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Monday, December 30, 2013

Ready, set...re-set

*Note to reader - I am not a certified trainer or nutritionist. I do what I do and eat what I eat based on years of research and, sometimes, painful trial and error. Please take my thoughts as just that - my own thoughts.

It is usually this time of year that I get many questions. It's my intention to put down my thoughts for 2014, controversial as they may be to some.

The following is in response to the queries I often get and my perspective on those questions posed to me.

Resolution -

her resolution not to smokeintentionresolvedecisionintentaim,plancommitmentpledgepromise.

2014...Resolutions abound. It is at year end where we all decide change is imminent. Truth is, change is always imminent. Not a moment passes in which change hasn't happened.

As the year closes and the new year takes hold, know this truth - Negative change is coming. Positive change is up to you.

Okay, before the emails, IMs and FB messages start in on me about negative change, let's be realistic. What you view as a negative may not be so negative to someone else. A hangnail and hornet sting are two different types of pain. Negative can all be in perception. Yes, we all have our tragedies, both great and small. They happen and can't be avoided. Take note of this and remind yourself whenever negativity hits you, you will hit it back and hard.

My emphasis is on the positive. We can wait for positive change, check our Powerball tickets and hope for the best. Or we can force the positive. Daily if need be. The aim of this article is to force positive change from within. It all starts there...

Here are my thoughts on...

Smoking.

I'm not talking about what Native Americans had experienced in the 1700s. Today's smoking has no health benefit. Period. If you need studies, upon studies, then you are addicted. If you stand in the rain, the snow, the fog, or the earthquake at work to have a cigarette, then you are addicted. If you find it hard to simply walk away - then you are addicted.

But Joe. What about alcohol? Bad food? Smog?

True. All of these in bunches are just as harmful. But know this - if everyone quit smoking, then maybe some of the pollutants of our era would be less tolerated.

Now don't go all ga ga on me about beer, wine, etc etc. I am not the Health Police. I am not slapping Molsons from everyone's hand. Your twinkie is safe. And the person who ran his finger through the frosting on the cake was probably me. Do I believe in moderation? Damn right I do. Trouble is, most of us don't know what moderation is.


Sugar.

Our ancestors knew the difference between bitter and sweet. It's engrained in our DNA. Our instincts still love fat and sweet. We needed the energy, both stored and burned to survive. Our cultures have twisted this into the cravings we have today. With sensory overload, the addictions and cravings are still there.

Can you break this cycle? Sure. I am a recovering sugar-holic. As a teen, I would take out a spoon and scoop the white stuff out of my mom's sugar bowl to eat it raw. I would have Cocoa Pebbles with chocolate jimmies on top. No lie.

Does processed sugar damage you? Yup. If you ween yourself off you will find that the lure isn't as great. I've come to appreciate the treats I do have. It is never easy but certain items like candy bars and snack cakes are easy to avoid. If I do go off the wagon, it is usually around a celebration or holiday and even then, my body tells me when enough is enough. The bang is no longer worth the bite.

Vegetarian.

To be clear once again. I am a vegetarian who eats eggs, fish, but no dairy. Go figure. This decision didn't happen over night as some may have thought.

After my heart surgery, I panicked. Plain and simple. I gobbled, no pun intended, all of the nutritional information I could. I had to get better. I couldn't die this young.

http://www.ornishspectrum.com/proven-program/nutrition/

Dr. Dean Ornish had a radical plan. I bought into it. He not only removed processed fat from your diet but he removed ALL fat. His theory, which was slightly radical at the time, was to 'starve' a body from fat so much that heart disease could literally be reversed.  Backed by years of study, I had to attempt this approach even just from my mental state.

Talk about hard. After many months, I settled down. Radical as this change was, and a promise of what it could do for me, I had to look at what my body really needed. Fats are what our bodies need. In our sheltered worlds, this has a different meaning. Fat was where you found it. It roamed for miles over a landscape. We chased it. We hunted it. We died for it. Now? We reach for it, packaged neatly in cellophane.

As for being a veggie head? This took place not as a dare or snap decision. I cut various components out of my diet one at a time. Now? I ask what, if any, bang does my next bite give me. Truth. Next time you eat something ask yourself, nutritionally, what is that food giving you? Is it fresh or out of a can? Is it green? Does it contain more than 6 ingredients? Are any of those ingredients actually living things or are they chemicals?

Let me know what the answer is...

Joe, you have such will power.

All in the motivation. I've had cancer 3 times. Part of the treatments from those incidents had a doctor play Aliens in my chest.

