MND is 3 years old - the story so far.
Today is my birthday!
I am 44 years young today, and inside I am literally bursting and screaming with stuff I want to say and do and share with you.
Apologies if the below is all over the place, I just have a lot to say today and I’m kinda ‘blurting this out’ in a big mess of words and pictures, so it might not be terribly coherent, but who gives a damn, it doesn’t have to be coherent, it has to mean something, and it has to help you to be the best you that you can be, and nothing else really matters.
Summary of this post:
- Elsewhere on this site, is ‘My Story’ in words. Below is a shorter version of ‘My Story’ but more in pictures
- Changing your life and your body is a journey - it takes time, but it’s worth working for
- What is MND and what’s it really all about?
I started MND 3 years ago, the first year was “formulating the 12 Core Principles” while I was living about 95% as per MND, it was still in the refining stage, and then I set the 12 CP in stone and have been blogging about it since this day 2 years ago, my 42nd Birthday in July 2012.
3 years of living the MND way - then and now
I’ve been living the MND way for 3 years now…the first year it was all still evolving, the last 2 years I have been living completely by the 12 Core Principles.
During my decades as a fat guy, I was pretty camera-shy, and I spent years hunting down and destroying pictures of fat old me, so I don’t have many. If I had ever known there would come a day that I was no longer ashamed of how I looked, I might have gone to some effort to keep more of them!
The other day, unexpectedly, I found some old pictures of me that I had forgotten about - old pix of “fat Karl”…they are not pretty to look at! I’ll get this over-and-done with right now then - this is Xmas 2006, to now, 7.5 years apart.
So the first image was Xmas 2006, I had already lost about 2 stone, I was at around 16 stones in this picture. The second image is now, just before my 44th Birthday.
And from the rear: Xmas 2006 to mid-2014:
I still have work to do, but I’m proud of the progress I have made. Inside, I am supremely healthy and fit.
It’s a journey, and it takes time - consistency is the key
I’ve had a lot of conversations recently about setting goals, changing body shape, losing weight, building muscle, getting fitter and so on.
A common problem I see time and again, is that people have UNREALISTIC expectations. Like people might spend 10, or 20, or 30, or even 40 years overweight, obese, unfit, out of shape…then they come to someone like me, or a Personal Trainer, or a dietician, a nutritionist or a coach, and ask for help. They seem to expect results in just a few weeks.
SERIOUSLY, think about this - someone spent like 30 years making his or her self fat and unhealthy, he or she probably drank tens of thousands of pounds in alcohol, ate tens of thousands of pounds worth of the wrong foods (chocolate, take away’s, treats, donuts, cakes) or smoked tens of thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes, then they are thinking “I’m PAYING this trainer/coach/nutritionist £30 pounds per hour, that’s really expensive, they better get me results really fast!!!!”
Look, it takes YEARS to create lasting permanent change. Oh sure, if you have nothing else going on in your life, you can shop, cook and eat PERFECTLY, exercise light for 4 hours per day, train hard for 1 hour per day, sleep 9 hours per night and meditate daily, get weekly colonic, massage and therapy, sure maybe we can produce fast results, but otherwise, DO NOT EXPECT to change 30 years of poor behaviour, ABUSING yourself, in like 30 days!!! FFS - get realistic!
Many experts suggest it takes about half as long to undo the damage, as it took to do it. Are you COMMITTED enough to this process to give it 10 or 15 years?????
In the REAL WORLD, we have to balance exercise with other time demands, such as work and family. We have to balance healthy eating with work, parties, social engagements, family meals and so on.
I’m pretty bloody good, I eat super clean 98% of the time and I exercise for about 10 hours per week, but still I have spent the last 10 years building my company and raising 3 kids, and life is BUSY, so I accept that change takes time. Look at these rear shots of me.
White boxers - 2006 (Grade 1 obesity)
Green briefs - 2011 (peak of my running career)
Red shorts - 2012 (off running)
Jeans - 2013 (still off running)
I started losing my excess weight at the end of 2005, and it took about 5 years to ditch 7 stones (45 kilos). My 2011 I was a lean runner. I stopped running (injured) at the end of 2011, and spent 2012 putting on some muscle, and so these pictures span a period of about 7 years, from Christmas 2006 (already 2 stones lost from my peak) to New Years Day 2013.
