A Little Inspiration for Your MP3 Player!

26 06 2012

This is free (and wonderful). Perfect for a workout, your commute into work… upbeat music mixed with some very powerful words!
Download and begin enjoying right now!

http://etinspires.com/mixtapes.html





Note To Self: Consistent Effort

22 06 2012

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The Yo-Yo Effect

21 06 2012

I think I have put on and taken off the same 10 pounds three times now. I just can’t seem to break past the 70 pounds lost mark. So besides acupuncture and exercise, I’m adding a 3 day juice fast. I’m hoping that this will finally break the plateau I’ve been balancing on for a long time now. So far today though… zero weight lost but no weight gain either. There is something at least in maintaining. It may take a long time but I’m moving forward. I will not let momentary setbacks discourage me. There is something gained within the struggle that can not be gained without it.





And the Beat Goes On

19 06 2012

26 weeks into my quest for better health through a mostly plant based diet and increased exercise. Acupuncture has remained helpful to me. I’ve lost 8 pounds in my first 8 days after beginning treatments. My cravings although lingering from time to time have greatly decreased. This still doesn’t stop me from doing occasional boneheaded things like eating way to much steak for Father’s Day. It’s weird actually, despite eating mostly plant based for over 6 months, I think my taste for a good steak will never completely diminish. This is a repeating pattern for me though, make some great gains towards my goal then gain some weight right back. I lack discipline. Some days are good and I am strong but then I fall apart. It’s frustrating but it is life.

The other great part about the acupuncture treatments is that my pain is really subsiding. Shoulder pain that I have dealt with on an increasing lever for about three months is now quickly fading away. If I wake up with it in the morning, it leaves quickly. Some mornings I have no pain at all. My ankle also feels a lot better. I tend to think I’ll have a long road to go to get it to where it needs to be but it is feeling better and I can’t argue so far with the results.

The needles in my ear to decrease the cravings, reduce stress and bump up metabolism are killing me this time around. With each session, the ears are switched. But this last round hurts so bad that massaging them is nearly impossible. I’m not sure how much of a benefit they are without the massage. The Chinese tea and herbs still taste like dirt and bark but I’m getting by with them.

I started out the day with yoga this morning and wrapped up the day with some exercise targeting specific muscle groups. I’m hoping that by my next acupuncture appointment on Friday, I will be able to say that the hard work has paid off and that I’ve lost more weight. Some of my eating this weekend has not helped me though. So now I have to play the catch up game. When I finally get the diet, exercise and treatment all going full bore, I’ll be dangerous.





Finding the Balance

15 06 2012

A pretty good week so far on the health front. Maybe after 6 months I’m finally starting to find some balance. The acupuncture sessions are reminding me that making the time for selfcare is so important and vitally necessary. I have my third session today and I’m eager to see what their scale says. My scale here is looking good.

I’ve been juicing during the morning lately. I love this Vitamix. It was an expensive investment that was really worth it. For starters, all of the pulp and fiber that a traditional juicer would expel, the Vitamix blends right into your drink. These are important vitamins and nutrients. Why let them go to waste.

Juicing gives me a chance to be creative with the ingredients I use and about 95% of the time I enjoy what I’m making. Yesterday I had blueberry and kale juice (with apple and orange). Kale has almost no taste when juiced and is one of the most vitamin packed, nutrient rich foods you can eat. Earlier in the week I had strawberry dandelion juice (with apple, orange and sweet lettuce) which is actually a near perfect combo. Dandelion is very good for your blood but can often be bitter. It is definitely an acquired taste. I find that the strawberries compliment the taste without totally masking it. The morning berry intake is very important. Recent studies indicate that just a half cup of berries a week helps to keep our brains sharp. This is an easy way to get your daily antioxidant intake boosted!

I’ve kicked up the exercise regiment a bit this week as well. I still need to be exercising more and this will likely continue to be a stumbling block for me for some time but I will keep working at it. Losing weight is a process. I know that I’d be further along in this journey if I exercised more.

Posts here at Johnnysized have been more sporadic lately. I try for 5 posts a week but lately it’s been less. I don’t want folks to think I’m falling off. If anything I am more engaged than ever. I’ve just had a lot of sticks in the fire recently. My photography gigs have been increasing and photo editing is extremely time consuming. I have some interesting things going on musically with my band’s second album nearing completion.

