The year that changed my life

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The year that changed my life

So I got asked for a quick “snap shot” of a letter explaining my past and how I got to where I am today… I could talk about this forever so I apologise for the length but here you go… 😊

As you may or may not know, in late September 2010 when I was 26, I was on a work trip over in WA, wine tasting and sampling at The Perth Royal Show. One morning there, my ankles blew up unexpectedly and I was unable to put on my shoes… I was in immediate excruciating pain and I was a little concerned but I continued to do what I did best- work hard through the day, ignored the issue, and then drink thru the pain at night- we would laugh it off and I would just suck it up and continue to party… This continued for 4-5days not once thinking that this could be the start of something enormous…

The flight home was seriously painful- I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit- no hiding from the pain and , adding to this, no one knew why my ankles were so huge nor why they had changed to a bright salmon colour…
By the time I got home to Sydney and hobbled up to Miranda Medical Centre, the doctor hit me with the diagnosis… It was gout. A result of excess red wine consumption over the years, plus seafood, tomatoes and red meats- a disease usually reserved for middle-late aged people, certainly not a 26yr old. In addition to this, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and obesity (132.4kg) and was told that I was a “walking stroke waiting to happen”. The doc suggested that unless I quit the smokes and alcohol then I would not be around to reach 40… This hit me pretty hard. But it was not quite what changed everything around for me… There was more;

In 1984 I was born at 27weeks, 3months prematurely- I suffered a collapsed lung and received heart surgery and was once published in media as “a baby who survived against all odds”. The doctor at delivery had explained to my dad that I had perished but was soon proven wrong.

It was soon after the doctors diagnosis in 2010, that I came across The Miracle Babies Foundation, a foundation that looked after premature babies and their families. Reading about this definitely pulled the heart strings and an overwhelming sense of guilt set in- I knew I had to change my ways! I owed it to my family, myself and to all the other premmie babies out there who weren’t as lucky as I was..

I spent the next few months researching weightloss and recipes, tactics and exercises- I bought scales and books- I got everything as planned as I possibly could be so that my 27th bday (April 29 2011) would be my absolute last weekend of essentially killing myself… I’m a very planned person and had come to the conclusion that preparing myself as best I could, would be the best way to limit the number of excuses that could have me wavering.

May 2 2011- I begun. I had concluded that the easiest way to quit smoking was to stop drinking. The easiest way to eat more was to incorporate exercise and to not drink any calories. And that the easiest way to do all of this was to mark off baby steps along the way. Every day without fail.

It was hard. I’m not going to lie. I cried at times. I felt alone and felt that the world was against me. Family helped a lot- I couldn’t have done it without them. But it was not easy.
I missed bucks parties, I missed birthday parties, I missed free wine tasting events, my sisters bday! It devastated me. I had completely isolated myself from the world but knew that I had to. After all- a few months of isolation in order to turn my life around seemed fair. I lost friends (well people I thought were friends), I had hate mail sent to me, I put my job at risk (managing a wine tasting kiosk doesn’t look good if you refuse to taste wine!) but everything else was looking up. I was losing weight consistently, I wasn’t drinking or smoking and my “$10000 cc debt” was getting paid off quickly due to all my excess cash! 🙂
I chose to hang around ONLY those that were supportive and positive and chose to lose some friends who were bringing me down and getting in the way of my goal to be happy and healthy.
Slowly but surely I felt more comfortable in my body. People stopped asking me “why” I was doing what I was doing and started asking me “how the hell” was I doing it! It was an amazing feeling. People from my past were emailing me congratulatory messages. People around the work place continued their praises. And I felt a million bucks!!
I dropped 53kg in around 6 months. I didn’t touch a cigarette and only on two occasions (after the Sutherland to surf 11km run, and my first half marathon) did I have a glass of wine or a beer. Did I feel like I had “missed out”? Did I still feel alone and sad? Were there any more tears?Absolutely not!! This was the greatest I’d felt in my life and pride would ooze out of me!

I have now raised around $8000 over the three years for the Miracle Babies Foundation by running marathons and ultramarathons and participating in crazy made-up challenges like running 21 half marathons over 21 consecutive days! I love it!

