Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 36: Back to the routine

After a week at a kid's camp in the mountains, I'm back to my regular routine.  The camp was amazing, and allowed me to stick to my challenge as much as possible.  Exercise was not what I have been doing at home, but it certainly was a lot.  My cabin was situated at the top of the hill, so I got a great cardio/leg workout about six or seven times a day.  Also, I took the kids canoeing, swimming, hiking, and helped run team games.  There was rarely a moment of rest, so it's hardly a wonder that I lost another 5 pounds.

Food was a bit challenging, but fortunately there were other vegans and kids with gluten and dairy allergies.  I was able to find something to eat at every meal and always had a big salad.  I also brought some superfoods to snack on during the day.

Yesterday was my first day back at home.  My roommate and I went to Encinitas for the day, spending the better half of the morning swimming in the ocean and walking around the cool city in the afternoon.  Today, I started my day with a smoothie, had a liquid lunch and a salad for dinner.  I actually felt really good having liquids, so I might consider doing only liquids for the rest of the week to get a fresh start and continue the weight loss.  35 pounds lost, 50 more to go.  I'm doing it!

Mystic Merman

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 26: Juice Therapy

Well, the first 26 days have gone by so quickly.  On Tuesday, I'll be 1/3 of the way through my 90-day challenge.  While I committed to doing more juicing, it got off to a rough start.  I found myself too busy in the evenings to pull out the Green Star, so I stuck with salads, quinoa, or other meals.  Last weekend, I decided to stop making excuses and set aside time every night to juice.  So far, I've juiced six days in a row.

Tonight's green juice (I'm drinking it as I write this) contains the following ingredients:

Dinosaur Kale
Green Apple
Mixed Spring Greens
Red Onion

Now that will clean you out!  Another thing I've been doing every night is following my green juice with a coffee enema.  If you don't know anything about these, you can read about it here.  This is a really fantastic way to stimulate the kidneys and liver to release toxins into the bowels and get them out of your body.  There is nothing better than a clean body.  Green juice and coffee enemas are one of the best combinations to do just that.

Well, for the next week, I won't be blogging or posting on my Facebook page.  I've taken on the responsibility of a camp counselor at a kid's camp.  I choose the vegan option for food, but who knows what that is going to look like.  I'm actually going prepared with a lot of superfoods, so I can stick with my diet.  Exercise won't be a problem, since they'll be 50 kids to run around after and activities planned for every moment.  I will give a report when I'm back.  Until then, be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 24: Progress Report

Only six more days and I'll be one third of the way through my 90-day challenge.  I just wanted to give a progress report on where I'm at.  Things are going well.  I'm being good to myself, learning a lot about my habits and what triggers them.  One thing that is really important for me right now is to focus on the positive.  If I make a little mistake (like eat something oily or sweet), I have in the past completely blown that up and ignored all the great things I've been doing.  Remember, whatever we focus on grows.  So, I've allowed myself a couple of moments of relapse, but then moved on.  I am really focusing on all of the positive things I'm doing for myself, and that is making all the difference in the world.


My diet is getting better by the day.  I'm sticking to my protein/superfood smoothie in the morning, a salad for lunch, and usually green juice for dinner (although I allow myself to have something solid every three days or so).  One of the issues I've been having is snacking too much between meals, especially later in the day.  This week, I've allowed myself to snack a little bit in the day, but cut it out at night.  This actually isn't very hard since I'm more active in the evening.  Also, if I'm hungry or feeling munchy, I try to drink water or tea, which can do the trick.


This is an area that I'm really excelling.  I've been working out at least 5 days a week.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I continue my weight training.  This is mostly large muscle group activities like assisted pull ups and dips, as well as ab work.  The weight I am using to assist me keeps going down, so I'm gaining strength and losing weight.  Today, I weighed in at 252, which means I've lost 7 pounds since I started and a total of 33 pounds (possibly 40 in fat).  On Tuesday, I continue to run up the stairs and on Thursday, I plan on going back to Boot Camp.  Woo Hoo!

One thing that happened this week is that I was able to fit into a shirt that wouldn't fit before.  My mother sent me some nice Hawaiian shirts from the islands about a year ago, but they were XL, instead of 2XL.  They were very tight and uncomfortable and put them aside.  Earlier this week, I tried one on and it fit perfectly.  Fitting into an XL is great news, because I've been wearing 2XL for several years now.

This is all amazing!  It's so awesome what can happen to our health and our attitude with just a few changes in our lifestyle.  The more little things we do, the more great things happen.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 21: Raising the intensity

Today marks the end of my third week on my 90-day challenge.  I've done really well so far, although I'm a little surprised at the results.  I've only lost about 5 pounds, even though my clothes are getting looser and my body feels stronger.  By BMI has come down a little bit, so I must still be gaining muscle.  With the kick-ass exercises I've been doing, I'd better be gaining muscle.

On Thursday, I agreed to go with a friend and coworker to Boot Camp at my gym.

