body

So I got this email today touting the benefits of drinking tea. There are many benefits to drinking tea. They are very high in anti-oxidants which can help prevent and even help in fighting existing cancer cells in your body. There are also elements in tea that are reported to increase the fat burning ability of your body by increasing metabolism and helping your body burn fat.

This is all great stuff, but what kind of tea do you choose?

First, you should know that all true teas come from the same plant; Camellia sinensis. The difference in teas is simply in how the tea is processes. There are also herbal teas and others such as rooibos that are made from plants, fruits and flowers and contain no actual tea.

Types of teas include white, yellow, black, green, oolong and post-fermented. In China what we know as black tea is referred to as red tea, which is what rooibos tea is commonly called here. Post-fermented tea is what is called black tea in China. It’s all very confusing, right?

Anyway, let’s refer to things in the US vernacular for simplicity.

Black tea has the most caffeine of all the teas, but it is still about 40% of a regular cup of coffee. Drink it as dark as I do and maybe it’s even a greater difference. Black tea is high in polyphenols, a common antioxidant. There has also been research completed stating that consumption of black tea can have positive effects on cardiovascular health.

Green tea has earned quite a reputation for it’s health benefits and some even claim that you can lose weight by drinking green tea. There is really no scientific proof of these weight loss benefits, although I imagine (with no authority) that some people, given their personal circumstances, may lose a little weight by increasing their water intake and/or balancing some internal chemical imbalance due to the beneficial elements of the tea.

Green tea is very high in antioxidants and scientifically associated with (not proof) with many health benefits including hear health and fighting cancer and glucose stabilization as well as an increase in fat oxidation during exercise. Guess I might have a cup of tea before my next workout :)

The newcomer on the weight-loss hype scene is “Wu-Long Tea”. Let’s be very clear here. There is no difference between Wu-long and Oolong tea.

Do not be fooled and do not pay the unreal prices that companies are asking for this “special” tea. You can pick up a good quality organic oolong tea as a high quality grocery store or health food store for the same price as any other type of tea.

Oolong tea is the same at wu-long tea. don't be fooled or cheated.

Oolong tea has many of the same health benefits as green tea. Preliminary research is stating that oolong tea may have a more significant effect on weight loss by increasing metabolism, burning fat and blocking dietary fat absorption. Oolong tea has been showed to have be a less effective antioxidant than green tea.

Overall tea is great for you and green or oolong may be a good supplement during your weight loss efforts, but don’t for a minute think you can drink tea or even take tea extract pills and lose weight without diet and exercise. Let’s be real folks. And for god’s sake don’t spend a bunch of money on the marketing hype of “Wu-long” Tea. Just try out a couple of varieties of widely available and reasonably priced Oolong Tea.

As always, thank you for following my personal journey and good luck with your own.

References:
http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/oolong-tea-health-benefits.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea – and links deeper

Because I am one of the bare all – no holds barred bloggers who believes that sharing my life honestly is the right thing to do for both me and my readers, I feel it is very important to applaud others who do the same.

Not only is Tasha a brave and amazing blogger, she speaks to a topic that is close to my heart and a message that I think it is important for you, my readers, to hear as well. She learned to listen to her body and do what was best for her, even when it bumped up against everything she believed in and thought was right and true in the world.

Read Her Story

Life is not black and white and you can not and should not believe everything you read and hear. I am always amazed how we can suspend the use of our perfectly healthy and functioning brains to feed our belief systems. One thing I have learned over the last couple of years of struggling with my own battle with depression, anxiety and a bunch of familial bullshit is that no matter how much you believe something to be true that is not always the case.

It is so important that we learn to trust ourselves. Our minds and bodies yearn to speak to us, to tell us what is right and true for us, but so often we ignore them. We ignore that we are tired or sad or not feeling well and all the little ailments that we attribute to our lives or getting older or whatever our excuses might be.  We push aside our uneasy feelings and that little nagging tug that something here is hinky.  In reality all these little things are our bodies ways of speaking to us, of telling us that something isn’t right and that we should take a good look at how we are living and what changes our hearts know we need to make.

