How I Got This Body: Doing Solidcore, Avoiding Sugar, and Losing 40 Pounds

How I Got This Body: Doing Solidcore, Avoiding Sugar, and Losing 40 Pounds
Photographs courtesy Francisco Martinez.

Welcome to How I Got This Body, our look at some of the amazing things the human body is capable of and the Washingtonians who put their bodies to the test. Want to share your transformation story? Email ccunningham@washingtonian.com.

Who I am: Francisco C. Martinez, 50, financial planner and attorney

What inspired me: It started when I read a book about sugar and the effect it can have on health and well being. The one change that had the biggest single impact on my weight came from reading Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar by Dr. Robert Lustig.  I thought to myself, ‘Let’s see what happens if I take this one item out of the equation.'”

How I changed: The short answer is that I lost approximately 40 pounds from my peak weight. I am in the best shape of my life. I am leaner, stronger, and I have an entirely different body. The better answer is that physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, I have become a different person. This transformation happened with the confluence of three key factors: an understanding of the long-term value of changing habits; an understanding how sugar affects the body; and an appreciation for the value of consistent, low-impact, intense exercise. For the first time in my life, I feel aware of my body and am mindful of my well being.”

How long it took: The past two years have been the most significant with regards to a steady shift to better physical health, nutrition, and exercise. In truth, I’ve been in transition, searching, for the past ten years, with a timeline marked by various breakthroughs and setbacks.”

My exercise plan: I go to a fitness studio called Solidcore three to five times a week. That has pretty much been it. I love it. It allows me to engage in an extremely challenging physical activity without fear of injury. I see Solidcore as a community, not a gym.  I want to go there not to ‘work out,’ but to be with my friends. I’ve met wonderful people at Solidcore. I’ve also brought some of my own friends into the Solidcore fold.  Other than Solidcore, I do small things like occasionally riding my bike or taking a spin class at Flywheel or SoulCycle.”

My healthy eating plan: I don’t adhere to a particular diet; I don’t count calories or macros; I don’t shun particular food groups like carbs or fats. I eat meats, seafood, vegetables, salads, fruits, grains, and nuts. I want to associate food with ‘wellbeing’ and ‘quality of life’—breaking down every meal into percentages of proteins, carbs, and fats would seriously get in the way of that experience. The one thing I do try to avoid, however, are processed and low-fat foods, particularly the ones that have added sugars in them.  This is the one change that may have had the biggest single impact on my weight.”

I want to associate food with ‘wellbeing’ and ‘quality of life’—breaking down every meal into percentages of proteins, carbs, and fats would seriously get in the way of that experience.

How I stuck to my goals: “I once read a book by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, called How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big. Basically, my takeaway from reading the book, was that systems, or habits, are much more powerful than goals are. I know that I wanted to be healthier and feel better about myself.  The price for what I wanted was that I had overcome my fear of changing, and that I had to make better decisions about eating and engaging in physical activity.  So, I arranged my life to make it easier for myself to make good decisions.  That is why being part of the Solidcore community has been so helpful to me—it incorporates into my life almost seamlessly because I don’t even have to think whether to go because I look forward to seeing my friends.”

One piece of advice: Don’t expect that your progress will be linear or happen without setbacks.  Small decisions and actions, over time, can have great impact on the ultimate outcome. Figure out what you really want to achieve and what is truly important to you. Then figure out the price you have to pay to get it, and pay the price.”

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.