Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Juicing For Excellence

This past month Doug and I have really stepped up our juicing. I have been juicing for 28 years and have enjoyed the benefits of it in the form of energy and nutritional health. I would typically juice one giant glass a day, usually for breakfast. It's like pouring vitamins straight into my bloodstream...total energy boost. Since I've had several surgeries this past year I am feeling the need to detox my system. Juicing will also help me lose the extra 20 lbs I put on last year, five with each surgery.

Juicing is a great way to get mega doses of natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes. You could never eat enough fresh produce to get the nutrients that just a glass or two of juice will provide. If you are looking for a jump start on weight loss, a way to clean out or detox your system, or just want more energy, I would highly recommend you try raw juice. If you are someone who doesn't eat enough veggies then you need to be juicing! Many vegetables are actually quite sweet when juiced. Carrots and beets are a good example. I love most all veggies, but have never been able to develop a taste for beets even though I know they contain valuable vitamins for the blood and also have cleansing properties. While I won't eat cooked beets, I drink them every day in my Carrot/Beet/Cucumber juice. You don't go hungry; drink as much as you want.

Since I am feeling the need to detox right now I will consume mostly raw juice as my diet. When I feel the need to chew, I will have fresh fruits and veggies. After doing this for only THREE days I am down 7 lbs. The payoff is immediate. I felt better after just one day of juicing and the weight started coming off immediately. Side note: I had already been drinking a glass of juice a day. If you are eating a diet that is high in junk food you may feel worse the first couple of days while your body detoxes. Then you will be amazed at how great you feel.

We are headed to Vegas in a couple of days. I won't be able to juice while there and we are scheduled to attend several dinner events. I will do my best to keep at least 50% of my food intake raw. (I'll let you know how my weight looks when I return.) Then I will return to juicing as the majority of my meals.

While I have been juicing for years, it seems just recently that a lot of people are asking me about it. I found two documentaries that provide very valuable information. I know they are both available on Netflix. Both are available for purchase as well. I have no connection to either of these. I watched them on Netflix. If you want to understand exactly what affect food has on your body you need to watch these. As Maya Angelou said, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now I know better, I do better." Some will choose not to watch because they don't want to "know better" Knowing better means I am now accountable to myself for what I know.

"Food Matters" - available to view on Netflix or purchase at www.foodmatters.tv This is about 75 minutes long. You will see how it is true...YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.

"Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" - available to view on Netflix or purchase at www.fatsickandnearlydead.com Runs about an hour and a half. Follow Joe Cross as he travels across the US. For 60 days he consumes only fresh juice and loses 90 lbs and gets off of all his medication. Pretty inspiring.

I'm curious to hear what you think after watching either or both of these. I'll do a follow up post with some of my favorite juice recipes. Have you ever tried juicing, either as a supplement to your diet or a juice fast?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Should A Blog Be Personal, Informational, Or Both?

Recently I was participating in a discussion about blogging; how we present our posts as a writer, and blogs we follow. The question was raised about whether a blogger should keep the blog entirely informational, let it be a personal diary of sorts, or a combination of both. It made me think about the blogs I follow. Do I follow them for information only? Or do I enjoy reading them because the author shows a part of themselves and gives me a peek into their life? I analyzed the blogs I most look forward to reading and decided they were a combination of both.

I am NOT extremely interested in knowing what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day this week. But I AM interested in new recipes you tried and your opinion of them.

I DON'T care to see pictures of your pet every single day as he follows you around the house.
But I DO appreciate the occasional cute pet photo.

I DON'T want to hear you complain about every difficulty in your life.
However, I AM motivated by your positive outlook as you deal with struggles and the life lessons you learned and wisdom you can share as you overcome trials. 

I have a friend who blogs about the daily struggles and trials of a family with a special needs child. You will never hear him complain about it. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t take the situation very seriously or that his family doesn't experience some very difficult times. He understands the blessings his family receives through this experience and he manages to find the humor in each situation. You can read his humorous and touching stories at http://jymmebe.blogspot.com/. His posts help give us a better understanding of his child and educate us on what it means to live with this condition every day as well as how to best deal with it.

I then thought about my own blog and how it has mostly been informational, and my intention with that. My intent is to motive, educate and share great information. Being a person who tends to look at the positive side of a situation, I don’t enjoy being around people who are whining and complaining. I don't think others want to hear that either and I certainly don't want to be one who brings others down. Therefore, I don’t ever want to come across as one who is complaining about my lot in life. I do however, appreciate knowing when my friends are struggling, even while they are not complaining. We learn through each other.

As I look at my blog, I can see that the posts that have gotten the most feedback, whether from comments, emails, Facebook comments, or person to person, are posts in which I have shared something of a personal nature. It seems to me that since we all struggle with many of the same issues, it can be consoling to know that we are not alone. We may also be motivated by hearing how someone overcame or is dealing with an issue that is of concern to us as well.

By the end of our conversation my friends convinced me that by showing a little more of 'me' in my posts, it would not only add interest but give credibility to the things I write about. 

