Fat Kid Suit


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Shocker: I’ve lost 19 pounds since Valentine’s Day by avoiding Industrial Food!

I want to share where I am at with my efforts to walk away from Industrial food.

An Inner Debate

On Feb 9 I listened in as Daniel Vitalis and David Wolfe participated in Kevin Gianni’s “Great Health Debate.”  Click to read my review of the event and see why it immediately motivated me to make some serious changes in my life.

That was only 3 1/2 weeks ago–just before Valentines Day.  Since then I have honored my commitment to avoid meat, dairy, GMOs, processed foods, refined sugar, coffee, and I’ve eliminated all gluten from my diet.  The result?

I Break the News

I FEEL GREAT and I HAVE LOST 19 LBS in just 25 DAYS!

I wasn’t expecting these kind of results.  When I went to weigh myself today I thought the scale would tell me I had  lost around 10-12 LBS.   The reason I am surprised is because I have been unable to exercise due to injury.

100% Raw VS My New Approach

This level of weight loss is almost identical to the results I had when I did my 100% raw food challenge.  Even the starting and ending weights are within a few pounds! Here you can see full body Before & After pics taken during my first 30 days raw. However, this time around I am only eating about 1/3  of my calories in raw form (uncooked fruits n’ veggies).

Cooked Carbs

I was concerned that my increased intake of cooked carbohydrate like potatoes, carrots, beans, brown rice pasta, and organic corn tortillas; might even result in weight gain.  When I did 100% raw I gave up ALL alcohol.  The past 3 1/2 weeks I have enjoyed red wine and even cocktails made with only fresh ingredients.

Fat Phobia

The other difference between how I eat now VS when I ate only raw food for 60 days–is my fat intake. While I have not been fat phobic in any way, I am eating way less fat than when I did 100% raw and was eating a ton of nuts, nut creams, nut butters, and 1-2 avocados a day. I don’t include nuts in my diet every day now.  I eat a half an avocado every other day or so.  I cook sparingly with olive oil and try to instead use it in it’s uncooked form in salads or pesto. I do eat a few eggs each week.

So What Exactly DO I Eat Now?

If you are curious to read more about what I HAVE been eating, and even see some pics, check out my daily food log called What I Ate Today.

The only current “Before & After” pics I have kinda suck, but I will include them here because I think you can see a dramatic difference in my fat face.  My apologies, the first pic is creepy.

 

Scary Valentine photo taken Feb 12 256 LBS

Same hat, looking a little more Grapes Of Wrath, less than 3 weeks later, Mar 7--237 LBS


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People are kinda creeped by what I am keeping in my fridge

If you have read FAT KID SUIT lately you know that I recently started over.  One year is plenty of time to get in amazing shape.  Unfortunately it is also more than enough time to completely fall apart and double in size.

This past Saturday was the first time in a year I went to the local Farmer’s Market with the intention of buying almost ALL of my food for the week there.  I forgot just how different shopping for a true plant-based diet is…

 

When you truly buy enough plant calories, there is little room in the fridge for anything else!

Let me give you a tour of the fridge, which friends and family have called everything from “Gross!” to “Insane!”

Top Shelf

  • Hidden from view are amazing local dates and a couple jars of raw almond butter.
  • Tangerines
  • Apples (several varieties)
  • Snap Peas
  • Local Eggs
  • Red and Gold raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Three colors of bell peppers
  • Red cabbage
  • Oranges

Middle Shelf

  • In what used to be the “cheese” drawer is cucumber, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Hidden from view under that drawer is a huge bag of oranges, and a big bag of tangelos for juicing.
  • Sitting in water is celery and three types of carrots.

Bottom “Crisper” Drawers

  • The bottom is mostly greens.  Kale, spinach, mache, arugula, cilantro…bags and bags of greens!

In addition to the what is in the fridge we keep several bunches of bananas and a couple bottles of wine on the counter  at all times.  Next to the fridge are some little “dry” pantry shelves…

 

Basic staples I am using a lot of since changing the way I eat back to plant-based and including some cooked vegetables.

Some of the stuff on these shelves are left overs from different things I’ve tried and am no longer really doing.  For instance the powdered greens and greens in pill form.  As you can see from the fridge pics the focus is on fresh.

Why not 100% raw?

I am not wanting to do 100% raw right now.  By not pushing for 100% I am eating less nuts and almost no raw specialty foods.  In addition to the calories I get from raw fruits, veggies, and small quantities of raw nuts and oils–I get calories from simple cooked meals that are comprised of potatoes and other cooked vegetables, tomato sauces, and delicious fresh pesto.  I limit myself to having a few servings of whole grains and eggs each week.  The cans you see are cat food, which since October have been the only meat in the house…

In just a few weeks I have gotten off the coffee ride, am drinking a lot less hard liquor, and no beer.  Done are the nightly pizzas, the garlic bread, french fries, and junk sweets.  And guess what?  The out of control and disgusting acid reflux, which had reached a level where I couldn’t even lay flat to sleep, is 100% gone.  I am exercising almost every day now, and feel compelled to do so.  I will weigh myself soon, but from what I can see in the mirror I have already dropped a lot of toxic weight.  All thanks to avoiding industrial food and doing my best to choose the most nutrient rich foods I can eat.