Change takes time - and MANY people have no bloody commitment, they don’t stick to it. They want immediate results, or they are flakey and they quit. You have to be a big picture thinker, have a bit of staying power, some vision. I’m now 44, and I am going to start adding more muscle…by my 46th birthday, I intend to be in the best shape of my life. But that’s TEN YEARS commitment, staying true to my long term goals and staying committed to a healthy lifestyle.
This was me in my mid-to-late 20’s, with a body many 40-year olds would be ashamed of.
This is me in my mid-40s, with a body many 20-odd year olds would be happy with.
I’m not where I want to be yet, there is still too much “love handle” sitting on my belt, but oh boy I’m in a much better place than I WAS!!!!
Most don’t have that commitment
I’ve designed MotherNaturesDiet to be a sustainable, realistic, achievable REAL WORLD way to life - there is no hunger, no calorie counting, no deprivation, you just have to commit to learning how to eat this way, commit to regular exercise at least 4 or 5 times per week and stick with it. It’s long term sustainable, and it gets long term results - the rules adapt to you at any age, any size, any ability.
BUT you have to do it, I can’t do it for you.
Major breakthroughs on the way to developing MotherNaturesDiet
When I look back over the last few years, I can identify four clear moments, or shifts, when I made major breakthroughs in my journey from fat to fit, from mess to health freak.
Four major breakthrough times in my life:
1) – 2006 when I quit smoking for good, had a ‘mental shift’ where I realised that my health needed to be higher on my priority list in life, and I started eating much more fresh vegetables
2) – 2010 when I broke through the 14 stone 5 barrier, after telling myself for several years that I had ‘found my resting weight’ and I couldn’t go much lower. In 2010 I learned that we tell ourselves these bullshit stories, we construct these beliefs in our minds, as excuses. That’s all they are
3) – 2010 when I stopped eating grains completely
4) – Late in 2011 when I finally cut out refined sugar for good, including alcohol on Jan 1st 2012
Notice how these MAJOR breakthroughs are not things like ‘ran my first marathon’, or ‘climbed a huge mountain’ or ‘took a job as a personal trainer’. They are not huge things in that respect, they are simple things, small tweaks to my diet, and fundamental shifts in the way I think, my mind-set, my beliefs about what is and isn’t possible, what I can and cannot do. Simple little things, but they each had a really BIG impact on my life.
Often, we think that massive changes require a massive effort, but that is not always the case. It turns out, small changes to my diet, like ‘cut out grains, eat more veggies’, and changes to my mind, changes in how I think, like ‘start putting health higher up the list than money, or I’ll be the richest dead fat person you ever met’, is all that it took to radically change my life, and melt the excess fat away.
This is core to the MotherNaturesDiet way of living: forget ‘fad diet mentality’ and instead commit to permanent change, step up and make more of your life, get healthy, get more energy and do more with your life, that’s what MND is all about!
Lots of people tell me that they find posts about my journey help them, as they too are on a journey, perhaps some steps further back from me, or perhaps ahead of me, or perhaps only just starting, but my story is helping them to see the way forward.
So I just thought I’d try to outline the steps I took. For me it’s been a long slow journey, learning as I go…but a big part of why I write for MND is to help YOU short-cut my long journey, just get straight to the bits that work and make faster progress on YOUR journey.
For me, after 17 years of yo-yo dieting and weight up and down, after 18 years smoking and 2 decades being over weight, 8.5 years ago, I started getting it right.
Step 1: I quit smoking
Step 2: I stopped trying to lose weight, and started LEARNING how to be HEALTHY inside
Step 3: I realised that a healthy life meant I had NO CHOICE but to learn to love vegetables, and eat them every day
Step 4: I started exercising pretty much every day (this was easy for me, I quickly fell in love with the “runners high”, the endorphin rush you get from exercise…a nice healthy ‘high’ to replace smoking!)
Step 5: I cut starchy processed carbohydrates (pasta, bread, white rice, cereals, noodles, bagels, cakes, buns, etc.)
Step 6: I cut refined white sugar out of my life
Step 7: I gave up eating any processed food
Step 8: I quit alcohol, completely, for good
From 18-yr old tubby mess, to marathon runner.
