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.





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





Grinding On…it’s Gut Check Time

5 06 2012

And so begins Week 24 of my switch to a plant based diet and increased exercise. I’m slowly on the road back, shedding three of the four pounds I gained last week. But I’m writing this after a night out with a bunch of friends that included three slices of pizza with the works and one fabulously made (from scratch) Bloody Mary. It’s alright to do this once in awhile but it’s not the way to really make the weight come off.

And that’s kind of where I am at lately. The first 65+ pounds came off relatively easy. I worked hard but my body gave up the weight freely. I wanted it and I stuck with it. Now the process has slowed. I know that if I want to see real gains made in my progress I need to turn the intensity, dedication and determination up big time.

I’m not losing ground lately as much as I am just hitting a stagnation point. In the journey of weight loss, I find myself in a deepening valley. I know that how I get out of this valley will be a predictor of how successful this overall journey will be for me.

The initial push of wanting to lose the weight and getting healthy cannot be allowed to fade. Everyday I need to wake up and WANT it as bad as I did on Day # 1. I need to WANT it like my life depends on it because IT DOES. I need to WANT it bad enough to cut out the foods that will harm me. I need to WANT it bad enough to make time for daily exercise. If I don’t do these things, then these are all just flowery words on a page. I need to push through this and get to the other side. These are the times in a journey that test the metal of a man. It’s gut check time. I’m not happy with my progress or my effort lately and it’s time to see how bad I really want this.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to share your story of struggle here or email me at johnnysized@gmail.com





Always Forward, Never Straight

30 05 2012

So yesterday, I had a little blog meltdown. I got a bunch of feedback about chilling out and not worrying so much. I guess to better explain it, I’m not so worried about the weight gain as much as I am about going off course. Some people will look at it and say, “just don’t eat garbage, it’s all in your control”. And at the end of the day, this is true. But when you have issues with food, it becomes more complicated than that. As with any addictive type behavior, when you fall off track a little, it can very quickly become a lot. Having lost significant weight in the past only to gain it all back very quickly – I know that this needs to be an everyday battle.

A friend said to me yesterday (about a different matter) – “Always Forward, Never Straight”. That sums it up pretty nicely I think. I hope the failures of my past will lead me to become smarter and more steadfast. For now, I feel like I’m getting back on track.





Success is NOT a Straight Line

2 04 2012

And so begins week 15 of my switch to a plant based diet and a healthier lifestyle.  For the first time since starting this journey to better health, my weight flatlined this week and the needle on the scale did not move.  I’m not really sure why as I did not over eat.  I actually spent most of the week feeling unsatisfied and not full which is a discouraging thing when you trying to lose weight.  The body is smart and when it feels like this, it believes there is a shortage of food and tries its best to hang on to what you have.  It wasn’t until last night when I ate stuffed peppers that I actually felt fully content afterwards.  This was a heavier meal than I typically like to eat prior to the day of a weigh in.

Last week, I passed up the most tempting chocolate mousse cake at work along with bagels and cream cheese.  I visited my grandparents and passed up wonderful italian bread, prosciutto (which I love) and hard provolone cheese.  I hit the weights, I stayed active.  I  really stuck to eating mostly veggies and legumes. I did mostly  everything right and at the end of the week, I still came up short.  I can live with it though.

The things we most want in life, shouldn’t come easy.  As much as we hate it to be, getting there should be difficult.  Achieving what we desire should be a struggle so that when we finally have what we want in our grasp, we can truly appreciate, cherish and savor it. – for the rest of our lives.

I don’t feel depressed.  I feel a little angry.  I definitely feel inspired.  I feel ready to kick it up a notch and get what is mine.





Our Body is an Instrument… what kind of music are you making?

10 03 2012

The best thing about getting in shape is that success or failure rest solely with the individual. I’m in charge and if I stay diligent and have discipline I will achieve my goals. If I lack drive, focus and commitment, I will fail to achieve what I have set out for. With health and wellness there are no excuses. The only one I have to blame for allowing things to get so out of hand is me. If I want to change my situation then I am the only one who can ultimately do it. Sure I can solicit advice from those already on the path, but I’m the person that will need to put in the hard work and the effort. I have no one to blame but myself if I have a bad week or a bad day. I can take the journey as far as I want. It is completely up to me. How different are so many other things in life? .

I think about my artistic pursuits in music. I’m in a band; the clubber lang gang. I sing and sometimes I add hand synthesizer or other efx. I’m definitely not talented enough to make anything sound worthwhile solely by myself. We’re in the process of recording a new album right now. I need my friends who are guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboardists and singers to make the songs shine. It is truly a group effort. Creating music in a band can be difficult. Everyone brings their own talents as well as their idiosyncrasies to the mix. In order for good music to be created, everyone has to function together as one unit. This can be difficult because as people we are all different.

With health and wellness, my body becomes my instrument. With practice and dedication I can turn this out of shape mess of a body into a perfectly working instrument. One that will yield beautiful music if I work hard enough and remain patient. This is something I can do on my own without excuses. The journey is mine alone and I’m eager to get where I’m going. The worthwhile part though is the struggle to get there. Once I have arrived, there will be some other hill to climb. But this is the big one, and I’m going to savor it. It’s freeing to be in control of ones destiny.

Wishing you all well in your individual pursuits.
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This is a song from our first album, Now Here This, available on itunes and many places online. The song is about getting on the good path and making changes, living the life you want to live for you, cutting out the excesses that damage, healing, finally getting it right. The seed was planted awhile ago. Unfortunately it took longer than expected to put it into motion. It’s too late to go back now so forward I go.

The Get Right by the clubber lang gang

<a href="//www.facebook.com/clubberlanggang








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