Paleo Success Story: I Lost 225 Lbs From My Body and Added 35 Years To My Life

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Wanna meet someone who has lost half his body weight?
 
Tim was a food addict, a road warrior and a couch potato. Now he’s just a road warrior. And from staring at death from close-up, he’s now looking way, way into the future.
 
I think he tells you his story better than I can, so I’m passing the baton quickly over to him. It’s a long ‘un, but a goodie. Tim has his own blog where he shares more about his story and thoughts on life following his transformation.
 
But before you move onto reading about Tim, please remember that those who share their success stories do so to help others find success (really, they are saving lives), so please share this story via your preferred social media outlet. Trust me, your friends will thank you! Sharing buttons are to the left and below. 🙂
 

Here is Tim’s summary:
    Time on paleo: About two and a half years.
    Results: Lost over 225 pounds of fat, no more GERD, added 35 years on to my life.
    Essential advice: Don’t eat anything you don’t like and change the way you see food. Food is just food.

paleo success story, paleo, paleo diet, timTell us a little about yourself (location, occupation, family, hobbies, etc.)
My name is Tim Bauer and I have lived in Southern California since I was 3 years old. I currently live in Orange County, California, about 25 minutes from the beach, 10 minutes from Disneyland and 0 minutes from Paradise.
 
I do marketing for a construction company headquartered here in SoCal. I am a happy and proud father of two beautiful daughters aged 8 and 5. 
 
I am a big geek with a dry sense of humor that is passionate about nutrition and exercise (now), beautiful socks and learning. I believe that the secret to anything I have ever been successful at is my insatiable passion for life and desire for world domination.
 
What was your health/dieting/workout experience *before* paleo?
Prior to paleo, I was a complete wreck. I weighed almost 450 pounds and the average day would look like this:
 
I’d leave for work at about 5am and stop by Del Taco on the way to the freeway where I’d fuel up with a huge, fatty and ultra high-carb breakfast (Spicy Chicken Burrito, Chicken Soft Taco, Large Fries and a Large Mr. Pibb). I’d hit a grocery store up around mid-morning and grab two bagels and a Danish along with more soda. I’d get more fast food for lunch and a snack before going home for dinner.
 
I estimate my daily caloric intake was between 5,000-6,000 calories, almost entirely processed food and garbage. I was completely out of control spiraling towards every obesity related illness known to man. I was, and remain, a road warrior and made sure to balance my day of sitting in the car with an evening consisting of video games, TV and movies.
 
What was the “clincher” that persuaded you to jump on the paleo bandwagon?
I decided to lose weight. It was time and I had to do something. My marriage was rapidly deteriorating and I felt like losing weight would solve everything. I thought that maybe my wife would be attracted to me, pay attention to me and maybe even love me again. How could anyone love a person who voluntarily destroyed himself? And day by day, I was doing just that.
 
I was preparing a lesson for church when I came upon something in a manual that compared obesity to what I always considered to be far more grievous offenses like murder, dishonesty and adultery. It made me question the life I was leading. It wasn’t enough to motivate me because I only lasted 24 hours before a binge fest at my local taco stand ended my desires but at least I started to think about becoming a healthier person.
 
The next day, I stumbled across a story by a guy who goes by the name of “mindspread” on Reddit. His before and after pic was inspiring as heck. 
 
I actually went out the morning I read it and walked around the block. I came back in and thought I was going to have a heart attack, that’s how out of shape I was. I almost died, but the most important fact was this one: I didn’t die. I lived, and for me that proved that I could probably do it again tomorrow and I wouldn’t die then either.
 
So when I first started in November 2010, I basically just attempted to eat healthier as best I understood at the time. I tried to avoid sugary and fried foods and white carbs. It wasn’t scientific but it was a little change to prime the pump for big changes. After I was experiencing little to no success, I started to research fitness and nutrition and that is when I first learned about paleo.
 