Instead of listening to these warnings, more times than not we ignore them until they turn into monsters that come back and bite us, sometimes with devastating consequences.  My mind and body were screaming and I just blatently ignored it, shoved it down until my whole world exploded.  Not necessarly the best way to go about it.

Read how Tasha learned this very same lesson

Learning this important lesson comes to each of us in it’s own way.  For Tasha it was her Vegan-ism, as much a doctrine as a lifestyle choice in her mind.  For each of us it will always be something personal and most likely painful.  Facing our personal truth is certainly not an easy task, but one that faced with bravery and an open heart will forever make us and everyone we touch better for it.

There are many things that I could say about being vegan or how I feel about the importance of quality natural animal protein sources, but I think the bigger lesson here is that if you listen, your mind and body will tell you what you need.  And if you refuse to listen, it will just yell louder, believe me.

And just one more little rant.  Be very careful how you judge others and what you believe from so-called experts.  We each have our own beliefs and our own reasons for them.  Do your own research, and I mean real research – not just asking your friend or your favorite talk show host, and listen to your gut.  If someone seems all over the top about stuff, there is probably a reason for it that has absolutely nothing to do with you.   And if you disagree about something with someone, no matter how vehemently, remember to have some respect.  Being an asshole only hurts you in the long run.

I know that I have mentioned this maybe even several times in the past, but I just can’t get over how powerful it is when the same information comes at me from several unrelated sources.  This always confirms for me that I am on the right track.  Lately this phenomena is happening everywhere I look and so gives me confidence that although I sometimes feel like I am dangling from a hook, struggling to find solid ground as life zooms past me, everything is happening as it should and it helps me to trust myself and allow myself to be present to the changes happening in my life.

Funny, that word changes.  In the forum they teach us to differentiate between changes and transformations.  Change is something gradual that you must apply will power and constant attention to to make it happen.  Transformation is instant, more like an immediate shift that sends you in a new direction.  These are the more powerful mechanisms for making significant differences in our lives and I have seen this in several areas of my life and now finally with my health.

I first saw this in action when I quit smoking.  We had heard of this book (The Easy Way to Stop Smoking) that supposedly could help you quit smoking with little effort or withdrawals. Now, I had been a smoker for over 15 years and had quit and started countless times. My problem was that I liked smoking, no I loved smoking.   But, I hated being a smoker.   There is a very distinct difference there that I think most smokers can relate to.

So, we had heard stories of several people who had read this book and then simply stopped smoking forever. At this point what did I have to lose, so I gave it a try. Basically the book tells it like it is, separating you from your addiction and helping you to see how it is standing in the way and certainly not serving in any way at all. But the funny thing is that it is really more about the act of reading the book than even what the book says.   At the end they have this list of questions and if you can answer yes to any of them you need to start the book over.   It took reading the book twice to get through the list, but then I put down the cigarettes and haven’t had another since and it wasn’t even hard, like at all.    My best friend even looked at me the other night and said she can no longer even imagine me as a smoker.  Amazing.

Do you need to quit? Get the Book!

The point is that it was my first introduction to the instant transformation I am talking about. It wasn’t hard to quit like it had been the many other times I had tried. It was like something shifted and I just didn’t need it any more. Quite the transformation.

Back when I was depressed and having regular debilitating panic attacks my therapist would tell me to differentiate and identify the depression and anxiety as separate from myself. “That’s the depression talking”.   It was amazing how quickly I started to feel better once I started doing this. I kept telling myself that it was just anxiety and depression and that what it was saying was not true and that I could keep going even though I thought my heart would explode out of my chest and it eventually just disappeared.  In the moment that I realized that I wasn’t the awful person my depression told me I was, it just dissipated and I started feeling better and soon I was better.

At The Forum I learned to separate my stories from my actual experiences and found forgiveness and peace with my past.

Do you see a pattern here?

Well now it has reached my battle with my weight. I was noticing last week that my whole outlook was starting to change. But this didn’t happen slowly over time with a lot of will power.   Yes, I have been thinking a lot about it and have made some changes to my diet and have obviously been working on the emotional aspects, but I was feeling really frustrated that it didn’t seem how much I worked at it, I still wanted to the sweets and junk food and couldn’t keep myself from eating it.  And I still had no desire to work out at all.