 


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Mussolini, Monsanto, and Madoff

Defendant Sitting In The Juror’s Box

So here I sit, desiring to make a meaningful change in my life–something that is almost always preceded by changing what I eat. But desire may be too strong a word, it’s more like I’m wishing I could change, which is a much weaker thing than white hot need.

Which I guess is why I am sitting, and not dragging my mass up the trail I told myself just yesterday I would climb every day–no matter what. Instead I opted for a blueberry muffin and coffee from a new Patisserie I’m fond of…

Please don’t think I’m taking any of this lightly, or that I think my being overweight and unhealthy is farce. I don’t. My sometimes ridiculously high blood pressure, my compromised aerobic capacity that must rate somewhere near a ninety year old asthmatic’s, and my low opinion of my mirror self are of genuine concern to me. And those are the surface items, the easily identifiable. I also fear the unseen, perhaps lurking abnormalities within…

Could I develop cancer? Are my aching kidneys truly on the fritz? Is my liver more bourbon than bile? In my barrel of a chest doth there beat a strong and lasting heart, or a clump of over-fat but underfed tissue? Are the migraines I get several times a week just a food allergy or isolated disorder, or part of some more pressing evil?

Verdict Coming Soon

I think many of us live with these unsettling questions. Too many cigarettes. The rebuke of hangovers. The disgusting discomfort of a bloated gut. The miracle body left dusty on its shelf…

But What Can Be Done?

As a good friend of mine recently asked, “But what can be done?” I joked in yesterday’s post about feeling like a twelve-stepper, but powerlessness really does factor in. Why do we feel so unable to control what we eat and drink. What supernatural power blocks us from using our bodies in a way that gets the blood pumping and adds years?

My opinion is that we underestimate how toxic our worlds are. Madonna lived in a material one, I inhabit a chemical one. Radiation, fumigation, pesticides, additives, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, inhibitors, stimulants, depressants, EMF’s, polluted air and water, negative people, too much noise, too much of all of it. We try and live on foods that can barely be labeled such. Even when we do include some fruit or veggies they are mostly devoid of minerals and nutrients because the soil they grow in is ill-prepared and chemicals are substituted for care.

The problem is a complex one. The solution however may be ridiculously simple…

Mussolini, Monsanto, and Madoff

If there is one topic I hate reading about, it’s my own responsibility. But in a world like ours, it’s the only answer. Say what?

Benito

Humans have always blamed Mussolini’s, Monsanto’s, and Madoff’s for their own woe’s. Another favorite is one’s parents, bed-mate, or children. I’m the first to admit that both government and religion suck big time and do a whole lot of wrong, but I believe their blame only extends so far…

Years ago, when self-help titles occupied most of the best seller slots, I read a chapter on personal (and I mean deeply) responsibility that has never left me. I don’t remember who wrote it, or which of the multitude of saccharine self-pedaling books it was in, but it floored me. The gist was that the only way to change your world for the better was to unfailingly, 100%, take absolute responsibility for every last fucking thing about your life.

It may seem like I am trivializing, but for me the message still resonates. And while I know that it’s relevant to ask “What should I eat?”, or “How can I change?”, I also know that those questions are truly secondary. First is a refusal to blame anything or anyone else for where you are right this very second. And as harsh as it sounds that includes the man who left you stranded, the drunk who put you in a hospital bed for painful months, the mother who undermined your every move, the corporation that knowingly poisons you, and the guy who stole your TV.

Why Blame Is Lame

Let’s be clear. It’s not that they aren’t to blame. It’s that blaming them takes away whatever power you have left! Resolving that you will walk through life 110% responsible for every action or inaction you take makes you extremely powerful. Power FULL, in the driver’s seat, able to act as you wish.

And that definitely includes what you eat. As Michael Pollan says, we “vote with our forks.” We vote for or against the humane treatment of other sentient beings. We vote for or against ourselves.

You Are What You Eat When You Eat Your Kid

This is a topic that could and should be explored more deeply, but I share this much for now because it popped in my head as an answer to my own lamentations…


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Detritus and other life dilemmas.

You have no idea how much I hate to share this…I am so fucking fat and out of shape…AGAIN!

Like a twelve-stepper wrestling with step one, can I admit at least to myself that I have a serious problem?

Yes, I think so.  This is my type-written admission to me, and to what I imagine, disgusted (or at least disgruntled) readers of this blog.  Let me buy the bar a round of apologies, and toast you all with “To a life larger than it is small!”  And “New beginnings!”

If there is anyone still out there who cares, I will be blogging once again about my relationship with food (still not sure if I’m the abused or the abuser), and a bunch of other stuff you may find interesting.  Much has happened since my last posts and many of my viewpoints have changed, some drastically.  I also now have a mustache.

mustache

Years ago, maybe when I was twelve or thirteen, a science teacher lectured about detritus.  I learned that decomposition is the rule rather than the exception in life.  My English lit teacher tried to tell us the same thing somewhere in her “Man VS. Nature” lectures.  And I suppose a lot of the crap I was taught at church was just a response to the fears associated with the overriding erosive nature of  life.

detritus

 

I think it’s just this year  though that I finally  get it.  Detritus.  And for some reason my increased awareness of all things decomposing is motivating me to create.

I want to create.  Even if what I create can’t be lasting.

 

 


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90 day natural fitness challenge: Days 7 & 8 movies & exercise!

Today begins two busy weeks for me…the Palm Springs Film Festival opens today!

