Saturday, February 6, 2010

Deep Thoughts from the Shallow End of the Gene Pool

Well, I’m going to try to make a go of actually utilizing our blog this year for something good.

Everyday, all day, I experience strange and random thoughts flying around my head like inconsequential little mosquitoes that I can’t seem to slap away. This happens most often while I’m exercising in the morning. So I said to myself….”Self, you might as well write these down so other people can see how messed up you really are!” (It’s a vicious little voice, as you can see).

Seems like the beginning of the year is as good of a time to start as any, so here we go!

The WOW Life: Nina’s winding road to a happy and healthy life Part 1 of 3

Those who know me, knows that a couple of years ago I got disgusted enough with myself to actually address my long standing weight problem. I lost 65 pounds (we won’t talk about how much of that found me again….) and got into a regular exercise program. No mean trick considering the fact that I have a full blown eating disorder – and have had it for years (Bulemia, to be exact).

NOTE: Blogs are so nifty, aren’t they, allowing us to tell deep dark secrets on-line you wouldn’t even share with your mother in person?

Anyway, I determined that I was finally going to do this right, so I turned to the best reference I knew for healthy living…. Doctrine and Covenants Section 89, commonly referred to the Word of Wisdom. Here is a link to that little bit of divine inspiration for your review:

These are the rules I determined I would live by after reading it:

Buy fresh food and put thought into what I am eating.

Herbs add healthy elements to our food.

Meat can be healthy if used sparingly, however grains are a better overall choice for protein. But even grains should be consumed thoughtfully.

Fresh fruits, veggies and grains are the main ingredients for a healthy diet

This is a principal with a promise! Following these guidelines will provide health, endurance and will enhance your ability to think.

(End of Part 1)

The WOW Life: A Whole Lotta 'Listing' To do (Part 2 of 3)

In my previous blog, I listed the following four guidelines for healthy eating that I gleaned from the Word of Wisdom (Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants). Those rules are as follows:

Buy fresh food and put thought into what I am eating.

Herbs add healthy elements to our food.

Meat can be healthy if used sparingly, however grains are a better overall choice for protein. But even grains should be consumed thoughtfully.

Fresh fruits, veggies and grains are the main ingredients for a healthy diet

This is a principal with a promise! I've discovered that following these guidelines will provide health, endurance and enhances my ability to think (and trust me, I need all the help I can get!)

This is a great start, but I've worked in public health long enough to know that there is 'more to the story'. Other elements gleaned from these verses, along with a study of current scientific findings are:

Due to our commitment to abstain from the use of tobacco and alcohol, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are consistently identified as some of the healthiest people in the U.S. Members can enjoy great health, but that does not mean that we are above suffering weakness and temptation. Sadly, our ‘healthy lifestyle’ is slipping due to the same problem the rest of the nation faces….obesity. By reading Section 89 we can see that the “Supersize” mentality works in opposition to living a healthy lifestyle.

The diet industry tries to convince us that they hold all of the secrets to losing weight, when in fact, the best means towards good health is established by God.

The most successful tool to losing weight is simple, but absolute. Keep a daily journal of intake (and I suggest output – meaning exercise) Here is a link to a Good Housekeeping article that references the Kaiser Permanente study: Excellent ideas here!

Healthy dieting, to me meant establishing the following six rules:

Set a goal (both calories per day and amount of exercise per week).

Write it down – every bite

No diet food (i.e., sugar substitutes, packaged meals)

No more than 6 ounces of meat in a day and try to eat vegetarian as much as possible.

Fresh over frozen, frozen over canned.

Once you’ve hit your goal, work on lifestyle changes that can help you maintain your healthy new body. 80% of dieters gain back their weight and more because they just go back to the old way of eating. Now that you’ve written down your food intake for a while, you KNOW how much each bite costs you in calories. Take what you’ve learned and use it.

(End of Part 2)

The Wow Life: Will It EVER End? (yes it will, this is Part 3 of 3)

For those who need a focus date in sight, go ahead and set a date for completion….but do not determine how much weight you will lose – just tell yourself that you will diet up to a certain date and then reassess…..but you have to really commit to give it your all during that time frame. I told myself that I would diet until October 31st. By then, I was on a roll and extremely happy, so I moved my date to after the holidays. Again, I was happy, so I gave myself permission to go just a little longer because my goal was just around the corner. For some, this will be the way to keep from getting discouraged (you never have to ask ‘when will it end?’….you already know). For others, this may just encourage you to quit completely when you get to your date….but again, if you were honest and stuck to your full commitment, you should have made enough progress to make a real difference in your life.

So, obviously, this system worked for me, but not without a few bumps and bruises along the way. I wayyyyyy underset my caloric intake at 1,000 - 1,200 calories a day. I know, I know. I went in with my eyes open on that one, but it’s a vast improvement over the days when I limited myself to 650 a day (eating disorder, remember?) Well, I suffered for it by developing gallstones. It turns out that this is a common ailment for people who lose weight too fast, making it impossible for their bodies to slough off the fat compounds and leftover minerals quickly enough. It was a painful lesson, eventually rectified by having my gall bladder removed. A little extreme by anyone’s book, I assure you. Here is a link to a page maintained by the National Institute on Health and the US Dept., of Health and Human Services regarding gallstones. Look towards the middle of the page for information on weight loss as a cause of gallstones:

- so everyone repeat after me: "I will NOT try to rush losing weight. Slow and steady means good and healthy....and more success! Those who lose weight at a steady pace will be more successful at maintaining a long term weight loss than those who dodn't.

As mentioned, I successfully lost the weight and improved my overall health with rigorous exercise. The results are beyond my wildest dreams. Low cholesterol, excellent health, my joints are no longer ‘degenerating’, my asthma is practically nonexistent, and best of all – no acid reflux I’m completely off the four medications I was taking. I feel soooooo much better. I can climb my 1/2 mile driveway without stopping. I even feel pretty.....except right after I exercise. Yuck.

I've mentioned the fact that I've gained a little back. It's true, and I'm not happy about it, but there seems to be a rule of thumb, at least in my life. I can slowly slip back into my old habits without much trouble, and when I do - and this may shock some of you - I GAIN WEIGHT!

This brings me to one last piece of advice. If you can find it, I HIGHLY suggest you find the book entitled "Making Peace With the Image In the Mirror" by Steven R. Hawks. It's still listed on in their USED BOOKS. I purchased four of these books when it first came out to share with friends like me who were dealing with negative body issues and wondering why they couldn't just buckle down and lose the weight. I've talked to Dr. Hawks, a university professor who has conducted international studies regarding body image and eating disorders, on a few occasions. Amazing man.

Well, I hope this information is helpful. It's just my experiences. But it's been a lifetime of learning and I think.....just maybe......I'm almost there.

End of part 3