Juicing… Does It Work? (Part 1)

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Recently I watched a movie called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead“.  (You’ll have to put in your name and e-mail address, but if you don’t want to be on their mailing list, you can opt out later.  I haven’t received a bunch of e-mails, if that worries you.)  The movie was a little over 1 1/2 hours long.   It was a documentary of a man’s journey from literally being fat, sick and “nearly dead” back to health and how he helped other people in the process who helped others.  His weight loss was amazing, from 325 down to his ideal weight and health.  One of the men he helped weighed over 400 pounds and got down to his ideal weight as well, was phased off of all of his medications and finally felt healthy for the first time in his life.

I was amazed that anyone could go on a juice fast for as long as he did.  He fasted on freshly made fruit and vegetable juices for 60 days.  But, seeing the transformation in him made me realize that there is something to this juicing thing.  There’s no way a person can eat the amount of fruit and vegetables in a day that would be beneficial.  But, we can get additional nutrients through vegetable and fruit juice.  So, adding juicing to our diet to boost our nutrient intake is a good thing.

Why I gained weight

I have had the hardest time losing weight.  Every time I lose, I gain it back again.  But, how did it all start?  Let’s be honest.  My weight gain came from eating too much fast food.   I was constantly on the go and not getting nearly enough sleep… unorganized (with regard to bringing my own food), working with my husband on our business in the evenings, taking care of a home and family, and so busy at work that I would just quickly swing by a fast food place to grab a lunch and eat it at my desk while working.  Sitting at my desk, sitting in the car during a 45 minute commute (each way), sitting at my desk at home, sitting, sitting, sitting.  Then, because I was working late and didn’t have time to make dinner, I would run by the store or another fast food place and bring a pre-made dinner home.  (Not every day, but too often.)  Then I lost my job and our budget was severely cut.  So, I started making more pastas, breads, and other starches to stretch our food budget out.

I gained so much weight and I have not been able to take it off since, with the exception of a few yoyo experiences.  When I first started this blog I had great plans to lose weight, but no matter how hard I tried, I’d lose only a little and then hit a huge plateau.  It was frustrating.  My earlier blog about not getting frustrated was more for my benefit than any reader’s benefit, but I was hoping to encourage others along the way.

What is happening now

Well, this movie has encouraged me.  Right now I’m 80 pounds overweight (at least 80 pounds above where I want to be) and have aching in my joints and pain in my chest.  I wake up in the morning with everything hurting, from my neck to my fingers to my feet.  The joints are all so sore.  I’m told that the pain in my chest is from severe heart burn, not actual heart problems.  My doctor, as wonderful as he is, tends to cover up symptoms using medication rather than discovering the root of the problem and addressing that.  Medication has side effects which cause other symptoms.  I’d prefer to find the cause and deal with that.

One thing I noticed in the movie was how it was helping reduce inflammation.  So, I started juicing yesterday (careful to avoid vegetables that encourage inflammation such as tomatoes and peppers).  Last night I did not have chest pain (from heart burn).  This morning I weighed precisely 3 pounds less than I did yesterday.  So, I’m all in.  I’m now committed to seeing how juicing will help reboot my body and help me address the cause of my health problems.

Let’s do it!

I’m now on day 2 of juice fasting.  A full glass of juice periodically throughout the day works for me and I have not felt hungry yet.  But, I do have to say I am not on a true fast.  I am drinking about 8 glasses of fruit/vegetable juice a day, but am also eating vegetables and fruits to get the fiber and a sense of crunching on something.  Last night when I made the family their dinner, I ate a serving of the vegetables that were being served.  I get the shakes on plain juice diets, but I may not on this because it is freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, not processed and bottled ones.  That may be the difference.

So, I’ll get back to you to let you know about the progress of a fruit/veggie juice fast and how it effects me.  Maybe this will encourage you to reboot your own body.

Tae Kwon Do

My son has been taking Tae Kwon Do for 10 months now.  For the last four months I’ve been thinking, “That looks like great exercise!”  I’ve wanted to join the class, but didn’t have the nerve.  All these young “whipper snappers” (including my son) are flipping over on the mat, doing 80 push ups, 80 crunches, and so many other things that I didn’t think I could do.  They’re going through their forms, leaning move after move.  I was rather concerned that I might end up on my back side trying to do some of that.