I have tickets for 8 screenings, and am psyched because I have two screenplay projects that I want to complete/figure out, but haven’t had the motivation…so I’m looking to the festival for some inspiration.

The trick is going to be keeping up with the 90 day Natural Fitness Challenge, bartending full-time and catching all these films…

But I’m pumped, I feel good, and I don’t have kids, so don’t shed any tears for me–the next two weeks will be great.

I may even throw in a movie review or two…

Day 7 (yesterday)

  1. 24 oz. of h20 w/ 2 tbs apple cider vinegar for my sinus thing
  2. juiced a grapefruit and 3 oranges and blended the juice with half a bag of spinach
  3. had a coconut water just before Bikram Yoga class
  4. drank a quart of water during my 90 minute Bikram class
  5. 24 more oz. of ACV & water
  6. watermelon juice
  7. leftover grilled veggies & potatoes before work
  8. road bike to work and snacked on a tangerine and a LARA bar at work
  9. Fresh pesto w/ loads of raw garlic, fresh tomato, tossed with warm quinoa after work for dinner! Frickin good.
  10. Uli Mana’s cacao date rolls and a glass of vino
  11. more water and ACV before bed (sinus thing is still lingering in background and I want it GONE GONE).

Day 8 (today-Friday)

  1. quart of h2o
  2. my favorite breakfast–a whole pineapple
  3. a small iced green tea, spicy blue corn chips & organic hummus for lunch
  4. saw Love & Rage (Vanvittig Forelsket) at a matinee at Palm Springs Film Fest–snacked on a raw snack made of cacao covered almonds & raisins
  5. an orange
  6. water water water, road my bike to work
  7. had a lara bar at work
  8. rode bike home from work and splurged with baked nachos–blue corn chips, black beans, organic raw cheese (unpasteurized and aged), hot sauce

For exercise I did push ups ALL day.  I think I will be doing this once per week.   Whenever I thought about it today I dropped and did 10 here, 6 there, 12 there, and they added up to…70 push ups. Next week when I do the pushup thing again I want to DOUBLE that number!!! I am sore and got a nice pump from today though.

Still feel a little under the weather and can’t wait to feel a 100%.  I’m one week in and I’m ready to be more intense…

Tomorrow is Farmer’s Market and another screening!


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 6 Health is the Ultimate Perk

I have some issues with this “challenge.”

I have to level with you and share that I have a real problem with the following words:

  • Natural – What the hell does that mean anyway?  Aren’t we all natural, even when we’re not?
  • Fitness – It’s kind of a gross word, that for me conjures up images of treadmills and those stupid giant balls people workout on.
  • Challenge – The word itself is a challenge, and in an abrasive way.  Sometimes we like a good challenge, but most of us don’t like to be challenged.

beats me

So why would I call this a Natural Fitness Challenge?  Because I only have words to work with here 😉 and because the three words together, kinda sorta almost convey what I am trying to do for the next 90 days of my life.  Actually I have 84 days left!

The whole package, aka, stronger & longer lasting.

Looking good Kim...must be all those Carl's Jr. salads...

I have tried–successfully & unsuccessfully–to “tranform” my body in the past.  Unfortunatley, even when I did succeed it was short-lived.  And something else always bothered me too…those transformations weren’t really about me.

Having only external goals like “I wanna lose weight and have big muscles,” or “the most important thing in my life is that I can wear a bikini this summer,” doesn’t get you to a place where the transformation sticks.  I want you to wear a bikini this summer too–I really do–but I want you to be wearing the polka dots every summer after as well.

That’s the thing that has been so different about both my 60 day Raw Food challenge and now this 90 day Natural Fitness challenge, I am focused on the whole package, and I want the change to become a permanent part of me.

Do you want to be healthy?

One of the biggest parts of the package is health.  What’s the point of getting super fit but in the process flooding your body with cancer causing artificial sweeteners, meat & dairy full of hormones and antibiotics, and “fat burners” that quickly wear down your nervous system?

And why undergo a trans-formative process that leaves you feeling only more critical of yourself?  That’s never healthy.

We live once.  We are these bodies, which I don’t believe are separate from us as most of us have been taught.

We can live incredibly with all kinds of savory sensory input and loads of dynamic energy and skin on skin and bellowing laughter, or we can drive around town with cheetohs on our dash and a big gulp in the cup holder with cigarettes burning our upholstery and our lungs hating the world and…you get the picture.

And yeah..I’m dramatizing both realities..we are all somewhere in the middle of that picture…which is right where we should be.

What I did on Day 6:

I am so blown away by how fast you can heal if you get out of your own way!  If you read the last couple blogs I mentioned I had to slow down a bit because of a debilitating sinus infection.  I rarely get sick, but when i get sinus infections they are serious business.

Gabrielle Brick, who I am a not so secret admirer of, gave me some great advice on how to make my sinus infection “cease to exist” quickly.  I used to have month long infections, following her advice it’s almost completely gone in 2 days!

Today I will be going for another strenuous hike since it’s my last day off for a bit and I must be outside in this gorgeous weather (it’s absolute sunny perfection and in the 70’s in Palm Springs).