This intense, full-body workout proved to be one of the hardest hours of exercise so far.  After a "warm up" (which was not easy), there were five stations set up around the room.  Some had weights; some had steps; and one was open floor.  At each station, each participant was asked to perform an activity for 60 seconds.  Then, you'd move on to the next activity for sixty seconds until everyone had done all five.  After a break, we did it all over again, this time for 45 seconds.  Then, we started a second set of rounds with totally new activities.

Some of the exercise activities were putting a barbell on your shoulders and doing lunges, squatting and then leaping onto a step, running sideways, burpees, shoulder lifts, and more.  We ended the class with about 10 minutes of abdominal work.

Although the class was very intense, I felt like I really got a lot out of it.  Boot Camp mixes interval, cardio and strength training all in one class.  I'm not intimidated; I'm going back.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 17: Writing It Down

One of the well-known habits of successful people is that they write everything down.  They write down their goals.  They scribble down thoughts and ideas.  They take notes at meetings.  They schedule their days, weeks, months and even years.  And they keep track of their progress.

This is one habit that I haven't developed.  I've done it for short periods and then given up.  Certainly, it takes commitment and discipline.  However, so does everything that leads to success in any area of our lives.  If sitting on the beach all day drinking led to great success, wouldn't we all be doing it?  I'm sure nearly everyone has seen what people who sit on the beach or in a park drinking all day have to show for their lives.  Success takes work.

The main reason I am doing this 90-day challenge is to develop new habits.  However, if I don't know what direction I'm going, how will I know what steps to take and how to get there?  So, I'm committing to taking 10 to15 minutes every day to write down my goals, plan my days and weeks, note my ideas and great thoughts, and keep track of how far I've come.  I can do this.  And I'm committing to doing it every day for the next week.  Then, I'll create a new goal.  Remember to put everything in chunks.

Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 14: Juice it Loose

It's the end of the weekend and I'm coming into the end of my second week on a 90-day challenge.  It's been great, but there is still a lot of fine-tuning to do.

Where exercise is concerned, I'd like to step it up a bit.   In strength training, I've mostly stuck to doing exercises that work large muscle groups, with some focus on individual muscles (biceps, triceps, etc.).  For the next two weeks, I plan to learn more about strength training and raise it to the next level.  For cardio/interval days, I've definitely been pushing it more.  Today, I stuck with a cross training machine at the gym, because my legs are still a little sore from the stairs last Tuesday.  Hopefully, this Tuesday's stairs will witness a faster recovery.

My diet has also been very good, but I'd like to take that to the next level as well.  I'm reading The Gerson Therapy by Charlotte Gerson at the moment.  In it, she lays down her father's protocol to reverse nearly every ailment suffered by humans.  This book is improving my knowledge of the body and a whole-food, plant-based diet, but it's also inspiring me to do a little more cleansing.  I was going to avoid juicing during this 90-day challenge, mostly because I did 2 juice fasts in the last year and was a bit burned out by it.  However, Charlotte's book has convinced me that there is much more healing and cleansing to be done with juicing.

While I'm not going to go back on a juice fast, I do plan on drinking juice for one of my meals every day (with the exception of the last week in July, when I'll be camping in the mountains).  My focus will be to juice primarily at night.  Eating heavier foods later in the day creates more work on the body and can disturb sleep patterns.

So, for the next two weeks, here is what my diet will essentially look like:

Morning: Protein smoothie (similar to what I've been doing)

Mid-morning: light snack (fruit, nuts, or energy bar)

Lunch: large salad with a variety of veggies or a green smoothie

Pre-workout: Maca blended in water with dates and hemp or other energy booster

Post-workout: Banana, half avocado or other potassium replenishment

Dinner: Green juice (low glycemic, high mineral)

By planning my day and diet, I am creating a better foundation for success.  It helps to write down your goals and make each one very specific so you can envision it and create it.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 12: The Magic of Plants

Here it is.  Day 12 of 90 days.  It feels great.  There is no pressure.  Every day, I feel better, stronger, cleaner and healthier.  Keeping to a high raw, plant-based diet is doing wonders for my digestion, mood and energy.

Plants are so amazing.  There is so much to choose from and a variety of them in your diet provides you with everything you need to thrive.

Enjoying plants in their natural state (raw and minimally processed) nourishes the body and extracts toxins from daily modern life.  By adding superfoods like Acai, algae, sea vegetables, hemp, Goji berries, etc., to your diet, you are also insuring that you are getting a full spectrum of macro- and micro-nutrients.

By eliminating animal foods, processed grains, concentrated sweeteners, chemically-laden food, and stimulants, we create less stress for our bodies and enjoy superior health, energy and alertness.  As mentioned in previous posts, this also allows the body to recover more quickly from activity and work-related stress.

I feel very blessed to know this information and share it with others.  I can feel a huge transformation happening in my body that has only just begun.  The next 78 will certainly bring about more changes and magic.  90 days is not a lot to ask of yourself.  Be healthy.

Mystic Merman

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 11: Knowing when to rest

Well, after Tuesday's stair-climbing adventure, my legs were pretty sore on Wednesday.  I went to the gym in the morning and worked out my upper body.  Next week, I'll report more on my progress with strength training, since I've been so focused on cardio/interval training.

