I am pleased to write that I’m one step closer to the reserves as an officer – for now. I don’t know where this will end up, but out of about 500 applicants this past year, I was one of just over 10 selected for a phone interview this past week with the Army. It was not easy!! All I could do was give it everything I have and leave it all out on the field. They said they’d let me know this week how it went.
What happens is this – if I do well, I’d interview at a location in person in a few weeks. That would probably be down to 4-5 applicants. From here, they may choose 2-4 of them (the goal was to select 5 from reading the articles). If I’m one of them picked, this will be the last post from me on this matter as I’d probably be going dark from most of social media. I might keep writing about keto and weight loss, but that would be it. Right now, I’m civilian. If that were to change, so would my approach to social media – especially on this topic.
I write about this because I have some deep passions with this. I have a unique collection of skills that may significantly contribute to help a much bigger picture. There are LOTS of people who are smarter on the subject than me – but what I have is a very wide swath of a lot of different skills and 20+ years of experience in IT. Many people may have significant more depth in one subject, but a lot of my experience are over dozens of disciplines in proficiency. Additionally, I can learn extremely complex things QUICKLY, which is probably my greatest strength.
Why I wanted to share this update was to provide some inspiration to you. The interview was tough, and while I’m confident in my skills, I might not be precisely what they are looking for. But – I want to step back and look at something.
Around this time last year, I made mention of this goal to people. I’m going to tell you, I’d be lying if I got support from more than 2-3 people. I was 42, I was 265 pounds. Recruiters would not answer my calls. “One in a million”. One recruiter I spoke to actually did give me good advice – “well, if the age thing changes, I don’t have any record of it yet. Keep up the hard work and if it changes, you’ll be in good position”. I put my head down, continued to work. All of this was based on articles I stumbled onto about cyber direct commissioning and how age limits were changing. Given my background, everything was lining up.
I worked HARD. I was diligent. I read up on everything. The NDAA changed in 2019 for sections 501-502 to remove age limits. I followed the pages. Then, eventually, the ages changed.
What happened to me this past week was that I was essentially 1 of 10 people interviewed for what may be 5 positions. Think about that. I went from a year ago at “one in a million” to…..one in two. If I get the in-person invite this week, I’d say my chances go up from there to maybe 70-90%. I’m not going to lie, it was a hard interview and while I felt I did really well on some, I didn’t do well on others.
We shall see. If you reach for the stars, maybe you can touch the sky.
Don’t let people fucking tell you your limits.
I joked once with one of my friends and said, “what’s the worst they could do, say no?”. At which he replied, “no, they could say yes”. I’m aware of the great responsibility with this, but the point I’m making is that this was a dream I’ve had since I was a child, and I was not afraid of someone telling me no. Do I look foolish if I’m rejected? Maybe…but zero fucks are usually given at this point in my life about “what people think”.
I have also been in touch with the Navy, and most of my recruiting efforts have been with the Navy. What mostly happened with them was I missed a February cutoff with weight/waist for them. I’m down to the last bit of weight here folks, and I’ve had to change up my weight loss approach a few times to keep things moving along.
The Navy, believe it or not, is a FAR better match for my skill sets. Their position is called “Information Professional Officer” which aligns 99% with my current job.
I’d be humbled if either service wanted me, and I’d be honored to serve in either.
To wrap this up, it looks like if I go to the next location (I know where and when this is, but yeah, not writing about that) and do well, I’d find out sometime in June. The newspaper articles I saw last year based on the initial class had them sworn in during July. When talking with one of my employees who is a 2nd Lt., he mentioned because this is reserves, I’d then be able to schedule my training for later and can go all at once or split them up.
There are two trainings to go to: a 6 week direct commissioning course where you learn the basics, and then either immediately afterwards or later a 12 week BOLC for cyber. To put it into perspective, the DCC is also where they send doctors, lawyers, and clergy. The BOLC I’ve heard is not a lot of PT, and death by powerpoint. People actually come back from these schools out of shape because they aren’t geared towards things like PT 10 hours a day like they would do in basic.