There is also this web series coming out on June 30th. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m getting my feet wet in the world of acting. I’m playing the part of a legbreaker. Give it a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwNcwmEO6-o&feature=youtube_gdata_player

More info at www.mobontherun.com





7 Pounds Lost in 5 Days

13 06 2012

And so begins week 25 of my switch to a (mostly) plant based diet with increased exercise in an attempt to lose weight and get healthy. After 6 months, I’m down nearly 70 pounds. The last month or so has been a terrible struggle for me. I went off the rails for a little while and at one point gained about 11 pounds before shedding most of it. But the gaining can happen so quickly and the shedding is an awful lot harder. What I can gain in a few days, takes weeks to take off again. And a lot of the time what further complicates things is that I’m just not disciplined enough. I’m spread very thin with work, family and other endeavors and I don’t make enough time to exercise. I’m working at getting better with this.

Lately I’ve been trying acupuncture as a way to help get me through this plateau that I’ve been stuck on. I’ve also been incorporating some Chinese root tea and other medicinal supplements. It all tastes like dirt and bark to me but I’ve managed to lose 7 pounds in 5 days following the prescribed regiment – on my doctor’s scale anyway. That’s a whole separate issue. How the doc’s scale can vary so much from mine is a great and frustrating mystery to me. But as long as both scales are moving in the same direction, I’m happy.

My acupuncture sessions have been amazing. Despite often having a very unquiet mind at the start of the sessions, by the end I am in a near dream state. I really feel like these sessions take me places. I’m talking otherworldly here. Maybe they are just taking me deeper inside my self. Either way they are fantastically peaceful. During my last session, I felt energy traveling up and down my legs and through my gut. It was amazing. I felt like a living energy super highway. That’s not overstating the feeling either. I guess it is my energy meridians opening up. Really an amazing experience. This is how the healing begins. I’m so very excited for what the future holds in store for me on this journey.





Trying a Wholistic Approach to Weight Loss

9 06 2012

For years I’ve thought about using acupuncture or some other healing art to assist me in losing weight. Now after losing nearly 70 pounds, I finally feel more ready to begin exploring forces outside of my own control. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a fan of going to a doctor’s office but I realize that this battle with weight often feels bigger than me and getting a bit of help might not be the worst thing to do at this point.

Because I’m a bit neurotic, the search for an acupuncturist becomes a complicated process. Sure there are tons of qualified people out there, but I wanted someone who had extensive experience. I wanted someone who is preferably Chinese. I wanted the Chinese medicines, herbs and teas. I wanted someone with a broken English accent. I know this is faulty thinking. Maybe I’ve watched the Karate Kid too many times but my criteria made the choice seem like a more authentic one for me.

Upon the recommendation of a colleague, I found and called a practitioner who was able to see me that same day. I had called several other practitioners before this but was not getting any warm fuzzies. The fact that this gentleman could see me the same day made it more difficult for me to be able to allow my nerves to get the best of me and back out.

For me, going to a “doctor’s office” is an anxiety producing event. When I walked toward the door of the office I read a posted sign with several rules. I was to take off my shoes and turn off my cell phone. The act of becoming untethered to my cell phone for any length of time is also quite anxiety producing. It’s the era that we live in. I always need to feel connected. The reality though is that smart phones leave us unconnected from each other a great deal of the time.

Before I knew it, I had been ushered into the space where I would receive the treatment. I spoke with the practitioner about some chronic but generally dull pain I had been experiencing for years in my left ankle as well as a new pain that had been developing over the last few months in my right shoulder. We also spoke about my weight loss journey so far and how he might be able to assist me in moving forward.

Before I knew it, it was time to disrobe and get on the table. This is also anxiety producing. At over 300lbs, this body is not ready for prime time yet.

The practitioner began working on my right foot as a way to ease my shoulder pain. I offered that the pain was likely the result of the way I sleep as I tend to sleep on my shoulder with my arm curled under my pillow and wedged up against the headboard. He remained quiet and I felt that maybe he was not accepting my hypothesis. I have since come to learn that in some Asian healing arts practices, shoulder pain is most often an indicator of a major stress build up.