This morning, I woke up to extremely sore calves and thighs.  What they say about the second day usually being the worse is true.  So, instead of training on the beach today, I need to take a little rest.  When we push a little too hard, it's very important to give the body a rest.

Last night, I had a little 4th of July party at my house, where you can see the fireworks in several locations.  I only had a few friends over and we decided to make it all raw.  I made a wonderful gazpacho soup with tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers, red onions, mangoes, lemon, garlic, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.   It was very light and refreshing and tasted great.

My friends also brought a wonderful salad made completely from their garden, some BBQ-flavored kale chips, raw crackers and chai/coconut cookies.  Then, we had a fabulous dessert that my roommate made.  Check out this masterpiece:

The top layer and bottom layers are mango and coconut, while the center is blackberry.  It's all raw, vegan and purely divine.  It felt great having a small party with healthy friends.  This is what it takes to stay on the path.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 9: Strong Momentum

Today is the 9th day of my 90-day challenge.  The momentum is strong, and I'm feeling better every day.  Eating the right food every day helps me to recover faster from my ever-intensifying workouts.  Bad food choices create more work for our bodies in areas of digestion and assimilation, so there is less energy for the body to repair the stress caused by exercise.  While I fine tune my diet, more energy is being freed up for workouts, so I can add intensity.


Since yesterday was a successful strength training day (my assisted pull ups and dips are getting better), I decided to incorporate a new cardio/interval training exercise today.  In San Diego County, we have a famous set of stairs that are great for a workout, because they seem to just keep going.  In fact, there are a total of 245 stairs that are interrupted by two streets as you ascend.  The view from the top is another spectacular view of our amazing county.

My brave friend Jay met me at the La Mesa Secret Stairs (as they are known by those who frequent them) for a grueling workout.  After stretching, we walked up the first couple of flights to get warmed up.  Once the blood was pumping, we ran up the next flight until 30 seconds passed.  Then, after catching our breath, we did it again and again and again.  By the third time, my legs and lungs started burning intensely.  Jay and I had to take longer breaks to prepare for the next round.

After four rounds, we had to start coming down again because we were at the top.  You would think that would be easy, but our legs were like sandbags and felt weak as we descended.  When we got down about halfway, we decided to go for another round.  The fifth and sixth rounds were real killers.  My lungs were burning, my heart was pounding and my legs could take no more.  We wanted to go for eight rounds, but decided to be reasonable.  This was, after all, our first attempt at tackling stairs.  We agreed that this was an awesome first attempt, and that we'd go for eight next time.

Well, my legs are still pretty weak, but I feel like I got a powerful workout in.  My body is getting stronger and more adapted to stress.  The momentum from this keeps me going and the only way is up.


Just a quick note about my diet.  After three days on 100% raw, I decided to have a little cooked food today.  Breakfast, lunch and snacks were all raw today, as I had a protein shake in the morning and a green smoothie later in the day.  I also snacked on fruit and nuts throughout the day.  For dinner, I soaked some Mung beans for a couple of hours and then cooked them in water for 30 minutes.  At the end of the boil, I added kale, celery, a carrot, broccoli, garlic, dulse, coconut oil, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, hot pepper powder and some sea salt.  Wow!  That turned out great!  After eating a nice bowl of it, I'm totally satisfied.

So, if you're reading this, just tell yourself that it's okay to get out there and do something about your health.  Once you do one thing, that only adds to the momentum.  After a while, you'll notice that you want to do more things.  And you are so worth it.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 7: Keeping it varied

Just like our diet, exercise can get boring and tedious if you don't change it up.  If you're like me, you may be motivated about something for a couple of months, weeks or even days and then get bored with it, only to give it up.  Staying focused on a goal, for many of us, requires a lot of variety when moving toward that goal.

My cardio/interval days were starting to get a little tedious, because I stayed with what I felt comfortable doing for too long.  Knowing the way I can be, I've been pushing myself to try different things, like sprinting on the beach last Thursday.  This coming week, I have plans to take on some monster stairs here in San Diego that are popular for workouts.  However, today, I went off to the gym with my BFF and another great friend for an hour of Zumba!

Zumba was created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Beto Perez in the 1990s.  A dance/aerobics class, Zumba combines elements from hip-hop, salsa, mambo, and several other types of dance.  Over the last couple of decades, it's become one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise around the world.

For me, there are a couple of things I really like about Zumba.  First, it's totally fun.  The music is always upbeat and the instructors keep the energy and the smiles going around.  Also, it's a real challenge.  Working every muscle in your body, Zumba is a perfect whole body workout.  Your lungs and heart benefit, and you develop core strength, coordination and flexibility.  Finally, I love what Zumba does for my brain.  Learning new things keeps our brains healthy.  Every time I've taken a Zumba class, I have to learn several new dance moves.  Just as I'm about to get it, the move changes.  But, that's okay; I get better every time.

So, I'm not telling you that you should go out and take a Zumba class (but why not? It's fun!).  My point here is to get up and move.  Find several things that you like to do and rotate them.  Don't get stuck just jogging every day or working out on the Stair Master.  It's good for the body to have some variety.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman