Absences and Updates

I’ve been absent from this blog for far longer than I anticipated. This was directly due to a immediate family member suffering not one, not two, but three separate near-fatal health emergencies, including a stroke, a heart attack and coma. Rather than recounting the epic shit fest that has been mine and my family’s lives in the last year I will instead just get down to (blog) business. 

Thanks again for your support and continuing to follow & read this little writing experiment of mine. 

 

Ow, Yay, Ow.

I’m on the final day of the “nothing but juice” part of the detox. Today was pretty darn tough. I had zero energy and spent a couple hours napping.  I had wicked muscle pain, felt super flu-like and yucky. I was feeling a little better at dinner time, but I’m experiencing some pretty sharp pain in my kidneys. I can only guess that it’s the effects of my kidneys detoxing.

I bought some reusable glass bottles to store our juices in. They’re glass bottles with a silicone sleeve and flip top lid. They’re by a company called Lifefactory. The bottles come in a range of sizes, but I bought the 22oz size. They’ll be great to use for water after we’re done with the fast. I highly recommend them.

The good news is that I’ve dropped five pounds. I’m pretty geeked about that, however the primary reason for doing this juice fast was not to lose weight but to reset my palate. I wanted to rid my body of the overwhelming cravings for white flour, sugar and processed foods. We went to the market tonight to get produce for tomorrow’s juices, and while we were on our way to the checkout I noticed the usual junk foods stacked right by the registers. Upon seeing it, I instantly thought, “Poison, poison, poison, don’t want any of that”.  And I realized it was true.

Brie, Please.

I’m coming into my second day on the juice fast. Hubs and I started Wednesday night, and I was feeling totally fine up until last night right before dinner time. I hadn’t experienced any real hunger pangs and was feeling pretty good aside from a little bit of sleepiness and feeling a little colder than usual. I had a shower right before we had our ‘dinner’ juice and noticed in the mirror that my chin had broken out with what I would normally term “stress acne”. I don’t normally suffer from acne; in fact I can count on both hands the number of breakouts I’ve had in the last ten years. I didn’t even get much acne as a teenager, aside from an odd spot or two right around exam time. (See, it’s stress!) :)I assumed the breakout was detox related and went about the rest of my day.

Dinner was a difficult experience; the juice hubs made had entirely too much broccoli in it for my taste. Getting it all down was a challenge, but I managed. I went to bed at 8pm, which is much earlier than normal. I did sleep, but I had really weird dreams.  (I’m hoping to get some more sleep after writing this!)

So far negative symptoms I’ve experienced include:

  • acne breakouts
  • chills; can’t get warm enough
  • feeling dizzy (mild)
  • mild flu-like symptoms
  • feeling tired

However, the positive ones include:

  • No migraines. At all! (This is the first time in maybe five years I can remember waking up migraine/allergy free. AWESOME.)
  • No allergy symptoms either upon waking or throughout the day
  • Feeling lighter (not physically, more like feeling I’m not as weighed down by all the bad things I used to consume, if that makes sense?)
  • Sleeping better
  • Aside from the breakout on my chin, the rest of my skin looks AMAZING. I’m shocked that I’ve had such noticeable results so darn quickly.

Hubs and I talked about the length of the juice fast last night, and we think (barring any AMAZING developments) that we will continue to do a straight juice fast for another two days (today and tomorrow), and then on Saturday night we will introduce a small salad as part of our ‘dinner’. We will do the breakfast= juice/ lunch= juice/dinner= juice + salad plan for a further four days to bring us up to a week on the detox and then re-evaluate how we are both feeling.

One of the other things about the fast so far that has really surprised me is that I am having NO sugar cravings whatsoever. Previously if I’d started “a healthy diet”, the first three days I would be miserable and cranky because of the sugar withdrawl. This time I have none of those sugar cravings/withdrawl symptoms – it really is amazing.  I also find when I do have cravings for different foods (which are mild at best ), the cravings are for HEALTHY FOODS. I woke up 30 minutes ago with a craving for spelt pasta with feta, avocado and tomatoes. Earlier yesterday I had a hankering for some vegan brie en croute in a recipe I saw over at Vedged Out. 

What is happening to me?!!? ;) I’m not entirely sure, but I like it.

