Doc’s Log #19: Lent Takeaways

Doc's Log

 

Hey family, I hope everyone is doing well with their weight loss journeys. We are almost done the first 3rd of the year, can you believe it?! I can! I won’t keep the log too long this week except to say that my official post-lent weight loss total is 293.6 lbs for a grand total of 21.8 lbs. lost!!

I am very pleased about that but that’s only the beginning. I still have another 83.6 pounds to go but for now, we dance!!

Outside of that good news, I just want to drop a few takeaways that came from Lent.

1. I finally realize why people fast for spiritual reasons. I’ve fasted in the past before whether by limiting myself to certain foods over days or going without food for 24 hours once in a while but this was the first time I achieved spiritual clarity from it. I felt the Holy Spirit inside me and heard the Lord speak to me. I took the time to get into His word and pray regularly (which I already do but even moreso) and I benefited because of it. He told me where to go next as far as my career, my outlook on life, my faith increased, my worries lessened and I felt like for the first time in a while I had direction. God may not speak in the booming voice we all anticipate but he does speak. When you feel a sudden feeling in your heart or a thought pops into your head seemingly from nowhere. That’s God, friends.

2. Being on the Daniel Fast taught me how to be a better flexitarian. Being a flexitarian is a slippery slope because when you allow yourself meat in moderation, especially if you enjoy it like I do, it’s easy for moderation to become all the time. The Daniel Fast showed me that it is possible. It’s in me to keep my meat intake low. For 6 weeks, I ate meat only once a week which was my mom’s Sunday dinner. And you know what? I survived. I even gave thought to going full vegetarian again but baby steps, my friends, baby steps. I don’t think I’ll ever give up meat 100% but I can see myself reducing it a once in a while thing saved for special occasions.

3. I realized just how sensitive my body is to sodium and how important eating whole foods is. The first week on the Daniel Fast, I lost 13 pounds. Obviously most of that was water but why so much in one week?  The main thing was my sodium intake was low. On an average day, I’ll take in about 2500mg a day of sodium. On the Daniel Fast, I barely passed 1000mg most days. When you eat whole foods mainly, your intake of refined sugars and sodium goes down because there are no preservatives or added ingredients. I always knew that but to “see” it in action really put it into perspective for me.

And finally…

4. Training your body to use fat for fuel is a process. One thing I’ve been focusing on as an intermittent faster is learning to use my fat as fuel for my runs. I like to get my workout in the first thing in the morning and I don’t eat my first meal most days until about 11:30 so I’ve been working to train my body rely on on fat for fuel so I can have an efficient workout during my fasting hours. It’s definitely a process especially since there are days I found myself working out later in the day after I’d eaten. I need to do it for at least 2-3 weeks in a row before I can really get used to it.

 

Those are my greatest takeaways though from a diet/exercise/mental wellness perspective anyway! Here’s to taking what I’ve learned and continuing to use it…



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Doc’s Log #15: Lent Update (5 Weeks to Go), No Complaint Challenge

Doc's Log

 

 

Hey everybody!

 

We are officially 12 days into Lent and I have to say it’ s going well. I probably won’t refer to Lent too much after this because let’s face it, you don’t want to hear about this every week for the next 5 weeks and I don’t really want to beat a dead horse.

Unfortunately, I didn’t reach my goal of getting under 300 this week but I did lose a pound and a half this week to get down to 302.0 lbs. Even though I fell short, I still have no complaints.

I finally completed Week 1 of Couch to 5K though I did switch to a different C25K program. The first week was tough but it’s gotten better. I’m looking forward to starting Week 2 tomorrow.

Last week was a bit of a crazy week so I didn’t work out everyday like I’d been planning to but I won’t make any excuses. The time was there but my motivation wasn’t. It doesn’t take much to talk me out of working out. If I hit the workout everyday, I would have reached my under-300 goal.

I still miss being on social media but my productivity has definitely been good. I’ve been getting things done and God has been blessing me. I feel like something BIG is going to come during this fast. I’m just giving each day my all and seeing what comes, not giving tomorrow too much thought.

