Archives For fitness


It would be wrong for me to say I’m a healthy person. I am overweight, a person who deals with issues like anxiety and lack of self worth, and I really love Cheese and Bread. With that confession out there I have in the last 6 months set out on a journey to work on getting healthier. It has been hard, sometimes easy, rewarding and down right annoying. I discovered, while eating better that I am clearly addicted to sugar and found myself in the “in between times” eating to deal with stress. I’m a stress eater? Where in the world did that come from and how did I never even notice this?

I set out on this journey not because heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer are in my genes, but because every time I ate something acidic I would get major heartburn and a pain in my side. A lame reason I know but sometimes it takes dumb circumstances to get us on the track to working on bigger ones.

What I discovered after a few months of eating a restricted diet is I was no longer having stomach pain from acidic things. It was absurd. I could now eat salsa with no problems.

Another thing began to happen. I started drinking only water, green tea and coffee. My body was constantly being flushed of toxins and being sustained on being “clean”.

And then it happened…


I’ve endured pains before. I am used to them being overwieght and not in the greatest shape, but now I was feeling pain in places I never did before. My neck pain is out of control. My back and hip pain seem to come in waves for no reason at all.

A funny thing about Dairy and Cheese. They are foods that cause inflammation. I cut them out and you would think that if I was now ingesting anti-inflammatory foods that it would reduce inflammation and I would feel like 1 million dollars.

Well the truth is the inflammation I had previously was masking the pain in other areas. Basically this “thing”, this lifestyle that for all intensive purposes was killing me, was also numbing all kinds of other issues.

This realization has forced me to work on all kinds of areas that were never part of the “deal” of this diet. Posture, stretching, fitness, strengthening areas that are not in a normal workout to support the years of abuse on my body that the inflammation was hiding.

So now you must be thinking to yourself: “why is the word recovery in the title of this post?” – glad you asked.

Sunday I announced to our church that God had been speaking loud and clear that we are a “recovery church”. That is an odd statement, I know, but let me explain. Recovery is often associated with alcohol or drugs, but I have come to the conclusion that it needs to be associated with recovering things that have been stolen from us. It might be Joy has been stolen because of fear, Peace has been stolen because of abuse, Sobriety has been stolen because of addiction, kindness has been stolen because I am a “me-aholic”… The truth is every one of us as christians are in recovery because the enemy is stealing from us daily and we need to take it back by force!

There is one thing I have learned though about recovery that has now been solidified by my inflammation issue. When you remove the thing that is killing you there is also a discovery that it was making all the other pain numb. Hidden pain that was getting worse and worse and you never even knew. Now that it has been removed you are forced to deal with all the other things that it was hiding in your life.

Just like my health journey, when it comes to recovery this may end up being more painful than it was before… But it’s worth it.

When you remove the things that anesthetize your spirit then the spirit of the Lord can heal you from the inside out. 

It’s in that moment that you can say:
I might be in pain but YOU are my healer
I might be afraid but YOUR love casts out that fear
I might be sad but YOU bring joy everlasting
I might be confused but YOU give me a peace that I can’t understand
I am no longer a slave to the things I did before, but that also means have have so much more work to do… This time with YOUR strength.

My Whole 30 Journey

February 18, 2016 — Leave a comment

Today is day 31 of my whole30 challenge. If you have been trapped in a bunker somewhere let me fill you in on what I did. For 30 days I ate only good, unprocessed food. No added sugar of any kind, no alcohol, no grains, no dairy, no legumes and no MSG/carrageenan/sulfites/other chemicals. I ate meat, seafood (only shrimp because I don’t like seafood), eggs, vegetables, fruit, oils, nuts and seeds.

I decided to do this challenge because quite honestly I had tried pretty much everything over the years to get healthy. Fad diets, workouts, sitting on a couch and binge watching netflix; nothing seemed to work. I knew a few years ago that my cholesterol was high and my family health history is horrendous. I used to be more active playing racquetball almost daily and basketball from time to time, but then life, business, and age got in the way and I found myself getting injured with simple exercises. Something had to shift and I needed to make sure that my food affected mood was stabilized and I was alive for my kids. Here came in whole30 which was not introduced to me as a diet, but instead a life change and gut reset.