Going to soldier through today and tomorrow – everyone says day three is the toughest. I figure I can put up with 2 more days’ discomfort for all the benefits the juice fast will give me. I am really excited about the prospect of “resetting” my health and getting rid of old, poisonous cravings and habits in exchange for ones that will make me genuinely happy and feed my body in positive, enriching ways.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

A few nights ago I watched a documentary with my husband entitled Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It follows the story of two men who are morbidly obese and both suffering from severe illness. In a last-ditch attempt to kick-start their journey towards health (or “reboot their lives” as they say in the documentary), each man embarks on a 60-day juice fast.

Here’s the trailer:

I’d watched about 30 minutes of this documentary six months ago, but never got around to finishing it. I was telling my husband about it and we decided to watch it together. We had got about 35 minutes in, when my husband turned to me and said, “I’m going to do this. We should do this. Together”.
I was really happy he was so into it, as men are (usually) notoriously difficult to get on board in regards doing positive things for their health.  So after seeing our doctor and getting the all clear, we have both started our juice plan this evening. To get ready for the plan, we ate lightly over the past few days. Today we ate breakfast and lunch as normal, but for dinner we started our juice plan.  Our first “juice meal” was “Mean Green” Juice.

MEAN GREEN

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • ginger root

(Quantities are per person.)

I’m not too fond of ginger, so we left that out. It was a very pleasant, fresh tasting juice. I’m hoping as I become more accustomed to juicing that I’ll be more open to trying things in my juices that I wouldn’t normally have. We are having fruit juices in the morning and sticking to vegetable juice for the rest of the day. This is to give our bodies the chance to burn off the fruit sugars early. We’re also drinking 16oz or more of water after each “juice meal” to help flush out the body. I’m currently reading The Everything Juicing Book by Carole Jacobs. I bought it for my tablet so I can refer to the recipes in a pinch when I’m making juice each day.

This is not a decision that we undertook lightly. It is a much needed reboot for the both of us. We both feel we are at the least healthy point in our adult lives and we both desperately need to turn that around. This plan will give us the kick start to live healthy, productive lives and to reach our goals for optimal health.  In the documentary both men wind up doing the juice fast for 60 days. Personally, I think that’s kind of extreme. We are doing our juice plan for 10 days, and then re-evaluating at the end of that period. We are also having check-ups with our doctor regularly throughout the process.  I’ll be posting here about all the highs and lows and in-betweens over the next ten days. I’ve heard the first four or so days are tough, but that’s okay because I’m tougher. :)

If you’d like to watch the documentary or read some more about the juice program, you can visit the official website at Reboot Your Life. The documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is also available on Netflix, iTunes and via Amazon Instant Video.

Future Me Doing Future Things

I’ve been looking at a lot of exercise/healthy living things online in the last few days, and the idea of being able to eventually take specific exercise classes really appeals to me. I don’t mean some random, manic workout class where the music makes your ears bleed, the teacher is too chipper to function and everyone (but you) is bouncing around like a frog in a bucket.  I’m thinking more a long the lines of something like yoga or pilates. I’ve done a little research on yoga, which does interest me.  In the last few weeks I’ve started reading more about pilates. I think it would be an excellent choice for me in a few months’ time.  One of the core (no pun intended) health issues I have (aside from the fat thing) is back pain.  I had a slip and fall accident in a supermarket a few years ago, and that accident lead to a damaged spine and some serious lower back pain. This pain has recently developed into sciatica.

I’m hopeful that the weight loss will help alleviate some – if not the majority – of my back pain.  I’m very interested in doing exercise that will strengthen my core muscles and those increasingly strengthened core muscles will help support my back a lot better. I believe that pilates and yoga will help me achieve this. I love researching things and knowing how stuff works, so I won’t be signing up for any classes in the immediate future. (Also – I’m at my all time heaviest weight. Getting me to sign up for group anything right now will have a failure rate of 100%. I’m just not comfortable exercising in front of others just yet).   I will, however, continue to read and research, so when I feel I am ready & able to join a yoga/pliates class I will know my stuff backwards and go into it confident and excited to begin.

Have you ever taken a yoga/pilates class? Do you take them now? What benefits, if any, have you seen/experienced in your yoga/pilates practice?

Blue

Currently Reading: “If I’m So Smart, How Come I Can’t Lose Weight?” by Brooke Castillo.

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In early November, an immediate family member who lives overseas had a massive heart attack and was in a coma for a number of weeks. They are now back at home, however the doctors have said they are not a candidate for surgery and there is no more that can be done. It is a day-to-day situation.

