Old too soon, wise too late…

“If I only knew then what I know now” is the all too common lament.  As it pertains to health, it doesn’t have to be this way.  You can gain benefit from someone else’s journey regarding their health insights in a much shorter time frame than you can in other aspects of life.  My journey has been pretty good, but it could have been much better.

When I wuz ignent (ignorant for you who don’t speak stupid) I did whatever came to mind. I ate whatever I wanted and lived the charmed life of youth.  Since the brain doesn’t finish developing till around 25, young people are called immortals because they are only mildly capable of looking into the future. They are barely able to see how consequences can pile up, how lines of probable outcomes intersect, or the eventual day of reckoning comes due.  For me, the future didn’t exist. I think such is the case for everyone.

But that day does come eventually. That is what these emails are about, shining a light far enough up the path for you to take reasonable course corrections so you don’t face a day when all your choices suck. The smarter you work on yourself today, the easier life will be on you down the road. This is absolutely the case with your eating habits. My ignorance did not know about factors that are commonplace knowledge today. Gluten free did not exist 10 years ago.  Now every restaurant has a gluten-free selection. Food combinations – wha?

My story: I grew up eating a normal meat and potatoes with a side of bread kind of lifestyle. Salads were small and infrequent. I could go through a box of Captain Crunch in two sittings. I would chug nearly a quart of milk out of the container after dinner. I had a bowl of ice cream pretty much every night. Yet, I was not overweight mostly because of youthful activity and family lineage. However, that kind of food combo doesn’t provide a great foundation for life. As I entered my mid-twenties, my activity level dropped, but my love for pizza didn’t. I discovered microbrews. In my thirties, children complexities entered the scene and my activities dropped again.  My wife and I were forced to embrace the notion of nutritional education and discipline.  Now twenty years later, I’m finally getting the hang of it.

Here’s the thing, as you know I’m no health expert.  All my current conclusions are from several decades of living, learning, and observing my habits and the drawing conclusions. I’m not talking straightforward cause and effect.  For example, I started getting springtime allergies. So naturally I took drugs to reduce the effect of sneezing attacks. Come to find out, steroids can cause sterility. Uhg. Ok, no drugs. A few years later I determined that I had a gluten intolerance. A few years after that, I observed the connection between the two. So now, instead of taking drugs, I have greatly (90%) reduced my flour and grain intake. Allergies are dramatically gone. Proof? No, but that’s my story.  That’s one result I could not get from Health USA because their proscription was to just take drugs.

So here’s a generic summary of what I learned. It may not be perfectly sound, but it introduces some topics you can introduce to your youthful life that might save you some headaches down the road:

Know your body type 
My body likes meat.  I eat protein and am grouchy without it.  I like salads, but there has to be meat in it.  My wife is the opposite.  She needs mostly salads. It’s valuable to understand your body type, blood type, personality type, etc. There are so many factors you should consider in order to customize your habits. What’s your type?

Learn good food combinations
Come to find out, different foods digest at different rates.  Who knew? If you eat meat with potatoes, the starches digest first while the meat passes through without fully digesting.  Ever see those big guys with big bellies that are drum tight? They’re not fat, just big bellies. Undigested fecal matter. It’s poop. Those guys are literally full of shit. So don’t be those guys. Instead, eat starches with salads; eat meats with salads, but not meat with starches. There’s a whole lot more to this topic. But if you do this, you won’t gain as much weight and you’ll have easier bowel movements.

Avoid Gluten (simple grains) 
Glue and gluten are related. Gluten in my system produces mucus. Yummy. It produces it in my sinuses and in my digestive tract. So when I eat breads and pastas, mucus in my digestive tract prevents my food from digesting and I get gluten belly, that god-awful bloated feeling. Furthermore, my sinuses drain. In the springtime, my allergies are made dramatically worse due to the phlegm present in my system. When I heard that I needed to give up beer in order to go “Gluten-Free” I said “Ah hell, no”.  So I’m not totally gluten free, but I’m mostly there. Be aware what breads do to you.

Drink (lots of) water 
Ok, I’ve heard this a thousand times. Cokes bad, water good. I gave up soft drinks years ago. The syrup is just sugar and it’s not refreshing. Water does satisfy. But I have rarely committed to drinking what my body needs. Every time I do, I feel tons better. My observation is is that I, along with most of the world, walks around slightly dehydrated. When you do that, your body just doesn’t work as well. Try flushing a toilet without water – ugh.

Make the Investment
To buy quality food it costs plenty. Nonetheless, this should be a priority for you and your family in your monthly budget. I never asked my wife to skimp on buying good food. Cut back on everything else, but not good food. Live foods, like salads, have the nutrients that your cells need to replenish. With a busy life it’s much hard to shop all the time for this kind of food. But reality can be postponed for only so long. The day will come eventually when your body pays the bill.

Be mindful
Live with an intent to learn how your body does with the different choices you make. Does pizza make you bloated and tomorrow not able to poop? Maybe, just maybe, your body is telling you something. Instead, try food combinations for a week and see how you feel.

If you got this far down the email, good for you. I imagine myself 25 years ago saying “Nutrition? Blah, blah, blah.” That’s the wise too late part. The sooner you think through your history and start the long process of figuring out your body, obviously the better off you’ll be.

To your healthy life.

Dave Marr

Subscribe to Ironmen

Get an encouraging letter each week to provoke your thinking.

Every Friday you'll get a short reflection on life intended to get you to think about things a little differently.