I jumped in head first with no clue how I would feel, if I would make it and quite honestly if we could afford it. The first day I went shopping was with the book in hand and iphone cued to a few websites yet I still felt like I was flying blind. As I went along I started to get the hang of what I needed. I had to read every label on everything I bought and I was floored by how much sugar is in everything we buy. Even some of the meat that I buy with a slight marinade on it has sugar in it. If things didn’t have sugar then they had some form of wheat in it. In the beginning, when I was still trying to figure out how I could possibly make a meal without bread and cheese, I found myself mentally paralyzed.

“Are you kidding?!! I can’t have a french baguette?! What am I going to dip into my cheese covered chili?! Wait… I have to take the cheese off?”

The first week was the hardest and while the book says “don’t say this is hard”, those first 4 days sucked. It was hard because of the raging sugar dragon felt like it was biting my head off. The headaches were bad, but it also showed me with evidence how much my body craves sugar.

After the first week I began to discover the “tricks” of the diet to ensure I didn’t spend our monthly food budget in one week. In the end we spent more on our grocery bill, but because we did not eat out we actually saved money on our month. Many sites say to shop the “perimeter” in the grocery store, but in mine that is where the cheese and bread is so instead I made sure to go in with a goal and get only what I need and get the heck out of there. I love to shop so that was difficult for me.

I had to cook for every meal which at times was a bit more taxing than throwing some cheese on a sandwich, but it was also rewarding. I found myself trying really hard to not only make food that tasted really good and seasoned well, but I also leaned into my artistic side and gave myself a motivation of making the best looking food I could.

Going out to eat I attempted once and it was virtually impossible. That says something I’d say. There is so much garbage in chain restaurant food that the only way to eat it on whole 30 is to buy a dish and take a quarter of the food off the plate to eat and leave the rest to throw out. It is a waste and I actually found it discouraging to even try again.

Before I started whole 30 I used to get major stomach pain whenever I ate things that were acidic like salsa and tomato sauce. I avoided those things at all costs and took digestive enzymes to help sooth my gut. I already knew cheese made my sinus’ hurt and bread made me bloated so to lose them made sense. About a week into whole 30 I decided to add salsa to an omelet. I was ready for the stomach pain. Here it comes… that knife in the gut feeling. However, this time I felt fine. I was convinced it was a fluke to I tried it for a few more days. Still no pain at all. I was beside myself because I actually reset my body. I am not sure if it was the sugar, the dairy or wheat but it was clear the combination of crappy food also gave me a volatile and temperamental stomach. This discovery still excites me.

I had somebody ask me during this whole 30 thing.

“Isn’t switching to organic, grass-fed meats, veggies and fruits going to be crazy expensive?”

My answer was simple:

“It will be a lot less than a triple bypass”

I could go on and on with some tips and tricks, but I think I am going to save that for the rest of my whole 30 blogging journey. I have almost 900 posts on this blog and have been writing on here since 2006. 10 years of writing, but this last month of whole 30 I decided to just do with photos on Instagram so I could try it out with little pressure and be successful.

This is the same reason why I decided not to work out during the 30 days. I knew it would be better, but at the same time I also knew it would be too much and a great reason to quit before I learned anything about myself.

I was scared to death of black coffee or even coffee with coconut milk in it. After the 4th day it seems my tastebuds changed and I was able to tolerate it more. Of course I miss my sugar and hazelnut, but it was doable. I found the last two weeks my coffee intake went down to about 1/4 and it was replaced by copious amounts of green tea.

I have not missed sweets or ice cream at all, except on my wife’s birthday. I have had my fill of beef, chicken and pork so I have not really craved a burger except a delicious bun. I have, however, crave since day one pizza and pasta with garlic break. So good and tasty.

I started to have BreadADD… mirage’s of garlic knots…

Ultimately it became very easy to do, simple to plan and my food tasted great. The way I felt far outweighed my mourning of bread and cheese.

So let me break down how I did, how I feel and what is next.

How I did:
I am really proud of myself for sticking this out, not cheating at all, spending the time to learn and exciting others to do the same.

  • Starting Weight: 269.8/270 lbs (i have a crappy scale)
  • Current Weight: 254 lbs
  • Weight-loss total: 15.8/16 lbs
  • Belt Holes moved: 2
  • Goal Weight: 210 lbs

How I feel:
I was 254 lbs last year, but this 254 lbs is different. This is a healthier 254 lbs. I feel better than i have in 10 years. They speak of tigers blood or feeling like a super hero in the book. I don’t feel like that and I am not sure I ever will. I am not 20 any more, but I do feel great and the feeling and simplicity of this diet has given me new eyes on my health.

