Green Queen

            For the last 4 years I’ve participated in my church’s corporate fast. It lasts for 6 days where the congregation only consumes unlimited amounts of water and 2 cups of juice daily. The first time, I didn’t feel prepared to go cold turkey, so I opted for eating foods similar to the Daniel fast (vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, etc.). The following year and each thereafter, I adhered to an absolute fast drinking only water (no juice).

            I’ve learned a lot from fasting, and it has become less difficult to do. One of the things I’m trying to give up in observance of Lent is swearing/cursing. It’s actually much harder for me to remove all profanity from my vocabulary than it is for me to turn down my plate. During this year’s fast, I watched a lot of documentaries on Netflix and Hulu. Two of these changed my outlook on food in general: “Super Size Me” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead“. The first follows a man’s health drastic decline after eating nothing but McDonald’s for only 30 days. The second follows a man who went on a juicing “reboot” for 60 days. A change to a plant based diet aided him in regaining his health, losing weight, and discontinuing all previous medications. My favorite takeaway from those who have switched to juicing or a plant based diet is their testimony of no longer needing medication.Healthy food background

            I’ve always considered myself to be healthy. I ran track from the 7th grade through the 12th. As a college freshman, I started lifting weights for the first time and have been a gym rat ever since. I’ve never had high cholesterol or problems with my blood pressure. I’ve never been prescribed medications for health related issues. My concerns were more vain: my weight and appearance. While I lead a very active lifestyle and would not be considered “fat” by those who know me, I didn’t feel that my body truly reflected my strength and physical abilities. That has bothered me for years. To add insult to injury, I thought I was eating well. Most of my meals were prepared at home, and I tried to limit eating out to the weekends. The aforementioned documentaries and others I watched during my week of fasting prompted me to try something different: juicing. The first week was challenging. I had a hard time mixing ingredients that yielded a juice that actually tasted good. It wasn’t until somewhere around day 5 that I made something that was more than bearable. I lost 6 pounds after juicing for one week. What makes that number so meaningful for me is that that weight loss occurred after I had been on an absolute fast the week prior. The body has an amazing ability to adapt to change. Usually, at least for me, the first week is always the best and most dramatic but changes slow down and eventually plateau. I wasn’t expecting to lose so much weight after already dropping pounds from the fast.

            pic2I’m excited to gain the body I’ve always wanted, but more so, I’m interested in seeing what other changes occur in my health. While I may be “healthy”, there are some improvements I’d like to see in my body like less colds, better skin, less headaches, and less joint pain (especially in my knees and back). I used to have night sweats seemingly for no reason at all and those have stopped since I started juicing. My cravings for sweets have also diminished.

            We’re often bombarded with conflicting messages about food. The benefits, effects, and need of milk, carbs, protein, fats, and more are debated with no general consensus. Even fruits and vegetables are questioned because of GMOs. I’m still unsure as to whether organic options are truly better. One study says yay while the next says nay. It can get confusing to know what you should eat, but (for now) juicing is working well for me, and I look forward to seeing the long-term results.pic3

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My Health #Flawless

My employer offered a free health screening which I participated in today. I was nervous stepping on to the scale. I have been exercising consistently for the last three weeks (5 days/week), so I wasn’t pleased to learn that I weighed 175 pounds. That’s 5 pounds higher than usual. Five pounds may not sound like anything to fret over, but I go hard in my workouts. Either the scale is off or my diet needs to catch up to the excellence of my workouts.

Once I had my biometric results, I couldn’t care less about 5 pounds. My numbers were #flawless.

Desirable/Optimal Range (for females)                       Actual

Total Cholesterol 125-199 mg/dL                                   168

HDL ≥ 46 mg/dL                                                                       72

Triglyceride less than 150 mg/dL                                     60

LDL 55-99 mg/dL                                                                     84

Non-HDL less than 130 mg/dL                                            96

Total Cholesterol/HDL ≤ 5.0                                               2.3

Glucose 65-99 mg/dL*                                                            80

Blood Pressure less than 120/80 mmHg                        110/76

Waist Circumference less than 35                                      33

BMI 18.5-24.9                                                                             28.2

*If you did not fast for the screening, less than 140 mg/dL

Everything was spot on with the exception of my BMI. Body mass index, aka BMI, is an inaccurate measure of body fat content. It does not take into account muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, and sex differences.

lapping couchI’ve had an active lifestyle for my entire life so the numbers don’t surprise me. It’s still nice to have confirmation. I’m so thankful for the blessing of good health. I’ve always had this weird desire to live to age 100 (as long as I’m not in pain). My paternal grandmother is still living at the age of 95. My great, great grandmother died at the age of 110. If family history is the biggest indicator of life span then I’m well on my way. The Lord can take me whenever He sees good and fit, but I intend to live a very long life.

candy crush

I enjoy running but not in cold weather. I have a gym membership but have been exercising at home for the last few months. I watch a lot of YouTube videos. FitnessBlender is my favorite channel for home workouts. They don’t require equipment and mix cardio with strength moves. I’m also a fan of the Atlanta based fitness trainer Rahman Grayson better known as Mr. Shut Up and Train. He frequently has workout challenges posted on his site and FaceBook page.

 

 

I love food million bucksjust as much as any other American. The only way I can keep my intake in check is by making sure the majority of what I eat is something I’ve cooked/prepared at home. I also try not to drink my calories. If I’m not drinking water then I may have skim milk, chocolate milk, or juice. I have alcohol socially. Dieting in terms of restricting calories and certain food groups is difficult to sustain. I’ve never been on a successful diet that didn’t conclude in me regaining part or all of what I had lost. The 80/20 rule and moderation works best for me.

 

Live well. Be well.