English: Rhee Tae Kwon-Do self-defence drill i...
Tae Kwon-Do self-defence drill in May 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, there are two families who have joined the class and are doing Tae Kwon Do together as a family.  My son has wanted me to join him.  One couple goes to church with me and they’re doing it as a family with their son.  That finally convinced me to try.

Thursday was my first day.  My son is loving this.  He’s a yellow belt who is close to getting his green belt and I, his Mommy and home school teacher, am just a beginner.  I don’t even have a rank… no cool white outfit, no belt level yet.  I’m simply working toward getting my white belt.   He can teach me.  He’s pretty excited about it.  (And, I have to say he is a good teacher… very patient with Mommy, noticing wrong stances and showing me how to do it right in a very nice way.)

Well, I had decided to see if I could even do push-ups before the class.  My legs are strong, but my arms are rather weak.  I managed to do three.  Great!  I’m going to look like a fool.  But, I had paid for the class and told my son I was joining him.  He was so excited so I couldn’t back out and the good thing is that everyone lines up by belt rank and age.  So, black and brown belts are at the front.  I am way at the back behind the yellow and white belts.  No one can see me doing the pushups because they’re all focusing on their own pushups, not facing toward me.

I surprised myself.  I actually managed to do 13 pushups while everyone else was flying through theirs and I did every single crunch that everyone else did… all 80 of them with legs in different positions.   I could hear my son (in the row in front of me) giggling, but I whispered to him after the warm ups that I had done 13 push-ups.  He was so excited for me that he shouted out, “Mommy did 13 push-ups!  Good job, Mommy.”  That put a smile on my face.  He has such a sweet and caring spirit.  OK… I didn’t have to flip over on the mat.  But, on Tuesday I will have to flip over my shoulder, roll down my back and land on my feet again.  I can see myself gracefully doing it in my head.  But, reality will probably be a very different thing.  I think I’ll stick with the graceful image that I have in my mind.  🙂  Maybe my body will follow suit.

Tae Kwon Do is fun.  I have a great instructor… a seven degree black belt who is also very patient and does a great job of explaining why we are doing what we’re doing, how to do it without injuring ourselves, etc.  I was right.  It’s excellent exercise.  As a beginner the class is 45 minutes.  When I get my white belt it will be 1 hour and yellow belt and above is 1 1/4 hours long.  Adding two lessons and five home practices to my routine will help me with my weight loss goals.

I highly encourage any of you who are reading this to sign up for a Tae Kwon Do class.   Go for it.  If I can do it (being someone who is overweight with back problems and headaches), you can!  My son told me, “Don’t be nervous, Mommy.  Just do your best!”  Great advice.

Have a blessed day.

Krill Oil and Weight Loss?

It looks like I might need to rethink supplements.  My body can’t handle fish oils.  I always get an unpleasant reaction.  I hear that krill oil doesn’t have that problem so may try it.  Here are a couple of interesting articles.

Can Certain Brain Activity Cause Weight Gain?  Yes, this is a sales company writing this.  If you click on the link it will take you to the video.  If you’re not interested in the sales part, don’t click on “Continue” after listening to the video clip.   But, I’m posting this because the video clip has information to think about.

Here’s Dr. Mercola’s take on it all.  Again, although he gives tons of information (like a scientific/medical product review), at the end of his web page, it is, indeed a sales opportunity for his organization.  But, you may want to listen to what he has to say and read the information at least.

Confessions of an “Obese” Woman

OK…  I am sitting here at my computer drinking a delicious, home-made mango-kiwi smoothie for lunch.  I happened to have fresh kiwi and frozen mango on hand in the house.  Yum!

This morning my husband turned the TV on in our room to watch the news.  I was still laying in bed trying to wake up when I heard the news anchor say that there is a way that is better than BMI to detemine your health, your risk of diabetes, heart disease and other problems, and whether you’re on-target, overweight or obese.  Great!  To look at me I wouldn’t categorize myself as obese when I stand up and look in the mirror.  My husband doesn’t see me as obese.  I am definitely overweight, but obese?  Yet, according to the doctor, I am obese.  And when I look at pictures of myself… WOW.  How did that happen?  There.  I’ve said it.  I’ve been “labeled”.