What’s Next:
As you can see I am not at my goal weight so it’s very clear I still need a plan moving forward. The book has a food reintroduction process of 10 days to figure out which foods affect your gut now that it’s all cleaned out. I already know which foods mess with me. Sugar makes me crash, bread makes me bloated and worthless, and cheese makes me stuffy and have headaches.

Knowing all this and how whole 30 made me feel I have decided on a few things:

  1. I am going to continue on to a Whole 60
  2. I plan to have a “treat meal” every 15 days because I still want to enjoy things I eliminated. I am however changing the moniker “cheat” to “treat” because quite honestly I don’t need any more negativity than the amount I currently produce.
  3. I am going to have a workout schedule for these next 30 days to tone up and create the energy needed to burn more fat.

And last, tonight I plan to celebrate my 30 days of pure victory with 20 min of bliss with a pizza and garlic knots. There is no way that one meal is going to have me gain everything back I lost. It will, however, be tasty and most likely make me feel like crap an hour later giving me the right amount of guilt to spur on another 30 days of kicking tail! 

My new (pending) workout

August 18, 2011 — 2 Comments

I have been on and off with the gym now for the last 6 months. I lost 20 lbs and gained back 7 of it. I need to lose another 50, but I have a new goal to lose 15lbs. by the Forge Conference.

My new sneakers get will be at my door the day I get back from vacation along with some kettlebells. My new plan is going to be simple:

  • Run every day with the Couch to 5 k (C25k) plan
  • Do kettlebell work out a min of 3 days a week with a DVD
  • Do ab and interval workouts along with
  • Eat high protein and get rid of bread and carbs for the month of Sept.

Seems simple enough. I have hit a plateau and I really want to see some results. This weight can no longer be an option in my life.

My starting weight will now be 257lbs 5’11”

Pray for me if you will. I will post updates on here about my workout, how I’m doing, and if it’s working.

I have always wanted to be a runner. Something about running is so enticing to me, but I have never been able to do it.

I used to play basketball in Highschool and everything was sprinting. I wasn’t super fast, but I was able to do it. Later on in life I jumped into racquetball head first and got real good at it. I play competitions and sometimes 5-6 hours a week. Once again though it was all short quick bursts.

Get me on a track or a treadmill and I am only good for those short bursts. I am not a skinny guy, but what I have noticed happening is I was getting knee and shin pain well before my lungs gave out. This honestly was disturbing and discouraged me from doing cardio. The problem is I need to do cardio because I need to lose weight.

I recently spoke to a friend of mine, Russell (mudpuppy), who has been running the last few years and discovering things about himself and God. I told him I want the same thing and through our discussion I learned that the pricey sneakers I bought are compensating for the issues in my flat feet, but are aggravating the issues I have with my knees due to the way I run. This sounds very simple, but it wasn’t. It turns out my feet while running are pronating differently than most people with flat feet.

Long story short I can’t wait to buy new shoes. I have for a long time longed to be able to run. I know that it will take time before I am even able to do a mile without dying, but I am glad that for the first time ever it will be my lungs that tire before my knees.

Updates to come…..

So last week I started this killer idea for a weight loss challenge. Initially it was thought for people in ministry because we are looked at as examples and I know I for one am not a good example with my health.

Oh I know what your think..”what Joel? are you kidding with his dashing good looks and sumo greek physic…Why would he have a need to lose some weight.”

Weight: 260
Height: 6ft
waist: 38 pants 41 with tape measure.

Hmm….for all of you non math whiz people. That is a purebred fat arse.

So I lay the gauntlet down and tons respond. Not here…but elsewhere and I am stoked..

My first week went great. I was eating less and completely cut out bread. I drank cranberry water, crystal light, and water. All was good until mother’s day. BAH!

Thats right mother’s day. Filled with chocolate and starbucks gift cards. Doh!

I have the will power of a dead snail.

With that said I lost one pound, but I know I could have lost 3-5 if it had not been for mother’s day.

I am gonna try my hardest this week and if there is another high holiday of some sort I will be staying in a hotel to stay away from the treats.

The honest truth is sweets are not my issue. It’s bread. If I could I would have a baguette IV.

Ok so now starts week 2. Cya monday for another update and please check out the others who have jumped on this. Visit them encourage them and also anybody who is doing this use the logo and link to these people so we can keep track

Good Luck Everyone!!!