Friday, April 25, 2014

be the change, drink the juice.

something strange is happening.. more like something awesome! this challenge has become more than just my own. i started this blog in january of 2013 with the idea that publicly noting my journey to find health would keep me on track. well, it's working. i can honestly say that after everything i've tried, triumphs and defeats, i may have given up long ago if i didn't make a point of sharing it all.

 it hasn't been an easy journey, that's the truth. but it's getting better. the reality is, there isn't a magic pill or quick diet or cleanse that will fix all of my problems or lose all of my extra pounds. it takes a lifestyle change, an attitude alteration, and dedication to finding true health. i wasn't always the most motivated person in the world, nor the best educated on the subject of nutrition. after a year and a half of reading, researching, and trying different things, i am finally on the right path to what works best for me.

now back to the challenge. people around me are starting to notice a difference.. maybe even more than i have seen in myself. i've lost 18 pounds since the beginning of 2014, and i have a lot more energy [and a lot less tummy aches] than ever. naturally, people want to know what i'm doing and they want to try too.

for quite some time now, i've known what i needed to do. but i always had excuses like i'm too broke to eat well, or i don't have time or any means to prepare a decent meal. when really i could have been prioritizing my money [and my time] better, and being more resourceful with the tools i had available to me. i have less of a 'kitchen' now than i ever have in an established dwelling, yet i prepare [and grow!] more of my own food these days than i have my whole life. and by prepare i don't mean pop a microwave dinner in the nuke or boil up some KD, i mean using fresh ingredients from scratch.

a couple years ago i started collecting things to jumpstart into a more healthy lifestyle like a juicer and a blender and planted a garden in the yard. after a few months the juicer became too much of a hassle, the blender lost it's appeal, and the garden didn't fair so well. this cycle repeated for a few years, each year saw improvements.

finally something clicked inside of me. i decided it was time to take responsibility for my self and my own health. i do have a choice in the matter, i can choose to live a healthier lifestyle, or i can choose to keep putting it off and slowly accumulate various health discomforts. today, i choose health. and yesterday, and hopefully a bunch of tomorrows too.

early in the year i blew the dust off the juicer and got right back into it. i fed my mind with all of the information about the benefits of juicing raw vegetables, and the idea became more appealing. eventually the vegetables that once tasted bitter to me juiced have mellowed out. cucumber simply tastes like freshness now, and celery is barely noticeable beside the hint of ginger and lime. this time around, instead of jumping right into hardcore veggie juicing, i started with the apples and added in the veg. now the only fruit i use is an apple or two and a bit of lemon lime to zest it up and keep it fresh.

every day in the lunch room, someone asks what i'm drinking. and i tell them! some are grossed out at the idea of pressed veggies, some are intrigued, and some even ask for a taste. this keeps me conscious every morning when i'm packing my lunch bag what i'm going to take.. am i making healthy choices? can i really make it to first break without my super smoothie? i know i don't feel like making juice right now [five in the morning], but do i really want to go all day without it? nah. i might be tired some days [not all days anymore] but i know it's worth it to do this for myself. it makes me feel better. and every week or so, the scale moves a notch towards my goal.

it's starting to catch on.

people that i work with are picking up on these healthy habits, and trying them on for size. even my parents who in recent years were more health savvy than i, have taken interest in this juicy new facet of my life. i love hearing the reports on others' juicing and nutribullet-ing adventures. especially the parts where they notice a positive change in their health, and on the scale. it's nice to have friends to take this journey with me, the more the merrier. if i can inspire others to be more conscious of their own health by drinking a big ol' jar of juice every day, then it's already too good to stop.

be the change... drink the juice!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

tobacco free-dom!

it's been a while since i've mentioned it, and now that it's come to mind i believe it deserves it's very own post. about a year ago, i had pledged as my 'MSP' that i'd quit smoking cigarettes. i'm not gonna lie, it was tough.. but more than worth it.

last year was a crazy one with lots of travel and sudden unexpected stresses, but despite everything i made my best effort to quit. the fact that it's 'so much more' than simply inhaling burning tobacco kept me coming back.. an excuse to go out for break, to get away from whatever is happening in the moment and snuff it out with a drag and a puff. stepping out to the smoke hole is a social event in itself.

