Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Juicing is fun

I've been having some juice every day to help aide my weight loss efforts.  The juice has a low glycemic load because it's mostly vegetable juice.  I use just enough apple juice to cut the bitterness of the veggies.  I juiced some kale the day I bought it and froze it in ice cube trays so I can add it to other blends.  Today I made a tomato-apple-lime combo that was awesome!  The lime makes it really zippy.  My 2-year-old loves it too.  We've had her on plain milk and water so her taste in juice is unformed.

I came across this Ted Talk and I thought I'd share it with you.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

H.I.T. High Intensity Training

Get Fit Guy
I was listening to Get Fit Guy's podcast this morning and was inspired.  Doing interval training with high intensity bursts followed by lower or more moderate activity burns way more calories than regular exercise.  (The episode called "10 reasons why you are not losing weight")  It was 5:45am and nobody, not even the sun was up.  I decided to go for it.

There was a light pole a little way down the road.
I realized a while back that I had not
actually run anywhere or at any
intensity for YEARS.  I decided to run
flat-out from that pole until the next one.
I did it!  

Then I did it again a little while later!  I added sets of 10 squats every 10 houses or so.  All in all it felt really really good.  I had that beautiful sweaty and cleaned-from-the-inside feeling that is so wonderful about exercise.  It was a really nice experience.  Pair that with the fact that I didn't want to get up this morning to do the walk and I'm pretty proud of myself.  

There was unpleasant flapping of flesh on flesh, but I didn't let it get to me.  All in all, I didn't run for very long or very far, but it was a start.  I'm looking forward to doing it again!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

A revised food pyramid is food for thought.  This thought-provoking documentary is very inspiring.  One must be careful, however.  If you have too much fruit as part of your mix in these juices, you can induce diabetes.  This is NOT a fruit fast, it is a vegetable juice fast.

Purgatory in Massachusetts

Depiction of Purgatory
So, according to Catholic and Orthodox teaching, we get a glorified body at the resurrection.  If we are chronic over-eaters (gluttons) and   if we don't use our bodies' muscles (sloth), then we won't take good care of the glorified version either, won't we?  Purification of the soul and spirit are necessary before we get those glorified bodies.  This is a logical conclusion.  We can therefore deduce that getting rid of excess fat on the body is necessary for entry into heaven.  I have no idea how this is done after death, but right here and right now I'm doing it on my body.

With occasional diets as the exception, my Mom was obese during most of her adult life.  In the end, cancer and chemotherapy claimed her extra weight.  Throughout this process, I feel like I'm walking with Mom.  She's urging me to get healthy now and not go through what she went through.  Either way, the weight is coming off.

This past week I've been a bit lax.  Last weekend we went to an ordination and partied for two big meals.  Those meals weren't a problem because we (my family) didn't do much eating on those days besides the parties.  What it did though was give me a taste for dessert again.  I've been fighting it ever since.  Thank God for the morning walks or I'd be lost.

I've been listening to spiritually and motivationally edifying podcasts and music.  I'm working exercise into my life and getting up more from the couch.  I'm eating whole foods and reading labels.  I'm praying at meals.  Please pray for me.  I really need the help.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Suburban Chickens

My town of Taunton, Massachusetts is considered a "city", but it is the most rural city I've ever been in.  I especially enjoy early morning walks on Sundays because they are so quiet.  Not many people are readying for work and all the people who had a late Saturday night have already gone home.

Nicely kept homes with chickens in the backyard!
This morning is the seventh month anniversary of my mother's falling asleep (death).  I said a rosary for her soul and for the new deacons who were ordained by Cardinal O'Malley yesterday.  I was solemn and began my prayers.  It was slow going.  I had trouble getting into the flow of the prayers.  Then I got onto Dunbar Street.  As I passed a raised ranch, I heard a rooster begin to announce the morning.  Then another rooster answered him a few streets over.  Pretty soon, in the second decade of the rosary, I was accompanied by a chorus of suburban chickens!  I was laughing to myself and praying and a huge grin was spreading on my face.

Imagine the neighbors being woken up at the crack of dawn every day and the patience they are forced to have.  Imagine the communications between neighbors over the roosters.  I laughed a little harder.  Imagine the fun one can have watching the chickens interact with one another, the household dog, and the children.  What a joy to eat the eggs of such chickens!

