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Here I Go Now…AGAIN…

January 3, 2017 — 1 Comment

I had that special moment today…the moment when time stands still and you realize that your life has changed…and it’s changed for the spectacular.

Let me back up a bit…

I Spin three times a week.  On a rare occasion (and I mean rare) I will Spin on Thursday nights during our 4:30pm class.  Yesterday I decided that I was going to drive in JUST for Spin.  So at 3:30pm, I left my house in Petaluma and drove to Novato.  I got to my office just before 4pm.  I set up my bike and waited for my instructor (Glen), and the other students, to arrive.  I remember looking at the clock…it read 4:20pm…students are here, but no Glen.  No Glen?!  This is odd.  Glen has never missed a since he started teaching this class over two years ago.  I feared that something happened…my fear was heightened given that Glen recently purchased a motorcycle.  My mind went a little crazy and I hoped and prayed that nothing serious had happened.  I asked Sue, one of my Staff Managers at the club, if he had called.  She said, “No.”  Even more odd.  Glen would have called if there was a problem.  The clock now reads 4:27pm…

I think to myself, “I’m going to have to teach this class…”

I duck into our orientation & therapy room and compose myself.  Forget that I’m about to teach my first Spin class TOTALLY unprepared…but I was completely worried that something bad had happened to Glen.  But now, there was no time for conjecture or panic.  I had a room full of students who were ready to Spin.  The clock on the wall reads 4:29pm…

As a health club manager, I just move into operations mode and handle the problem.  I’m not focused any longer on the fact that THIS will be my first class, I just have to make it happen and make it good.  I tell the class, “I’m not sure where Glen is, but let’s get started.  I have not prepared a program, obviously, for this class…but I will give it my all and I promise you a great, fun class…” Oh my God, why did I just say that?!  The clock reads 4:30pm…  Time to start…here I go now…

From the moment I opened my mouth on the bike…from the moment I spoke the first instruction…I was calm and focused.  All that matted was that I delivered a superior class.  My worries and fears did not exist and I refused to give power to something that is created out of thin air.  Before I knew it, the clock read 4:50pm…  Had twenty minutes passed already???

My energy was high on all levels.  As soon as I started I mapped out a program in my head.  I need to follow the program, keep my energy up, and watch my students for correct form and posture…all the while being aware if my form AND balancing my breathes so I could talk over the headset microphone.

I used some traditional moves and used some of my own.  I mixed it up and gave them something new.  I didn’t want to rest on what was easy.  I wanted then to love this class.  I didn’t want any of them to feel disappointed because Glen wasn’t there.  But I caught myself…I have no control over their reaction.  I only have control over my delivery and attitude.  I stayed focused and kept giving it my all.  The clock now read 5:15pm…and that’s when it happened…the moment it all clicked for me…

In the midst of my coaching, I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror…a glimpse of me on the Spin bike, coaching, instructing…thriving in the moment…  Who is that guy?…that thin guy?…that guy with defined, strong legs and that smallish butt?  Oh my God…it’s really me!  This is surreal…  The clock reads 5:23pm…  The class has seven minutes left…

My students…let me say that again…my students…were working their butts off…I could see how tired they were…the loads of sweat pouring off their bodies…  On the other hand, I was on fire.  My energy level was so high I thought I was going to jettison right out of my seat.  I smiled and realized I was going to finish hard and strong…and I was going to lead my class to do the same.  The clock now reads 5:25pm…the last song is coming on…

I tell everyone to take a deep breath…that we are going to ride this one out with fury and fun…we’re gonna give it our all…I tell them to, “…Focus on the beat of the music.  Ignore any tiredness.  Know that you are strong and will finish strong.  Know that you can achieve it if they focus on what they want…”  It’s now 5:28pm on the clock…only two minutes left…everyone is giving it their all…

Right now, I’m just a ball of energy and inspiration.  All I care about is the group finishing strong…praising them for their work, their commitment…I’m trying not to yell into the mic, but I can’t hold down my excitement…only a few seconds left…almost there.  The clock reads 5:30pm…it’s over…it done…my first Spin class as the sole instructor…My students sweaty, tired…and smiling…

I’m on cloud 9….no, more like cloud 27…

I completed the class with a few traditional stretches and some new ones.  My students all liked the new moves.  They came up to me and let me know they really liked the class.  They told me that i worked them hard and they like it.  I was beaming…

It turns out that the stars aligned for me to get the validation I didn’t even know I needed.  Here’s what happened:  Glen missed a class.  I happened to be there.  I taught the class.  I had not prepared.  I gave it my all.  I was good.  The class was happy…

If it had happened any other way, I would not have had the experience of how really prepared I was to teach a Spin class on my own.  I knew deep down I could do it…but I did have nerves…I had nerves because it mattered so deeply to me.  Being thrown into the fire without ANY preparation taught  me how strong I was.  It taught me that I have been ready for some time…more than ready…

I could not have done what I did if i hadn’t committed to transforming my body from the inside out.  My clean living and eating provided me with a body that could “do the work” and do it well.  Although far from perfect, I now have a body that acts like a well oiled machine.  It gives me the energy I need when I need it and can sustain coaching a 50 minute, intense cardio class…while talking no less!

