I was always a tiny guy. When I was growing up I was the quintessential “Cross country runner” build, super skinny. However, between age and injury that all changed a lot, and as I got into CrossFit I didn't really notice for quite awhile.
I eventually realized I was packing on the weight. Sure, some of it was muscle and size, but with that was coming quite a bit of inflammation. The tough part was I wasn't just struggling with extra weight affecting my performances in workouts, but it was also having a great influence on my range of motion and recovery. The extra inflammation was keeping things tight and restricting blood flow and movement, which was increasing my chances for injury. And frankly I just wasn't happy with my appearance and the extra “fluff”.
So I did start to play with some different diet ideas, they didn't really work. So I hired a Nutritionist, who honestly was really general in guidance and just kept adjusting my calories and macros, hoping to hit the right combo. But there was no specific food guidance or true understanding of what to do in order to get the desired results.
I finally decided to take matters into my own hands, like anything worth pursuing it was going to be work. No other way around it, just work on my part. So with a kind of base line Macros and calories from the nutritionist before I left, I just started playing with foods. I would eat certain foods for a while and really pay attention to how I felt, energy levels, sleep, appearance, etc. I started taking stock of what foods specifically worked for me. And then I started playing with when I was eating those foods. It made a difference to eat rice for lunch, but not dinner, and while Brown rice may have more nutrients I discovered I couldn't digest it. After about a year of really figuring what foods was best for me I started seeing results.
I then worked with a second nutritionist, Makenzie Ellsworth at The Diet Doc. While I knew what foods worked now, I just felt like I needed some fine tuning to dial me in. And while Mak is a great nutritionist in general, I had more faith in her because we shared a common bond in both being paralyzed. I felt with this knowledge she would be able to understand me and my digestion better to dial me in. I’m happy to say I was right, she quickly made major adjustments to my macros and when and how I ate them. The good news was this was easier to adjust, now that I had figured out what food worked best for me to plug into the equation. Mak would give me a hard time that I was one of her easiest clients because I didn't communicate with her much. The fact was I just needed some adjustments because I had already done the work, and with the combo of the two I have finally gotten the results I was seeking the past few months. I look better, feel better, recover better, and move better.
Through this whole experience I’ve had two major takeaways. One is there is no magic bullet. We are all different, made up differently, affected by outside influences differently, and respond differently to things in our lives. So while we may seek some outside help for further knowledge, there is no set general plan that will work for all. If we want change we have to find out what works for us. Which led me to my second point I learned, because there is no general plan or magic bullet, there is no substitution for hard work. Anything worth succeeding at will require work. There are no shortcuts in life, we just have to commit to the goal, roll up our sleeves and put in the work and time with perseverance and patience. Don't settle, be willing to work for what's worth having and then you will find true success that makes you satisfied.