I hit my peak of frustration as I scarfed down a brownie on the way to therapy last Monday.   Two bites and I was feeling nauseous, yet I still ate the whole damn thing.  What is going on?

So I was talking to my therapist about it and she taught me how to differentiate this as well.  There is was again.  She recommended stopping when I felt these cravings and looking at them from another angle, identifying the intensity of the craving by giving it a number 1-10.   Then if you decide the number is high enough and eat the craved food, then identify how much satisfaction you got from eating it by giving it a number 1-10.

During this therapy session, something just clicked and since then I have been following her advice,  which has unfortunately taken the joy out of several sweat treats I was really looking forward to, and yet again transformation has happened.  Not perfection or magical weight loss, but a totally different outlook that seemed like it came out of nowhere.

I have been almost jonesing for exercise and food has lost its power over me. I am even down to just one Diet Coke a day, a miracle in and of itself.

It is just a craving and separate from myself.   That craving has nothing to do with my body’s need for sustenance or nutrition or even something yummy to eat — it is emotional and completely separate.

I think this is part of the message the Jon Gabriel is trying to convey to us.   Just give your body what it needs and realize that you are emotionally separate from your need to eat and your body will start asking for what it needs and giving back what you want from it.

The real test will be how this plays out over the next couple of months.  Please let the weight loss finally come.   I create this possibility for myself and for all of you too.

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Well, nothing earth shattering here but I thought it might be time that I post some photos. This is really hard for me, putting myself out there for the world to look at, but what the hey — here we go.

As I have said many times, I am not all of a suddenly skinny nor have I dropped three pant sizes, but I do feel different and my body is starting to change and I think that the pictures show some of that.

Before
before_frontbefore_side

July 2009
july_frontjuly_side

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It’s kinda weird.  I look in the mirror and see the same body that has been there, maybe a little thinner but I think that is just the fat goggles being removed.  

But I feel thinner, especially through my middle where I carry most of my weight.

The fat there has always felt like heavy weights, holding me back and weighing me down.

I’m not exactly sure how to explain it, but it feels almost like when you suck your stomach in.  Tight and strong.  But, it feels like this all the time.  The fat is still there, it just doesn’t feel so heavy, more like it is just sitting on top of this new thinner me.

It’s almost like I can feel that thin me inside there, just waiting to come out.  Hmmm.  Curious and a little exciting.

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Every year (for the past 15) over the Memorial Day weekend, a large group of friends from college go camping (if you can really call it that) at Banks Lake in eastern Washington.  This year we had the best weather ever, 80s and sunny and perfect every day.  It has never been better.

The problem with this was that I knew it was coming.  Karli is kinda weather obsessed so we were watching the weather starting like 2 weeks before hand.  How could knowing we were going to have beautiful weather the whole weekend be bad?  It meant I needed to buy a bathing suit.

Now, buying a bathing suit is awful when you feel great about yourself.  I haven’t even thought of putting on a bathing suit in years and the idea of walking around in front of anyone showing any amount of skin was terrifying.

I probably tried on 40 suits in several different stores and had two pretty severe break downs due to the stress of it all.  This was not a small feat for me.  But, in the end I did find one that didn’t make me feel totally humiliated. I still had no plans to let anyone see me in it and proceeded to buy cover-ups and shorts and skirts and tanks to keep me covered up.

But you know what, when it came down to it, I got over it and by Monday I was floating around in an inner-tube drinking my beer not feeling self conscious at all.  Huge breakthrough for me.

I think I made a large move toward being comfortable in my body as it is and starting to love myself in it.   This is the first step of success in The Gabriel Method.

This may seem like a baby step, but for me it was  a giant leap.

Mommy and Ada Play in the Water

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After the events of the past week I have come to determine that my frustration over my lack of measurable progress (a.k.a. weight loss) really comes down to the fact that I am jumping the gun.  As long as I have all this emotional baggage the weight will not come off, no matter what I do.  

I just went back and read the emotional obesity chapters of the book and all of it applied to me.    He asks several questions to help you identify whether this issue is holding you back and if it is insists that it be addressed before you ever even discuss eating habits, cravings exercise and past successes and failures.  After the emotional issues have been addressed and resolved then a plan can be put into place to address the rest of it.