What a great evening!  I’m still on a high.  I was smiling all the way home.  I was smiling in the shower and doing little happy dances.  It was like I was in love…that feeling when your falling in love and everything is new and fresh and you are smiling all day long just at the thought of the other person…that’s how I feel right now…right at this moment…

The clock reads 12:11am…  I am in Spin in less than six hours…Time for sleep…

Yes, I am in love…with my life…and all the possibilities…

Mark-Before-and-After-090913I have to be honest, when I woke up this morning and stepped on the scale I was very disappointed.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I had gained a pound in a week.  This was the first time in four months that I hadn’t lost any weight in a week’s time.  Just before stepping on the scale, I thought to myself; if I only lose one pound, that would be okay…but the way I feel, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost two or three pounds.  I even entertained the possibility that I could even have hit 189.  I knew it was a stretch, but I had been working sooooo hard, I thought it was in the realm of reason.  So again, I was shocked when the scale indicated that I had gained weight.

I got off the scale and started to contemplate; Had I done anything different?  Had my food changed?  Had my exercise changed?  Nothing pointed to any lax behavior which would cause the gain…and then it hit me…I had to have gained muscle.  I had lost fat and gained muscle.  In the last week my clothes were fitting looser.  I could see the definition in my upper legs emerging from cycling at least 15 miles…everyday.  My waist seems smaller and my pants were looser.  In four months I have gone from a 40″ waist to a 32/34.”  But, even with this realization, I still wasn’t embracing the big picture.  I was still focused on the one pound gain…until I took my 120 day pictures…WOW…what a reality check.  Looking at the AFTER pictures, I could really see how my body has transformed, not only in the last four months, but in the last 30 days.  It’s for this very reason why it’s so important to take before, during, and after pictures as you lose weight, gain muscle and move towards a healthy lifestyle.

People are walking up to me and calling me “skinny.”  In relationship to what I was four months ago, I guess I am skinny.  It’s hard to believe that I could be called skinny at 195 pounds…but then again…it’s all relative.  It’s not as though I’ve been sitting on the couch consuming an unhealthy liquid diet without exercise (hello, can we say Optifast?! Gross).  On the contrary, I have been committed to exercising and building a better body through exercise, daily!  It doesn’t matter how much I weigh, it matters how much my percentage of body fat is actually decreasing…and that is going down steadily.  Again, the pictures don’t lie.  My closes fitting looser don’t lie.  Measurements don’t lie.

Yesterday was a busy day (as so many of them are these days) and the sun was beginning to set when I went for my usual daily bike ride.  I try to go early in the morning, but it doesn’t always work out for me.  My commitment is daily exercise, and I’m open to however that shows up in my life.  It could be a bike ride or a walk with a friend.  It could be a run or a friendly tennis match.  It could be a 30-minute swiss ball workout or a hike with a colleague…However exercise show up is just fine with me as long as I stick to my commitment of choosing it daily.

So far daily exercise has not been a problem.  I look forward each day to working out and exercising my muscles.  It’s become a tad bit addicting.  I’m not so much addicted to the endorphin rush as I am excited about how, at 46 (47 in less than 30 days), my body is performing better than it has been in some time.  I feel like I’m in my twenties…seriously, I do…and I was in good shape in my twenties.

So back to last night and my late bike ride…I had a definite moment of clarity that moved me emotionally.  As I rode back towards home, the sun was setting beneath the rolling hills of Sonoma County.  I was riding fast and the wind was whipping past me.  My legs were a bit tired but my exhilaration of the experience kept me focused on having a great ride.  I loved being on my bike and didn’t want to end quite yet.  I felt free and alive and was so incredibly grateful for the life that I’m experiencing…living…right now.  And then it suddenly hit me…this new attitude…this new way of perceiving exercise…it was a joy…a privilege…something that was a gift to myself and not an impediment of my day and time.  It was a new way of living…and it literally took my breath away…

I had never experienced such a feeling.  I’ve been active all my life (sometimes more than others), but I have never embraced exercise as a gift and privilege…I always perceived it as a necessary nuisance to achieve good health.  Exercise, for me, was the price you paid for the chance of living a quality life.  It never occurred to me that being able to exercise is the evidence of living a quality life.  It has become clear to me that exercise–the harmonious moment of your body–is a gift to yourself…a symphonic-like reminder of the incredible machine that you are.

