I can relate…yes I can. I have been there I have no doubt.
Yes I am now a health and fitness guy (although I passionately advocate balance….a healthy social life and breaking all the rules from time to time…and then doing it all again)…..and yes I have always been active….
But I have also been lazy, loved my (bad) foods, drank too much too often….been down….thought what’s the point….been injured over and over again….lost fitness, regained it…only to lose it again over and over again.
I can assure you losing fitness due to injury and/or surgery when “attempting” to perform at an elite level surrounded by supremely gifted athletes at the top of their game…..is incredibly daunting (but very character building)….the hard work, the consistent daily grind, the ’round the clock’ self will and discipline, the self-doubt, the feeling of ‘is it all worth it’ or ‘not today’ or ‘it’s all way too hard’….all combined with the fatigue, body soreness and various other setbacks…not to mention pressure to perform, judgment and ridicule….. yeah I can relate to you.
My best advice now is…..get fit and stay fit….don’t take unnecessary risks to increase injury risk….play/train smart…..unless you are prepared to accept all the risks and/or want to really push things to the edge or you are an athlete. Otherwise staying fit all the time is way better.
I used to joke that playing football got in the way of me keeping fit……but it was true for me.
In other words…I was very adept at getting injured.
Ok, I digress (just for a change….but the detours are so scenic).
As you know I grew up a country boy just out of Port Augusta….a close, highly supportive and loving family that guided, provided for and taught me well. I owe them and love them so much. Things were tight financially….the weekly budget for food had to be stretched as far as it could to provide for 6…..supermarket catalogues had to be scoured decisively to make it all work.
As you may recall education and awareness around health and nutrition was very much in its infancy and things we take for granted now were not even close to known back in those days.
Having said that, Mum, who is in charge of the family’s nutrition was (even though she was working with significant limitations) all over it….her family’s health was paramount and she was giving it her all.
I was a difficult little one….no doubt if you are a Mum (or Dad) you can relate….my son is a God-send compared to me on this front from all reports. Apparently if it did not have milk or Milo or preferably both then it was not going near my mouth.
Like many of us I was raised on cereal (Weetbix, Cornflakes and Rice Bubbles….with Coco Pops and Nutri Grain for trips away only)….porridge was also a regular breakfast…I have fond memories of helping Mum stir the family pot of porridge before school eagerly awaiting the volcanic eruptions to occur and spit out onto the stove top. Porridge had to have added sugar though…usually a tablespoon at least….as did all the other cereals.
My later travels in life encountered an elite performing (and lean) AFL superstar at the time who regularly indulged in a breakfast of Coco Pops and Cream….go figure! Although Coco-Pops and packaged (ridiculously sweet) custard did become a regular meal for me in my 20s.
If it wasn’t cereal it was toast with tomato (like Dad) or vegemite or jam or peanut butter or even better melted cheese (Coon being the favourite….sometimes vegemite and melted cheese) ….always two pieces of toast and sometimes both cereal and toast…and of course straight out cheap-a*se white bread…no better.
For a drink it was either tea (with 2 sugars like Dad) or milo and milk or quick or topping….as long as it had sugar we were good.
….and so began the pattern of the next 30 years…..wheat, dairy, wheat, dairy, dairy, wheat, wheat, dairy and sugar.
Lunch like most of us back in those days was always a sandwich…..or 2 as a teenager. The filling was everything from ‘plastic’ cheese and lettuce to fritz and sauce to chicken (loaf) and mayonaisse to salt and vinegar chips. Dad carried chip lines for his work so we always had a constant supply oif chips on hand….for recess, lunch, after school and everything in between. If I never eat another chip in my entire life I will still be well ahead with my quota. Chicken Lites and the very short-term Lemon Vingegar Lites were my all time faves. My sister loved salt and vinegar….likely still does, Marcia?
Whenever I could get my hands on a flavoured milk, or ice cream , soft drink, chocolate bar, red skin, mixed lollies, whatever I would grab it with both hands and then sneak a few more.
Cordial was by far the drink of choice. Even though we were blessed to have rain water at home…..I wasn’t drinking that sh*t unless it had a bucketload of sugar added…..surprised I didn’t have gout.
For dinner it was full blown economics at work…..a carry over effect of the Nixon regime….carbs were the go….they were “good” for you and they were cheap and filling…..pasta, rice, pasta, rice and potatoes…..my sister and my favourite dish was a baked lasagna made with that plastic pasta stuff and a canned bolognaise sauce that we used to eat straight from the can. This progressed to my favourite after school snack….canned bolgnaise on white toast covered in Coon cheese and zapped in that amazing invention, the Microwave…..goddamn fn’ winning!! How good is modern man….we got it all.