What this is, is like going in as a doctor or lawyer. You have rank at the beginning. They treat you as an adult, and you have weekends off.
Could I be deployed down the road? Yes. Right now, all of these kinds of officers are at one of 2 bases CONUS, and this is not exactly a forward deploying type of unit.
Last week, I hit 213 pounds. I’m 27 pounds away from my goal weight of 186. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I can see it mostly in my face. I don’t have any recent pics taken, but I’ll get on that soon. Maybe for next month’s weigh in. I’m starting to see some vascularity in my arms, which is weird, to say the least. My thighs are bricks from all of my biking. My calves definitely have a lot of definition when I get off the treadmill right before my workouts. Where I still have problem spots are right around the belly. I believe this is just a matter of time. I’m starting to see some upper abs, it’s the lower belly which will be a problem for awhile. Of interest though, I’ve now taken off 159 pounds. It’s been 2.5 years. If you look on YouTube and find people who lost massive amounts of weight, they deal with something called “loose skin”. I will have some at the end of this, but NOTHING like some of these poor souls.
The issue is too much weight, too soon, and the wrong way.
When you want to lose weight….you want to LOSE FAT, not “weight”. Weight would also include MUSCLE.
One thing I can tell you is these are problems if you want to lose a lot of weight:
- Severe caloric deprivation
- Cardio until you puke
- high carb/low fat diets
- Trying to lose too much, too fast
I can tell you, those 4 items above cause this problem with massive amounts of LOOSE SKIN. Why?
- Severe caloric deprivation – most of my life, dieting was “800-1200 calories a day and run until I pass out”. It was a form of mental torture. You don’t really understand. It doesn’t come from a place of health. It comes from a place of hating yourself. You look around at everyone being happy, and someone has said the 400th mean thing to you this month and you snap. You go through months or torturing yourself. You take off 25 pounds. People say, “good job” – and they have no idea what you’re doing to yourself – starving, running too much, it’s just not healthy. My trainer once told me – “hit your BMR, we’ll create the deficit in the gym”. This changed EVERYTHING for me with weight loss. I used to think people ate 1800-2000 calories a day. Well, generally speaking, they don’t. Your BMR may be 2000. This is just to exist and drool yourself. Your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) is the number you really should know. If my BMR is 2000, I will shoot for 2,000 calories. The TDEE may be 3,000. Meaning, I’m creating my 1,000 calorie deficit THERE. I’m using the delta of the TDEE and the BMR to create the gap. No more 1200 calorie days!!! No more hunger!!! I stopped counting calories 10 months ago, but I’d encourage all of you who may be struggling to track calories to understand what things might have sneaky calories.
- Cardio until you puke – I LOVE biking and running. And swimming. And hiking. And a million other things. But I do NOT count of these for weight loss. Why? If I go running, generally speaking, I might be more hungry. I might eat more. So it sort of negates itself. Additionally, too much cardio can break down muscle. Muscle is important to keep a high BMR and high TDEE. So, you might run for 300 calories, but then mentally you say, “I did this long run, I deserve something. Let me have that pint of ice cream that is 600 calories”. Then, people wonder why they don’t lose weight with cardio. Do cardio to treat your body like a temple and make your heart healthy. Do NOT use it for weight loss. If you want to lose weight, try and maximize your BMR and TDEE with weight training, and ensure you have plenty of protein. I usually try to have .6-.8g of protein per pound of LEAN body mass. If you run all the time and break down muscle – you will then then to have a look with your skin where you look deflated. You want to build up your muscle so as you shrink, you have muscle there in its place. Otherwise, you get the deflated look.