The promises of health and longevity were what initially caught my attention although I was skeptical of the hypotheses on saturated fat. And wasn’t I supposed to eat grains? I decided to give it a try.
 
How did you approach going paleo – gradually or dive right in?
I dove straight in with everything I had. I packed a lunch everywhere I went. I brought my own food to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. This might seem extreme, but for me, a food addict, it was prudent in my opinion, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this extremist action for everyone, or even most people.
 
I hate the idea of a cheat day. I felt like I was addicted to bad food and I realized that you would never tell a recovering alcoholic: “Hey, just one day a week, go ahead and do whatever you want at the bar. Get completely plastered, just get back on point the other six days.” You wouldn’t recommend that to other addicts, so why would I do it?
 
With that being said, I am not married to the idea of paleo and I’m not religious about it, but I believe it’s the way to be healthy, so I eat paleo for the same reason that I don’t go out and do crack: because it’s optimal for my health.
 
Today, the only thing in my entire house that isn’t paleo are my supplements and my daughters’ cereal. I’m trying to get them off the cereal, but they’re holding on for dear life on that front.
 
What improvements have you noticed in your health?
My GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is completely gone. I used to change GERD medications every 3 months to get the symptoms to subside but they wouldn’t ebb a bit. I haven’t had a bout of heartburn since the week I went paleo. And of course, the difference in my physical fitness is phenomenal.
 
Since I was 15, after landing on an opposing player’s foot in a volleyball game, I wore an ankle brace on my right ankle off and on. I sprained my ankle with regularity every few months from walking wrong. My back and feet ached continually so I just stayed on my butt as much as I could.
 
One year and a couple weeks after weighing 450 pounds, I was able to run a 5k. 6 months after that, I did a sprint triathlon. I have studied martial arts, and boxing. I lift weights 4 days a week and I go hiking every single weekend. I can do things with my kids that I had always dreamed of doing like play sports, run around, play frisbee, anything.
 
My resting heart rate is 42. I can run and jump.  My knees don’t crack when I walk. I can barbell squat my body weight and dead lift one and a half times my body weight. I’m approaching a body weight bench press.
 
How paleo are you? (80/20, 90/10, autoimmune, etc.)
I’ll call it 90/10. I never have gluten or sugar, but I do drink an occasional Diet Coke. Also, I eat the occasional high quality cheese. Oh, and the occasional cocktail. *Shakes fist at whiskey*.
 
How did you find the transition?
The transition was not terribly difficult. That’s not to say I didn’t have cravings, I did, but I think it was helped by virtue of my extreme motivation. Paleo just made sense to me and it tastes amazing.
 
I just can’t understand for a second what the holdback is because you get to eat animal proteins and seasonal fruits and vegetables prepared with whatever spices you want. You literally prepare your food with any flavor profile you want and you feel amazing. 
 
My mother loves sharing the fact that my first word as a kid was “Dorito”. Not mom, not dad, Dorito. And Dorito and I went steady for a long time with our passionate and torrid love affair. But now I can make my food taste like Doritos without the nasty breath that accompanies that type of food. 
 
I simply adore paleo food. And what’s great is that my palate has changed so much from avoiding processed foods that I don’t even want that garbage anymore.
 