After a four-week period that could only be described as one of the worst of my life, I am back here to write.  I spent the last five weeks not sleeping, on a whacked-out time schedule, calling long distance every 10 hours or so and being chained to my cell phone 24/7. The stress made me either A) not want to eat or B) sleep for hours. When I finally did eat something, it wasn’t anything resembling actual, real food.  I believe I’m at my highest weight since August 2009 (when I maxed out at 245lbs).  I’m not game to weigh myself, as I cannot take one more bad thing. The stress will probably kill me — if the fat doesn’t kill me first.

So I’m back on the “I hate being this fat, so let’s do something concrete about it this time before I have stroke/heart attack” horse. I always knew there was more to my fatness that just taking in more calories than my body needed. I was almost always aware that there was a (big, scary) emotional/behavioral component  — that up until now I had been too scared to address in a full and genuine way.

I know a lot of the emotional/behavioral stems from having family members treat me like I was worthless growing up. I also know a really big part of it is to do with being sexually assaulted twice; once at 12 and again at 22 – and both by people who were “friends of the family”.  Right before the first assault I was a happy, healthy (weight and otherwise) 12 year old who had just lost 25lbs and was finally looking like the other girls at her school. After the assault, my 12-year-old brain didn’t know how to comprehend what had occurred, and I certainly didn’t understand why these sick and evil acts had been dished out to me. So I learned to distract myself with whatever tasted good, whatever would give me a tiny piece of comfort. I learned very quickly to use food as a salve, to self medicate when those horrible memories emerged.

I was not overweight when the second assault happened at 22, but I slowly became overweight within the next year or so. I thought that if I could make myself as invisible as possible to men, I’d be less likely to be hurt again. I thought that my fatness would repel any would-be-rapists, and I went out of my way to make myself as physically unappealing as possible.

I learned pretty quickly that my fatness didn’t save me from feeling sad or anxious or from having flashback nightmares. My fatness didn’t save me from unwelcome advances or wolf-whistles or cat calls. I still had to go through all the painful stuff that came with the aftermath of my assault, but I had to go through it and be disgusted at how overweight I’d allowed myself to become. What I thought would be a protective cocoon from just the bad stuff wound up insulating me from everything in the world, good and bad. My cocoon made me feel worse and worse about myself with every passing year, and I wound up missing out on an awful lot of stuff because I was burdened with an unhealthy body, an almost annihilated self-image and some seriously damaged self-esteem.

This latest family health scare has made me fully realize with an unadulterated clarity that it is my personal responsibility to just get it done, already!. Get the emotional and psychological work started. Get the weight loss done. It doesn’t matter how scary I think it is, it’ll be a whole lot scarier if I don’t deal with it. I fully intend to break out of this cocoon forever. I shouldn’t have trapped myself inside in the first place and if I don’t make a break for it now, I might never get out.  I also know I have to do the emotional work just as much as the weight loss side of things — If I don’t,  I’ll never truly be free of it.

Mirrors and Rabbit Holes

Shortly after I wrote my last blog post, I went on a business trip to Madison, WI.  For the first time in nearly 3 years, I saw myself in a full-length mirror. It wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t pleased. In fact, I had such an epic meltdown/panic attack that I cried myself to sleep. The dark mood that followed lasted at least three days after. I knew it wasn’t going to be positive – after all, I am 100+ lbs overweight – but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how brutal it would be.

Having had some time to consider it, I now see that it was an excellent – if painful – learning experience. As a currently overweight woman, I am hyper vigilant at avoiding mirrors. I only look at myself to dry my hair or put on make-up (which isn’t as often as I’d like – I struggle with the “there’s no point” versus “I want to look and feel better”, which is all contingent on my current mood).  Needless to say purchasing clothing is a mostly online only excursion. I’m not going to subject myself to the horror of full length mirrors and fluorescent lights when my self-esteem is already parked in the basement.

This avoidance of mirrors is supposed to be a protective measure, designed to spare me the indignity of seeing just how fat I look at my current weight and thus avoiding meltdowns like the one I had in Madison. Unfortunately (and to my embarrassment) I now realize this avoidance of mirrors for years has done me more harm than good. Had I actually sought mirrors out – or at least had one in the house – I would have been able to keep a better check on my weight and prevented it getting this bad.

I can’t do anything about stopping the 100lb weight gain that’s already occurred. What I can do is work towards losing the weight. I’ll be installing a full length mirror in my house – a very useful tool that will help keep my weight in check, now and in the future.