I pray that I never forget that…and in not doing so…I celebrate every movement my body allows me to create until my last dying breath.

IMG_3379First things first: It’s shortly after 90 days since I committed to a Paleo lifestyle and I have dropped 50 pounds!  Wooooow!  This is amazing!  I feel great and have lots of energy.  In the past couple of days, I have had a couple of people use the term “glowing” in terms of my skin (and they didn’t mean shiny).  It’s good to be healthy.

Okay, let’s move on…

If you are reading my blog, you most likely are already following a Paleo diet (or aspiring to do so). You have also likely experienced a tremendous shift in your health and well-being since eliminating (or at least drastically reducing) grains, beans, sugar and dairy. I know it takes a fair amount of commitment and willpower, especially in those early days, so congratulations to you.  Smooth sailing from now on, right? Not so fast.

Since beginning this lifestyle in May of this year, I’ve learned that there are pitfalls to the way many practice a Paleo lifestyle, as well as tweaks and customizations for the individual that must be considered if you truly want to thrive. Here are the top five that I’ve seen and what to do to guarantee a lifetime of “Paleo joy.”

Eating Too Much Meat.

When one first starts out eating Paleo, its pretty common to replace grains with meat as it’s the way your body can still feel satiated. Once the initial transition is made, it’s very important to limit your protein consumption to 20-35% of daily calories. According to Paul Jaminet, author of the“Perfect Health Diet”, the Paleolithic/Cannibal diet consisted of these macronutrient ratios:

  • Carbohydrates: 13-20%
  • Short-chain and medium chain fats: ~3%
  • Other fats: ~60%
  • Protein: ~15-25%

There are a several reasons why:

1. According to Jaminet, too much protein is toxic to the body: “At a protein intake of 230 g/day (920 calories), the body’s ability to convert ammonia to urea is saturated. This means the nitrogen from every additional gram of protein lingers in the body as ammonia, a toxin. Clearly, marginal dietary protein is toxic, via ammonia poisoning, at this intake level. A reasonable estimate for where toxicity begins is between 150 to 200 g/day.”

2. All meat is not created equal. The difference between a piece of grass-fed red meat with a nice marbling of fat and a conventionally-raised skinless chicken breast is BIG. Its important to have most of your protein come from the ruminants (cow, bison, lamb, etc), wild or organically farmed seafood and organic farm eggs to minimize polyunsaturated fat consumption and maximize saturated fat consumption (and also balance omega-6 to omega-3 ratios). Choosing organic, pasture-fed and ethically raised animals is crucial for your health, the health of the planet and the collective consciousness around meat-eating.

3. Too much meat can cause digestive distress and constipation if not eaten with sufficient fiber (ref). They say that life and death begin in the colon, and your body’s ability to move your food all the way through in a timely fashion is very important.

4. Meat is acid-forming in the body and many experts believe that disease can only live in acidic states. This doesn’t mean, like the vegan community would argue, to eliminate it. Grains, dairy and sugar are also acid-forming, so the answer lies in balancing your meat consumption with lots of vegetables and green juice, both of which are alkalizing to the body.

Not Eating Enough Vegetables.

In addition to keeping your body alkaline, veggies are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants that you simply cannot find elsewhere. The fiber and water in veggies helps keep your insides scrubbed clean and digestion moving. The color of your veggies is linked to the nutrients therein, so the more like a rainbow your plate looks, the better! Make sure to eat raw veggies with your cooked foods as they may provide enzymes to help breakdown cooked food and assimilate the nutrients. According to The Mayo Clinic: “some enzymes help digest food into simple substances that the body’s cells can use for energy. Other enzymes forge substances within the cells that are unavailable in the diet.”

Lack of Healthy Bacteria

Did you know that your body has ten times more bacteria than human cells? Isn’t that amazing?! There is a bacterial war being waged in your body at every moment. The enemy is fed by antibiotics, sugar, dairy, grains, chemicals and pesticides, while the good guys are fed by probiotics in supplement form and fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi. Having strong digestion is the #1 most important factor for good health as all the nutrition from your food is either converted to be used by your body or passed through malabsorbed.

Lack of Variety/Nutrient Deficiency

It’s too easy to get in a rut and be eating virtually the same foods everyday. Chicken and broccoli at every meal does not constitute a healthy Paleo diet! There are some foods that are a MUST to incorporate into your diet.

1. Organ Meats: Chris Kresser reminds us that organ meats are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than their corresponding muscle meats, and a fraction of the cost. They are loaded with vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid and minerals such as copper and iron.

