We got hit with 80+ mph gusts earlier today. It broke a couple of big branches off in the locust tree out front. Check out the video.
It was not a great day, the neighbor was laughing around with us about trimming his own tree. I told everybody I do not climb up in trees, I am too old, and too fat for such shenanigans. But this guy was determined. Next thing I heard a loud scream and he had fell over twenty feet straight down on his head, on the asphalt. He could talk, but he will be hurt for a long time. Not a good thing to have happen, they are nice people.
This morning's fasting blood sugar was 96 and I have not taken Metformin for 20 days. My weight is down to 240.2 lbs (109 kg) making this a total loss of 15.2 lbs (6.9 kg) since 5/20/2012. It is hard to say when I was last under 240, but I would guess pre 2004.
Here is my weight and blood sugar chart for 2012. I took these measurements earlier this year to monitor my health while in China.
My fasting blood sugar (taken on wake up) was at 116 this morning. This is a really big improvement, and this is without medication. My blood sugar during the day was only 125 taken one hour after my lunch juice (carrots and beets). My weight is at 244.4 and that matches my low of last year that I hit while building the barn/shed. The diet is really tough to maintain, and I lost it today. I steamed a head of broccoli for dinner, and ate it with lemon juice and salt. I really wanted to push through with only raw fruits and vegetables, but I was struggling after working all day. Not a big deal (it is still a veggie) but I want to peel off the weight as fast as possible. Here is picture of breakfast - oranges, apples, strawberries and mango. This creates about 30 oz (887 ml) of juice. I also had a half a cantelope at 11 AM. I just cannot seem to give up eating something, even if it is fruit. But if I am not below 240 by next Wednesday I will bear down harder. I have not weighed less than 240 for at least 4 years, maybe more. It is a good first goal - that and a FBS below 100.
The daily workouts are building my stamina and increasing my ability to hold higher heart rate levels for a longer period. I began working on the treadmill around June 6th, but I was not following a daily routine. The fact that my old TV from 1997 does not pick up digital signals from Comcast anymore did not really help with the motivation factor (its in the basement with the treadmill). Once I had the basement cleaned and my weight bench assembled I started to put together a daily cross training program with the treadmill and free weights. Below is the HRM (heart rate monitor) data from 6/14.
And then here is the file from yesterday, 6/17.
There is a nice increase in average heart rate from 126 to 135 bpm. The most important thing is to spend more time in the 'Hard Intensity' zone, and that is above 140 bpm. This is where calorie burn occurs, and this is where I am actually pushing hard enough to break a sweat. Everyone's zones are different, these were calculated back in 2009 at Lifetime Fitness with a CardioPoint LifeLab test. Mine have probably changed since then, but this is a good starting point. Maybe if/when I get my weight somewhere down in the 220's I will go have it done again. At this point my Lifetime Fitness membership is still on hold, and I working out with my own equipment and routines.
I put together a quick juice for dinner and called dad for Fathers Day. I showed both him and mom my glass of dinner but they did not seem to be very overwhelmed with my choice. I think they are much more impressed with some ribs, or my pork chops with cream sauce :) But they encouraged me to do what I could to improve my health, and we all understand the dangers of high blood sugar and cholesterol.
This pic shows how much I put together to get 4 glasses of juice for dinner. Total prep time is about an hour, but cleanup is only about 10 minutes. This batch was ok, but not nearly as good as the Mango Salsa juice I made a couple of days ago. For some reason I could not recreate that. It does take a lot of produce to juice, and finding space in the fridge is an issue. But I am going through some things like apples and oranges so quickly I do not need to refrigerate them.
I was flipping through Hulu again and found another documentary called Forks over Knives. This was a really intense movie that attempts to correlate most of the chronic, modern diseases to the western diet. Dr. T. Colin Campbell is a nutritional scientist at Cornell University who has spent a considerable amount of his career looking at plant based diets and their positive effects. He participated in something called the China Project, which is considered one of the most comprehensive studies of health and nutrition ever done. It was a collaboration between Cornell, Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. The other guy is Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn who was a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and specialized in breast cancer treatment. Both of these men make a very, very persuasive argument that switching your diet can prevent or even reverse a lot of modern diseases.
I am not sure I can buy into it totally, but a lot of it makes sense. I certainly think between this, and results shown in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead are enough to convince me to try something new. I have the time right now because I am not cooking for Annie, and I have no social obligations that require me to eat out. I just need the willpower to push it long enough that it will be possible to see actual results.
I am still not fully switched to a plant based diet. Yesterday I consumed some dairy and grilled chicken breast to try and finish off what is in my fridge. I did not want to waste the food I had picked up last week, and even though I froze a lot, there were still some things left. The refrigerator is going to be a real trick, because ours no longer defrosts. I know most people would just buy a new fridge, but I have repaired this thing several times, and I wanted to try and wait until I can remodel the kitchen.