One thing I’m trying to add in to my everyday routine is meditation twice a day. I feel like I need this in my life and I’ve been hearing/reading about it left and right. I’m not even looking for it, it just kinda shows up in my face. I want this for me and I know God wants it for me. I have to put it into my schedule, 20 minutes x twice a day along with some yoga. Those two seem to go hand in hand so I can carve out an hour of my day (total) for it.

I’ve started the No Complaint Challenge again. I feel like it’s time. It’s not because I’ve been complaining a lot but mainly because I need to cleanse myself from absorbing and spreading negativity. I’ve made it as far as Day 3 before having to restart which is good but typically I find myself complaining about 2-3 times in a given day which isn’t bad but the point of the challenge is 21 days no complaints so that’s still the goal.  If you’ve never done it before, I definitely advise you to give it a try. If you feel like it will be difficult for you, that’s all the more reason to do it. Although the challenge is to go 21 days without complaining, this is something you can apply for life and can benefit not only you but those around you.

And on that note, friends, ciao!

This week’s goal: To begin establishing a regular meditation and routine and also to get my weight back under 300 pounds (so a weight loss of at least 2.1 lbs.)

 



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Doc’s Log #14: Lent Update – 5 Days Down, 6 Weeks to Go

Doc's Log

 

Hey everybody!

Here we are almost done with the first full week of Lent and I have to say it’s been a great one so far.

First off, my social media hiatus hasn’t nearly been as painful as it has been in the past and that’s a great thing. I miss it a little because I realize how much I used it as a primary way of communicating with people so, in a way, it feels like self imposed isolation but, in an another way, it’s forced me to pick up the phone and actually call people (or at the very least, text). I don’t really text but a handful of people since FB chat and Google Hangouts chat have been my main way of getting in contact and others use that way to get in contact with me. I still get the urge to tweet a thought I’m having sometimes. I love to share my thoughts on social media or spread a positive message. And if you don’t know anything else about me, you know I always have a positive message to share.

Moving right along, the Daniel Fast has been going pretty well also. The first three days were a little rough as expected with hunger pangs, withdrawal headaches and some slight discomfort but by Saturday, I was moving on all cylinders. I keep it pretty simple as far as eating is concerned. Banana and plain oatmeal with peanut butter and cinnamon for breakfast, fruit and nuts for  snacks  and something whole grain (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or quinoa) and some form of veggie and/or beans. With the 3-5 servings of nuts a day I’m getting plenty of good fats and protein (and not overloading on carbs) which my body enjoys because it keeps me full. Being a user of My Fitness Pal, I can’t help but count my calories and I have yet to pass 2000 calories on a given day. Actually, I may have once. As I said in the initial Lent post, I would be making an exception for my mom’s Sunday dinner and this Sunday, she threw down some curry goat with rice and peas for me. Oh yes, yummy! That one meal to look forward to weekly is enough to keep me straight the other 6 days.

And as an added bonus…

…I’ve lost 11.8 pounds since last week!!

Obviously, that was mostly water especially because my sodium intake is way down but it still feels good because it means with my current weight of 303.4 (down from 315.2), I’m close to being back under 300.

My exercise has been good though I already missed my everyday workout streak by missing Saturday and Sunday. :(

It was definitely a rude awakening. I literally am back to square one it seems because my body felt like I’d never worked out a day in my life. My calisthenic circuits that I planned to do 3 times, I ended up having to cut down to once because I barely made it through. It’s okay, in due time I will get up to 3 but slowly but surely. Rome wasn’t built in a day as the saying goes.

The first week of Couch to 5K and sprints has been promising. I look forward to building up my stamina and getting my running game up. Weekly improvements will continue until I become the runner I want to be.

So, overall, I’m please with how things are turning out. And as I wanted from this Lent season, I’ve prayed and connected with God more and that’s beautiful.

Goal for this week: Reach under 300 in time for next Sunday’s weigh-in.