The questions go something like this…

  1. Does being thin feel safe to you?
  2. Can you imagine yourself thin?
  3. If someone gives you a compliment on your appearance, does it make you feel happy and confident or threatened and uneasy?

The last two definitely apply to me and the first one just confuses me so I’m guessing that means I can count that one too.  Since I started this whole thing the body visualization has always been the hardest for me.  I just can’t see myself as that thin person.  The thing that weirds me out about that is that I used to be thin, at times very thin.  So you wouldn’t think that imagining myself like that again would be so difficult.  The brain is a bazaar entity.

I have been noticing over the last couple of weeks (and I think where that desperate sad post from last week came from) that even though I am mentally really dedicated to this and have logically set up my environment for success, I find every way and excuse I can to sabotage the process.

  • I “forget” to take my supplements
  • I sneak food.  I will scarf down a burger or milkshake, candy or doughnut and then hide the evidence.
  • I will make up any excuse I can to avoid exercising, even going to yoga, which I love, or a hike with the dog, which is empowering, relaxing and really rewarding.  If there is some reason I can come up with I will take it.
  • I tell myself that just going to sleep (without the CD) will feel good and make me more motivated the next day.

I even avoided reading the emotional section of the book with any focus or meaning.  I just skimmed through it.  Today I read every word.

When I have talked to my therapist about my weight, she always says don’t worry about it now, you have enough on your plate.   Do the emotional work and then deal with the weight.

Another advisor of mine reminded me that I simply need to find out why it is that I don’t feel worthy and correct that and then everything will fall into place as it should.  It is only me that is holding me back.

With the Life Path Integration therapy we are doing it is even possible that we will be able to target whatever the emotional trigger might be and fix it.  It always amazes me how the universe will provide you with all the tools you need if you just listen closely enough.  Many things have been coming to me from many different directions lately and thankfully I am aware enough to be grabbing them.

Karli has also encouraged me to give the emotional stuff more time and stop worrying so much about the physical stuff.  Now that I am feeling better and motivated and productive for the first time in a long time, I am finding it very hard not to want to tackle everything all at once, to take on more than I can handle.  I feel like I am fighting in every direction and that I may simply just need to give into the process.  Pretty hard to do for a total control freak.

I am so grateful that my husband is supportive of me through all this.  He has had his moments of frustration and worry and even a few in anger and hurtfulness, as is only natural when you spouse is going through something like this.  He tries his best to encourage me and prod me to work a little harder.  

Every logical part of me thinks it’s fantastic that I have a husband who loves me the way I am and truly cares about my well being.  But emotionally I think I kinda resent him for it and rebel against it.  This is hard to say, a sort of it’s not you it’s me scenario, but I think I might have to tell him to stop with the encouragement, because just like when we were trying to quit smoking, the gentle nudges and reminders, the words of encouragement in my head remind me that I am failing rather than reminding me that I can succeed.  This is something I need to work on, but in the meantime, I think we just need to drop the whole thing for a while, let me heal what’s broken without any added pressure.

Jon says in his book that while he was gaining the weight, his wife never said a word about it and that when he was ready, he felt he was better prepared to lose the weight because of that.

So, I concentrate on the emotional part and keep preparing my body from a biochemical standpoint so that I will be that much more ahead of the game once I can really target my eating and exercise habits.  I just feel like I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself.   

To all of you looking to the Gabriel Method as a magic pill, I am sorry.  I don’t have instant results to report, or really any weight loss at all.  I can tell you that it is helping me to change my life, to learn about myself and face my fears and tackle the emotional crap that has had me by the throat for most of my life.   It is also helping me learn what it feels like to be a healthy person, teaching my body that it feels good to be nourished and that eating foods that mess with your chemistry makes you tired and cranky and feel generally icky.

This is my first step and the thought that on the other side of this journey I could be not only thinner and more fit, but also a more whole and emotional healthy person is very exciting to me.

I am going to keep taking the supplements and integrating healthy foods into my diet, but I am throwing out the schedule and week 1 week 2 month 1 stuff for a while until I can answer the questions above with confidence and positivity.  Fixing myself needs to be my priority right now.  I have made huge progress, I just need to finish it before I start worrying about pounds and waist measurements and scheduled regimented programs.  