Those who know me well know that I have spent a great deal of time researching health and fitness. I have experienced chemotherapy with Lupus and Breast Cancer and beat both. I have survived nearly three dozen surgeries and procedures. I have gained a great deal of weight very quickly with chemo and steroids. I have lost a great deal of weight with a personal commitment to eating less and moving more. I understand how difficult it is and I empathize with health issues and injuries getting the way.

I have had four surgeries in this past year and gained five pounds with each of them after not being allowed to exercise for weeks after surgery. I now struggle with losing that 20 pounds (again). While chemo helped preserve my life, it also helped destroy my joints. I now have osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease in both knees, hips, shoulders and my lower back. Just three months ago I had my first hip replacement...there will be more joint replacements to follow. 

This is something that I have to live with. It doesn't help me to whine or be negative about it. Please don't think I am complaining. I always joke that when you look at me I am the picture of health, but on paper I look half dead. I will not give in and give up. I will continue to fight for good health and fitness. I ask questions and learn from others who have gone before me. I hope my experiences can help someone who might travel the same road.

What motivates you to read the blogs you follow? Are you entertained or motivated? Do you think a blog should be informational, personal, or a combination of both?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are You A Food Addict?

I recently watched a Doctor on TV talking with several people that he described as 'food addicts'. They looked like normal people to me, although they were somewhat overweight. He asked them some questions like:

1. Have you tried but failed to control your eating?
2. Do you find yourself hiding food or secretly bingeing?
3. Do you have feelings of guilt or remorse after eating?
4. Do you eat because of emotions?
5. Is your weight affecting your way of life?

They responded yes to several of the questions and said that they had symptoms including headaches, insomnia, irritability, mood changes, and depression when they tried to stop eating or when they ate too much.

The Doctor explained that people who are addicted to food tend to display many of the characteristics of addicts and alcoholics. Food addicts develop a physical, mental, emotional craving and chemical addiction to food. The characteristics of food addicts can include:
  • Being obsessed and/or preoccupied with food.
  • Having a lack of self-control when it comes to food.
  • Having a compulsion about food in which eating results in a cycle of bingeing despite negative consequences.
  • Remembering a sense of pleasure and/or comfort with food and being unable to stop using food to create a sense of pleasure and comfort.
  • Having a need to eat which results in a physical craving.  

I found the following list of questions online: 

Are you a food addict?
To answer this question, ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.
1 Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn't?
2 Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
3 Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success?
4 Do you binge and then "get rid of the binge" through vomiting, exercise, laxatives, or other forms of purging?
5 Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
6 Has a doctor or family member ever approached you with concern about your eating habits or weight?
7 Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)?
8 Is your weight problem due to your "nibbling" all day long?
9 Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
10 Do you eat when you're not hungry?
11 Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later?
12 Do you eat in secret?
13 Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake?
14 Have you ever stolen other people's food?
15 Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have "enough?"
16 Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
17 Do you obsessively calculate the calories you've burned against the calories you've eaten?
18 Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you've eaten?
19 Are you waiting for your life to begin "when you lose the weight?"
20 Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may be a food addict.

On this same show, the aforementioned Doctor had a guest, a second Doctor, who claimed to have previously been a food addict and has since changed her behavior and lost 85 pounds.

She suggested several options in the treatment of food addiction. These include consulting a nutritionist, doctor, psychologist, counselor, or eating disorder specialist. In addition, 12-step groups such Overeaters Anonymous (OA) have meetings in many regions or online. Some tips for avoiding bouts of compulsive eating include:
  • Knowing which situations trigger your cravings, and avoiding them if possible
  • Drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day
  • Exercising
  • Relaxing with deep breathing exercises or meditation
  • Trying to distract yourself until the compulsion to eat passes
So, if I can answer some of those questions with a 'yes', does that mean that I am a food addict and need professional help? Or does that depend on which questions I answered yes to? 

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    In a previous post I asked a single question - "WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE WHILE PURSUING WEIGHT LOSS AND/OR PHYSICAL FITNESS?" I was touched by the personal stories and struggles that many of you shared. Others have told me how well they can relate to some of the comments to that question.

    In future posts we will address the struggles and issues mentioned in your comments. I will share thoughts and resources that have helped me. I also welcome comments with ideas and resources that have helped you. One thing I have learned is that we all respond to different things at different times. It depends where we are in our journey as to what information makes sense to use at that time. We must be patient with ourselves as well as with others, trusting that we are doing the best we can with what we have. 

    I love how Maya Angelou said " I did then what I knew how to do. Now I know better, I do better." How does that relate to pursuing weight loss and physical fitness goals? The choices and decision we make daily regarding our health are based on what we know and what we believe. As we continue to learn and grow we change our beliefs about what we know. New understanding and changes in beliefs often lead to changes in behavior.

    So it makes sense that when we have a desire to change habits or behaviors we look for sources to learn from, thereby increasing our understanding and ability to affect change in our lives.