Now there’s yet another way to confirm that very label.  It’s called Waist to Height Ratio.  It never occured to me to measure around my waist and then divide that into my inches in height.  Gee Whizzakers… as they used to say.  My waist, which doesn’t look THAT big is 66% of my height.  It’s not supposed to be more than 49% of my height.  I have to somehow lose 12″ off my waist.

Go check out your Waist to Height Ratio.  See if you need to “take care” (which means you’re too slim), if you’re “OK” (in the target range), if you need to “consider action” (you’re overweight). or if you need to “take action” (you’re obese).

So, since I skip meals because at times I’m so busy I forget to eat or drink, since bread seems to be a staple lately because it’s quick and easy for lunch or breakfast, and since this dieting thing seems to be pretty tough (clearly skipping meals, even if not on purpose, doesn’t help), I’m still at a stand still.  Basically, I’m wondering what is going to work for me.

Then it hit me.  Maybe my focus shouldn’t be on losing a certain amount of weight each and every week.  Maybe I should be focused on doing the things that will slim my waist down.  I know… symantics, eh?  But, what you put your focus on you’ll work on and this gives me a focus that takes away my sudden obsession with the scale.  So, if I work on exercising (toning, stretching, building strength) that will have two results:

    1. Toning my stomach
    2. Building muscle strength (which, I understand, increases metabolism)

I’m not likely to “build muscles” like some kind of muscle woman.  But, I can build them enough to tone up.  And muscle uses more calories to maintain than fatty tissue, or so I’ve read.

To me, though, the moral of this blog entry is to never give up.  If you want to lose weight and get healthy, don’t let anything discourage you.  Keep looking and trying.  Find the thing that will work for you.  Keep at it!

Have a blessed day!

Weight Loss Challenges

OK… I admit that I am back to being about 5 pounds less than when I first started in January.  That means that I’ve gained weight after all that hard work.  (Things have been so busy that I haven’t actually been consistently weighing myself.)  This is SOOOOO frustrating.   I’ve tried all different kinds of things.  What is going to work for me??  I have to find out.

Failure is NOT an option.  My goal weight MUST be reached by end of 2012.  I have a husband and children to think about so it’s important that Mommy be healthy, energetic, and able to keep up with everything.

I’ll make sure to be more faithful to weigh in and report.  That is what kept me so focused in the beginning.

Let’s say that this experience has helped me eliminate what is NOT effective.  Now on to finding out what will work for me and still be a life-style change I can incorporate into my life for the long-term.

So… here are my numbers and they’re not encouraging at all.

Original Goal:         78.6 pounds to lose
Week 17 Results:    Exactly 5 pounds less than when I began.

I should have lost 26.1 pounds by today.  Instead, I have gained back some of what I did lose.  So, this week I start something different.

Have a blessed day!  I know that I will, despite my news.

Super Foods For Weight Loss

Blueberries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As of today I should have lost a total of 23.1 pounds.  I’m way behind.  It’s time for a new perspective on foods and dieting.

When I decided that I wouldn’t do any more fad diets because all I do is lose and then gain it all back (plus some) every time I try, I wasn’t kidding.  It seems to me that there must be a way to lose weight without cutting calories to 1,200 (and completely avoiding anything I enjoy) or exercising 5 hours a day or eating crazy things or taking pills or paying bunches of money to sprinkle stuff on my food so that I won’t feel like eating it.  According to the calorie counter, I have to eat 1,200 calories each and every day between now and December 31 in order to reach my goal.  No.

This morning I was reading “Super Foods for Weight Loss” at Health.com.  It seems that there are certain foods that I need to incorporate into my diet.  The following are foods that they said would kick up your weight loss.

Beans:  black beans, kidney beans, lentils, garbanzo beans

Grains:  oats, brown rice, pearl barley, quinoa

Fruits:  avocado, blueberries, pears, grape fruit, bananas, plantains

Fish:  salmon (wild Alaskan)

Vegetables:  broccoli, potatoes

Nuts:  almonds, pine nuts

Drinks: red wine (or grape juice with resveratrol), green tea

Other: Eggs, dark chocolate, cheese (in particular feta and goat cheese), and low fat milk are also included in the list.