  1. 2 glasses of h2o each with a tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar (for my sinuses)
  2. Juiced 2 grapefruit, 4 oranges, and blended with 2 big handfuls of spinach and some blueberries.
  3. 2 more glasses of water w/ ACV.
  4. took a slow hike at a pace that would get my heart rate up w/o stressing my immune system.
  5. ate a LARA bar on the hike.
  6. bought a new matcha green tea raw bar at health food store and ate it–so delicious! like a sweet graham cracker.
  7. made chickpea tacos with spicy mexicn seasonings and lots of fajita veggies: zucchini, carrots, onion, red pepper.  served on steamed corn tortillas and with spicy corn on the cob. i skipped the organic sour cream because of my sinuses.
  8. swallowed 2 big cloves of garlic (immune booster) in a tbs of raw honey (anti-bacterial).

Tomorrow I think I’ll feel good enough to get back to a Bikram class!


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 5 Meet some of the other “challengers!”

So far about a dozen people in the Twitter, Facebook, and blog world have told me they are on board with the 90 day challenge in one form or another.  Not sure how many will share their info and photos with me for this blog, but I’d like to feature as many people’s transformation stories here that I can!

I will start with  three people who I know well and who responded positively to the challenge immediately;  my aunt Carrie (she’s more like a big sister and only a few years older than me), my brother Mike, and my girlfriend Annie.

Carrie (In her own words)

I am turning 40 in about five months, and I want to feel the healthiest ever! Seriously…

I am as you know a mommy of two beautiful little ladies, and a stay home mommy and wife at that. I work my tail off and have always seemed to put myself last health wise.

I do the yo-yo diet thing, work out here and there, but since having our girls have not held to it as I did before. Clearly my fault, as I was thinking it was selfish of me to spend time taking care of me. NOW I view this far differently, and know the better healthier way to see this is to take care of myself, so I can take care of my family.

Keep in mind that while I admit to being overweight, I am muscular too from working out with weights.  I love LOVE working out, but as I said have felt guilt over it.  As you know it is very time consuming to do it all the right way.

I love being a mommy and a wife…

My goals are to lose inches, over all lose some pounds, and feel healthy. I want a clean diet and I want to learn how to stay off of this destructive yo-yo diet & working out thing I have done for the last 11 years since having my kiddos.

My plan is to work out with light weights and do high reps , with TONS of cardio, as much as I can possibly handle. I am doing a diet as of today that is known as the Sacred Heart Diet {it’s primarily a soup diet], which has worked before for me as a way to kick start weight loss.

I am open to doing the raw diet after I have time to gain enough insight to do it wisely AND I am open to any and all constructive advice you may have as time goes on. I want to complete this with a good success, so I can not only say I did it, but be able to see quality results.

I have also committed to absolutely no soda for the next 90 days, and and no fake sugars in my coffee, which is the only time I use them. I will drink it black for the next 90 days…

-Carrie

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Carrie forwarded me her starting stats including her weight and some measurements.  I told her I would keep those a secret until we complete the first 30 days together and have our first set of “after” pics to compare with the “before” pics none of us are dying to share just yet!

Thanks Carrie for writing this and I know you are going to have insane results and discover some cool new things about yourself now that you are open to giving yourself the attention you deserve!

More about Carrie in the weeks to come, for now you can find her on facebook.

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Annie

What can I say about Annie? She’s a funny girl who has a unique way of approaching everything.  And her diet is no exception.

Annie is a strict vegetarian who also eats no gluten or refined sugars.  She is one of the healthiest eaters I know, and one of the things I like best about her eating style is that she NEVER diets.

Annie teaches Bikram Yoga classes, practices Bikram herself everyday, and is a full time student.  Annie works, plays, and eats hard!

One thing Annie does most days is eat “raw until dinner.”

Each day starts with her massive signature smoothie and then she snacks throughout the day on mostly raw foods (we buy lots of LARA bars and tangerines).  She chows down on a big healthy vegetarian dinner (which I usually make) each night.  Usually it’s Mexican food or something like brown rice pasta with fresh pesto & tomatoes.

Tonight I’m experimenting and we are having a big pot of oven roasted veggies (potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, leeks, carrots, and garlic bulbs) marinated in olive oil, herbs, organic red wine, sea salt and pepper.  The veggies will be the star of the show and will be served with a side of lentils cooked with red onion.

So why does Annie, who already eats extremely well and who exercises every day already, want to do the 90 day challenge?

Because that’s the kinda hairpin she is…

Actually Annie is challenging herself by adding a once per week grueling advanced yoga class to her existing daily exercise routine.  Once a week for 12 weeks she will be spending 4 hours total in a heated room attempting to learn poses that have strange names and make me wince just thinking about them.  I admire Annie for challenging herself this way because I happen to know she really dislikes these classes and is making a real sacrifice to do them.

I snapped some “before” pics of Annie attempting to do postures she now finds impossible, and at the end of the 12 weeks I’ll take some new pics so we can see how much further she can bend…

More about Annie later, she can also be found on facebook.

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Mike

Mike says he wants to do this challenge because “it’s time.”  I feel you Mike.

Mike is frustrated with his low paying job (Mike drives a city bus), and tired of yo-yo dieting.

Mike and I have actually dieted together many times, one of the more famous attempts being when he and I ate only one bean burrito from El Poll Loco, and one 200 calorie “lean cuisine” TV dinner each night for several months.

