My Most Significant Accomplishments
Thankfully, I accomplish so much now that this could go on for quite a bit. I set 38 goals, but 12 ended up not applying to my situation for one reason or another (COVID interfering with going to health events, moving changing my circumstances, not needing water fasts for pain). Of the remaining 26, I accomplished 22 of them! I’ll discuss the health developments below, starting with the all-important pain-related ones.
42 days with time without pain
Only used CBD on 2/3rds of days
Conquered worm infection and elevated histamine with Mimosa Pudica Seed protocol
Only one flare-up from behavior when I lost water for five days and couldn’t shower
Two five-day water fasts
This category of improvement is the big one, so I’m leading with it! During my fourth year of recovery, I had my first glorious day with time without pain in the past 24 years. That’s all I had. This year, I had 42 more this year! That’s 11.5% of my days, with most of them coming in the last two months! I also used CBD on all but a handful of days last year. Because of this decrease in pain and how my fast in March made me feel a bit worse, I only did two of four water fasts I had planned for the year to help with my pain. The improvements I had with them this year were marginal. Water fasting generates stem cells and has been instrumental in my recovery since 2019–I’ll be releasing a video about that subject here.
Also on the pain front, I only had one flare-up all year that was a result of my behavior. That came when my residence lost water for five days during the Texas Snowpocalypse in February. I was unable to shower during that period yet continued to lift weights. That meant I didn’t take ice baths after, and the nerves in my shoulders reacted accordingly with a pain flare. I should’ve shown more restraint and skipped lifting in those unusual circumstances. Still, that’s only one flare-up in a weird situation. I’m giving myself a big pat on the back for that achievement!
And thanks to a three-month anti-parasite protocol, I purged myself of parasites, which I think is key to the days without pain. After all, I had most of the days in the last two months of my year after the protocol was over and I had the all-clear from a stool test. Also gone with the bugs are three years of elevated blood histamine levels.
Simply put, my pain is no longer a big issue for me. The interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome that used to cripple me don’t show up in the least! Only the nerve pain comes back for a visit, and it is such a minor player in my body now. As a result, I feel wonderful most of the time. The pain no longer interferes with my work and allows me to be my best self!
Even my workout recovery became excellent in the last two months since I integrated my massage gun and Flex supplement that I detailed in my Black Friday post. I think I could now lift weights 4-5x per week, despite how much nerve pain that used to cause.
On to easily measurable physical improvement in year five of my health recovery. Here are the weights at which I can now do sets. The increases over last year follow in parentheses.
Deadlift: 213 (+115)
Pendlay Rows: 108 (+30)
Calf Raises: 200 (+25)
Bench Press: 137.5 (+32.5)
Overhead Press: 74.5 (+14.5)
Squats: 155 (+60)
Curls: 78 (0)
Chin-ups: 8,8,12 34 lbs (+34 vs only doing 6,2,2)
Triceps Kickbacks: 48.6 (+21.6)
Chest Flys: 28.6 (+11.6)
Pullups: 6,6,7 (I could do zero before)
I am delighted with this progress! Even though I didn’t make my goal of increasing my bench press by 50, squats by 75, and deadlift by 100, but I still consider the year of weightlifting a success. After all, I lost three months when I felt so poorly from parasite detox that I couldn’t lift during that time. And still, I’m now stronger than I ever was in the past! I have surpassed my records on every exercise from when I lifted weights in my early 20s.
Only five points deserve explanation here:
1. My calf raises didn’t increase much because I added a step up to them late in the year, which caused me to lower the weight quite a bit.
2. I replaced my standing press with a sitting overhead press. This change is because my weight bench got moved into a room with a lower ceiling.
3. My biceps curls look like they didn’t change because I realized I was cheating the form on the exercise. I only lowered my arms to 90 degrees on the downswing instead of extending back to my legs. When I corrected the form, I had to drop over thirty pounds from the lift and start again with proper form. I added 18 pounds to them after the change!
4. I was doing unweighted chin-ups last year, but they became so easy that I had to add weight to have a challenge.
5. I couldn’t do any pull-ups last year. I added them three weeks ago and am happy that I can do sets of 6, 6, and 7.
As I mentioned above, I feel so great on my off days that I’m considering adding a fourth day of lifting per week this year.