I’m ok if I stay this weight forever, as long as I don’t gain any more.  (those of you who have read the book will understand the meaning and gravity of this statement)

So here is the new plan (because I wouldn’t really be me if I didn’t have one)…

  1. Keep working hard at therapy and stop distracting us with day to day bullshit.  I have demons to fight so let’s get on with it.
  2. Listen to the CD every night, no excuses, no exceptions
  3. Start reading about past life regression
  4. Read the book No Boundary by Ken Wilber (Jon mentions it in a section of the book that really resonates with me)
  5. Actively radiate love, forgiveness and appreciation
  6. Accept the negative and accept myself and my body just as they are.  This includes no scales.

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A word of caution.  I have been generally cranky for the last week, so please don’t take my crotchetiness as a sign that this isn’t working.  In fact, I think that it is working quite well.  I have been working with my therapist with some things that have welled up some residual anger I am working through, but I also think my body might be going through some sort of detox process as well and this I know makes me cranky.

I really really want to weigh myself.  I can’t help it, the scale just calls to me.  I have put it away, but just because it is put away doesn’t mean I can’t go and dig it out.  It is only the thought that I may get on the scale and that same number will still be there that is keeping me from it.

I do know that all my pants are too big.  I am going to go shopping for new jeans on Friday.  We’ll see how it goes.  Unfortunately, I think I am now in between sizes, which totally sucks.   I hate shopping for pants almost as much as I hate shopping for swimsuits which I only hate half as much as shopping for dresses.  Did I say that I am not built like anything they use as a model for making clothes?  

I feel like my body has been battling itself this week.  Some of this is due to my own personal weaknesses and others is a sign that this program is working.

I have learned that I am not very good outside of my routine.  We had house guests this last week and I did pretty good through the first part of the day, but then as the day progresses, I would forget to drink water or take my supplements.  But, Monday morning came and I got right back on schedule and I guess that is really the important part.

The change in the kinds of foods that I am craving is really the most shocking thing to me.  We went out to dinner on Saturday night for a friend’s birthday and instead of ordering heavy carb-laden food, I ordered a small filet and a salad.  I did eat a little bit of an appetizer and several glasses of wine, but compared to how I would have indulged, this was  a big step.  The most surprising part was that this is what I wanted.  The thought of mashed potatoes or french fries was really not appealing at the time.

I am finding that in the afternoon my body is getting really confused.  This has always been the time of day that is most challenging for me.  I get really hungry, usually for sweets and then overindulge in random things around the house because I can’t find the perfect thing to satisfy this particular craving.  

This last week though, I have still been getting the feeling of hunger, but I can’t nail down what it is I’m hungry for.

 I go through my head…

sweet? no.  

Salty? no.  

Hmmm.  

Maybe I’m not hungry?  

But, I feel hungry.

I drink a glass of water and feel better for a few minutes.

Then, it creeps back in.

So, I must be hungry, but nothing sounds good.

It’s pretty frustrating.  Like right now, I am writing this and can’t stop thinking about what I can eat.  What I should do is have a good healthy snack, but that just sounds gross.  

I am hoping that this is part of the evolution and the hunger and ambiguity will dissipate soon.  

I also found out that I am having problems with my visualization cd.  Last night I actually stayed awake for a while into the cd and at some point before it was over, it just stopped.  I don’t know how long this is been happening or if it ever worked correctly, so that is discouraging.  I need to determine if this is a battery issue or an issue with the cd I burned before I go to bed tonight.  I did notice that my battery charger light wasn’t on when I went to get new batteries last night (yup, stopped half way through with new batteries).   

I have been very faithful about my body and next day visualizations before bed and right when I get up and find that the next day visualizations are really helping my productivity.  Balancing freelance work at home with care for the fam with all that that entails and trying to find time for myself in there as weel can be pretty challenging, but I seem to be handling it better and better each day.