Enjoy your week, friends! *hugs and brownies*

 



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Doc’s Log #12: #Lent, The Daniel Fast and Exercise Stuffs

Doc's Log #12

 

 

This is very uncommon for me, writing 2 entries in one day, but this update is long overdue. So let’s get right into it…

 

Long story short, I’m back up to 315. Eating has been crappy and workouts have been nonexistent. Lacking motivation has made progress not only nonexistent but has reversed it.

It’s pitiful, I know.

I’m as disgusted to say it as you are to read it. So with Lent starting yesterday, I decided I needed to do something drastic and I needed to make the promise directly to God and ask for his guidance.

So this year I decided on the largest Lenten changes I’ve made since I’ve been taking a part in it. What are they, you ask? Glad you asked, I’ll tell you.

With the exception of updating this blog, I decided on giving up all social media again this year. Some people asked me why do I keep giving it up every year? It’s because every year it’s still hard to do. For 45.5 weeks every year, I’m Facebooking, tweeting, G+ing, instagramming, etc. just about everyday so when Lent comes around, it’s the perfect time to take a break. The first day is always so surreal because I’m used to being bombarded with info. This morning, I felt a stillness and in some ways, loneliness. It’s like living in the big city all your life then spending that first night in the quiet of the country. The quiet is almost deafening. Imagine that but for your eyes. That’s pretty much what I experience and today was no different. As I get used to it, it begins to feel normal but the first week is always difficult.

In addition to that, I’ve also elected to add in two things to do over the course of my Lenten fast.

Yesterday, I began the Daniel Fast. As written in the description, it’s a “biblically based partial fast” which is derived from two scriptures in the book of Daniel, Chapters 1 and 10 to be exact.

Here is a brief overview:

It’s designed to be done at least 21 days but they recommend no more than 50, so my goal of 46 days is pretty close. Essentially, this is a vegan diet but with more restrictions.

Below is a list of the allowed foods:

All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon

All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.

All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.

All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.

All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.

All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.

Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.

Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.

As you can see, there isn’t a whole lot to choose from as far as food groups but it’s definitely not impossible and it’s not calorie restrictive. I think what I will miss most is bread (no PBJ!) especially since I can’t have meat but luckily I can have whole grain pasta, rice, and quinoa which I all enjoy. This will DEFINITELY be a journey.

My only exception will be my mom’s Sunday dinners. Those will remain. Outside of that, it’s all Daniel Fast, all the time…or as often as possible. There may be some moments where I don’t have that option but I’ll do my best to limit those or keep it as close to the Daniel Fast as possible.

I’ll continue to practice Intermittent fasting with this. That style of eating has become a style that I’ve gotten used to and have grown to enjoy and since that is time based, it can work with any style of eating.

I’m also committing to working out everyday during this fast. Incorporating a basic but intense (for me) calisthenic workout, I’ll be alternating between two circuits on opposite days: wakeupworkout workout

 

And alternating between these two cardio workouts on opposite days:

30MinTreadmillSprintWorkout1-480x369

Though it says treadmill, I’ll be doing it outdoors.

C25KBeginner

I’m two days in, with 44 to go so so far so good.

The ultimate goal of Lent is to bring myself closer to God. THAT is the priority. Asking the Lord for strength and turning to him when I feel myself going wrong is crucial. Lent for me has always been about simply the challenge while totally missing the most important part so, in that respect, this will be different from all my past Lents. 

So, if you pray, pray for me. This is going to be tough but, I think, necessary. When this is over, I’ll be a better man. I can feel it.

Work like it’s all on me, pray like it’s all on Him. Later, friends…

 

 



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Doc’s Log #5: A Wake-Up Call and Lent’s Aftermath

Notepad

My how time flies, friends. Here we are, a quarter of the way through the year already. How have you all been doing on your wellness quests? Shedding those pounds? Running those races? Going those extra few miles? However you define progress, I hope you’re doing it fo sho.

Recently, I donated blood. This is not unusual for me. I donate blood, on average, 2-3 times a year. Anyway, they take my vitals every time I go: blood pressure, temperature, etc and I received some particularly troubling news. My blood pressure was 140/96! 