We also consumed lots of mornays, casseroles and stews…I still do not know what the difference is…but god I miss these….Mum???
The money food thing stayed with me a while….and still does somewhat…ingrained beliefs I tell ya 🙂
I remember fondly hanging out with a mate…..we purchased $1.50 worth of chips and 2 litres of orange fruit drink (yes…hopefully you do not know what this is…..think cheap fruit box)….anyway that cost us $2.40….and we were stuffed to the gills and god forbid had to throw some in the bin…..(but those starving kids in Africa….how you dare you waste your food Bryan).
Nutritional Value = -1000
Enter boarding school.
Breakfast….croissant (or 3), piece of toast (or 4), glass of milk (or 8), pancake with maple “flavoured” sugar sh*t (or 3)…what a way to set up a productive focused ADD filled energy flatline day…..how the hell I got through year 11 and 12 with half decent grades and without killing anyone is beyond me. What I surprise I had severe acne, massive mood fluctuations, constantly sore joints and aching muscles and an expanding waistline…..talk about kicking against the pricks. Life was good.
Lunch was some obscure hot meal like beef strips in corn flour sauce and rice….with an additional peanut butter and either jam or peanut butter sandwich plus the customary glasses of milk.
Recess was flavoured milk and cream cake (or something similar). After school was donuts, custard berlinas, ice creams, flavoured milks (yes my fave), toast……or whatever lollies I could get my hands on. Friday nights were extra special….my weekly Rundle Mall and Rundle Street visits always ended perfectly with a visit to Donut King on the way back to the Boarding House (for dinner mind you)…you see I had worked out at the Donut King would put all their remaining stock out half price for the last half hour of trading…..enter BB and his bottomless pitt of a stomach….so so smart.
The best regular dinner we had was the mixed grill (my god….fn’ disgusting). This consisted of sausages, lamb chops and bacon all with an extra coating of lard….. colon cancer, here we come. We also had regular delicacies like pies and pasties and even some vegetables at some point. Oh, I forgot to mention the dessert of sponge cake covered in sugar and corn flour disguised as custard. Of course there was more milk and bread to be had. For supper….if I wasn’t whipping up some home made sambucca in the Year 12 room it would be cream and cake and sugar and toast and all the other great stuff. WOW!!!
Looks pretty good hey?
Oh why are you getting colds all the time Bryan? No idea…I’m fit and active. I eat well. Here’s a flu shot? Why thank you and here’s a dose of Epstein Barr virus as well…that should screw you up nicely. Thanks Mr and Mrs. YouKnowBetter. Of course you do…you’ve got my back.
Thank god….school’s over….back to my parents…..now I can eat better.
Uni life…..what a dream!!
Sleep in until 11…get up and hit the couch for the double….Days of our Lives and Bold and gthe Beautiful….livin’ the dream.
At home it was 3 packets of two minutes noodles mixed with soy sauce and honey. Frozen McCain pizzas with lashings of extra cheese added (yep, I would eat the whole thing)….or a couple of toasted sandwiches (my favourite).
If/when I actually go to Uni..it was Pie and chips (served on a plate…..mate, I’m classy like that), Wendy’s Dog n’ shake deal…normally with an extra dog….what a bargain….or for an afternoon snack on the way to football training…..a few cheeseburgers to hold the tide at bay. Oh yeah and low-fat flavoured milks by the truckload – man, this sh*t is easy.
Want to lose weight…yep I can do that….run every day and don’t eat.
I am so smart, I got this covered. What a d*ck.
Oh well that did not completely work..I better start focusing and learning some stuff.
Enter the world of low low fat…..high carb….protein (whatever!)….nutritional value (whatever!)…..and as long as your active sugar is aok…..ok, right-e-o.
Perfect…..here we go….pasta, stir-fry (with rice or pasta), pizza, lollies, milk, bread, cereal……
I can tell you though I was supremely disciplined….I followed things to the tee…..not one ounce of fat…low fat everything….full fat nothing.
Oh..and sidenote ….regular appointments with the club dietician throughout this time with always a “Big Fat” tick (or maybe that should be “Big Sugar” tick) of approval each and every time. You eat very well Bryan…seriously, wtf? Go you “dietitian industry”…you guys rock….doing so much for health, well done. Please note I am not knocking dietitians here….just the industry and the beautiful economic and social system in which we live…ok, backing back a little now. Wine and a dinner table conversation beckons.