OK… so here comes the change in perspective.

OLD PERSPECTIVE/NEW PERSPECTIVE (At least I can try it and see what happens with my weight)

Beans:  I avoid beans (as much as possible) for obvious reasons (although I do enjoy lentil stew on occasion).

If I eat them enough, my body will get used to them… or Beano can become my best friend.

Grains:  I have huge containers of  various kinds of grains… but they’re a pain in the… well, they’re a pain to make and whole grains are not my family’s favorite foods.

A while back when I was thinking of getting on a health kick I bought all kings of whole grains, including quinoa (which is not really a grain).  Since they’re there, I need to start using them and finding ways to prepare them.  I enjoy cooking and baking, why not experiment with these grains.

Fruits:  I absolutely love fruit, but never thought of plantains and avocado as fruit since they aren’t sweet.  I have to sweeten plaintain by cooking with butter and brown sugar.

Look up ways to make plantains that don’t include frying in butter and sugar.  Why not try it?  Find creative ways to use avocado.

Fish:  Wild Alaskan Salmon isn’t exactly inexpensive.

My family likes it. If it’s good for us, why not spend that little bit extra and make it more often.  Find ways to make it that are creative.

Vegetables:  I love broccoli and potatoes.  But, I read that potatoes are not as healthy as sweet potatoes so we use sweet potatoes more often.

Find healthy ways to prepare potatoes, keep servings small, and enjoy.

Nuts:  Well… I love them, but don’t eat them often because of the fat content.

They contain a healthy kind of fat.  Small servings are good for me.  Eat them!

Drinks:  I don’t care for red wine.  Grape juice has too much sugar.  Green tea is not my favorite.

I don’t care for red wine.  Grape juice has too much sugar (even the specialty ones that have high levels of reversatrol).  Get used to green tea.  It’s good for you.

Other:  I avoid eating eggs (for the most part) because of cholesterol concerns.  I honestly have never thought of chocolate as a diet food.  I never thought of cheese as a diet food.   I drink low fat milk, but not often.

Eat eggs.  New research shows that they don’t give you higher cholesterol.  Get some dark chocolate and eat one little piece every day.  Enjoy feta and goat cheese… heavens knows the hubby and boys won’t eat it.  It will be all mine! Drink more milk… at least 2 eight ounce glasses every day.

OK… so here we go.  This week I will be incorporating these foods into our diet and finding interesting and creative ways to enjoy them.  Let’s see if they help me lose some weight.

Have a blessed week!

At Least I Haven’t Gained…

Ruby Red Beginnings
Ruby Red Beginnings (Photo credit: trekkyandy)

It’s Monday.  I’m supposed to be reporting on my weight loss.  But, once again, there is nothing to report.

Have you ever been at the place where you’re completely frustrated… and aggravated?  Maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe that will be the impetus to do something drastic to get over this plateau.  My conundrum is that I’ve been saying since day 1 that I refuse to do any fad diet.  And I’ve done plenty of them in my adult life.  About 8 years ago I finally decided enough was enough.  No more yoyo dieting.  No more fad diets.  No more things that will help me lose weight only to have my body gain weight again when I’m done because they’re not lifestyle diets/changes that I can stick with for the long-term.

So, the question is… what do I do?  I’ve read that if you eat a low calorie diet for too long, your body goes into starvation mode and your body hangs on to every bit of weight you have rather than losing weight.

I’m writing about this because I know there are people out there going through the same struggle.  I want to encourage people to keep on.  Don’t give up because of a short-term frustration.    Keep working at it and your scale will start to move downward again.  That’s exactly what I’m going to do this week.  My weight took a long time to get to this point.  It won’t just come off quickly and easily.  It will take effort and consistency.

Exercise plan for the week:

1. Callanetics every single day
2. Walking 1/2 hour at least 5 times this week
3. Playing with my little boy
4. Working in our garden/on our property

Diet plan for the week:

1. Increase the number of fruits and veggies I’ve been eating.
2. Drink more water (this has been a hard one for me)
3. Limit the amount of starches a bit more than I have been.

I’ll get back to you next Monday and let you know how things are progressing.