Now, my blood pressure has always been slightly high (hypertension runs in my family) but usually in the 130/85 range so this came across as a shock to me. 140/96 put me in the level of Stage I hypertension. Now, to put it in other terms, Stage I hypertension is the hypertension equivalent of an early diagnosis Type II diabetes, meaning meds may or may not be necessary but the situation isn’t so dire that it can’t be reversed with the right diet and exercise program.

So upon receiving this information, I said “Aww, hell naw! Something must be done and now.” I told a select few people and didn’t bother to measure again to see if the number had gone down. The initial reading was enough for me to know that something has to be done. I can’t lollygag like I have been or continue to yoyo as I have been. This is my heart and my life and I’ve seen too many male relatives die young due to heart conditions.

So, that leads me to my next topic…new challenges!

Now that my Lenten fast from the Internet is over (more on that later in this post), it’s onto the next challenge. Sparked by the  news of my BP, I decided to attack things head on and on an intense note.

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I’m Leaving the Internet

The Internet

True?

Okay, now that I’ve gotten your attention, let me explain. The title is indeed true. I am leaving the Internet……but not forever, for approximately 6.5 weeks. I’ve chosen the Internet as my Lenten sacrifice this year.

Now this post is not a religious post. I don’t plan to go into detail about what Lent is or what my religious beliefs are and I don’t want to hear about what you think Lent is either. That’s a different topic for a different post.

I’ve told a handful of people about it and I usually get one of a few reactions.

1. “Wow…why?”

2. “I couldn’t do it.”

3.  “Good luck.”

I’ve had a few other responses but those are the main ones.

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Race Season, Insanity, Lent And Other Goings-On

This blog has been long overdue and I have so much to tell you. Where do I begin? I guess I’ll start with the exciting news first. Today, I am officially be starting this year’s race season! However, I won’t be running today or else I would have already laid down and gotten some sleep. Today, I  will be fulfilling the +1 portion of the 9+1.  I’m volunteering at NYC Half Marathon today!

When I did the 9+1 in 2010, I also volunteered at the NYC Half Marathon. Last time, I was at a water station somewhere around mile 10. Today I have a much cooler job: medal distribution! That’s right, I get to give out medals to the finishers. I’m very excited about that task I must say. And just like that, I’m on my way this year. My first actual running race of the year isn’t until April 22nd though. That will be the first of my 9+1.
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Lent Day 6: Withdrawal/Speaking to God

Day 6 of Lent and I’m withdrawing like a mofo…Every few minutes I get the urge to keep at my Facebook feed or Twitter timeline especially when I’m sitting at my computer. I’m so used to having Tweetdeck open in the background and I feel like i haven’t spoken to anyone in days. Thank God there is still Yahoo Messenger.

There has been so much I’ve felt the urge to tweet or post on FB from pictures to thoughts to things I’ve heard. I now realize how much a part of my life this social media stuff has become. I’m glad to have my blog to turn to at least to vent to.

I will say this though, not being able to turn to social media has definitely done wonders for my productivity. I didn’t realize how much time I spent looking at updats and tweets in addition to supplying my own.

I won’t lie though. I haven’t been 100% good; every now and then I peek to see what’s going on though I lurk in the background and don’t say anything to anyone. I want to stop doing that as well though. Cheating even a little bit is still cheating.

I did realize that is the perfect time to accomplish one of my major goals for this year and that is to call my friends more. Hmm, perhaps I will…

So what have I been doing with my extra time that I’m not on social media? Just focusing more on the important tasks at hand like pursuing a new full time gig and also praying more. I intend to finally start my quest to read the Bible in its entirety tomorrow. As I said before the goal is to just read it the first time around, not try to study or learn from it. I just want to read it first the time…

So I’m starting with this book. The Message Remix, by Eugene Peterson. It was recommended to me about six years ago by a coworker. It is basically the Bible paraphrased into the form of a novel. It says right off top that it’s not meant for those looking to truly study the bible but it provides a more understabable version. I have read the first few chapter of Genesis using this book before and, I must say, it’s a great book. So this will be my starting point..which will probably lead to my New Believer’s Bible followed by my NIV Bible. I don’t think I’ll ever read the KJV simply because often times I’m lost on the language and there are far too many understandable versions than there were when I was younger. I can absorb the bible without the KJV now.