Broke and living in Las Vegas together, we would get so hungry that all we could do was laugh. The one night each week we were allowed to “cheat” turned into these grotesque glutton fests.  We did lose a lot of weight…

Mike has always wanted to run in some kind of competitive amateur race or event.  His goal is to go from being overweight and totally sedentary to being able to run the distance of 10 miles at the end of the challenge.  My advice to Mike was to limit his running to no more than 4 days in the beginning and to spend the other 3 days doing resistance training, yoga, or cycling.  That way he will lower the risk of injury (running can be very hard on your body).

Mike eats pretty bad.  I say that with love as his brother.  He told me he is going to watch his overall calorie intake for the next 90 days while also making small incremental moves toward eating healthier.

Mike’s in search of a sustainable approach to food that will help him get off the diet merry-go-round for good.  He also wants to make being active integral to his new life.  My other suggestion to Mike was to keep it very simple, for example having a nutritious raw green smoothie for breakfast so he at least knows he’s getting a baseline of daily nutrients.

Mike is a huge music fan and travels the state to catch his favorite band Slightly Stoopid.  Mike has one of the funniest self-deprecating styles of humor i’ve ever encountered.  He and I both want to take some long-ass road trips in the near future…

More about Mike and his attempts to overhaul his life by taking control of diet & exercise in the weeks to come.  For now you can find him on facebook.

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I will have Mike, Annie, and Carrie’s full stories to share with you in the weeks to come. Hopefully I will also have some other people willing to share their personal transformations with you as we go forward.  If you are curious read more about the 90 day Natural Fitness Challenge here.

What I did for my Day 5:

I am still suffering from this sudden-onset sinus infection and am trying a variety of natural remedies to get rid of it as fast as possible.  Fortunately I have tonight off from work.

  1. Slept in until noon–badly needed.
  2. Drank 16 0z. of water with 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar (purported to clear the sinuses).
  3. Drank a green drink made of fresh squeezed OJ and grapefruits blended with spinach.
  4. Drank another 16 0z. of water.
  5. Took a 45 min slow hike almost straight uphill–some pics below.  My goal for today was just to get my heart rate up, feel my legs burn a little, and get some clean fresh air.
  6. My post workout meal was my favorite raw dessert, a slice of cheesecake from Earth Cafe.  Raw/Gluten and Dairy Free/No refined sugar/OUTSTANDING!
  7. More water with ACV.
  8. Dinner will be the big oven roasted veggie feast I described and some lentils with red onion.  Trying to eat extra clean today in hopes it will help me get over this damn sinus thing.
  9. Tons of water with lemon juice to follow…

you have to park down the road and walk up the road to base of mountains...

great views of coachella valley below

god i wish annie would keep up with me 😉

your supposed to strike that pose on top the mountain...


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 4 Exercise & other paradoxes…

If I had a religious bone in my body, I would think the devil was determined to see me fail in my personal challenge of 90 straight days of exercise.

The word prolapse is disgusting

The day before starting the challenge I slipped on some wet concrete (long story) and fell down some cement steps.  Crash landed on my back–barely avoiding a crushing skull impact.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that to keep my head from striking the steps I strained so hard in mid-air that I aggravated my lower left abdomen where I have had trouble in the recent past with the beginnings of a hernia, aka a “prolapse.”

It scared me because previously that lower ab pain & bulge meant almost 2 months of pain/discomfort/and limited movement.  It got so bad last time (hernias trigger giant swollen testes and all kinds of other fun n’ games) that I was pretty sure I would soon be laying on an operating table.

No joke, this is a painting on medieval hernia surgery!!!

What got the prolapse to go away?  The main aggravating factor of hernias is being fat.  Yep.  Like so many health conditions and even diseases, I had brought this on myself.  The hernia was one of the reasons I finally decided to do something about my un-health by eating only raw foods for 60 days.

So when I fell the other day and could feel within minutes that strain-pain coming bak I was angry and super disappointed.  I even e-mailed my brother and a few other people who were starting the 90 day natural fitness challenge with me, asking them if maybe it would be better that we start it a few weeks later…

The reason I did that was because exercise just makes the hernia thing worse!  Doesn’t that suck?  You’re fat and you have a frickin hernia because you’re fat, but if you exercise you make it worse!

Fortunately the strain ended up being a little milder this time and I started the challenge on schedule (with some misgivings) and am just being extra careful in certain yoga poses, and making sure I don’t lift anything in a foolish way.

Exercise is both stress and stress relief

Now, just 4 days into my 90 day challenge, I have a sinus infection.

Owner of one of the hardiest immune systems on the planet, I get sick once every two to three years. But, when that sickness comes in the form of a sinus infection Doctors shriek when they shove that scope-light  thing up into my snot caverns.  The last time I had a sinus infection (maybe 5 years ago) the Doctor said that he was just going to “skip the pussy antibiotics and go straight to the most hard-core one that we try not to use because if germs ever figure out how to get around this shit–mankind is totally fucked!”  Thanks doc.

Here’s why I think I got the sinus infection now.  I read somewhere that while exercise is clearly one of the best things we can do for our bodies, from a purely physiological level we still perceive it as plain ol’ stress.  That’s a funny paradox…exercise helps us deal with stress and even release it….but it itself is stress.

My theory is that exercise is especially stressful when you are out of shape and not used to doing it, and when you are already under a bunch of other kinds of stress (work/bills/family/being overweight).  So I started the year off with a bang and almost no sleep, but because of my commitment to the 90 day challenge, forced myself to get up each day and workout anyways.