Tell us about “A Day In The Life Of Tim” – a typical day especially from an eating and exercise standpoint:
I just started a new program this week doing group training on Fitocracy with John Romaniello so this is what that looks like today:
  • Intermittent fasting with first meal about 12:30pm every day.
  • Meal One on workout days is protein + carbs. Typically this translates to 6-8 ounces of an organic or grass-fed low fat protein source like chicken or turkey along with a sweet potato or some fruit. I always have vegetables on the side. I love asparagus, broccoli, spinach. Occasionally I’ll make a salad with my protein source and I never use store bought dressing, opting for some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Meal Two on workout days is protein + fat. Typically this means 8 ounces of delicious organic or grass-fed protein: bacon-wrapped something, steak with butter. I love the slow cooker here. I will come home to the smell of heaven and pork shoulder in the crock pot. Again, plenty of veggies on the side. I love making zoodles, cauliflower rice or other creative veggie side dishes at night to break up the monotony.  
  • On workout days, I will have a post workout meal thrown in and I’m typically looking at 40g of protein and 60g of carbohydrates. This typically is meat + coconut water and a banana. Sometimes I’ll save it for night time and grill a piece of fruit for dessert with some coconut cream on top.
  • On non-workout days, Meals One and Two get switched around (protein/fat first meal and protein/carbs second meal). I rarely eat fruit on rest days unless it’s berries.
I’m a bit of a foodie and I love to use spices, lemon juice, or whatever to try and mix up the flavors in my meals. I have cooking ADHD (undiagnosed) and rarely make the same thing twice, even though I love many of the things I’ve tried.
 
My new program has been designed to help me burn those last few pounds that I have to lose:
  • 1 day of dynamic training. This is done through 3 sets of 3 different circuits of exercises with one compound lift and 3 targeted lifts.
  • 1 day of lactic acid buildup training. This is done through circuits as well, just focusing on lifting the weight very slow and controlled.
  • 1 day of density training. This is an “As many reps as possible” workout where the second set of each exercise in a circuit is performed with a slightly higher weight with the goal of achieving more reps than the first set. This workout makes my body weep tears of joy.
  • 1 day of strength training: this looks 3-5 low rep sets of compound lifts: squats, dead lifts, bench, rows, etc. 
Typically I’ll do something outdoors one day a week like go for a hike or a walk on the beach.
 
What helped you when you were struggling?
I absolutely immersed myself in the community. I listened to a paleo podcast every day on my commutes. I read, and continue to read, paleo blogs every single day. I looked at before and after photos.
 
When, at first, I was dying from cravings, I found munching on celery to be a therapeutic way to get over the desire for chips.
 
What, if any, exercise routines do you do?
I started off doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts on the elliptical with some light weight machine workouts thrown in. I was around 400 pounds when I started, so high intensity was not that intense, but I was definitely scared of breaking the equipment :).
 
Around 350 lbs, I started the Starting Strength protocol from Mark Rippetoe. I was definitely the fattest guy in the gym, but I focused on low rep, high weight workouts and walked 3 miles on my rest days. I also did strong lifts (basically the same just with a few different lifts thrown in). This continued until I started to plateau really hard around the 250 lbs mark.
 
Since then, I’ve pretty much followed Layne Norton’s PHAT protocol which called for a 5 day split. I stay active with a weekly hike and practice martial arts – first Krav Maga, then Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and boxing at a local MMA gym.
 
My initial fitness goal was to run a marathon, so at the one year mark (at which point I’d lost about 200 pounds), I trained for and ran a 5k and at 18 months, I trained for and ran a sprint triathlon. After the sprint triathlon, I was out for a jog one day when I realized something: I hate running.
 
So I turned around and went home and I’ve since updated my goals because why would I want to aspire to do something I hate? Not only that, but after I got some research into me, I realized that I don’t want a marathon body nor do I want the stress on my body of training for one. 
 
I think so many people have it in their heads (and I was here) that a marathon is somehow the ultimate fitness barometer but my thinking had changed, so I said forget running. I still do sprints and go for the occasional 2-3 mile run, but I am rarely in the mood for that so I just don’t.
 
I still love swimming although I know I’m terrible at it. I’m trying to get better and I’ve been practicing the Total Immersion method.
 
If you haven’t noticed by now, I love learning stuff and I’m always trying to find the next thing I want to master. But I dabble in everything!
 
