Day 18

Day 18 was pretty good. I actually gained a pound. The good news is that I’m pretty sure it’s from muscle and not fat. I have been running a lot and I believe that the increased muscle mass in my legs is the culprit… ladies…

So speaking of running. Yesterday we talked about getting energy from natural, healthy sources like fruits and vegetables, proteins, complex carbs, etc. Another good source of energy is tea and coffee. When used in moderation these natural sources of caffeine can actually provide many health benefits, benefits that have been researched for decades so the science is solid. They each have their own list of healthy perks, many of which overlap, which is why I include a few cups (of either one) in my daily intake.

I’m especially a big fan of green tea with a twist of lemon. But a hot cup of black coffee with some cinnamon is also good. Click on the images below for more info on the health benefits of each!

Lets start with my favorite; tea.
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Now let’s check out coffee.
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And finally, let’s take a look at Caffeine in general.
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Of course, like all things (even healthy foods) moderation is the best practice. Too much caffeine can have very bad results, and caffeine addiction is no fun for anyone. I have found that keeping my intake in moderate amounts spread throughout the day keeps my body in balance well enough without getting hooked. I also make sure not to start my day with it. That is, I don’t roll out of bed and chug a cup of coffee to wake up and stave off the withdrawal headache. That’s dependence and is not a good thing.

I normally wait a little longer after getting up, do my morning routine, and then have a small cup of coffee/tea before my morning run. It helps me get my metabolism and digestive system going strong, and gives me a little extra energy for my workout. The stronger your morning workout, the longer your metabolism will burn throughout the day.

Here are some additional sources:
http://healthland.time.com/2012/09/04/13-reasons-to-love-tea/
http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/health-benefits-linked-to-drinking-tea
http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/coffee-new-health-food?page=1
http://www.caffeineinformer.com/top-10-caffeine-health-benefits
http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-10-2013/coffee-for-health.html

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Day 17

Day 17 was a good milestone in my diet. I ran more than I ever have and I slept better than any other day on my diet so far. My energy levels are getting higher with every passing day! Having all of this natural energy is what has allowed me to stop taking my medications that once gave me the good mood and energy I so desperately needed due to having such a lack of both from my unhealthy lifestyle. So how do healthy foods makes this possible? Well, just about every healthy food is also great a source of natural energy. Having a healthy body allows for a more stable and natural body chemistry which results in a better “feel” in general, both physically and mentally. Click on the image below for more info on how healthy eating promotes good energy.

top-weight-loss-foods

Day 16

On day 16 of my diet I took a detour to study how adding Wild Caught fish to ones diet can help close the gap on nutritional need. One thing many vegetarian/vegan diets suffer from is a lack of vitamin B12, which is essential for human health. According to Medline Plus, “Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system.” I solved this problem by adding Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon to my daily intake, but there are other options that will do the trick as well. Click the image below for a list of vitamin B12 rich foods.

vitamin-b12-foods

For more info on what vitamin b-12 does for your health, check out the links below!

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002403.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-vitamin-b12
http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/vitaminb12

Day 15

Well, it’s been over 2 weeks now. My diet is doing well for both my body and my mind. Some things are still adjusting, like my sleep schedule, and my digestive system (which is being repaired after years of unhealthy abuse) It is natural to need some extra time on these things. I am happy to report, however, that I am already off 2 of my medications. The only one that remains is my inhaler, which I am not sure I can ever go completely without. I do believe, however, that with enough exercise I will be able to lower my dependence by at least 50 percent. I don’t just believe this because I have a gut feeling, I believe it because of several studies about the effects of exercise on asthma. Click on the image below for more info.
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Day 14

Well, it’s been 2 whole weeks! I am now down to 171 lbs which brings my total weight loss amount to 18 lbs! My target weight was 170, but since I still can’t see my abs I’ve decided to lower it to 165 as well as adding more sit ups to my morning routine. I’m pretty excited over all. These next 4 weeks are going to be a breeze! I’m not sure what I plan on doing once the 60 days are over. In fact I’m pretty sure I will just keep doing this diet for the rest of my life. With results like the ones I have had, why would I want to stop?

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Day 13

Day 13 was pretty good except for going to bed a bit earlier than I would have liked. My body is not liking the “early to rise” routine more than I had anticipated. But there is nothing wrong with getting a little extra sleep to help oneself adjust. The end result will be in bed by 8-9pm, up around 4-5am. Leaving me lots of time for my morning workout. I try to keep my workouts as early in the day as possible, at least the main ones, because the sooner you get your metabolism going, the better weight loss results you will have. Click on the image below for more info on why this trick works.