Which is OK.

I’m going to pull out a quote that I hate to use, because people get all huffy about it, and because I hate using quotations. But if you “get it” I think you will appreciate how I’m using it, and know that I’m not being a dick when I include it here:

“Life is difficult. So what?” –M. Scott Peck

Peck wrote an uber non-fiction bestseller called The Road Less Traveled. The book opens with that stark statement followed by the question which at first glance seems to be shaped in the form of a challenge.

Here is how Peck goes on to explain his view of life and difficulty not only being inseparable, but why he sees no need for that to be the case…

“Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

So I’m going to apply that same way of thinking about life to exercise.  Yeah, it’s difficult, it’s stress, so what?

Also, know that I am not being cavalier about my health or yours.  If you read my descriptions of the 90 day challenge you will see I already talked in depth about the need each week for a “rest” day so that your body can repair and stabilize.  Remember, this challenge isn’t about the challenge anyways–it’s about you.  So as always, do what you know is right.  Just know, that that may not always be what’s easy.

What I did on Day 4 (Mon Jan 4)

  1. Drank a quart of water
  2. Had a tropical tango smoothie (mango/papaya/pineapple/coconut meat & water) 2 hours before Bikram
  3. Drank another quart of water during my 90 minute Bikram Yoga class
  4. Ate a wrap made with a brown rice tortilla, organic roast beef, lettuce, tomato, and balsamico.
  5. Before work I had homemade hummus with roasted garlic & olive oil & organic blue corn chips
  6. At work I drank another quart of water and ate a LARA bar
  7. After work I was starving and made some quick nachos with the blue corn chips, whole pinto beans, organic jalapeno jack cheese, and organic tomatillo salsa.
  8. I lay down on the couch with a glass of organic red wine to watch a movie (one of my favorites “Ronin”) and immediately passed out.


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 3 What are the rules?

TONS of people are asking me how they can participate in the challenge!  But a couple questions  keep being asked.  Here’s the scoop!

What is “natural” fitness anyway?

Someone asked me yesterday what I mean by “natural fitness” challenge.

I struggled a bit with what to call this thing I’m trying to do, and settled on alternating between “90 straight days of exercise” & “90 day natural fitness challenge.”

Ninety straight days of exercise is pretty self-explanatory.  Most modern peeps don’t do some form of exercise every day.  Many haven’t exercised in 90 days!  So my plan is to get moving every day for three months.

The reason I chose to use the word natural in conjunction with fitness is that much of the fitness world has nothing to do with health.

Looking back…

In the eighties it was assumed the two words (health & fitness) were synonymous…

  • Remember when everyone was obsessed with eating low fat and sugar free?
  • Remember when endless cardio sessions and massive bowls of low fat pasta and bread were the hallmarks of health and fitness?
  • Not to mention the massive amounts of supplements people were taking!  Vitamins, minerals, protein powders, ginseng, memory aids, sleep aids, super dieters tea…
  • And the one that cracks me up the most is remembering how cool & “healthy” we thought we looked with a cold diet coke in our hand!

A lot of that mentality is still around, and most of it can be found in gyms.  Have you seen how massive some of the tubs of whey & soy protein powders are that they have for sale at gyms?  And yes, people are still popping creatine and testosterone pre-cursors like candy.

I did all that.  Years ago I completed a 12 week fitness challenge called “body for life” sponsored by EAS (a huge supplement company).  I looked damn good after that 12 weeks.  I also spent well over $1500 on body building supplements.  Including fat burners, creatine, whey, and HMB.  It was effective, but not necessarily about health.

2010 and beyond!

After eating only raw foods for the last two months of 2009–and losing over 33 pounds–I now have the motivation and desire to get incredibly fit! But I am not interested in anything other than a natural approach to doing so…

No way am I going to embrace an artificial, chemical, fear-based approach to fitness.  We all want to look great naked–no doubt about that–but NOT at the cost of our health.

I believe we can do both.  And I believe that journey will take people mostly out of the gym and into nature.  I think the fitness revolution of the coming decade will happen in yoga studios, in the ocean, and on mountain tops!

I think fitness can be the way we actively meditate, the way we give back to ourselves, and a way to share and connect with the people we are closest to.

What are the rules?

The next question I am being asked is, “so what are the rules of the 90 day challenge?”

Rules are a funny thing.  We need guidelines and even full-blown rules sometimes.  But for the most part they aren’t really the thing that’s important…it’s just that we feel uncomfortable without having them.

When people start eating raw as an example they are often hyper concerned with the “rules.”  Is tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) raw?  Can I eat these olives?  Is it ok to have a glass of wine on a raw diet?  After time you begin to realize that what you are after isn’t some prize, or to be able to label yourself a raw foodist, but health, energy, LIFE!

