Eating for health

It seems odd that I finally woke up to what I was doing to myself at fifty-something. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have lived in a sort of state of denial. Yeah, I am over weight but I feel fine. Sure my knees are starting to creak. My feet fight between themselves to see which one will gain my attention from pain. My ankles were never slim but now they positively look like posts!

I have been reading about health most of my adult life. I even consider myself an amateur family health practitioner as over the years I have helped my family stay well using sound home cooked menu, herbs to boost immunity, encouraging functional fitness. I like to think I have stripped back the tendency to turn to high tech solutions but use common sense to let my body to heal itself as well as stay strong and fit.

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But... I never worked at fitness and I really never tried to lose weight. I think weight loss shouldn't be the goal of eating plans. There was always something so fake about all those magazine headlines that read Lose 10 Pounds by Next Weekend flavor. I now realize that "good health" is the goal and healthy weight loss is a by-product of healthy lifestyle.

I try not to be extreme (really) in any direction. I try to think things through and then pinch my nose and plunge in, as it were. As a result, I have come to look at life and, particularly, my body as my own experiment. I admit it is tempting to follow some quick weight loss fad - "lose 12 pounds in 10 days" or some such hype.

But [leaning in a confidential way] we are all adults here, right? We all know those only work to take off a few, mostly water weight, pounds just so we can fit the slinky black tube skirt and top. After the cute dress comes off and life settles back into its routine, back comes the weight plus a few more.

Sooner or later the truth sinks in that we are not all living on an island like Tom Hanks did in Castaway, praying for a dribble of coconut milk and finally being satisfied with tearing a raw fish, living with a gnawing hunger all the time yet still managing to survive.

That is what we are attempting to do when we diet. We are attempting to fake our bodies into starvation when we cut calories and eat rabbit food, skinless chicken breasts and watery vegetable soup.

The problem is we don't live on an island and sooner or later that notion of fitting into those jeans you wore in college fades as your stomach screams from chimichangas smothered in guacamole and sour cream chased down with a frothy brew or two!

No islands for us. We have to deal with loud food commercials, bright tempting billboards and magazine ads, not to mention driving by a big name burger place when you are your weakest because the smoky, grilled beef patties called your name.

Most weight loss diets are like a self-imposed island on which you are cast away, dreaming of panko fried prawns and crispy, buttery baklava as you try to chew an swallow tasteless diet food.

The obvious difference breaks down because you aren't marooned from civilization. You can actually drive out to pick it up those prawns and pastry.

So unless you have nerves of steel and a stoic resolve, you will not only pick up the prawns, you will give in and gorge on baklava and a dozen chocolate chip cookies and all before you get home from the store.

There are places where one can exile themselves for a time: so-called health resorts but who except the wealthy can afford such luxury?

No, the rest of us have to do it the hard way by self imposed starvation (aka weight loss diet). I don't know about you but I just didn't want to bother. I had nine kids, after all, and so I "earned" my weight, damn it!

Well, my baby is 13 and last I checked it shouldn't take 13 years to shed baby weight. So, it's time to get serious about getting healthy. I really do want to live well even till I drop at 90+ years of age (Historically, my family has a strong constitution, living well into their 90s). But the way things are heading now that ain't happening.

The next thing I needed to do was to decide what self imposed starvation plan I was going to use. My teeth are not as tight as they were in my youth. So food gets stuck in between the gaps far too easily. (I could keep Johnson & Johnson in business buying dental floss as much as I use.) So a high roughage or raw greens diet was not ideal even if it was healthiest. I don't do well on a corn or wheat based diet due to food intolerance. I do love meat but that can get really tiring eating bacon for breakfast, chicken for lunch and beef patties for dinner.

All I really knew about my diet was that I was not allowing myself to eat processed foods. Chips, cookies, pizza, fast food, all were banished for the duration of my diet. I knew I was going to consume a large quantity of greens, veggies and some fruit. I was going to allow myself eggs, grass raised chicken and beef and some fish. Sooner of later I would eat nuts and seeds. So long as it didn't include modern processed foods, I was settled.

Then I watched Joe Cross's movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, I realized what I was going to do. For at least 30 days, I will juice fast. Just veggies, fruit, and an occasional egg tossed in for top quality protein.

My own Experiment

A note to all you self-appointed nutrition police: This is my choice, my decision. In spite of what you might think I do read and study widely. I have read about fasting from both sides of the argument. So I know you think fasting is dangerous even foolish. So, don't fast!

As for me, I am willing to step outside my comfort zone and subject my body to an experiment. I suggest that that is what we must do in this day and age of too much information. There is too much written on the topic of weight loss and healthy living from all different points of view. I am aware that once I am done fasting, my body will be "recovering" from a "starvation" state and that some weight may return. First of all, I won't be starving as I plan to eat the recommended level of calories for my body weight, activity level and age.

As to the weight all coming back, the whole reason I am committing to 30 days (minimum) is that I will have taken the time to retrain my taste buds as well as my mind.

Will I ever eat pizza again? Probably, but not the way I have in the past. Will I exercise? Yes, but not in a fanatical religious way. I will add walking to my week. I have set a friendly reminder on my PC that tells me to get up and move on the hour. So I'll get up and deliberately stretch, take a step outside, possibly bounce on my trampoline for a few minutes.

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