" type mentality, or whatever it is since I'm not someone that drinks.

I'm excited for this adventure, and my girlfriend Neda is being super supportive and coming along for the journey. I plan to give you guys regular updates on how I'm doing! Maybe if you're doing something similar, you can share your results too! 

Posted on November 29, 2016 .