A 28 Day “Gentle Cleanse” with Coach Erin Weesner, Part 2

June 23, 2014

On day 11 of my cleanse, I’ve made progress toward one of my major goals, reducing my waist size (circumference wrapping around belly button) by 1″, down to 37″!  My longer term goal is to reach 34″ again, the lowest in my recent past.  I was encouraged (a word which means “to give courage”!)  this past Friday in this endeavor by seeing my friend Norb again, who very recently won a contest as his workplace for losing the most weight!

I attribute the progess so far to

  • Consistent weight training since the start of 2014 that has kept my muscle percentage up, and thus my metabolism.  I am aiming to increase to two days per week.
  • scaling way back on caffeine — In the last six days, the only caffeine I’ve had was a glass of green tea.
  • focus on variety of food choices, much more so than I typically do.  For example, I recently went through a phase of several months where I ate almond butter almost every day.  Also, one of my most frequent lunches usually has been hummus with varying chips rice, bean, corn, veggie, etc.   In an act of spontaneous creativity, I ate the hummus with Simply Balanced Whole Grain Garlic Six Grain Blend, a virtually ready to eat blend (simmer in water for 5 minutes) which contains parboiled brown rice, rye, bulgur wheat, quinoa, wild rice, sunflower oil, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, rice starch, spices.  Of course it would be fantastic if the salt had been sea salt instead!  I also crumbled 5 Flamous Falafel Chips, but that is still a large improvement from a whole meal’s worth of them!
  • Re-incorporating greens into smoothies, including arugula, spinach, celery, spring mix.
  • Having fun improvising meals with food combinations I hadn’t tried before.

Drinking water is a fascinating subject, starting with what source to use.  I opt not to drink tap water.  While I could filter the chlorine out of the faucet (and I do have a chlorine filter for the shower), there are more quality issues than that alone, as raised in a fairly recent report by the National Resources Defense Council.   For now, I’ve chosen to drink spring water using six gallon recyclable containers.

Another issue is timing of water drinking. Dr. Batmanghelidj, who wrote the book,  Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, recommends in that book that the best timing for digestion is to drink 30 minutes before each meal, and 2-½ hours afterwards.  I had tried this previously but lost track of it, and have been striving to reincorporate it.   An occasional challenge has been when I ate a meal about 3 hours after the previous, so that there was only a single drinking opportunity instead of two.  Then I realized I could drink two glasses instead of just one. He also suggests adding ½ teaspoon of sea salt for every ten glasses.  I happen to have a pinch-sized measuring spoon, which is defined as 1/16 of a tsp, so that’s pretty close (10/16 tsp  in every 10 glasses is a little more than ½ tsp total), so I have begun adding a pinch of Celtic sea salt to each glass of water.  Batmanghelidj explains the role of salt in hydration:

  • “When we do not drink enough water to serve all the needs of the body, some cells become dehydrated and lose some of their water to the circulation. Capillary beds in some areas with have to close so that some of the slack in capacity is adjusted for. In water shortage and body drought, 66 % is taken from the water volume normally held inside the cells; 26% is taken from the volume held outside the cells; and 8% is taken from the blood volume. Blood vessels close lumen to compensate for the water loss [otherwise gases would separate from the blood and fill the space, causing ‘gas locks’], [and] lumen closing causes the rise in tension.” (p. 72)
  • “Basically, water we drink will ultimately have to get into the cells — water regulates the volume of a cell from inside.  Salt regulates the amount of water that is held outside the cells — the ocean around the cell. There is a very delicate balancing process in the design of the body in the way it maintains composition of blood at the expense of fluctuating the water content in some cells in the body.” (p. 74)

I’ve had headaches off and on for a few days, and happened to re-encounter an insight of Dr. Gabriel Cousens in his book Conscious Eating — people of kapha disposition as I’ve determined myself to be (within the outlook of the Ayurvedic tradition) risk overhydrating.

Often those with a kapha constitution who drink six to eight glasses of water per day test as overhydrated. Because I eat primarily fruit and vegetables, if I, as a kapha-vata, drink more than four glasses of water per day I test as overhydrated. Excess fluid may precipitate a kapha imbalance, especially if it is a time of day when the kapha forces are strongest, such as 6 AM to 10 AM and 6 PM to 10 PM.
Cousens Md, Gabriel (2009-03-03). Conscious Eating: Second Edition (Kindle Locations 1802-1805). Random House Inc Clients. Kindle Edition.
For now, based on that, I’ve decided to scale back on the water for a couple days at least.  I had been using the formula describing on my nutritional ideas and offerings page of dividing my weight by two and drinking that number in ounces.

A 28 Day “Gentle Cleanse” with Coach Erin Weesner, Part 1

June 13, 2014

I have begun my latest effort to improve my health in fresh spirits, a 28 day cleanse, with a coach, Erin Weesner.  My long-term goals are to reduce my waist size by 4”, to 34”, to reduce the percentage of body fat (which in a recent Bod Pod test measured at just under 21% —  21% is generally considered to be in the unhealthy zone), hopefully through reducing my weight while building my muscle mass.  Toward that end, I am currently lifting weights for one hour per week, and the the next few weeks will have a little more time, so intend to increase that to 1½ to 2 hours/week.

My quest to bring my health up another notch begin about seven or eight years ago (I’ve lost track). During that timespan,  I’ve tried and temporarily succeeded in losing weight, but have not escaped the outcome of the 65-95% (depending on the fact source) of dieters who regain what they have lost.  I have (at least) a two-fold purpose for this pursuit: first, my life as a performing musician demands the most rigorous focus, in my estimation, that of an Olympic athlete.  Surely such a result requires careful attention to diet and other lifestyle choices. Second, my fascination with nutrition in combination with a decade of financial instability  regarding my employment has spurred my studies to the point where I recently became certified as a holistic health counselor through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I believe it to be paramount that I succeed at applying the large amount of knowledge I’ve acquired, of converting knowledge into wisdom in order to achieve the confidence borne of personal experience.

For the large majority of that time, my endeavor has  been a solitary one. I’ve tried multiple approaches and seem to have been “spinning my wheels.”  Of late, I’ve come to desire the opportunity to work with a coach, someone to bounce around ideas as an aid toward bringing my goals to fruition, and to be accountable to.  I have also decided to publish this on my blog as a further incentive to achieve a positive outcome!