i had quit about this time last year, and i was doing so well.... until i had to get on an airplane. i had pretty much sworn off any sort of traveling that involved leaving the ground, and an opportunity of a lifetime had come about and i simply couldn't say no. i also couldn't keep my nerves in order waiting to board that first flight without half a pack of cigarettes blasting through my lungs to calm me.

i spent most of the rest of the year not smoking, until the next big journey, and the next... and finally in october after my last plane ride, i had decided i was done with it. i was kind of disappointed in myself for not having reached my goals by my goal date [lose weight/gain health/quit smoking by october/dominican trip] that i felt i had to do something right away. i had realized that there was little point in trying to improve my overall health if i'd refused to quit poisoning myself on a daily basis. i had to stop. suddenly, cigarettes were no longer as appealing. the long, horribly cold winter helped.

that being said, it's been five months since i've smoked a cigarette, and a year since i 'quit' [as in no longer bought cigarettes, but gladly accepted when someone said 'you look like you could use a smoke']. i don't need a smoke anymore, don't want one either. in fact, i'd tried at some point and it made me feel sick, i had to put it down. i'm finally done with it. after all i've been reading and learning about nutrition and what goes on inside these crazy bodies of ours, i couldn't stomach the idea of doing that much damage to myself. i wish with all my heart i could make others feel the same way.

smoking is a choice. for a long time i knew that, yet i chose to smoke. sure i felt 'addicted', they're addictive. but i also knew that it was my choice. if at any time i could decide that i didn't want to do it anymore, i'd find the will and the strength to stop. it's very true for me at least... in order for change to happen, you have to actually want it. i want to find my health, and i'm willing to do whatever it takes. one step at a time of course, and for me this was a critical one.

that's it for now, breathe easy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

the scale

it's an important tool when on a journey to better health, i find. i never used to care about the numbers, but without some way to measure it's hard to see results. last year i'd used our roommates scale for the first half, then after we moved we went the second half of the year without one. i suppose i felt a little lost because i couldn't tell if i was making a difference, so i finally caved and picked one up at the start of the year.

i spent a majority of my late teens and early twenties wandering around with a rucksack, stopping from time to time to inhabit random dwellings but i never stayed for long. when i was kept busy getting up before sunrise and constantly on the move, my weight was pretty average. i settled into the domesticated life when i came back to town and started working full time night shift. i gained weight quickly, having hashimoto's didn't help my cause. after a couple years i had gone from 150 [which i already thought was heavy] to over 180. i stopped looking.. my heaviest weight was 213 pounds by the start of 2012. oh, i'm 5'5", just in case you were wondering. i'd never had the nerve to take a picture of the scale back then, i was in denial that my weight was out of control.

by sheer force i managed to lose ten pounds, but it took me a year to do it. i leveled out at 205 which stayed my average weight for another year. at the beginning of 2013 i started this blog, and my search for the 'perfect diet and exercise' regime that would help me lose weight. i lost a few pounds here and there, i think i'd lost about ten pounds total [all of which i gained back], but at least i'd gained hope that it is possible to make the numbers go in the other direction.

when i stepped on the scale today, i was half expecting my numbers to have gone up a couple notches for having 'fallen off the wagon' a few days ago and had a veggie burger combo, and the next day a small order of fries. i'd kept up with the juicing and other healthy inputs of course, but still.. i was totally shocked when i looked down. i really couldn't believe it, i had to reset the scale a few times and rub my eyes to make sure everything was working right.

