The Nutrition Stone

I’ve talked about motivation and starting mental health up to this point but now we are gonna switch gears and get to some hardcore mechanics. You may be asking: Naveen, what the f**k did you do to go from 260lbs to 185lbs? Well buckle up cause here we go.

NOTE: Please remember I am in no way a licensed expert in ANY health related field – or really any field for that matter. Everything I’m sharing comes from personal experience.

“There’s a little pee coming out of me right now”

There are three Infinity Stones to the health universe: Nutrition, Exercise, and Mental. Each of these contains powerful energy that when forged into a proper gauntlet will enable the user to snap themselves into the shape they want to be.

Well okay you can’t actually snap but you still wield some pretty f**king awesome power.

For this post we are going to focus on the Nutrition Stone. It is the most important and powerful of the three. I will drop some mentions in here about the Mental Stone but will explore it more later. Mental is really the support stone that keeps the other two from burning out too quickly. It is allows the gauntlet to stay active forever so therefore it is the trickiest to understand and use.

The Nutrition Stone

There is an expression in the fitness world that “abs are made in the kitchen” and this is 100% true in every way. Your shape is defined by the food you eat. Exercise can help but the truth is that you can’t out run what you eat. What I want to get across is that nutrition is the most important thing you can adjust in your life. If you are going to do ANYTHING please make it nutrition. Screw the rest!

The bedrock to nutrition and weight loss is the idea of “calories in / calories out” The idea is very simple: your body needs x amount of calories to keep you alive everyday and do basic function. The more active of a lifestyle you live, the more calories you need. Whenever you exceed this amount of calories, your body will store it off as fat. When you consume less calories then your body needs, it will start to burn other stores of energy to keep you running – this will end up being fat! So using less calories is generally called a ‘caloric deficit’ and is what you need to create to lose weight. The nice thing about a caloric deficit is that it does not need to be dramatic – the amount you remove can be tuned to how fast you want to lose weight. A smaller reduction is easier to maintain and less mentally taxing (MENTAL STONE!) but cause slower weight loss (this is NOT a bad thing since it will be more sustainable).

To get started I recommend you first start tracking calories for at least one day. The goal here is to try and get as close of an approximation as you can for what you do in an average day. DO NOT apply metagame thinking and try to eat really clean and be on your best behavior (I SEE YOU D&DERS!). Just be yourself and be honest. Remember that we are not looking for those spikes or abnormal days – the regular day is what we are going to combat.

Now that you have a good idea of what you consume in a day you will need to know what numbers you want to aim for instead. There is an insane amount of info out there for caloric deficits and I recommend you go look at as much as you can but I found Jordan Syatt’s video a very good jumping off point.

Hope you like Harry Potter cause he is gonna talk about Harry Potter

Now you got your numbers to work with. Lower what you are eating every day to be at the number he suggests (or lower if you are bold).

Oh boo they have a fixed menu

While that was more or less calorie intake 101, I want to provide some info on what worked for me. I found that finding fixed meals/snacks and repeating them all the time allowed me to maintain a caloric deficit without having to track calories. I STILL RECOMMEND you track early but if you create these fixed foods you don’t need to worry about it as much. For me I found a breakfast that worked and I make it every day. I meal prep lunches for the week and then keep dinner open to be flexible with my wife but we still figured out go to carry out or at home meals that fit in the calorie amount. For snacks I started doing apples and nuts. Now i’m a simple(ish) guy and I like doing the same thing cause it becomes very dependable. If you don’t like this idea think of more foods and calculate out the calories. Know how to make them fast and keep yourself stocked so you are not caught unaware.

On that last point I want to stress that with food you want to move from a ‘shooting from the hip’ mentality to a ‘tactician’ one. This of course is the Mental Stone at work again. If you are going out and it is not a special day or meal, look ahead at the menu. Yes that takes the fun out of it but the Nutrition Stone does not bend to those with weak will.

There are options like intermittent fasting that I’ve seen many friends have great success and work better with their lifestyles. Do what works for you but whatever you do – stick to it. This is about what you do on the regular day – which means basically everyday. Consistency is insanely vital to unlocking the power of the stone.

Bang for your Buck

The last tip I’ll leave you with about food is that the further you go with being in a caloric deficit the more you are going to want to reach for foods that help you last longer without eating your caloric budget. For example fruits are going to become a huge friend. They are usually low calorie for the volume which means they can help fill you up or at least trick your brain into thinking it. I call this “bang for your buck” – look for foods that can satisfy multiple nutritional needs while keeping the calories low. Those 100 calorie bag cheezeits? GET THE F**K OUT OF HERE. Sure they taste great and give you that salty satisfaction but they will leave you with nothing else. You could do some nuts for 100 calories and while not as awesome to eat they will potentially stay with you longer and give you some extra minerals while you are at it. Stuff like brown rice instead of white rice. Sure white rice is tasty as all hell but it has been stripped of the extra goodness that brown rice still has – fiber and some other minerals. As you advance in using the Nutrition Stone, you will want to start optimizing your food more.