Looking forward now
I’m sorry to keep posting pix not wearing much (laughing) but you lovely people say the inspiration helps you, and while I still have work to do, and I am not yet ready to post an “after” pic, as I don’t think I’m done yet, none-the-less I am pleased and proud to be healthier, fitter and looking better in my mid 40s than I ever did in my obese teens, fat 20s and obese 30s.
This picture, with our first-born, was 11 years ago, in my early 30s, then the second shot is 2013.
Throw away fad diet mentality - commit to a healthy lifestyle, follow MotherNaturesDiet and make these changes…it’s no deprivation, there is no starving, no real sacrifice. You could sum up MND in one simple sentence “Don’t eat anything processed, just eat real, whole, fresh food.”
Come on, stay the course, it may take a decade, but imagine how you’ll feel hitting the BEST shape of your life at 40, or 50, or 60??? You CAN do it.
YOU can learn from all I have done. It took me about 6 years to complete those 8 steps outlined above…but you could do it all in 1 year! Learn from my journey, that’s what MND is for! That’s why I write it all!! To help YOU!!
I used to be one of those people, my mind just couldn’t see sense…I would think “I’ve starved for about 3 weeks why am I not perfectly slim and healthy already? Oh well another diet that doesn’t work!” And then I’d give up!!! Nooooo…the answer is to commit to healthy living for a lifetime!!! A life time!!!! Then, over time, it all comes good!
3 stages - 2 down, now for number 3
I’m a great “big picture” thinker. I can now see how for me, my journey to supreme good health breaks out into stages. The first stage was to burn off all that fat. I dropped 100 pounds of unwanted body fat from my heaviest to my lightest, that’s 7 stone 2 pounds, over 45 kilos of fat, more than half my current body weight - I’m only two thirds of the man I used to be! Ha ha!!
The next stage was to get fit. I ran a dozen marathons, 2 ultramarathons, ran a Personal Best marathon of 3:14 aged 40 and I cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Endurance sport does many good things for you, it develops a strong heart and lungs, strong legs, strength of character, and superb self-control, but it can also destroy parts of your body, and my poor running form cost me a painful knee surgery and a year off running.
Now, after 5 years burning away fat, and 5 years of endurance sport, I am making a transition to the 3rd stage of my transformation. Next I want to build strength, muscle, fix my weaknesses from all that running, develop form and function and achieve the best physique I have ever had.
Over the last 2 years, while forced off running for knee surgery, I worked on doing push-ups and pull-ups to build my upper body.
I recorded the following stats on my 42nd Birthday and then on my 44th Birthday:
In 2 years, I have added 3 inches to my chest measurement, an inch to my waist (damn it!), over an inch on each arm and over an inch on each thigh. I have one final endurance event coming up in September 2014, and then my focus for the next 2 years will shift to building strength and muscle, without gaining too much (any?) body fat.
That’s over 2 years while raising kids, running a successful publishing company, recovering form knee surgery, coming back and re-training to run another sub-4-hour marathon in London earlier this year, aged 43, and going ‘back to school’ full time to train as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor.
MND is the platform, the launch pad to ALL your health and fitness goals
Yesterday I was thinking about MND and what the core message really is, and I was thinking about… “It’s just living the way we are supposed to, it’s your body living the way it was designed to live. The last few thousand years, especially the last 200, have added masses of complexity to our human lives, and much of it, while bringing modern safety, comfort and many benefits, has unwittingly brought many problems too. Many aspects of modern living are making many of us fat, weak and sick.”
“MND is about stripping away as much of that modern-world complexity as possible, to live a simpler and cleaner life, to enable our bodies to work the way Mother Nature intended, but all within the framework of living a normal life, not making ourselves laughable social outcasts. MND is about taking the best of our Natural biological heritage, a few million years of evolution, and expressing that to maximum effect within the safe, technologically advanced modern world.”
I’m refining the core message today:
What is MotherNaturesDiet?
It’s an achievable lifestyle that enables and empowers everyone to enjoy supreme good health and abundant natural energy.
It’s how we should live. It’s living the way our bodies were designed to work, it’s our natural state of abundance.
Who’s with me?
The next 5 or 6 years are going to be very exciting, I can’t wait to post pix of myself in my pants on my 50th birthday - looking my best ever! I’m gonna be one sexy fit 50 yr old, and 20 years of effort WILL HAVE BEEN WORTH EVERY DROP OF SWEAT. When’s a good time to get started? Try NOW!
You gonna join the journey?