I now run my own personal training business, I continue to run for the sheer joy of it and along the way found an amazing girl. An awesome athlete in her own right! Life started to happen when I made the change. Real happiness started. Things could not be better and I owe it all to making the decision to put my head down and get a job done. To dedicate myself to a specific goal and to not letting excuses get in the way.
As I said- there were a lot of tears and a lot of heart ache but I now know what true happiness is and I can’t stress enough how worth it it all is.
It sure as hell wasn’t easy but little goals that I could tick off every day certainly added up to something substantial over time. You just have to stay consistent. Be honest and true with yourself and one day soon, you, too, will experience true happiness.
Good luck and feel free to contact me for whatever reason whenever you like!

– Adam Keighran

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30day Paleo Trial- complete

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Hey guys!

Straight up- I am sold on the Paleolithic concept. I have truly never felt better! If a month ago you’d suggested I wouldn’t have coffee, cheese, pasta or rice for a month- I’d probably have suggested that you were high! 🙂

Sold to the concept of clean, fresh eating. Sold on cutting out the crap and sold to treating my body the way it should be. Lean meat, fresh seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, fungi and good oils.

Gone are the days of grains, dairy, processed food and sugar. No more coffee, artificial sweeteners and you know what?! I’m very comfortable with that decision and proud of it.

The 100% Paleo for 80% of the time is sitting perfectly with me. I can still  occasionally have wine, I can occasionally have my cheese, I can eat pasta and rice and chocolate… But, being the type of guy I am, committing to the paleo guidelines gives me a perfect reason to stay disciplined. The “paleo umbrella” gives me a perfect guideline to maintaining a healthy life. If for around 80% of the time i stay true to Paleo then this amazing feeling that I’ve had over the last month will continue to occur. It’s easy, realistic and fun.

Over the last month I went from 93.3kg to 88.1kg and have slept better and had more energy than ever before! I do not know the science behind this but they are my results and I’m pretty excited about it! Once I learnt some “paleo tricks” such as zucchini or sweet potato pasta, cauliflower as a rice substitute and salads in stead of sandwiches- I was fine! These few substitutes were perfect for me! This lifestyle is easy to follow, fun to work with and it certainly got me the desired results.

In the beginning I had plenty of doubters and haters but since trialling this on myself as a human guinea pig, there are now quite a few converts around! It’s great having such pride in what you consume and it’s awesome sharing recipes with fellow paleos. I’m very excited about researching this further and finding many more awesome recipes! I love sharing all these ideas amongst the paleo community!

Any questions? Fire away!

– Adam Keighran

Nuffs Fitness

 

 

The Caveman Framework! Week 2

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It has been 2 Weeks now since starting this Paleo diet although, I must say that I believe a far more appropriate name would be the Paleo Framework or Paleo Guideline. The more and more I research the system, the more I’m getting the vibe that even the hardcore Paleo purists of the world still understand that we are living in the modern day and that we should not sweat the small stuff. We are not ACTUAL cavemen and we do have acess to some good nutritious stuff that doesnt strictly fit under the Paleo umbrella so we should be able to incorporate quite a few “sometimes foods”. A glass of wine with dinner, sweet potato, dark chocolate (85% cocoa) etc these things are acceptable under the Paleo Framework. I did buy a shirt the other day that reads “100% Paleo 80% of the time”. And that’s exactly it… If you can predominantly stick to lean meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and good oils and then limit dairy, grain, refined sugars and processed foods, then you will be sitting in a good place. Simple as that.

 
Weigh in this morning had me in at 89.1kg. That’s another 0.6kg down from last week and 4.2kg since beginning.
 
The big wins this week have come in the form of some foods that I did not realise fit into this lifestyle. Quinoa flakes (technically a seed) is an awesome start to the day! I add chia seeds, almond flakes and pure maple syrup! It creates a big burst of energy to start the day! Very excited that I can still enjoy them!
I also discovered that coconut milk (with no additives or sugars) is Paleo so decided id make an awesome chicken curry on Thursday. This prompted me to find a substitute for rice! And there it was: cauliflower in a food processor! Easy as you like! And the dish was extremely tasty! This was followed by a new favorite – chocolate coated bacon!! A bizarre twist on the “salt and sweet” combination! Not too bad!! 🙂
And coming from a bloke who used to consistently have 3-4 long black coffees each day, drinking tea now can only be doing my body good! Zero coffees in 2 weeks. Pretty proud of myself! 
 
The negative aspect- I’ve never been one to budget well but I do think it is becoming a little pricey! All this means though, is I need to find some better options! Mid arvo snacks being 100g steak and a handful of Brazil nuts just isn’t too economically friendly! I’ve also been wrapping avocado in smoked salmon- again – a bit pricey for a snack!
 