This morning I weighed myself and I am now at 246.4 pounds (111.7 kg). This is approximately a 9 pound (4 kg) drop from where I was on 5/20/2012 when I arrived back in the U.S. I have not been able to test my blood sugar because I am out of lances, but I will pick some up at CVS later today. I will probably try and chart this out so I can monitor progress. My exercise pattern is not as busy as I would like. Right now I am doing between .75 to 1.5 hours per day in cross training with the treadmill and free weights. I am noticing changes, for instance my sleep pattern has improved. The whole thing is difficult though, I have slight headaches and my body feels "strange". I do not know how else to describe it, it is almost like aches and tension in the muscles. Mentally it is difficult, food has a very deep grip on any persons mind, and for me as a guy who loves to research, prepare and eat food - the hooks are pretty deep.
It takes quite a bit of produce to make enough juice to substitute meals. Not a ridiculous amount, but you do need to prep. The trade-off is that even though there is some clean up, you do not clean pots or pans, or the stove etc. Basically you just clean the juicer and the bowls. But for me I drink about 4 glasses per 'meal', and if I do that I am not hungry.
This morning I juiced 4 apples, 3 oranges and a handful of strawberries. It took about 45 minutes from start to finish, including clean up. That yielded 4 each 10 oz glasses of juice that I drank until about 11.
So I was flipping through Hulu the other night trying to watch something so I could fall asleep. There was this movie called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I thought that looked interesting, as it was an apt description of how I felt some of the time. I am not sure why, but the movie was really cool. I thought for sure I would not finish it, but I watched it all the way through. Joe is a likeable enough guy, a good natured Aussie who was fat. He decided to live off of nothing but fresh made juice for 60 days. I happen to love fresh made juice, and I have an old Champion juicer I bought used off of eBay several years ago.
But the really interesting thing was he was suffering from a rare immune deficiency that manifested itself with skin problems. I could relate to that too, as the psoriasis has spread while I was in China. I thought I would get it under control once I was back in the U.S., but I cannot seem to beat it back, and this has worried me.
In an odd twist I was already juicing carrots and tomatoes for the last 3 weeks. I had noticed that I was able to skip some evening meals without it really bothering me. I eliminated all red meat over a week ago. Since returning to the U.S. on 5/20 I have lost 5 lbs, and I have been moving pretty consistently with a daily loss of .2 lbs for the last week. But I would like to lose more than 1.4 lbs a week, so I have ramped up my exercise program.
I wanted to do the full juice fast but I was not certain I could pull it off. I love food. I love everything about the preparation, the presentation, the sharing experience with people I like to be around. So I started juicing just a couple of times a day, but still preparing a meal, or having shredded wheat for breakfast. I made this killer dish with cauliflower, leeks and riccotta cheese. You run it all through the food processor and it comes out just like mashed potatoes. It is ridiculously good. But after thinking about it I believe I can do the full tilt, juice only diet. I know I can do it for a while, and the incentive to do it long term is pretty big. These guys were dropping 50+ pounds in 60 days. And if I am going to do it I need to do it now, because I cannot do it in China. The logistics of getting fresh, safe produce, and being able to wash that much produce in purified water, would be impossible. But here it is easy.
The payoff is huge in other ways. If I could get the psoriasis under control or even make it go away. If I could reduce my blood sugar so that I do not have to take medication... these things are very big. Just to see the look on Annie's face if I could walk up to her weighing 200 lbs in some nice clothes, that would be worth anything to me. I do not think it is impossible, I would just have to get through the first 10 days and I think it would get much easier after that.
As things continue to deteriorate in Beijing for foreigners, another attack was reported this time by the U.S. Embassy. I rarely walked over to the west side of Worker's Stadium unless I was just passing through, and the the clubs there had a bad reputation anyway. But I did spend time on the east side both at George's and Fubar. I really liked both places, but I cannot see visiting there for quite a while - if ever.
It is sad to see how badly the gardens have deteriorated over the last 3 years. Especially last year, when I got back so late in the summer, that pretty much pushed them over the edge. There was so much hard work (and money) that went into planning these out and taking care of them year after year. After the landscapers mowed everything flat last year, most of the annuals did not come back. The strawberry patch is gone, and now the blackberries are almost gone too.
I managed to get in and fix most of the front yard last week, but I am seriously thinking of completely removing one of the big beds in the front. It looks like crap, and the little tree is about half dead. I might try and rebuild it but put in only two lilac bushes and tighten the perimeter so it is less work.
After 3 years of this I can say I at least have knowledge about what will last and what will not make it. The key to being successful with this arrangement of living in two countries (with the yard) is to use plants that are really durable and will not lose the battle with weeds. The mulberries are the worst, if they are allowed to take over it is almost impossible to get rid of them without completely removing everything and starting over.
This summer is going to require some work in the yard to make sure things hold up. But the barn/shed does look really good, and it seems to be really durable. I need to add sweeps and a bolt to the door, but other than that it is fine.