I don't want to say it's easy. But I know a majority haven't gone through major health issues. Your motivation will be more difficult. Your own gun has to be placed at your temple. But I do beg you to do so. I know we are all born to die. But who said it has to be on someone else's terms? Men who hit their 40s and decide it is better to have 6 beers rather than do 6 miles. Women who think that once they are tabbed with 'Grandma', it's only a matter of time. Nonsense.

I was 220 lbs in Highschool. I am 162 lbs today.
I wrote my own abs challenge when I grew bored of doing the official challenge for 2 months.
I am still slow but I run longer at my age now, than I did when I was 27.

None of these are opinions. These are my facts. Motivated? Yes. My family and friends need me. I am no male model. I am just a person who is going into life kicking and screaming. If that is a role model then sign me up.

Don't ever be afraid to amaze yourself...you wouldn't believe how many people are simply afraid...

I can't run. I don't have time for the gym. I can't do all that. 

Don't run. Walk. Walking starts it all. Then push yourself. Walking can turn into jogging. Jogging turns in to running. Running turns into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Don't count the number of days that have passed. Just know that tomorrow, you are at it again. This is the new you.

Get an exercise ball and some dumbbells.

That's it. Start it. Start it slowly. Just do something everyday. Lift a little. Move a little. Every brick helps build your wall.

You don't need to find a track and run 10 miles your first go. It will only frustrate you. And that's the key to the life change. ELIMINATE WHAT FRUSTRATES YOU. Seems simple doesn't it?

You want to lose weight? It took me years to get where I am today. That's not a discouraging comment. What it means is that this is a lifestyle change for you. Look at what you eat, eliminate items, one at a time, and GO. Sooner than you realize, this is how you do things. There is no turning back. You won't want to anyway.

You want time to exercise? If you can't afford a treadmill, then get a 5.00 jumping rope. 20 minutes later, you are done.

Can't afford a juicer? Understood. They make these things like something paid for by NASA and built to land on Mars. Purchase a couple of bottles of vegetable juice, and experiment. Just one glass a day...

But Joe I have to make time....yes, yes you do. And here is the biggest stumbling block for most people. Invariably, this is a selfish act that benefits those around you. It is all for you. But the bennies that you give off are for everyone around you.

You are healthier, more energetic. You can 'keep up'. Mentally, you are sharper. You will tackle on subjects you may have shied away from previously. You can take care of others now that you are taken care of. Finally, you will know the difference between feeling okay and feeling damn good.

It all starts with baby steps.

Maybe there is negative change on the way. There are also thousands, maybe millions who would switch with you and the choices you will face. Be thankful you are alive and make your positive changes now. They are heavy sandbags against the tide. Stack them up. Each one counts. Your wall begins now.

At midnight, make a toast to yourself. 2014 is here. You are one baby step away from changing it all for the better....

Have a happy and healthy new year.

JM



Monday, December 23, 2013

Thoughts 2013

I might as well get it out of the way - I don't think Christians have sole possession of "good will towards men".

I think Christmas should be the true Earth Day.

Sure we all go out and plant shrubbery in April but the true Earth Day is now.

Everyone. Atheists, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Orthodox Sesame Streeters, penguins...you name it.

One single day. One day.  We all lay down our arms. We all make peace.

"Enemies becoming friends, when bitterness ends" - Faithless

That's the goal isn't it? Commercialism be damned.

For once, the alien races will look down at us not in laughter but in unity.

One day. That's all it takes.

Today's wind was biting. It's a balmy 40 degrees, but I felt compelled to take my HIIT training outside just mainly so I can breathe.

I confess to being bedeviled by thoughts of aging, dying, and time...how much is left? You can quickly cast them aside by breathing. It is proof that everything works.

You get shaken now and again so go out and prove that you are alive. Try it. You will see.

In this year of reflection, we often forget that it was "a year" to actually reflect upon.

We scratch and claw through our common lives daily. So much so, we forget that on our yearly birthday, we shouldn't count how many years are behind, but the fact that we got here in the first place.

It counts. We made it. And yet some have not.

This is a club, People. It's not solely for those who survive diseases but for those who survive life. Sure we forget. Well, here's a great time to remember.

Always remember...

You got here.

Someone probably helped along the way.

Someone new will help you in the future.

You will go it alone...and that's fine.

You won't be alone for long...

Remember Earth Day...we are united. We are thankful. We are strong in the knowledge that nothing in the known universe will stop us from simply surviving...

To all those I have met in 2013 and beyond, may you find peace during this season. And to all of those I have yet to meet?

See you soon...