So all in all, a really successful week was had. I’m still sleeping the best I have in years. I’m energized, happy and feeling healthy! Now to check out some Paleo on a Budget websites!
 
 

Paleo/Caveman Diet – 1 week down

ImageOk- so last week I set out on this Paleolithic diet with zero expectations. I was simply curious as to how it would effect an endurance runner like myself so I thought that the best way to test its “powers” was to actually, become a human guinea pig, and test its powers. Seems logical right?!
With what I am about to write, I need you to please understand that I am not a nutritionist nor a dietician and before making any drastic changes to your diet, I recommend seeing a professional to discuss. Everybody is different and different diets will effect individuals differently.

I stress this point because some results have amazed me. I have little reason to these results, but I can’t argue with them.

It starts with my weigh in. In May 2011 I was, of course a whopping 132.4kg and by July 2012 I had dropped to a miserly 79.6kg with people suggesting that I was looking gaunt and underfed. I then evened back out to around 85-88kg and felt strong at this weight. I felt healthy and I felt fit. I want to be in that range for the rest of my life.
However, last Monday when I stood on the scales, I was a little disappointed for them to be reading 93.3kg. Now I stress again- I did not enter this caveman diet as a weightloss tool but this morning, only 1 week in, and the scales read 89.7kg.
I feel healthy. I feel fresh. I am sleeping amazingly. And I feel energised.
It has been an incredible week. You surely couldn’t get a better result!? I’m stunned

The big issue so far, is variety. Steak and nuts for breakfast, chicken salads for lunch, protein and veg for dinner. Nuts and fruit in between. It was all getting a little mundane.
However- after a little research- I found the recipe to a very easy pasta substitute and it could not have come quick enough. With my potato peeler, I peeled down half a sweet potato and a zucchini. I added 1Tsp of Organic grass fed butter to a pot and then “tossed the veggie strands” on a medium heat for around 5mins until they were a soggy consistency. It was AMAZING! The picture is at the top! So now that i know i can continue to have my favourite spaghetti Bolognese- Im one very happy camper! I fully recommend that everyone try it! On that note, my lunch yesterday was 2 X butterflied pork steaks, with avocado and tomato, wrapped up in big lettuce leaves. I.e. no bread. I’m telling you that it worked beautifully and, as a sandwich lover, I am extremely happy with that little variation. These two little variations of what “seemed” impossible, has now brought me Paleo sandwiches and paleo pasta dishes! Fantastic!!!
I have now read up on Paleo pizzas, paleo desserts, all kinds of little paleo tricks- there is so much variety out there – it just involves a little practise and a little experience. It just stems back to cutting out some crap foods! I know that Ill get better at this and Im kind of excited. Putting a bit of pride in my food gives me a lot more pride away from my food. Clean eating seems to flow into a clean room, clean clothes, clean shaven… lol 
I just feel a lot more pride in all that I do.

This week I have been getting into tea (instead of my 3-4 daily black coffees). Ive experimented with Green tea, peppermint and “lemongrass + ginger” tea. (cue ginger jokes!) I’m actually very much enjoying them! I have green tea in the morning as it has slow released caffeine and then peppermint tea after dinner! I was also a “pack a day” chewing gum guy! I would chew “extra” all day every day. That has been substituted for actual mint leaves and toothpicks! So whilst I look like a Joel Madden wannabe, It’s absolutely for the greater good and Im doing just fine with it!

This morning I did my normal 9km run to my training session and then completed a vigorous outdoor session. Energy levels are high. I have zero complaints so far- something that really worried me in the beginning. Very happy to report that I’m possibly feeling even better. We went for a green tea afterwards and I thought Id order the 3 egg omelette with turkey spinach and mushrooms! I was horrified when I realised that there was milk in it! Absolute rookie error that wont be happening again! It really upset me that I had made this simple error but i’m straight back on that Paleo bike today! (washed it down with a steak! Just joking!)
It takes experiences like that to learn from. 

So all in all its been a really successful week! I have slept better than I can ever recall. I feel clear in my mind and fresh in my body. I am getting used to the differences in diet and am learning ways to keep it exciting and new!

A 3.5kg weight loss is a phenomenal result and Im looking forward to what this week holds!

Again- I encourage discussion- I’m sorry if the last blog offended anyone- I was just getting defensive and was possibly getting a little bit testy due to the coffee withdrawals!! Apologies! I do want us to continue talking about this because this diet seemingly goes against everything that I believe in and what I know, but I certainly cannot argue with these results.

