For most of his life, Kevin lived an active lifestyle and had the freedom to eat whatever he wanted without gaining weight. Sounds great. Then suddenly, his weight dropped sharply and cardio workouts became a struggle. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Grave's disease - an immune system disorder that messes with thyroid function. It was then that Kevin had to start taking a hard look at his nutrition and health habits to beat back weight gain but also some of the demons that he'd carried with him much longer.
With a Trifecta Paleo meal plan to simplify his diet and a personal challenge to regain his health, Kevin has persevered. We talked to Kevin about his experience and outlook today.
Kevin is a father, business consultant and veteran from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
“My entire life I was fit. I had an athletic build and it was not from what I ate. There were days when I would honestly crush like a dozen donuts like it was nothing.
“My weight started dropping dramatically where I went from around 175 down to 150 pounds at my lowest. It sort of coincided with some physical side effects that I was experiencing.
"One of the things that was really concerning to me was when I would try to do physical activities in two minutes of cardio I felt like I was gonna have a heart attack.”
He was diagnosed with Grave’s disease. An overactive thyroid was keeping his metabolism humming but his heart rate was humming too at 120 BPM resting.
“The doctor called it right off the bat. He just said, you know, we think this might be related to your thyroid.”
Kevin elected to take medication to treat his thyroid. The treatment was successful but with success came a radical life change: weight gain.
“I went on medication and treatment and for the first time really in my life, with a combination of poor diet habits, exercising less, and now not having a super hyperactive metabolism, I started putting on weight for the first time. And honestly, I just started feeling really old.”
Cause and Effect
Kevin had never gained weight before and the newfound cause and effect of calories was shocking. Kevin carried on with his normal life but what we sometimes consider normal has a way of catching up to us.
"I got to this point where I always felt tired. My eating habits that I lived with my entire life, I hadn't changed them yet, so I was still eating an unhealthy diet and with no energy I’d ignore the motivation and the desire to go exercise.
"I just kind of became very sedentary and kind of a potato in a lot of ways.”
He was still trying to hang. Kevin and his friends planned a trip to New Mexico to do a 23 mile weighted ruck march and got beat up.
“My physical condition just wasn't what it was. It was for the first time in my life I was just like, ‘man, you know, this is what I’ve become.”
As his 43rd birthday approached, Kevin looked at his life and his family’s lives. He also looked at the loved ones he served in combat with who weren’t alive any longer. For himself and for the people he cares for, he took the step of choosing a new course.
“I had this conversation with myself and it was like I can either make the decision to holistically change the trajectory of my life or I can just continue to continue on this path.
“I'm not feeling good like it's affecting. My mood is affecting my energy. I've had some surgeries from my time in the Marines, I was putting on weight so like my knees were hurting more than they've hurt before.
“All these things were telling me if I don't do anything, all of this is going to stay the same or get worse. That was really when I was like, let's get a handle on this. Let's figure this out. Let's see what you can do so that you can get back to feeling good again."
New Life, Now What?
It was rough at first.
“The first couple of weeks were god-awful.”
They say making the choice to change is the hardest part but for Kevin, it was the kitchen.
“I tried doing meal prep and a diet all on my own and typically what would happen is I would create something that was completely inedible."
“I had some epic failures and then I’d be starving because I couldn’t have what I planned to eat. That's when I started looking at Trifecta.”
"I said, you know what, I'm spending more than Trifecta because I'm ending up ordering takeout every night and trying to find options that are healthy"
Kevin wasn’t just new to the kitchen, proper nutrition was all new to him too.
“I'm Korean American. So growing up into my adulthood I would eat rice with every meal of the day. And not just like a cup of rice, but like three to four cups of rice of white rice a day. So that was always my go-to.
“I would grab slices of white bread and just eat white bread as a snack. My coffee was loaded with cream and sugar. I was drinking sodas non-stop.
“Once I started tracking macros, I realized like 90% of my diet is just carbs."
“I didn't know much about nutrition beyond that I should eat fruits and vegetables as often as I can. But in terms of trying to balance how much of certain macronutrients and micronutrients, I was completely ignorant to it.”
Method to the Macros
Understanding macros, and committing to tracking them, was like a key for Kevin, unlocking a way to lose weight and do it without sprint diets or starvation.
“Using Trifecta made life so much easier. Within a couple weeks, I really started noticing the physical changes."
What Kevin Eats:
Breakfast: Oatmeal made with skim milk
Lunch: Trifecta Paleo meal
Afternoon: Protein shake
Dinner: Trifecta Paleo meal
Evening: Protein shake
"Now I crave proteins. With my Trifecta meals, I always scarf down the protein first and then I'll work on the other stuff. I can say that I still love carbs. I just appreciate them more."
Since joining Trifecta and committing to himself Kevin is in some of the best shape of his life.
“I feel better now than I did through all of my thirties.”
Fit Body and Mind
Not only is he faster and stronger with better body composition, Kevin’s mental health has improved as well. At the end of the day, we’re after all sorts of goals but they converge at quality of life.
“I'm more aware during the day,I feel, cognitively, like the synapses are firing. I'm challenging myself to do stuff now that I probably otherwise would have been self-defeating about.
"And it's not just physical challenges, but even like with work. I'm not afraid to dive into it because like I think it's just I feel more driven.”
The Cost of Inaction
Deciding to do something different with his life wasn’t easy. Through struggling with PTSD from combat experience, being diagnosed with Grave’s disease and dealing with his body’s total recalibration as a result of treatment, Kevin had plenty of opportunities to give up, to normalize decline, to live unwell.
“I was going down a really bad kind of hole, knowing that I didn't ever want to go back there."
“For me personally, I think a lot of those guys I served with in combat. I think about them, I think about their families, I think about my children, their children.
“It’s like, you know, I made it. I'm here today and I want to be here for my kids.”
But Kevin did decide to change, himself but also his future and it’s one he can feel good about and be in shape to enjoy. He created a life worth living well because he could. It’s a privilege he takes to heart.
“I feel there's an obligation to live my life to my fullest to honor those guys who have sacrificed their lives.”
“Part of it was the anniversary of a friend’s passing. That went along with kind of looking at where I was overall in my life and the direction my life was heading. I was I was self-destructing.
“I realized it's so easy to get distracted by all the hardship, but it's okay. Just get through this. Just continue that change and continue that momentum forward.”