With needles inserted and electrical stimulus pulse applied, the practitioner turned off the lights and left the room for a period of time. I was left alone with the sounds of the ocean mixed with a separate recording of American Indian flute. I wondered if my American Indian tattoos had inspired him to play this for me or if it was just by chance. Either way the sounds and the needles seemed to lull me off to an extremely relaxed state in no time which is really impressive given how anxious I had been feeling. I was not tired or sleepy but my mind did produce some interesting peaceful images. It reminded me of a very lucid dream. Every once in awhile I would come back to reality when my right hand unexplainably moved on it’s own, most likely the result of being a human pin cushion.

Before I knew it, the practitioner had returned and it was time to work on my ankle. I advised that my podiatrist had told me that because of the repeated sprains and strains to my ankle since the age of 18, a very large bone spur had developed and my entire ankle would need to be scoped so that the tendons could finally snap back into place and heal. I advised that I had also been told that my ankle had aged to about that of a 65 year old despite my only being 35 at the time. My practitioner laughed at this assertion and seemed to indicate with his facial expressions (although he said nothing) that surgery would probably not be necessary. Maybe that was wishful thinking on my part. I’m not completely sure.

The practitioner pushed on the exact spot on my ankle that often gives me pain. When strong pressure is applied it really hurts and I had all I could do to not sit upright and scream. Then he inserted one needle on the top of my foot near my toes and said “pain gone now” and pressed again. And it was! For the first time in 19 years my ankle was completely pain free. It felt absolutely normal. Tears began to well up. I couldn’t believe the instant difference.

The practitioner then began to add needles in a large circle around my stomach. I felt the tapping on the tops of the needles but never any actual pain (it’s very different than getting a needle at the doctor’s office). He also put needles in my arms and legs. One needle in my right leg definitely gave me an unpleasant sensation and sent a wave of something not nice down my leg for just a second and again briefly when it was finally removed later.

I also received very tiny needles in my right ear. some of these were painful but not for too long. They were covered with medical tape and I was told that I would keep them in until my next visit. These too would help with stress relief, pain relief, metabolism boosting and food craving control when massaged at least five times a day for 30 seconds each. Again the lights went out and my relaxed state returned.

At the conclusion of my visit I was told that acupuncture is not a panacea for weight loss. It will only assist in it. The hard work still belongs to me if I want to see results.

I was then given a “diet” plan for a three day caloric restriction type fast (essentially eating 1/3 of what I typically eat). This begins today. It will be difficult because I’m already eating considerably less than I had been before going plant based. After the three days, I would return to a diet not unlike what I have been doing already. No dairy, no grease, no excessive oils, low carbs and no processed foods. I also was given Chinese root tea and other herbal supplements to help with metabolism and fat absorption.

It was a very interesting experience and I’ll be going back twice this coming week. My only hope is that my insurance will get onboard and start picking up most of the tab as it is not at all cheap. I do fear that the treatments will become too cost prohibitive and I will need to stop before I’ve received enough of them to truly make an impact.

For now though I am feeling good. The shoulder and ankle were a bit sore a few hours after the session and the pain comes and goes still. Unless I become overly tired it generally remains duller and shorter in duration than it had. I expect that these issues will need more time to resolve. I’m skeptical about acupuncture’s ability to fix my ankle pain in a lasting way. This isn’t western mind. I’m definitely willing to give it a try though. I certainly cannot argue with the pain free moments in the office. That experience still amazes me.

The ear needles are neat. For some reason they make the whole right side of my face feel like it’s open (as if a piece of my skull is missing). It’s hard to find the words to explain it any other way. It’s a neat sensation. And yes my cravings have generally been in check although I’ve had my moments. We’ll see how it goes. One of the needles hurts when i massage it. The thought of having needles just stuck in my ear for days is not particularly comforting but its not stopping me from giving it a shot either.

This is an exciting new phase in my adventure. I’m interested to see where this road will lead. I definitely believe that western medicine can be beneficial but if we limit ourselves only to that, I think we miss an awful lot.

If you’ve used alternative methods to gain relief from pain and/or assist in weight loss and would like to share your experiences post a comment or email me: johnnysized@gmail.com








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