On a related note, I began bouldering this year and loved it, which I’ve written about many times. I had eight trips to bouldering gyms and had a record of climbing 20 walls in one session. In my last session, I developed some advanced dynamic moves, slanted walls, and performed a lunge to end a wall. I began on V0 difficulty walls and was up to V2 difficulties at the end of this year of recovery. I look forward to getting even better at this new favorite activity!
This section requires a little context. Last year, I could only run ten spans of time for about 30 seconds each before my legs hurt too much or I developed trouble breathing from exercise-induced asthma. Now I can:
As I wrote about in my January health update, I broke through my difficulties of the last 31 years with exercise-induced asthma! As I ramped up my running, my cardiovascular health reached a new level. My resting heart rate is currently at 65 beats per minute, ten fewer than this time last year. Fitbit grades me as having excellent cardiovascular fitness for a man my age! It pleases me to see such progress on a vital health marker.
I feel calmer at rest too. That could be because my heart rate is low now!
In a mix of both pain and cardiovascular improvement, my resting heart rate no longer shoots up the night after a weightlifting workout.
I also walked 5,074,929 steps. That’s over 13,903 steps per day and 2,327 miles on foot! That distance is the equivalent of one-and-a-half roundtrip walks from Kansas City to Austin, Texas! Walking is a breeze. It doesn’t feel like it’s pushing me unless I walk as fast as possible.
I’m still shocked that I don’t start coughing and wheezing when I’m running. Followed by the pain improvements, these cardiovascular achievements are the physical improvements that please me the most during this year of my recovery story.
My body changed significantly during this year of my health recovery story.
I started the year at 160.2 pounds and spent the first half of the year bulking up to 175. Then, I went full keto with under 50 grams of carbohydrates starting on September 26th to lean out. My waist measured 35 3/16″ at the end of the bulk.
Now, I’ve come full circle with my weight. I weigh 159, and my waist is 33.25″. My biceps are 13″, and my chest is 38.5″. My muscles are much more developed now. In November, I had a DXA scan when I weighed 163.9 pounds, which showed I had 22.9% body fat. I suspect the number is significantly lower now. I’ll recheck my body fat in the first quarter of this year.
These are minor but important. I feel so good now that I can jot down scant amounts about each day. For almost two decades, I wrote down a full page about my day to try and find patterns that could explain the countless disheartening symptoms and lengthy pain-flareups. I’m thrilled that there’s nothing negative to track anymore and all the extra time that allows me! I also made a digital spreadsheet to track my weightlifting progress. It has some nifty functions that only require me to type in the amount of weight on my first set, and it calculates the warmups and subsequent set weights. This digitization saves time, eliminates paper, and gives me a quick way to see everything I’m doing.
Another health development was that I conquered Mt. Coffee. I had never tolerated caffeine due to gut problems and a hypersensitive nervous system. Thankfully, my health is finally stable enough to successfully introduce the glorious liquid five days per week! It did stimulate my nervous system a bit at first. I had to find a proper balance to not trigger frequent urination, but I was fine if I didn’t exceed two cups or one strong cup.
One last health development was that I was out of bed every day by 10 a.m. This item probably sounds eyebrow-raising, but I still had days in year four of my health recovery where the nerve pain in my head would keep me awake for a few hours. So, to compensate, I would sometimes sleep late. After a few months into the year, I easily achieved this goal and maintained it.
Summary of Year-Five Accomplishments
I feel very proud of all of this progress and cherish every day with such little pain! It’s a stark contrast to my disabled past. It’s even more amazing to me that I improved to this level while becoming doubly certified as a health coach, developing a successful and valuable business, and moving!
As I mentioned in my last health recovery story update, professional success was vital to my improvement with all the endorphins I generated from pleasure, and thus necessary to include here. My top career highlights were the second article I wrote about pain neuroscience and getting interviewed six times, including becoming a regular on Rebel Health Tribe’s content. Getting recognized by a top health outlet like Rebel Health Tribe felt amazingly fulfilling! Additionally, I feel great about the value I’m providing in both my consultation and coaching services that I offer and the tremendous progress I’m seeing my clients make. Seeing how I’m helping others reclaim their health gives me more satisfaction with work than I’ve ever had!
At this point in the review, I was revved up from seeing all these positive developments. I was now ready to look at myself with a critical eye for what didn’t get done.