Food

I am very comfortable with how I eat now.  I did a ton of research and experimentation during my raw challenge and I believe I have found what is best for me:

  • 2/3 or more of my diet is raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
  • I do not eat refined sugars.  When I have “sweets” the sugar comes from dates, raw honey, agave, etc.
  • I literally almost never eat “white” processed flour, i.e., pasta, bagels, bread.
  • I avoid foods cooked in oil, while I liberally use cold-pressed oils and avocados in my daily intake.
  • I eat no artificial ANYTHING!  No artificial sweeteners or preservatives.  Nothing that says diet, sugar-free, low-fat.  None of that.  And that includes supposedly healthy processed soy products or other “fake” meats, etc.  I only eat real food.  If I have a veggie burger its made of veggies and legumes, not texturized soy protein isolates or seitan (wheat gluten).
  • Very rarely will I have beer or hard liquor.  I have 2-5 glasses of organic red wine a week.
  • I love raw superfoods like cacao (chocolate), maca, and spirulina–but they aren’t a huge part of my diet and I don’t spend a lot of money on them.
  • I eat very little meat or dairy, and when I do I am committed to only eating grain-fed, hormone/antibiotic/and confinement free beef, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
  • Most days start with a simple green smoothie followed by snacking on fresh fruit throughout the day.  Some days I make a cool raw dinner and have a 100% raw day.  Other days I make a healthy cooked meal or go out to one of few places I know I can purchase REAL food.
  • Greens are a BIG part of my intake each and every day.  I support local farmers and purchase most of my produce at my local farmers market.  Some of it is organic, all of it is at the very least pesticide-free.

Is this the only way to be healthy? Of course not.  Is this the right way for you to eat?  I have no idea.

This is just where I am at and I feel really good about it.  Maybe you will find these guidelines helpful.

I will say that I think most people will never really get the raw thing without committing to being 100% raw for a period of time (at least two weeks, and preferably a full month).

It is very empowering, illusion-shattering, and awareness-inducing to eat 100% raw for a time.  If you want to commit to it, get in touch with me and I will help you any way I can!

The bottom line though is this…in order to benefit from this 90 day natural fitness challenge you need to be eating what you consider to be a healthy, natural diet!

Exercise

The rules of the challenge are more clear cut when it comes to exercise–do it EVERY day!

A note about rest.  Rest is critical in order to “recover.”  Recovery is when your body repairs and grows new muscle.  So you need one day a week where you give yourself a break.  But that doesn’t mean you lay on the couch all day.  It just means you take a long walk and smell the roses, or ride your beach cruiser around the boardwalk.  Rest by moving.

The other six days show no mercy!  Seriously.  Six days a week of intense exercise.  It can be in a gym.  But it doesn’t have to be…

Maybe you have a favorite workout DVD you like to pop in.  Maybe you do Pilates or yoga (just make sure it is real hatha yoga and that it is intense).  Maybe you get up early and run/walk around a lake or hike straight up your favorite climb for 60-90 minutes.  Whatever it is–PUSH!  Really truly push and get your heart pounding and your ass shaking.

Thirty minutes of intense exercise is the BARE MINIMUM, and if you are only exercising 30 minutes you better be sweating like crazy after.  Most days you should be shooting for a solid hour of exertion.

If you are out of shape like I am, don’t use it as an excuse.  Instead take heart knowing that your fat ass will be easily taxed by almost any form of movement or resistance!  That’s right!  It’s actually easier for out of shape people to do this challenge!  Have you noticed I haven’t said one thing about how far you should run or bike?  This isn’t about distance if you are using this to get in shape.  This is about getting in shape.

The pose that eludes Annie...the Pigeon...LOL!

The people who have it toughest are those who are already fit but want to use the 90 day challenge as  a way to go further.

As an example my girlfriend, a Bikram Yoga teacher who already eats very healthily and exercises six to seven times a week, EVERY week, is doing the 90 day challenge along with me.

Her unique challenge involves attending a once weekly advanced Bikram class.  In addition to her daily exercise she is now going to once a week put herself through a 5  hour session of hellish and uber-intense advanced hot yoga.  A process that is an extreme physical and mental challenge.  Makes me feel like I’m getting away with something…

I think it will be fascinating to see what people come up with.  Maybe some snow-bound people will be cross country skiing, maybe there are people who are ready to train for their 1st triathlon or amateur mountain bike race…

So the bottom line is that in order to participate in this challenge you must commit to 90 straight days of exercise!  There are no make up days, this is meant to be tough.

So how do I start?

The rest of this is optional but highly recommended:

  1. Let me know what your start date is! I would love to stay in touch throughout the process and it will motivate me & others to know you are doing the challenge.
  2. Take before pics. Trust me, you will be glad you did.  Nothing is more motivating then comparing before and AFTER pics of yourself side by side!  If you are thrilled with your results and are open to it, I would love to post them on a blog and tell everyone about your personal experience with the 90 day challenge!
  3. Get an initial weight and any other measurement that you think are key: waist, dress size, bicep measurements, resting heart rate, blood pressure.  After you take these initial measurements DO NOT take them again for another 30 days!  Once every 30 days retake the measurements and record them.
  4. Tell other people. Let your Facebook, Twitter, and (gasp) even people you actually see in person each day know that you are doing this and you are pumped about it.  Feel free to include a link to my blog any time you like. Maybe you will get some 90 day workout partners!
  5. Write stuff down. Every single day record what you ate and what you did that qualifies as intense exercise.  I don’t know why writing stuff down makes such a big difference when it comes to accomplishing things–but it does.  That’s the whole reason behind this blog…it’s a way for me to write it down.
  6. Enjoy yourself and be your own best friend. This is about feeling healthier, looking great, and enjoying life.  It’s tough to enjoy life if you don’t like yourself.  So be a true friend and thank yourself at least as hard as you are pushing yourself!  It’s not the 90 day challenge that actually matters, so don’t ever get discouraged.  What matters is you!