What has been the reaction to your paleo success from those around you?
Emotions range from completely flabbergasted to overwhelmingly positive. At first people thought I was falling off the weight loss wagon when they would see me eat coconut oil (although now it’s becoming more mainstream even outside the paleo community) and bacon. But the results speak for themselves.
 
paleo, paleo diet, paleo success story, weight loss, timI still haven’t changed my driver’s license picture because I love the looks when I put my smiling face next to my old smiling face.
 
How has your life changed now? (More activity, promotion at work, different outlook on life, etc.) 
I never think about what I can’t do anymore. I work in sales and the year after I lost the weight, I sold nearly twice as much as I did the year before. I’ve been asked a lot why I think this is. Are people more responsive to me now that I’ve lost the weight? Do I have more confidence? Am I able to just work harder?
 
I think it’s probably a combination of all of the above to some degree. However, I hate to say it but I don’t feel a whole lot more confident nor have I worked that much harder. I think that means it probably has more to do with people accepting me quicker. I used to have a terrible time dealing with potential female customers and now a majority of my sales come from females. I’m not trying to say that I am some god of a man that women just respond to, but they seemed to feel uncomfortable with me when I weighed 450 pounds.
 
I am extremely outgoing and that now gets misinterpreted as flirting. When you weigh 450 pounds, everybody thinks of you as their big brother and not as anything else. But now, when I’m myself, I’ve run into problems where girls interpreted my outgoing nature as flirting and feelings have gotten hurt and people have been misled. So I have to be much more careful.
 
paleo, paleo diet, weight loss, timWhat activities do you do now that you didn’t do before?
Too many to list, but I’ll try!
 
Walk, run, hike, bike, jump, play sports, eat without taking medication, buckle my pants without laying down. Get out of my chair without sweating. Live.
 
But most importantly, my daughters can wrap their arms around me. I can be hugged. I can let them sit in my lap and they can lay against my chest without my gut getting in the way.
 
I can get out of bed without groaning. I can be as passionate and energetic as I want to be without my energy levels getting in the way. I can finally be the me I’ve always dreamed of being.
 
What books/blogs or other supports did you use to help you?
Great websites like Paleo/NonPaleo. (Yeah, yeah, go on.) Robb Wolf, Sarah Fragoso, Chris Kresser, Dr. Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson are like my idols. It’s probably borderline creepy how much time I’ve spent electronically with these people. Their words and stories inspire me and their recipes keep me well fed and well nourished. The service they perform in this community as they spread education and dispel misinformation is of eternal and extensive value. 
 
paleo, paleo diet, paleo success story timI have so much gratitude in my heart for these and so many other great people in this community.
 
Also Reddit! I know it’s crazy, but Reddit is amazing for weight loss support. And I visit it daily on these subreddits:
/r/Paleo
/r/Fitness
 
I use a newsreader and I follow twenty or so paleo blogs and I save recipes in Pocket to make later. I probably have saved close to 500 or so.
 
Have you experienced anything negative as a result of your changes? (Earlier success stories mentioned having to lose certain “friends”, others have said there are restaurants they now avoid because they can’t eat their former favorites.) How have you dealt with those negatives?
I have a confession: in some ways, life was a little bit easier as a morbidly obese person. I now feel completely flipping fantastic physically and mentally but it is also true that now I’ve lost the weight, and taken away the “that happens because I’m fat” excuse, I can recognize that problems are problems because something is really wrong; they have nothing to do with me being on a one way trip to weighing a quarter of a ton.
 
I started losing weight for myself. I believe this is the only way that life change can occur. I’d tried many times to lose weight for others but nothing worked until I decided that I deserved to be healthy for me. Nothing worked until I decided that life was worth living healthily. But somewhere along the line, I added in some external motivation and this helped supplement my desire to lose weight. One of those motivating factors was improving my marriage.
 
My wife was very supportive of my efforts to lose weight. She enjoyed packing my lunches and she did the grocery shopping most of the time for my new foods. For the most part, she tried to avoid bringing pizza into the house (my kryptonite). But the truth is that when it came to my relationship, losing half my body weight did absolutely nothing for my marriage. And once I became not so fat, I could clearly see that fat wasn’t the real reason for any of my marital problems.
 