I've long wanted to follow in the footsteps of my friend who lives in Durham, New Hampshire.  She raises chickens for eggs in her backyard.  Building the coop, fencing the yard, and caring for the chickens would be an endless source of exercise.  My husband doubted that chickens would be allowed in the "city."  Now, after the walk on Dunbar Street, I realize that they are not only allowed, but welcomed.
my mom

My walk gave me a tremendous appreciation for the crisp air, the beautiful sky, and the wholesome food that awaits me for breakfast.  I imagined my mother's spirit urging me on to care for my body with exercise, a touch of laughter, and the enjoyment of simple things.  May her memory be eternal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Father Robert Baron
Remembering and rehearsing the wrong-doing and sins of others helps us to feel morally superior.  We hug that resentment close to us and it slowly strangles our soul.  I've been angry for a variety of reasons at a variety of people and have truly struggled with the concept of forgiveness in the face of that anger.  Yesterday I heard Father Robert Baron give a homily podcast on anger.  This homily is inspired by the scripture readings of the Roman Catholic Church last Sunday and its coincidence with the 10th Anniversary of September 11.

Forgiveness means that you never give up on a person.  You want what is best for them, you want them redeemed.  You don't have to seethe with hatred and wish for vengance.  I was so stoked by this homily.

Anger and forgiveness have a lot to do with weight loss.  There was a popular self-help book in the 90s called "It's not what you're eating, it's what's eating you."   Spiritual sickness tends to manifest itself on our bodies.  We smoke, drink coffee, have a beer or two, and scream at people on the highway.  Fat people eat!  They eat their anger and suppress it, well at least I have.  I have not thought anger, disappointment, or frustration to be appropriate for "a young lady" or "a Christian," so I've ignored the anger and eaten something to make myself feel better with a  shot of serotonin in the form of something tasty.

The problem with self-help books is that their ideas tend to flame out when we try them.  We try meditation and relaxation for a while, but we go back to old habits.  The cool thing about living the Ancient faith of Orthodoxy is that falling off the wagon is built in.  Confession works hand-in-hand with the rhythm of the liturgical year.  Fasting, feasting, preparing, preparing to prepare preparing, and remembering are all done with food and exercise in mind.  There's even the practice of liturgical squat-thrusts in the form of full metanias during the prayers of Saint Ephraim during Great Lent!  Here is a Canadian monk discussing the prayer.  After each phrase of the prayer, a full prostration is performed.  This prostration is like a very slow squat-thrust (cross yourself, bow to your knees, get on all fours, place forehead on the ground.)  The prayer of Saint Ephraim is said several times in each service during Great Lent.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Food, Faith and Fasting

Rita Madden
I just found a great podcast by an Orthodox Christian woman who is a registered dietitian.  She podcasts through Ancient Faith Radio.  The podcast is called Food, Faith, and Fasting.  Dietitian, Rita Madden structures her 20 minute podcast with spiritual themes.  She begins with information on the topic then a word from the church fathers on the topic.  She ends with "homework" for the listener to implement to help them grow closer to God as they put food in its rightful place.  I'm enjoying this podcast very much.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

So far so good

Whole milk ain't so bad
I've been getting up early and walking.  Sometimes I walk the dogs, sometimes not.  They are a handful in the dark and whine and bark a lot if I walk one and not the other.

I've been watching portions, but had NOT cut out saturated fat.  I'm going with whole milk and full fat, just less of it.  I'm not having many carbs with dinner and nothing after dinner to eat.  I feel better.  My home scale says there is progress, but I don't trust that one.  We'll see if the scale at the gym agrees.

The thought that has gotten me through these two weeks has been something like this...

I know I don't want to do this (eat less, stop eating, exercise, get up early,) but it's not about what I want, it's about what Jesus wants.  He wasn't up there on His cross saying, "Gee, this is great!"  Fighting gluttony and sloth is my cross.  I need to get up there with Him and deal.

Watching the sun rise is really nice
during an early morning walk.
On the flip side, I feel better.  I have more energy, sleep better, and I'm proud of myself.  I also get some prayer time while walking and some quiet time alone.  I get to see the sun rise and have a nice cup of coffee without baby near the stove in the early morning.  These perks were definitely NOT part of Jesus' experience on His cross.  When you really think about it, my cross isn't such a terrible one to bear.