During my visualization I focus on the large items that need to get done the next day, making sure to note that things will come easily and obstacles will be easily and effortlessly overcome.  I also make sure to include that I will remain calm and patient with the kids and enjoy all the little moments with them and that I will have adequate time to accomplish all that needs to be done as well as time to relax and take care of myself and have quality time with my kids and husband.  A lot to ask out of a day, but it is working.  Don’t underestimate what is possible.

I find the body visualizations a little more challenging.  I have my picture torn out of a yoga magazine of my perfect bod and I can see all the qualities in her that I want to have, but when I close my eyes I still see her.  I am finding it very difficult to visualize myself looking like that.  It’s a worth thing I’m sure, so I just paste my face on her body and keep trying.  It will come.  I am worth it and worthy of living the life I dream of in the body I create (Whew, I can say it out loud).

Overall, things are going pretty well, although not as great as I was hoping.  I am very impatient with this type of thing.  I constantly need to remind myself that this is a life change and it will take time and that each day I am learning and growing and taking steps in the right direction and that is what this is really all about.

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Access the whole Gabriel Method Series of articles

A little over a week ago I started The Gabriel Method.   This is a new approach to weight loss, with his book being released around the new year.  

Jon Gabriel used to weigh over 400 lbs and he spent years of his life dieting and regaining the weight, spending thousands with Dr. Atkins and continually forcing himself to lose weight only to gain it back and even more.  He took it on as his mission to figure out why his body wanted to be fat.  

He attended Wharton School of Business, studying biochemistry as well while he was there.  He also studied at the VA hospital in Philadelphia.  He has researched and read hundreds of research reports, learning everything he could about biochemistry, neurobiology, psychology, nutrition, and much more.  He also studies meditation, neuro and psycho linguistics, field of consciousness research and even quantum physics.  Even more importantly he started studying  his own body.

What he found is quite remarkable and his own weight loss is just one example of it working.  He lost over 200 lbs in 2 1/2 years.  

I am not usually one to write about something personally unproven, especially when it comes to diet and health, but I really want to document this process so I don’t forget everything I’m learning.  

I am feeling really great and enjoying the new foods that I am trying.  I am generally in a better mood and sleeping really well.  This after only a week with just the smallest of diet changes. 

This is a really new program so there isn’t a lot of information about it our there.  I am very curious about the process and the outcomes and hope that sharing my experiences will be helpful to others exploring this approach.

It also includes incorporating a lot of new foods that I was generally unfamiliar with, so creating and sharing recipes will be fun. 

All of the posts related to my experiences will be gathered under the Article Series tab at the top of the page.

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When Ian was just a few months old he broke out in what I thought was a rash.  He had patches of light pink bumps all over his body.   I was not familiar with exzema and this didn’t look like the red raw patches I had seen on other kids with eczema.  

I took him to the doctor and they made me go in the back door where they send the really contagious kids.  I was a little freaked out.  What did they think it was?  But, it was a simple case of eczema.  Ok, now what.   She recommended that I lotion him up twice a day and if that didn’t work I could call and get the prescription cream.

At the time Ada was taking a class at The Little Gym (a wonderful place by the way, especially for the toddler age group).  I was talking about this with the other moms there and one of them popped up.   Her son had also had eczema and she recommended
Cetaphil Cream.

She said that she had tried everything, even the prescription cream and nothing had worked very well until another mom had recommended the
Cetaphil Cream.  

Well, it worked like a charm.  I lathered him up twice a day and within a couple of days there was significan improvement and then it was gone and hasn’t really been back.  I continue to apply the cream after every bath and then when I see I little patch I go back to twice a day and it never even gets going.

I recently recommended this to a friend who was going through the same thing and was about to start on the prescription cream and she tried it and it worked great for her too.  

If your child suffers from eczema, this is definitely worth a try.  It is very inexpensive and overall a great cream.  I now use it as a body lotion because I have pretty dry skin.  

Mom Tip – Recommended Product for Eczema – Cetaphil Cream

This is the kind that comes in a tub, not a tube.  There is a lotion and a cream.  Make sure to get the cream.

I also use the Cetaphil cleanser as my everyday facial cleanser andI love it, cheap and works great.  Gotta love that.

Do you have experiences with eczema, cetaphil or other words of wisdom on this topic?  Please share by adding a comment below.