Have a great day guys! 🙂

Cavemen Diet Trial- can an endurance runner be fuelled with low carbs?!

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“I was intrigued by the Paleo or caveman diet so I thought I’d give it a go and be the human Guinea pig (mmmm pig). Every day i would write down my thoughts and blog the findings! As an endurance runner I’m nervous about cutting out my good friend carbs but am happy to trial it. Day 3 has now been complete with some pretty interesting results!”
 
 
Probably the biggest effect that this diet has had so far is that it amazingly so, turns the majority of people I know into fully qualified nutritionists. Weird right?!
 
I have been fully open in the fact that I have zero expectations of Paleo and am simply doing the trial for interests sake so that I can make my own mind up. Nothing more. Nothing less.
 
A good (vegan) friend of mine, an amazingly healthy woman, once said to me that she could be talking to a bunch of unhealthy, overweight people who smoked and drank and consumed copious amounts of fast foods and processed foods etc- but when she would mention being vegan, it is then that they became the “nutrition-police” and worried about how much protein that she was getting. It seems completely hypocritical and ridiculous in my eyes!
 
On a lesser scale, I’m feeling the same way. My new diet of fresh fruit and veg, fresh seafood and lean meats with nuts, seeds, fungi and healthful oils- surely cannot be as bad as what these so-called “nutritionists” are suggesting right??
 
Moving along…
Day 2 had me waking up feeling as though I had slept amazingly well but I did, however, feel a bit spacy- a few headaches. I can put this down to caffeine withdrawals which I was warned about. I’m not too worried about this though- just got to fight through! 
I had some steak (50g), eggs and bacon for breakfast and felt a little gross to be honest! Whilst the food I’ve had so far has been awesome- having a breakfast like that really makes me miss my quinoa flakes and honey and mixed nuts! 
 
I then proceeded to do a pretty intense hour long work out with a mate and energy levels felt good! We then went to lunch and were pleasantly surprised to see a “Paleo friendly” option on the menu as you can see at the photo at the top! Salmon, avocado, pesto, poached eggs and an amazing sweet potato and organic silver beet salad. Has anyone else seen “Paleo” options at a restaurant!? It was a first for me!
 
Tuesday afternoon was fine, mixed nuts, more green tea- felt good.
Headaches returned after my 2 PT sessions at night (as trainer not client) that night but I slept, again, like a baby!
The big negative of today was me beginning to get frustrated and snappish at some good mates. Id accumulated a bit of a short fuse due to the headaches. Otherwise feeling good.
 
Day 3 had me finding a paleo friendly chewing gum replacement… Mint leaves… They definitely do the trick! I’ve also turned into a bit of a Joel Madden and am chewing through a helluva lot of tooth picks!
 
Sumo salad for lunch (asking them to take out the cheese and corn and to swap the lemon-mayo for olive oil) was perfect! I’m already finding it a lot easier to find Paleo options around! Just be a bit imaginative!
I made a pretty great Sum choy bow last night for dinner but was, admittedly still a bit hungry! 😦
 
VERDICT: after 3 days I have slept better than I have in a long time, eaten some great food, and learnt to drink tea in stead of my standard black coffees! 
I am, however, getting headaches, and getting a bit testy with people.
Energy levels seem good.
 
I’m already very very interested to see what I weigh in at on Monday! I still cannot get my head around the fact that this may be a weightloss diet!! Strange… Anyway
So far so good! 🙂

Highs & Lows of Day 1

 

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After an uncharacteristic late night last night (largely due to the excitement of the upcoming month) I awoke at 4:15am to get ready for outdoor training. This was the first test.

 

 Previously I would have gone straight for a black coffee and some toast, possibly with Peanut butter and jam (pending on the size of the training session ahead). But not today.

 

Today was a litre of water and a banana. Bananas have carbs to get me going and boost energy.

 

 I ran the 9km to the training ground and it was followed by a pretty intense session – so I did expect to be fatigued throughout the day.

 

 Following training, at the cafe with the lads- a place i would regularly order another long black- I had to order a green tea (the 2nd test). Apart from the mocking i copped from the boys, the tea wasn’t too bad! 🙂

 

 Breakfast was bloody unreal! A 3 egg omelette with spinach leaves, capsicum, mushrooms and tomato! I could definitely get used to this!! Filling. Tasty. Easily prepared. And inexpensive! The photo of it is the bottom left photo! Big A++

 

 I then crashed big time. Too early for this to be an effect of Paleo I thin?!?