- High carb/low fat – I think with this, you run into multiple problems. If you are high carb all the time, you will have insulin chugging through you which locks fat in your cells. You are constantly burning energy from your food, and not your waist. Maybe you start to tear apart muscle instead. “fat soluble” vitamins need…FAT. Like vitamin E. Fats are needed for healthy skin (along with proteins). Cholesterol is needed by EVERY CELL IN YOUR BODY and often low fat diets contain low cholesterol. Fats and cholesterol are crucial to hormone production and regulation. So…if you really, really want to screw your body up, deprive it of fats and cholesterol. I’ve been there and done that.
- Trying to lose too much, too fast. I know many of you wake up one day and want to lose 100 pounds in 5 months to “be healthy”. Let me explain something. I’m down 159 pounds in 2.5 years. That’s 30 months, or perhaps 120 weeks (give or take). That comes down to 1.3 pounds per week. Many of you may balk at this – “I could lose MORE!!”. Maybe. But this number has all of the bumps, plateaus, peaks, and valleys in it. It has the cheat days. The fasting days. It’s a good number to lose if you don’t want skin flapping in the wind. Some months you may lose 8 pounds, some 3 or 4. The goal here is not WEIGHT LOSS, but FAT LOSS. If you try to really go much higher than my 1.3 pounds per week, you are risking MUSCLE LOSS. Your goal is to BE HEALTHY and FAT LOSS is a healthy SIDE EFFECT of your new lifestyle. If you are obsessed by the scale, the scale will ALWAYS WIN. You may want to take a tape measure as well. With my 40/30/30, weight loss was more linear, with some small peaks and valleys. With keto, it’s been more of a complete body recomposition, where there may be great plateaus with great dips. It’s not linear. But – you will see the measuring tape move when the scale doesn’t. Again – this is what you want. If you are losing fat on your waist, but maybe adding muscle in your legs, the fat takes up a lot of space – and the muscle is more dense. So the scale may not move much, but the tape measure will.
I’ve stopped counting. But this is only because I pretty much know what I can eat in a day and “get away with”. I have spoken to countless people who tell me “keto doesn’t work for me”.
It works for everyone. But it can also NOT work for everyone.
The concept of keto is…drive down carbs, lose weight!!
Initially, keto works the first 1-2 months for people because your body is:
- getting rid of glycogen stores to burn calories. This is your liver AND muscle glycogen
- Dropping water attached with your glycogen
- “Learning” to burn fat and building mitochondria to do so. Initially, your body is not “efficient” at burning fats and it burns through it like crazy to help you. Eventually, your body builds out the machinery to burn fat more efficiently, and then your fat loss rate slows.
What then happens is….
- Fat loss slows
- Your body starts taking your cauliflower and broccoli and building back your muscle glycogen stores. This adds water weight back to you that you initially lost.
- The scale will “plateau” or slow.
But the one pony trick of the keto diet after 8 weeks frustrates so many people. They don’t understand why they aren’t dropping 5 pounds per week anymore. If you understand that your body is now getting good at burning fat, and your fat loss will continue more efficiently, you should then start tracking your waist.
Why does the keto diet work?
Keto is a tool to keep insulin low and thus positively affect hunger cravings.
Re-read that. There’s no trick with physics, it’s that keto will help you not be starving all the time.
THIS IS WHY KETO CAN WORK, AND WHY IT CANNOT.
What keto did, for me, was to reduce my appetite. I removed a lot of processed shit. I eat the hell out of salads. And – because of my reduced appetite, I then implemented intermittent fasting with OMAD, one day fasts, and 72 hour fasts. I used my reduced appetite to take that opportunity to CONSUME LESS. With an OMAD M-Th, and eating giant salads, it’s TOUGH for me to hit 1800-2000 calories in a day.
Why it might not work for you?
“I ate 30 carbs per day but it’s just not working for me”. You then look and they are consuming heavy whipping cream, 700 calorie pints of ice cream, keto breads, tons of cheese. What happens is – these people take 3 squares a day and simply try and flip the script on carbs and call it a day. They are used to eating 3 meals, so not they need 3 keto meals a day. They are used to afternoon snacking, so now they go for keto snacks.