Seeing that sentence there, gives me pause and tears well up in my eyes because I had put so much hope in weight loss being the change that would make everything OK again. But it just wasn’t the problem.
 
As far as I was concerned individually, somewhere along the line, life became worth living. What had heretofore been merely living became living with strength, confidence and joy. So many things, nay almost everything became better, easier and/or more fun. But certain things didn’t change at all. Being healthy wasn’t the cure-all I thought it would be. It was, most assuredly though, a cure-many.

paleo, paleo diet, paleo success story, timDespite all the changes, in the end, our marriage ended just months after hitting my goal weight. We weren’t unhappy because I was fat, we were simply unhappy and I was fat. Correlation, as it turns out, is not causation. Gaining clarity by losing the weight enabled me to see this.

What advice would you give people who are struggling with health or weight issues right now?
Don’t give up! paleo, paleo diet, paleo success story, timThere is only one way to lose weight and that is one pound at a time. Don’t think about losing 50 or 100 pounds. Think about losing 1 pound 50 or 100 times.
 
And know that if you’ve got significant life problems beyond health issues, getting healthy may not solve all those problems. Just make sure you’re ready to face the potential reality that you’ve got problems losing weight won’t fix.
 
But also know this. I have planned my work and worked my plan. I will never gain the weight back. In fact, a year from now, the way I look today will be a before picture yet again. It is that important.
 
What three paleo, paleo success story, paleo diet, weight loss, timpractical tips would you give based on your experience?
1) Pack your lunch and take food everywhere just in case. Buy some good icepacks and a nice lunchbox.
2) Focus more on the way you look, feel and measure than on the scale.
3) If you plateau out, sleep is the first thing you want to make sure you’re doing enough of and doing right.
 
paleo, paleo diet, paleo success story, timIs there anything else you’d like us to know?
Even when you’ve hit your weight goal, life moves on so be prepared!
 
After some counseling, soul searching and coming to myself, I’ve moved on and gained perspective and understanding of who I really am and what being happy really means to me.
 
I met an incredible and beautiful woman who loves me, my children and my kids are crazy about her. We are officially engaged and looking forward to planning a wedding soon. Where to find a paleo caterer? 😉
 
You can read more of my story at my blog, The Journey to a Tinier Tim. I am glad to answer any questions anyone has.
 
=====
 
Wasn’t that an honest story of major, major, life transformation? Make no mistake, overcoming the inertia that sitting on your behind creates is massive, as any physics teacher will tell you. Tim is obviously a great student. I like the way Tim got inspired, took tiny steps to overcome his resistance, and then didn’t stop moving, immersing himself in his efforts to achieve his goal. We can learn a lot from him.
 
Tell us what you learned from Tim, ask him a question or send a message of support and thanks!
 
And don’t forget to please do us all a favor and share on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Google +. There are buttons in the floating sidebar to your left and below.
 

Would you like to be featured as a Paleo Success Story? I am looking for success stories to feature on the blog. If you have had major health gains or inch/weight loss with paleo, or paleo and T-Tapp, and would like to tell your story to inspire and help others, please email me. Thank you!



amazon, modern no nonsense guide to paleoAre you struggling to sustain a paleo lifestyle change? Or not sure how to start? Or perhaps those around you are resistant and you're feeling undermined and unsure. The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo provides practical tools to ease the transition to a full-on paleo life. Each chapter includes strategies, tips and checklists to identify the actions to power you on your paleo journey and create sustainable change. Buy it at Amazon.com.

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Alison Golden writes on the topic of paleo over at Paleo/NonPaleo. She aims to share ideas, inspire and motivate readers by teaching them how to live paleo in a non-paleo world. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, a unique tool that gives the reader hundreds of strategies to navigate the learning process to successful paleo living.

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