I truly hope this is something that will continue to spread and benefit people.  It may seem far-fetched, but I truly believe that anyone can completely reinvent themselves in just 12 weeks!  It’s one of the coolest things about being human, this capacity we each have to change…

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What I did on my 3rd day of the challenge:

  1. Slept in and missed my chance to do Bikram today.
  2. Drank 3 glasses of water.
  3. Juiced 2 grapefruits & 2 oranges.  Blended w/ spinach & spirulina for a green breakfast.
  4. Road my bike and did errands (including buying tickets for Palm Springs Film Festival screenings!).
  5. Did an hour long “training” ride on my fixed gear bike.  Fixed gears only have one speed, are geared pretty high, and don’t “coast.”  That means if I ride for an hour I am literally pedaling for an hour.  I like to find hills and race up them until my heart feels like it will explode, then ride steady until I am breathing normal again, and then repeat over and over for an hour or more.
  6. Drank 2 glasses of water.
  7. RAW superfood energy chocolate shake:  almond butter, maca powder, cacao powder, cacao nibs, raw honey, and raw hemp seeds (great protein) all belended with some water and ice! Delicious, full of antioxidants, and gives me tons of energy.
  8. Snacked on a couple tangerines at work and probably drank another quart or more of water.
  9. Tossed brown rice noodles with homemade pesto (raw walnuts/basil/cold-pressed olive oil/garlic cloves/sea salt/lemon squeeze), some diced fresh tomato, and some raw goats milk cheese.  Enjoyed with a glass of organic wine.
  10. Drinking more water as I type this before bed.  I may sneak in another one of those Uli Mana raw chocolate truffles!

Tomorrow I am taking Annie’s Bikram class fershizzel my wizzles!

Cheers to everyone and I look forward to hearing about your 90 day challenges!


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90 day natural fitness challenge: Day 2…Beginner Bikram lessons learned

Insomnia has been a painful issue with me for some time now.  I’m hoping that 90 straight days of exercise will help me fall asleep earlier and that I can experience deep rest.  Deepak Chopra says that dynamic activity begets deep rest which begets dynamic activity…

So this morning I crawled in bed at 3AM and lay there unable to fall asleep until about 4:30AM.  It was real TOUGH to get my ass up at 9 for yoga.  But that’s the great thing about a commitment to something bigger–like the 90 day challenge–I got up.

And I am really glad I did.  I was able to take Damon’s class (he is one of the owner’s of Bikram Yoga Palm Desert) for the first time.  Damon is hilarious and his class is fun while still being focused on max exertion.  When I used to practice on a regular basis I was always blown away when I learned something entirely new.  Today Damon taught me two things in class that I had never heard before:

  • In the balancing stick posture Damon actually did a breath count with us!  I’ve heard teachers simply say to make sure you breathe in this posture, but he literally guided us through 3 or 4 deep inhalations and exhalations.  It changed my entire perspective of this posture and what I could potentially do with it as I progress.

The man and the pose...Damon doing balancing stick pose

  • The other thing he said which blew me away has to do with a pose that’s almost at the end of class and that in the past I always payed little attention to and sort of treated like a “cool down” stretch.  It’s called janushirasana with paschimottanasana or “head to knee pose.”  But the last part of this poses name is “intense stretching posture.”  I had NEVER heard that before and a light bulb went on and I did stretch more “intensely” and it was amazing!  So thanks Damon.

The other thing I love about being a beginner with Bikram is that it’s actually easier as a beginner.  Sounds weird, but when you are new, just trying to breathe and stay in the heated room is an intense workout.  You get a little better and just doing all the postures is a big thing.  When I practiced every day and got a little more proficient is when it got really difficult.  Suddenly I was flooded with nuances that make the practice even more hard core.  So I’m going to relish being a beginner again!!!

One last observation about Bikram has to do with listening.  We all suck at it.  Seriously.  And Bikram is this place where you can practice listening, not just to the instructors voice, but your body too.

Today is a 100% raw food day for me

My plan is to continue eating a ton of raw fruits and veggies every day.  But several times a week I will eat 100% raw for the entire day.  It’s such a powerful way to not let food cravings get out of hand and I have a lot more energy when I go all the way…

Today so far:

  • Quart of water before yoga
  • Coconut water before yoga (only thing I like having before a Bikram class, a little natural sugar & tons of electrolytes)
  • Another quart of water during class
  • Shopped at Farmer’s Market
  • Made a delicious smoothie: Juice from 2 grapefruits & 2 oranges.  1 cup frozen blueberries.  Packed the remaining space in the blender w/ organic spinach.  Blended and drank down this perfectly flavor balanced combo!
  • A tropical tango smoothie from Luscious Lorraine’s Juice Bar in Palm Desert.  It’s packed with coconut water & coconut meat and tropical fruits!
  • Tonight when I get back from a late night working at the bar I will make raw nachos.  I top Leaf Organics  raw corn chips with heaps of fresh guacamole, cut up black olives, cilantro, and my favorite raw hot sauce made by Cafe Gratitude which I bought extra bottles of last time I was up in the Bay Area!
  • And then for desert I will have Uli Mana’s raw chocolate truffles with a glass of organic red wine!

I’m not sure yet what I will do tomorrow for the fitness part of this challenge.  But I’m looking forward to putting my body to work again tomorrow.

Cheers! And I hope you are enjoying this long New Years weekend.