It was hard to get up this morning. I lied in bed for about half hour suspended somewhere between dream and reality. Finally I got up at 7:30 am and checked myself in the mirror. The extra layer of fat on stomach I have accumulated over the last couple of years is steadily melting away and muscles are being exposed. I was feeling still full from dinner last night so I had a glass of water and jumped in the shower. This morning though on the way to my office, I gave in to Peet’s small soy decaf latte. It was mild and tasty but I am already feeling the effects of its acidity and almost wish I haven’t had it… I just love the creaminess of certain foods and drinks so today for breakfast I decided to have a chopped creamy papaya in lieu of the oatmeal which is finally getting old.
BODY: Physiological Check In
Back & Leg Pain
For about three years now I have been suffering from an on-again and off-again lower back pain that began to spread up into my neck and head and down to my left leg. I’ve been treated by chiropractors and physical therapists, endured long periods under ice and even resorted to pain killers at times. I have attributed my ailment to my sitting lifestyle that keeps me behind a desk for many weekly hours. Finally, unable to bear it any longer as the pain was starting to seriously impact my enthusiasm for working out, enjoying myself and even planning the future, I asked the Universe for help and it sure responded! A day or two later I shared my droning situation with a trainer friend and he asked me to stop all treatment, continue my workout and read the book he would have for me the next morning.
The book is John E. Sarno’s “Healing Back Pain,” and its main premise is that in most cases back pain acts as a distraction from a deeper emotional issue that’s been repressed and manifests as TMS which stands for Tension Myositis Syndrome. So far I have read just over 50 pages of the book but I must say that during the last two weeks of using the tools spelled in the book, I have had at least 50% less pain in my back and legs and have reclaimed my high energy workouts with no further adverse effects other than much desired muscle soreness (not to be confused with the acute pain of TMS). As I progress on this journey, I will be periodically referring to the state of my back as this horribly debilitating syndrome affects such large population.
SOUL: Emotional Check In
According to Sarno’s explanation of what causes TMS, the one seems to be most pervasive among people is repressed Anger. In most cases, no therapy is necessary aside form simply acknowledging that yes we have repressed anger inside and it deserves our attention. The causes for this may be as varied as there are individuals but one thing remains universal – repressed anger can be a serious pain in the ass.
As I started to dig in plowing through some old layers of anger (and feeling less and less pain in my back as a result – yippee!), I noticed that likewise I have some old dusty part petrified, part gooey slabs of guilt in me. The perfectionist in me (TMS tends to happen to overly responsible, goal-oriented individuals) wanted to make everyone in my close circle happy and prosperous all the while feeling guilty and pressured if I was unable to do so yet. Ah, the illusions of the mind… Twenty or so pages of hand written scribbles later and seemingly endless moments of various forms of crying that ranged from a drizzle to a full on tropical storm, I was as calm and clear as a serene spring morning. While some might perceive crying as a sign of weakness, I see it as a blessing.
DAILY FOOD & WORKOUT MENU
Here is what I had yesterday:
Morning (7:00 – 8:00 am) 16 ounces of pure water
Breakfast (8:30 am)
1 portion of organic Cranberry Oatmeal with a pinch of Ejuva Combi mix made with psyllium, flax and chia seeds for added bulk and splash of almond milk, English Breakfast Tea followed by green tea ( I guess I gravitate towards this oatmeal option because it is warm and I get cold in the morning…)
Got hungry at about 10:00 am so I made myself another cup of hot tea – this time passionfruit mango red with a splash of almond milk – and followed with about a half of the unsweetened Core Defender Raw Cashew and Cacao Bar (www.corefoods.com). It is a pretty high cal bar but… OMG Yum! No wonder it made me instantly satisfied… I then took my daily supplements: B complex, CoQ10, Chromium and Acetyl L-Carnitine. At 10:30 am I had another red tea… I love this tea! (More about it at the bottom of this post.) The bar definitely made me feel a bit heavier and slower for a few minutes but I was not hungry until almost noon and that was nice… which is when I finished the bar (last two bites).
Lunch (1:00 pm)
Yay! Took my mile hike to Whole Foods where I went straight for the salad bar and got a salad/mix veggie meal but did not eat it until I got back to my office. This allowed me little exercise on an empty stomach which raised my metabolism before eating my lunch. I noticed little shakes in my mid section, thighs and butt when I walked. Hmm… Most likely the effects of the hi cal bar this morning and lack of sweaty cardio last night.
My salad consisted of: kale, lettuces, red bell peppers, grape tomatoes, jicama (soooo sweet & good!) bit of guacamole, celery pieces, gilled mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and cauliflower bits and a small toss of quinoa drizzled with fat free pomegranate dressing and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. On the side I had two small pieces of steamed sweet potatoes for a “dessert,” which I like to eat at the end of my salad. The whole deal weighed 1.23 lbs : ) I had another red tea at 2:30 pm.
Snack (3:45 pm)
Cut up ruby grapefruit and a small orange, Granny Smith apple 1 hour later followed by a small banana, English Breakfast tea with almond milk and 2 tsp of hempseeds. Sooo hungry!
6:00 pm – WORKOUT
I was exhausted and felt worn out emotionally this evening so I was set on actually going straight home and starting on the Bootcamp today wearing my new Mizuno’s but it turned out that my shower was not working again as I am getting the whole thing resealed. So I turned around and went back to the gym where I actually had a pretty good workout.
I started with a 20 minute elliptical cardio, followed by 15 minutes of yoga stretches and about 45 minutes of lower body exercises that included squats and lunges as well as bench step ups until my legs burned. I finished with the Tracy Anderson Method leg workout and slightly brushed the arms. The treadmill was calling my name and to my utter astonishment I managed to run between 5.0 and 5.4 speed for the entire 15 minutes! I never had such ability before. Alternating between walking and running – sure, but never a steady run like that. I think that my accessory muscles are really waking up and giving me a lot extra power. The run felt amazing and I could have easily gone on for another 10-20 minutes but I had other things to attend to.
8:30 pm – Dinner
I grabbed dinner at Whole Foods which consisted of a salad made with mixed greens, quinoa, roasted veggies and corn and other random vegetables. I was not really hungry but I ate anyway. The process of eating actually made me hungry, if that makes sense.
When I got home I had a couple sips of red wine but it did not taste good so I put if away. I was feeling down and tired so I broke down and cried for awhile. It was just one of those “rainy” evenings, I guess, feeling low and under a lot of pressure. Afterwards I felt astoundingly better and actually replenished. I chatted with some loved ones and that made me feel better too. I went to bed early and had a good night sleep full of strange dreams I can no longer remember…
A word about Red Tea
Red Tea is an oxidized version of the Rooibos herb that grows in the vast plains of South Africa. The flavor of red tea is naturally sweet and slightly nutty. Interesting fact: some African coffee shops have been selling super concentrated version of this tea and calling it the red espresso, making cappuccinos and lattes from it!
Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and ultra rich in antioxidants (even more than in green tea!). The herb also contains healthful flavanols, flavones and dihydrochalcones. It is claimed that the tea can assist with digestive problems, nervous tension and allergies. Studies show effective anti-fungal properties of the tea. It is also supposed to help with infant colic, asthma and acne due to high levels of alpha-hydroxy acid, zinc and the killer antioxidant superoxide dismutase. No adverse effects have been found even in the case of heavily addicted drinkers like myself (sometimes up to six cups a day!).
Enjoy your day! See you tomorrow!