 

I simply put that down to the fact that I had had under 4hrs sleep and then smashed out 2 pretty big sessions- so completely understandable!

 

 After waking up and seeing that the “meal plan” had me having some tuna and salad wrap (with lettuce leaves instead of the wrap) I went away from the plan! I was too hungry for rabbit food!

 

 It was Caesar salad time! Probably too many eggs in a day but I threw 2 boiled eggs, bacon, chicken breast, avocado, Spanish onion and tomato onto a bed of spinach leaves and it was awesome!! 2/2 meals so far were sensational with no obvious effects in regards energy, fitness or concentration levels. Happy enough!

 

 

 

I had the afternoon out training a client and then returned home looking for a snack. Carrot and “Brazilian nut spread”… It sounded good. Sounded healthy… 

 

Never again! Bloody crap and not sustainable. I refuse to have crap food. I train too hard to be eating carrot and dip.

 

I will definitely be researching more to find a new snack. It used to be wholemeal rice crackers or wholemeal rice cakes- but not this month… This month ill have to get more creative

 

 

 

So I washed the carrot and dip down with a green tea (with vanilla) and moved on. (Definitely liking the tea!)

 

 

 

Dinner was a pork cutlet, pork sausage, mushrooms, bok choy and carrot and was perfect! Zero complaints here. So my 3 main meals today were sensational and I could eat them for a long long time to come!

 

 

 

Feeling a bit tired tonight but, again, I put it down to last nights lack of sleep and this mornings training. Tomorrow will be the big test as I’m sure that coffee withdrawals will hit hard soon! Paleo does claim to make this transition easier though as it steadies out blood sugar levels… We will see

 

 

 

All in all- energy is up. I feel very positive and proud of the good fresh food that I’m eating, and the water and green tea that I’m drinking in stead of coke zero and black coffee already has had a cleansing effect.

 

 

 

Day 2… Success! Food was awesome! Worried about caffeine!! 

 

 

 

Remember- any questions or suggestions- fire away!!!

 

 

Paleo Trial Begins

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The Paleo diet, abbreviated from the Paleolithic diet is commonly known as the caveman diet. It is a diet plan based on the assumed ancient caveman diet consisting of wild plants and animals including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meat, healthful oils and fungi. It excludes things such as refined sugars, grains, legumes, dairy and many starches.

 

I first heard about this diet plan when my idol, ultra-endurance athlete Dean Karnazes was associated with it. This man is famous for running 50 marathons in 50 American states in 50 consecutive days. He also ran 560km non-stop over 80hrs and 44mins. He has run numerous 100-200mile events and was once known to have run 148miles in 24hrs on a treadmill. He has also run 3000 miles across America in 75 days averaging 40-50miles (65-80km a day). I have been fortunate enough to have met Dean at the North Face Endurance Challenge in San Francisco and have received numerous emails from him. I fully respect the man and love picking his brain to hear his secrets. When I discovered that he lives largely off a Paleolithic diet, I thought I would look into it.

Now straight away- I am not a nutritionist, nor a dietician, just a guy who lost a helluva lot of weight in quick time, who now has a passion for endurance sports and health as a whole. As some of you know, I am not known as a good reader- I much prefer to do things for myself and assess them rather than just take someone else’s word for it.

It is for this reason that I am going to trial this Paleo diet for the next 30days. I will be recording my energy levels, my training performances, sleeping patterns, – anything that strikes me as an issue (good or bad) over the next month,and I will blog about it.

I am a little nervous about the seemingly lack of good carbohydrates but am excited about the idea of the clean eating. No processed foods, or refined sugars. No dairy. No legumes. I will be giving up coffee for this time also, as I have read that this diet will level out blood sugars and remove the urge for a caffeine hit… we will see!?!?!

 

 

 

Tomorrow, Day 1, has me eating a 3 egg omelette with mushrooms, asparagus and capsicum for breakfast. Celery and nut butter (not peanut) for a mid-morning snack, Ive gone with Brazillian and cashew butter and am choosing carrot over celery. Chicken and avocado salad for lunch, green tea and nuts for afternoon tea and then steak and mushrooms with a salad for dinner.
Doesnt sound too bad to me??

 

 

 

Feel free to post questions or opinions or whatever you like- I’m really looking forward to see how it effects my body and my energy levels.

 

 

 

Day 1 starts tomorrow. Stay tuned

 

 

 

-Adam Keighran

 

Nuffs Fitness