2. Homemade Bone Broth: I fondly refer to bone broth as “the miracle elixir”.  I make HUGE batches and drink it almost everyday!  I love it. In addition to all of the lovely vitamins and minerals, bone broth is loaded with gelatin, which is great for healing your gut, glycosaminoglycan (GAGS) for joint health and connective tissue health and repair, glycine for mental and emotional wellness and collagen for beautiful skin.

3. Farm Eggs: One of the most annoying myths being fueled by the mainstream media is that cholesterol, and therefore egg yolks, are bad for you. Eggs are super nutrient-dense and may actually protect your heart! One egg yolk provides all 13 essential nutrients, are an excellent source of B vitamins, which are needed for vital functions in the body, and also provide good quantities of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development. The vitamin E in eggs protects against heart disease and some cancers; eggs also contain vitamin D, which promotes mineral absorption and good bone health. Eggs are rich in iodine, for making thyroid hormones, and phosphorus, essential for healthy bones and teeth.” It is important to note, however, that some people are intolerant to eggs. If you suspect you are, try an elimination diet for a couple weeks.

Ignoring Your Body’s Signals

I know that many of you have been trained to push through hard workouts, you know, mind over matter. Please don’t do that with your body as it relates to food. Even on a Paleo diet, there may still be foods to avoid, and others your body in particular thrives on. The best way to determine that is by checking in with yourself about 20 minutes after you’ve finished your meal and ask: “How is this making me feel?” Since you’ve already eliminated the grains, beans, and possibly the dairy, this won’t be as straightforward, but intolerances to eggs, nuts, citrus, nightshade veggies and shellfish may still be present (you can have intolerances to any food, but these are the most common Paleo foods). You should have energy and feel good when you’re done eating a meal. If you don’t, there’s still something to tweak.

The Next Ten…

August 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

I have about 10 pounds to lose and then I’m officially under the 200 pounds mark and into the 100’s.  Once I’m in the 100’s I’m going to start weighing in once a week.  I look forward to that at this point.  Days like this morning where I put on almost a pound in one day NEVER makes sense to me especially when I’m golden on my eating and exercise.  It always boils down to just three possible causes:  (1) Too much salt, (2) not enough fat, or (3) my body just doing some kind of adjustment.

I cut back on my fat intake yesterday because I wanted to see a bigger loss on the scale this morning.  You think I would have learned that this is NOT the way to drop weight.  I know better, but that crazy idea that fat makes you fat still floats around in my head sometimes.  This is sooooooo not true.

The next time I weigh in will be Monday morning.  I’m going on a mini-vacation to Saratoga.  I’m going with a friend to see Gladys Night at the Mountain Winery which is a gorgeous venue.  If you live and the area, you must go see a concert there!  Until Monday!  Have a great weekend people!

POLL…

July 14, 2013 — Leave a comment

The world only becomes transparent to man when man himself is completely transparent, when he is what he truly is.

~Chao Yong

The world only becomes…

A Sense Of Pride…

July 2, 2013 — 1 Comment
The Statue of Liberty carrying the PRIDE America flag...in sensible pair of wedges...lol

The Statue of Liberty carrying the PRIDE America flag…in sensible pair of wedges…lol

The parade started with two balloon sculptures that read "LOVE WON."

The parade started with two balloon sculptures that read “LOVE WON.”

Sunday, I attended the 43rd annual San Francisco PRIDE parade.  It was a gorgeous day.  The weather in San Francisco could not have been better.  The feeling in the air was one of acceptance and equality like had never experienced before.  This parade was different.  It marched on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision which brought same-sex couples the same, federal marriage rights as straight couples.  The decision also led to the collapse of DOMA and Proposition 8 in California.  There is still a long way for the country to go.  The GLBT community won’t rest until all 50 states share marriage equality.  But I know that it isn’t a matter of if, but simply a matter of when.

INSPIRE. HOPE. CHANGE

INSPIRE. HOPE. CHANGE

So many people attending the parade from every ethnic and religious backgrounds were celebrating the unquestionable right to love who you want to love.  Most pride parades have a touch of rebellion tossed in the mix of celebration.  This year rebellion took a back seat to a full sense of equality and validation.  We, as a GLBT community, are finally and truly “the same” in the eyes of the federal government.  We are equal to and not less than.  A truly unbelievable concept for our souls to grasp.  So many years of living as second class citizens.  It’s still hard to believe that all the dreams and hopes I had as a child for myself…a the chance at a family…an opportunity for a real wedding…well, it’s all possible.  Simply life changing.  It doesn’t matter that I might be too old to start a family.  It’s the knowledge that I can if I want to and have every aspect about that decision validated by my country and state.

I don’t care how much weight I end up losing.  Nothing could have made me feel lighter than having the chains of oppression removed from my body.  It’s a brand new day.  It’s a brand new time.  If you should see me walking around and you think I happen to have a bigger smile on my face than normal…well, I do.

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