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Day 12

Day 12 was pretty good. I seem to be holding at 177 lbs for now. Today I decided to focus on studying more about how sleep affects weight loss/gain since I finally seem to have gotten my sleep schedule in order. While studies have shown a fluctuation in exactly how much sleep is best for a person, I’ve decided to stick with the old rules of 8 hours for now to see how it goes. Click on the picture¬†below for more info about how a lack of sleep can cause weight gain.

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Day 11

Day 11 of my diet proved to be very exciting for me, and not just because it was my birthday! After weighing myself this morning after my workout I found that I have now lost about 12 lbs. On average that’s over a pound a day! A lot of it was simply not having as much food backed up in my system, like my old unhealthy eating habits would cause. However, a good amount of it was also shedding fat from my midsection. I can almost see my abs! Needless to say I was pretty pumped after stepping off the scale. I rewarded myself with some homemade vegetable juice which was delicious, and a grapefruit which is one of my favorite snacks. Citrus, especially grapefruit because it’s low in sugar, is a good way to help shed excess weight. Click on the image below for more info.

grapefruit

Day 10

Today was probably the best so far when it comes to cravings, which seem to have died down quite a bit now that my body is getting the nutrition it needs. I remember when I would eat unhealthy foods like pizza, and still be hungry a short time later because I gained no nutritional value from the meal. Now, after having plenty of fruit and vegetables, I find myself feeling hungry less and less. My body no longer needs to send hunger signals to my brain in order to fill the nutrition gaps in my system. It’s very freeing to be able to have control of my body again. And now that I have won that battle, I think it’s a good time to start working more on the mind.

walking-man

I find that solitary meditation is the best place to start when it comes to healing the mind. If anything it’s a good way to actually decide what it is you want to do to repair the damage. Many people believe that meditation is something only spiritual weirdos do while crossing their legs and humming chants, but in fact meditation can happen in all sorts of places and positions during your day and doesn’t require a religion or yoga class to achieve. You actually already include a little meditation in your daily routine and you don’t even know it! Every time you take a shower, go for a run, sit on the john, or even just daydreaming while waiting for that text to send, that counts as meditation. All meditation really is, is taking some time to yourself to quietly ponder your life.

Capture

I call this more leisure type of pondering “unstructured meditation” since it doesn’t really have any set of rules that apply to it except for being alone in a relaxing moment. Structured meditation, however, takes this relaxing activity to the next level and allows for greater mental recuperation. The rules here are 1.) Find a safe, comfortable environment you feel at peace in, such as a soft spot in the grass, your favorite chair, or your bedroom. 2.) Get as comfort as possible. Some people sit with their legs crossed and hands folded, but this is by no means a stone rule. Laying in a hammock is just as good. What matters is that your body is able to relax and relieve pent up tension in your muscles. A good comfort position should be almost good enough to fall asleep in, but not quiet. Meditation and laying down for a nap are two different things! 3.) Think positive, especially about yourself. Don’t think about regrets or the other various stresses in your life. During meditation you are trying to escape those troubles and create positive synapses in the brain. The more positive you think, the more healing you will do, and vice versa. You want to free your mind as much as possible.

smile

Everyone has different thoughts during meditation, because we are all very different people. Some might just think about floating in space, others might ride their favorite roller coaster with Johnny Depp, while some might take a tour of their dream house with their passed love one. As long as you feel good while thinking, that is what matters. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a few thoughts like “I am a good person. I love myself for who I am. I accept my flaws and forgive my mistakes.” Some of us need more of these thoughts than others, and that’s ok. Over time after several weeks of repeated positive thinking, your mind will have repaired to the point where these thoughts come easier and more frequently, until finally it’s simply your way of thinking all the time, in and outside of meditation.

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I should also point out another type of meditation, a style I like to call constructive meditation. This is where you ponder deeply on challenges of the mind, such as doing math in your head, debating with yourself about both sides of a moral issue, or making a plan in your mind for a project while considering multiple possibilities. The point of constructive meditation is to focus your mind completely, allowing yourself to not be distracted. This mental focus helps build critical thinking skills, and greatly helps you in daily life when you might be required to think under pressure. It’s like kung fu training for your mind, honing your thinking process, making your mind strong, fast, and efficient.

Click on the image below for more information on other types of meditation you might find enjoyable.
Healthy-Mind

Day 9

Day 9 went by like a breeze! Although I need to put more of an effort into my workouts. I am still stuck at only losing 2-3 pounds and can’t seem to get under that. I believe that an increase in my cardio during my morning routine will help with this issue. Being at a desk often during the day makes it hard to burn fat, despite my healthy diet, so my workouts are my body’s only real chance. We humans are designed to be active after all. Click the image below for some fun tips on how to find exercise anywhere throughout your day!

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