Subscribe to Ironmen
By | February 2nd, 2018|Personal, Physical|0 Comments

Projecting Success

The head jut. The way you carry yourself projects to the world how you feel about yourself: confident or insecure, disciplined or a little lazy, meticulous or possibly unaware. After 20+ years of being average in my awareness, I had average posture. The mid-thoracic area between my shoulder blades was weak, so I comfortably slouched in front of the computer. My belly sagged, shoulders rounded, and pelvis turned under. Even though I was working out in karate and running marathons, my posture sucked. I wasn’t projecting vitality. I was well on my way to some problems.

No doubt you understand that your entire musculature is one big rubber band that runs throughout your whole body and that the fatty fascia that interlaces throughout carries water and nutrients to every cell in your body. Well I didn’t. So in sitting at my desk with my feet tucked under my chair, I shortened my hamstrings, curved my back, jutted my chin, and let my belly relax. I ran in the mornings without stretching where I eventually paid the piper. My T-Bands tightened, my legs turned slightly out, my lower back was unsupported, and my body got old quick. So I went to see a chiropractor for my lower back aches because I started to get plantar fasciitis in my heels. I wasn’t a complete basket case, but reality was providing a wake up call to my immortality mindset.

Your body is a powerful projection to the world, true, but it is even more powerful to your mindset, your attitude, your confidence, and your disciplines. A good understanding of how your body works and the pride it projects to the world pays dividends. You don’t have to stick your chest out and act macho, I’m not talking about being a poseur, I’m talking about being comfortable in your own skin. Confidence is projected through little things like posture. Your health starts with piercing the ignorance of bad habits.

Fortunately for me, I was blessed with an interruption. One year after trying to run my 3rd marathon by June, my right leg cramped and wouldn’t un-cramp for 2 weeks. That stopped my running and put me on a path to solve what I thought was a small problem but ended up being rather foundational. I was ignorant of just about everything. What I thought was good and right, wasn’t. Here’s my point: If you want to succeed in your whole life – business, family, and personally, you should invest in good posture. Do the small things today that will make this a non issue for you later. Project confidence by investing in your health and don’t assume you’ve got it under control. Just because you’re thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Take the few minutes to gather information from an expert.

To your confident projection

Dave Marr

Subscribe to Ironmen

Get an encouraging letter each week to provoke your thinking.

Every Friday you'll get a short reflection on life intended to get you to think about things a little differently.

Subscribe to Ironmen
By | October 20th, 2017|Personal, Physical|0 Comments

Don’t let Your Frog Boil

You all have heard about Boiled Frog Syndrome right?  Put a frog in a pan of boiling water and it jumps out immediately because of the immediate pain.  But put it in tepid water and slowly turn up the heat and the frog will cook to death because it won’t notice the gradual changes in temperature.  I’m not sure if it’s true, but The Syndrome is universally acknowledged as an analogy worth knowing.  You don’t want to be caught unaware that you’re boiling to death and one day wake up and your metaphorically-mixed goose is cooked.

I remember coming back from vacation one year.  We had purchased a new video recorder. We took videos of our young family frolicking in the surf, we were new parents with our little kiddies and “HOLY CRAP!!! Who’s THAT FAT TUB?!!!”  I couldn’t believe I had gained so much weight. We were in our 30’s and inactivity had snuck up on us. The busy days and exhausting nights of constant management of the lives of little people. But that video, what an eye opener! From that point on we turned it around. Keep in mind, you may recall I had run marathons, competed in triathlons, at one point was a black belt in karate, and felt like I was still a young stud. Ahem, the facts didn’t support my self image. I had become near boiled and, fortunately for me, got going again before my lifestyle calcified. I thought I was doing great because when I looked around and saw some really overweight people, I looked good. I was delusional. Interestingly, this period was one of the few times I wasn’t in an Ironmen group.

It didn’t have to be that way.  Since then I’ve learned that leading the family is more about how you model family identity rather than providing and protecting. Family character is about trust, honesty, openness, adventure-mindedness, integrity, perseverance, and HEALTH. How do you want your family to be characterized? It starts with you and your mindset. By leading in physical exercise, by devising a family plan for being active, you are actively choosing to be a healthy family. This leadership has no downside: Your kids will absolutely learn about themselves, about their own limits, based on how you model behavior and lead them in activity. Your wife will benefit by having a husband who leads in creating outdoor activities. You’ll be conscious about eating habits and hypocrisy. By modeling health, you’ll be establishing a pattern for your kids that will be their baseline.

Bike rides, hikes, camping, health events (I had my entire family enter a 5k).  Even though we mostly walked, it was great. In addition, the kids played soccer and I played in the backyard with them. We played football in the street and got other families and played at the park. To my regret, there were too many times when I turned my kids down for going outside and playing. Major mistake. I could have and should have done a lot more.

What if your wife isn’t into the physical stuff? Do you just leave her behind? No clear answer here. But I would sell her on the vision of a happy, healthy, active family and how her behavior will model how your daughters are going to grow and which kind of woman the boys will be attracted to. Leadership doesn’t condemn, but encourages small successes. So take the kids to the park and invite small participations and respond without guilt if the answer is no(t now).

So for you Dads, setting goals about losing 5 pounds by running 3 times a week is good, don’t get me wrong. But figuring out how you can design a plan so that your family name is synonymous with health and activities is a magnitude better.  Be strategic about health. It’ll pay dividends for you over and over again.  1) you’ll be different than just about everyone else in the country; 2) you’ll push your known boundaries; and 3) you’ll be establishing for yourself, your (future) mate, and your (future) kids that you are characterized by creative health. Better to be intentional than boiled.

To your healthy abundance,

Dave Marr

Subscribe to Ironmen

Get an encouraging letter each week to provoke your thinking.

Every Friday you'll get a short reflection on life intended to get you to think about things a little differently.

Subscribe to Ironmen
By | May 19th, 2017|Personal, Physical|0 Comments