The end result……lots of anger, lots of confusion, playing games of football and feeling like I had concussion, crazy amount of muscle pain and joint soreness (yeah, inflammation….everywhere…..my body was 90% inflammation, 10% body). Do you think that combination may contribute to injury? Significantly affect recovery? Increase risk of illness? Yeah..guess not.
The next step was significant digestive disorders and stomach ulcers (exasperated by anti-inflammatory medication, excessive effort on an empty stomach, poor recovery techniques, life stress and other body abuses). Regardless of the cause changes were very much needed.
The first step was stomach acid medication….that is medication that reduces the supply of stomach….one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the marketplace.
Yes this provides relief and works……stomach acid getting into your muscles, blood stream and other parts of your body is not nice….not nice at all.
I am going to digress here but it’s important.
OK, I was prescribed 2 a day and it was awesome….all my symptoms went away (that I was aware of). I was happy/satisfied….but my curiosity and want/desire for optimal health got the better of me. Did I need to take these pills for the rest of my life or what? Better ask the Doc.
Common sense pensive thought interlude: but wait…doesn’t stomach acid break down the foods we eat so we can best absorb the nutrients from our food? So with less stomach acid now…how can we break down the foods? And isn’t a low nutrional diet going to compromise things? Ah, now you’re thinking….come on Doc, seriously…….rote learning anyone? FFS.
Yes, you do…it’s no stress mate 5 out of the 6 doctors in this clinic are on them. Oh ok, that makes me feel better….not.
Keep asking…..finally a doctor that suggested at least a scaling back….to one a day and then 1 every second day. Beautiful…..humans working with humans. Well done.
Never mention of diet or lifestyle…..or possible cause….not once.
Ever had a GP explain to you the cause of an ailment? If you have, hang on to them and promote them like Jesus…but to be fair…it’s not what they are trained in and is definitely not their specialty. Any trauma….give me a GP pretty please.
The best GP I spoke to was the last one I have seen in a professional setting….he said to me Bryan you could get off these tablets either by having significant and risky stomach surgery which quite frankly would not be worth the risk or you could stop taking them and very likely develop stomach cancer…..wtf? Seriously…..thanks Mr. GP can I have a lolly on the way out…didn’t you just stick your wooden stick on my tongue and ask me to make funny noises?
Gotta love it.
Enter the naturopath…my lord and saviour.
I am being highly facetious of course…..I worked with an excellent naturopath that suited my predicament, unfortunately dealt with a run of “not the best” GPs and was dealing with an issue that was highly conducive to naturopathy methods. There really needs to be a health broker/middleman that is equipped in directing people to the right practitioner for their ailment…the GP used to serve this role but is no longer best equipped to fulfill this role. Bring the change…we are ready!!!
Without bogging you down in the detail….out of the diet came dairy, coffee, meat, wheat, eggs and alcohol…yep, all of it. There also some other supportive supplementations to rebuild the digestive tract and a digestive enzyme to help with nutrition absorption. (Digestive enzymes? If you can afford it, you could be adding worse things to your routine..especially with foods that are harder on your digestive system…eg. Meats)
Long story short…no more meds, no more stomach issues, much better awareness and knowledge of my body ….. and no GP required anymore.
All a big win.
Even better I am back to a place where I have allowed my stomach to heal itself and never bombard it too much anymore that I can cope sufficiently with the odd inflammatory food from time to time….just to break the roles…and fit in with the cool crowd 🙂
How does my day look now?
Well, for those of you familiar with the ALPHA & EMPRESS programs….that is the basic guideline but I definitely ‘stray’ from time to time and/or allow myself to enjoy some of the ‘baddies’.
First thing in the morning will be some apple cider vinegar, some chlorophyll and more recently some colloidal minerals…..this is followed up by 1-1.5 litres of spring water (best thing ever).
Breakfast will usually consist of something with eggs….mushrooms, bacon, avocado and/or a smoothie and/or a coffee…..Saturday mornings is my no breakfast day.
Lunch will be a salad….mostly with chicken these days. On higher output days it might be some sushi or something like this.Generally another coffee involved as well.
Likely a smoothie and/or sugar free chocolate in the early afternoon.
Dinner is usually meat and vegetables of some description….the simpler the better for me as I prefer simple meals where I can taste the separate ingredients….not too complex.
So there’s the basic journey…..completely ratsh*t diet….to intensely restrictive diet back to some form of balance…..and the journey continues.
Lots of lessons and tricks learnt along the way though. Gotta keep asking questions though and keep listening to and feeling what your body (and brain) is telling you.
For what we are about to receive….bottoms up!
Thanks for reading.
PS – I still drink Fireball.