Folks – just having 20g of carbs per day is meant to get you not hungry anymore, it’s not a magic pill that allows you to drink a quart of heavy whipping cream and 3 pounds of bacon.
I eat the ice creams. The breads. The treats. But I do these mostly RARELY. Last night I made up 2 cheeseburgers and ate them on 2 buns that are 15 net carbs each. I had a pint of rebel ice cream for lunch after half a dozen eggs. My carbs for the day were around 60. I’m most likely out of ketosis at the moment. I believe I had around 3,000 calories yesterday. I’m 2 pounds heavier than yesterday. So….what happened?
- I had strawberries and a total of maybe 60g of carbs. Out of ketosis. No biggie. Every week I may drop out of it briefly. Your body takes these carbs and replenishes your glycogen stores. I hit the gym yesterday pretty good. This is adding some water weight between the glycogen and the inflammation.
- The 3000 calories was roughly equal to my TDEE. I did some yard work too. Maybe I gained or lost 200-400 calories yesterday. Don’t care much.
- One day this week (yesterday), I had a “treat” of a pint of ice cream and burgers on buns. I did not have to quit my diet for a weekend to eat amazing foods.
- Today I’m back to my normal routine and will have some eggs for lunch and a taco salad tonight for cinco de mayo. I’ll do a long run sometime today for 2.4 miles (building back up slowly, so the long run isn’t THAT long). This will reduce/eliminate my liver glycogen stores by keep my muscle glyocogen mostly intact and take me back into ketosis.
- Today I will have about 2200-2500 calories. My TDEE is close to 3,000. I will create a deficit of 500-800 calories. Once a deficit of 3500 is hit, there’s one pound of fat. If I was over by 500 yesterday, and under by 500 today, I have no fat gain/loss for this weekend, but I may be 2-4 pounds heavier due to muscle glycogen/water/inflammation. I did not gain 2-4 pounds of fat. Many people don’t understand this and think keto doesn’t work.
- By mid week, I’ll be back in deep ketosis. Maybe I do my “alternate day fasting” and on Monday and Weds of this week I have my chicken salads for 500 calories a day. Maybe Tuesday and Thursday I have 2000 calories. In those 4 days, I would have created a deficit of 7000 calories, or 2 pounds of fat. Maybe I fast on Friday for another pound. There’s 3 pounds of fat loss this week. Maybe next weekend I live it up a little and put one pound back on. This time next week, I could be one pound less on the scale but still be holding a LOT of water.
- At the end of the month, I will go 5 days straight with strict 20-30g of carbs (with low cheese), and do no exercise. This flushes water from inflammation and I will drain whatever glycogen stores I need to drain. I’ll fast the day before my weigh in. I’ll be 5-6 pounds less than my last weigh in.
The point with the above is to not get hung up on your daily weight. Be consistent with a monthly weigh in, and be VERY cognizant how having a little high on the carbs one day can bind with water and add muscle glycogen. Be cognizant about how cheese can bind you up and you might be carrying 5 pounds of sludge. Use the tape measure. Understand your BMR, TDEE – and be cognizant how many calories your keto foods have.
Understand that keto is not just some magic that breaks the laws of physics – keto is meant to be a tool to help you control your hunger. Have the keto snacks and products every now and then, and not as a daily staple. Watch the heavy whipping cream, oil, and butter with respect to calories.
When I hit 40 years old, I was 372 pounds and felt I was on a path that I might not live until I was 45. I was scared. Mostly, it was the sleep apnea and waking up every day more tired than when I went to sleep. People don’t realize the prison you are in with massive weight. Waking up so tired….how are you to function? Exercise? Spend an hour cooking? You are waking up each and every day more exhausted than the next.
This could have been a reality for me. It hits close to home for me this week for reasons I won’t get into here. But anyone reading this who wants to make a change – REACH OUT. You won’t be losing 10 pounds a week. But you will be on a path to being more healthy.