189.6! i can't even remember the last time i saw a number under 190. i know it's just a pound less than the last time i mentioned my weight, but it still seems so surreal! i suppose i didn't want to get my hopes up on bringing my weight down, and it was super extra satisfying to know i made it under my next expected plateau. i mean, it could still be one, but i'm staying positive. hard work and dedication and self-education truly does pay off. until next time.... yay!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

spring CLEANing

something very strange just happened... let me try and explain.

first of all, i haven't been doing a whole lot of writing because i've been doing a whole lot of reading. and juicing, and blending, and stretching and relaxing, and for realsies most nights even sleeping... and despite just getting over a bug i'm feeling pretty good.

anyhoo.. for quite some time now, i've been doing my own research and experimentation to figure out exactly what is the best diet for me. i've read all kinds of books, watched over a dozen food documentaries, taken online courses in nutrition, and researched various references to attempt to discover what is best to put into my body. not only that, but how to 'cleanse' and reset my digestive system through nutrition. 

a while ago, we picked up a NutriBullet as i've always had a hard time getting food into me before too early in the morning, and all of my days begin so early. but there are a bunch of things i didn't like the idea of throwing in a blender [namely vegetables, specifically greens] so i decided to invest in a brand new masticating juicer. i found it on sale right at the beginning of the year and got an amazing deal! of course, it was 'new year's resolution season', the best time to find health related gadgets and exercise equipment on sale.

i started juicing as often as i could. before long, it had also become a part of my daily ritual, juicing enough mostly vegetables to get me through the day. after everything i've learned i find it really difficult to put processed foods into my body, and i've had to get creative with what i juice and blend to keep it interesting [and tasty!] and before long, slowly but surely, i started to see results.

so i'm walking through the bookstore on my lunch with a determination to find a book on food combining. i pretty well knew going in there that i'd need to order it as there wouldn't be one in store, and i was right. on my way in i passed this table with a bunch of healthy recipe books, raw vegan stuff, that sort of thing.. and down on the corner there was two copies of a book called 'CLEAN'. plain white cover, small paperback print, nothing fancy. while every other book on this table was a glossy print or fancy hardcover. for some reason that was the book i was compelled to pick up.

i flipped it over and wuh.. a familiar face! i've been watching so many documentaries and reading so many books i couldn't remember which i'd remembered it from, but there he was. Alejandro Junger, M.D.. i looked at the cover and thought, for whatever reason.. nah this guy is going to tell me things i already know. what i don't know is proper food combination, i gotta cover that first. i put the book down and went over to the ordering station.

a store clerk came up to me and asked if i needed any help. i told her what i was looking for, and she told me her life story. she was raised on meat and potatoes and raw milk. rarely greens, and yet there she stood before me.. healthy and energetic [though more overweight than i] and pushing seventy. she was trying to convince me that i don't really need any vegetables to survive, i just need to eat good food. we had accepted one another's difference of opinion.. but she had thrown me off the track i was on to ordering that book, and taken up most of my lunch. i walked back to the fancy display table as a last minute decision [i needed a new book to digest!] and i picked up a copy of Clean.

i started reading right away. and there it was...

...a synchronicity! i mean, these things happen... but it was just too uncanny. i picked up a book that i was somehow drawn to, and it was a familiar face. his program applies some habits that i'm already practicing based on everything that i've learned, and it has already been working for me. i turned to page eleven and my eye was immediately drawn to the words Eleven Eleven. i had to look again... i couldn't believe it! i've had this obsession with these numbers since i was ten years old, and there they were. i couldn't help but feel like in that moment, the universe was telling me 'hey! you got it...'

so, that's my story. or, the beginning anyways. i'm on my second read-through of this fantastic program, which even provides ways to mentally prepare, and things to keep in mind while you cleanse. like the fact that it's 'only three weeks'. this particular program has some very strict, although not restrictive [in the sense of calories, just choosing the right ones!] guidelines to get the maximum benefits in this relatively short amount of time. snacks at a party, a gathering at a restaurant, these things aren't so horrible to attend without consuming if you can just keep in mind what you are doing for your health, and that once it's over those snacks will come around again. only next time you might not crave them as much, after seeing and feeling the results of such an intensive, restorative program.. that's actually very simple!

needless to say, i'm going to give it a try. i'm already on the right path as far as easing in, and being prepared with the tools i need. now i need to collect a few more ingredients, a few more reliable, relatively simple and delicious 'clean' recipes, and just a smidgen more willpower. i'm almost there...

[ps! i forgot to mention... i'm now at 190.8 pounds! that's keeping with the average of a pound a week weight loss. i hit that plateau of 195, but the juicing and blending combo along with better choices helped me overcome it quickly. just sayin'!]