I have spoken more to God in the last week that I have in the last month almost. Not that I didn’t pray regularly before, I’m just doing it so much more now.

We started a great teaching serious in my church yesterday too called Vertical: Speaking With God. It’s basically a series about prayer: methods of prayer, how to pray, what to pray, the importance of prayer. Yesterday, we spoke on what prayer is and does. If you’re interested and hearing it, check out the podcast at http://www.journeyipod.com. It may not show up until next week though, the podcast tends to update a week behind the live speech.

So that’s where I’ve been at the last six days.



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Fruit/Veggie Cleanse Update: Day 5 (Major Decision Enclosed!)

It’s Day 5 of my fruit/veggie detox as well as the 5th day of Lent and, I will not lie, it’s been tough. Not just with the dietary Lenten changes I made but with everything else I’ve made the decision to fast from. I miss food, not just junk food, but food in general. I’m tired of just fruit already and my body is too. I give much respect to people who live a fruititarian lifestyle because it is NOT easy. So how do I feel so far? Well, they say the first 3 days are the hardest but it hasn’t gotten any easier. I feel so tired, like physically tired. I’m guessing its from the lack of protein and complex carbs. The fruit I eat is so quickly absorbed by my body that I always feel hungry too. I crave a lot but not as much as I did early on. I’m just ready to eat regular food again. So it’s all these factors above combined that have led me to a major decision. I have decided to end the cleanse after a week. Today is day 5, so Tuesday will be my last day. This won’t be my last try at this I’m sure but I don’t feel up to doing a second week, physically or mentally. Perhaps I was too ambitious, or perhaps I will try it again at a time when I’m not sacrificing other things. This Lenten season is a very ambitious one; much of what I’ve chosen to give up would be hard enough (for me) to give up one at a time not to mention all together. Even when I return to eating other foods, I still have to stay away from junk food as per my Lenten fast so trust me, it will NOT be easy. If it were, I wouldn’t be here with a weight loss blog to begin with. Pray for me these last 2 and a half days…ugh, I have such a headache!

HAVE A GOOD NIGHT LOSERS!!



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Fruit/Veggie Cleanse: Day 1 Down

So I managed to get through the first day of my cleanse. Boy, do I realize why I hate detoxes? It’s true that the first three days are the hardest. I’m already “withdrawing” from food but like any other cleanse, it’s the junk and the stuff that doesn’t need to be in my system that I crave most. For instance, I would kill for a bacon cheeseburger right now. But even if I wasn’t on a cleanse 1. it’s not something I should be eating 2. I gave up all junk food for Lent. All kinds of thoughts went through my head like “Perhaps my Lent commitment to staying away from social media (blogging excluded) was enough.” Then, I think again, even if it wasn’t Lent, a detox is necessary. It’s been 6 months since I did the master cleanse for 7 days and I’m due for a detox. This is more a test of mental will as I anticipated. Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Sometimes it can be both simultaneously but I keep my eyes and mind to the sky. Whenever I feel myself wanting to slip, I pray on it. I ask for the strength from Him for those moments when my own strength isn’t enough. Much of my life has been food associated and about indulging so just the caloric restriction compared to what I’m used to is enough to make me want to quit. On an average day, when I’m eating as I should, I’d say I take in about 2500-3000 calories a day. So, eating every 2 hours, with this cleanse, I’m still only taking in about a third to 40 percent of that. So I’ve been feeling a little weak and have the worst headache but it’s nothing I didn’t expect. As my body gets used to the change, I expect it to even out. I thank God it’s only 2 weeks. HoweverI don’t want to think of it like that so that at the end of 2 weeks I go back to all the crap I was eating abundance. A detox is supposed to influence change after it’s done. It’s supposed to maintain the clean state of your body that is left after the detox is over. So I’m nearing the end of my eating day for Day 2 with an apple, a pear, and a tomato set for 6PM, and then a green smoothie set for 8. Then I may have some herbal or fruit tea before the night ends.



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