I want to point out that for me I generally started picking foods that were higher in protein and fiber and lower in overall carbs and fat. I understand that fiber is part of carbs but I try to stick to foods that contain that kind of carbs. Fiber was one of the things I made a massive increase in since generally most of us are eating way too little of it. Fiber helps get shit out of your body and can also help keep you satiated longer. I mean it is more complicated then that but just think of it as helping keep your body clean.

Snaps require sacrifice

None of this is easy. It requires changing your whole lifestyle – especially if you were like me and food was the center of your day. Oddly enough food will STILL be the center of your day but now it is about controlling it and telling it “no, you move”

Create the deficit. Plan your food. Do not shoot from the hip. Wield the power of the Nutrition Stone and snap the fat that stands in your way.

It will cost you, but that is the price of being a hero

See you next time as we discuss the Exercise Stone. You won’t like it either.

I have a plan: attack!

” Stark, we need a plan of attack!”
“I have a plan: attack!”

It is very easy to want to wait for the right moment. To wait for the right time. To wait till some hurdle or big thing going on is over and done. To wait till next week. To wait till tomorrow. To wait till you have some kind of perfect plan.

That is 100% bullshit.

When I decided to do this I dove in. After that call with my brother I scheduled a physical and an ordered a fitbit for in store pick up. One hour later I was pushing for my first 10k steps.

You can’t hesitate.

When I got back from holiday travels (I flew out the day after the fitbit) I was going to just get walking in every day but my brother got on the phone and said very clearly “you will go sign up for the gym right now” I didn’t want too. I was afraid of diving too deep. That seemed like too much commitment but that tiny voice from the fateful day spoke soft but clear from the back of my mind.

This is not like before. You can do this. You will do this.”

I went to the nearby Planet Fitness and signed up. I didn’t think about pricing or deals – I just wanted to know that when I walked out the door I had a pass. This was New Years Eve.

On January 1st, 2019 I walked into the gym for the first time since…well lets just say the first time ever. I’ll go more into my exercise evolution later but the point is I just started going.

The next thing was food. I knew immediately that the first thing that had to go was all the ‘junk’ food – anything that was basically just for taste and had little to no nutritional value. There was a huge emotional component to letting those foods go but not one that was health related that would of caused me concern. Again I’ll dive into that that whole thing later. My brother sent me some picture of the meal prep he was doing. I decided to emulate it and bought the first meal prep containers I saw (at a grocery store). I am a terrible cook – well okay maybe I’m a little better now – and did not really know how to do much more then cook ground turkey and make some quinoa in the instant pot. So hell yeah that is what we were cooking. I figured out portions for six containers and bought some frozen veggies (again advice from my brother) and just mashed it in there.

The Mk 1 Meal Prep

I still remember heating my first prep meal up and thinking “this is the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten” The taste came from knowing I was doing the right thing and sticking to my pledge. A lot of questions were thrown at me about if it was okay to eat the same thing or how would you deal with eating the same thing every day. These were all valid but the point is that I didn’t give a f**k. I just knew I had to keep going and if those things became issues, I’d deal with them as they came (which I did and again I’ll dive into more later).

If you are looking to change your life like me then you need to be a little reckless. You need do to what a hero does naturally: act.

“What am I doing!? Why am I running!? Why can’t I stop!?”

All right, people, let’s do this one last time

The first year of my superhero journey

In December of 2018 I started a journey to overhaul my lifestyle and replace it with a new one focused on health. I was about 260lbs and been pretty obese my entire adult life. I was not active even when I was a young adult and lived a pretty sedentary lifestyle. I developed a terrible food addiction that carried through my whole life. The quick version is that I was an emotional eater who also was a private binger. So to be clear – there was no prime of my life version of me from the past.

So back to the December. At that time I went to see Into the Spiderverse and being someone who has a great fondness for superhero stories I loved it but something was different about this one. As a coworker of mine put it later: Spiderverse genuinely asked you to become a better person. To, as they say in the movie, wear the mask. This was on my mind when I then had a phone call with my older brother. We were catching up before the holidays and he started to tell me about getting some bad news about his overall health from his doctor and that he was starting a new regimen to fix it. He asked if I wanted to do this with him. Now my brother has tried for years to get me to lose weight. Nothing has ever stuck but during the conversation this time he said a few things about how I have a great ability and drive when I focus on something and that if I just tried I could do it. This resonated with Spiderverse’s themes of “a spark in you”. The real clincher was when we came to the subject of kids. My wife and I plan on having children. We actually planned to have them sooner but life gets in the way. That is fine – in fact that is why it is called ‘life’ in the first place. You can’t control everything. What that did mean though was that I was on borrowed time and that if I truly cared about my future children then I needed to show that I truly cared for myself so that I could be there as long as possible for them. Now the motivation became clear. If I wasn’t going to do this for myself then I sure as hell needed to do it for them. 

Fighting for the future. That was the battle cry at the start. That was the mantra. Fight for the future.

I decided at that moment to start. Now here we are over one year later and I’m down 75 lbs and  I’m in the best shape of my life. So much has happened to me and I want to share it with anyone who wants to hear about how one fanboy found the hero in themselves.

The plan for this blog is to write about various topics as they come to mind vs doing a pure chronological take. I’ll try to dive into the details of my diet and exercise plan if you want to try them out or take inspiration. If you would like to hear about specific things please leave a comment below.