Living in Boulder CO, and being a former- would be current – elite triathlete (if I wasn’t chronically injured!), it is easy to get caught up in obsessive patterns with food and fitness.
Recently I was on a documentary kick. I started watching all the vegan and health focused films I could find on Netflix. I saw “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and was fascinated by the documentarians ability to go on a juice fast to clean up his life that was in a downward spiral of death by obesity. He juiced for 60 days! Of course, his life changed and he started recruiting other people in similar situations to start their journey towards optimum health.
Here is the crazy part. I thought to myself, “I want to try this too!” WTF? Why would someone like myself, who is 5’10” and weighs around 165 pounds, swims 4 times a week, runs when my leg lets me, and goes out and rock climbs now as much as possible, ever want to do this? The only answer that I could come up with is that I am nuts!
Turns out I am not the only nut out there. I started researching juice fasts and what I found is that most of the people doing them (or at least trying to do them) were people similar to me. In fact, I came across several blogs of really fit people that state they started this crazy fast after seeing “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”.
Hello???? The movie wasn’t targeted to the ultra runner or fit triathlete. It was put out there to help obese people. Yet, the majority of the appeal seems to be with the already fit folks. This got my head spinning some more, so I climbed up a rock and sat there for as long as my ADD would let me, and tried to figure out what was going on.
What I came up with for myself is that I am inundated with bad news about food. Every day on Facebook I see posts about what not to eat or how much cancer I am causing by what I put down my throat. All the stuff I read has convinced my mind that my body and health is not currently enough and that I have a bad relationship with food. I mean seriously, in Boulder you would think that gluten is the anti-Christ.
Is it true? No, not the anti-Christ thing, but the question of, do I have a bad relationship with food? The answer is yes. I love junk! I love McDonalds. I am one of the billion served that will actually admit I like it! I love a 10,000 calorie mocha from Starbucks. I can eat an entire box of cookies in one sitting. Potato chips don’t stand a chance around me, especially if there is some kind of tasty dip near by. I will eat late at night. I reach for food when I am not hungry, and there is clearly no off button. The link between my mood and food (mainly sugar) is obvious, not only to me, but to my friends as well. A good friend of mine always points out that I do a happy dance after I eat something with sugar in it…or loaded with bad fat.
I think the draw to this crazy idea of a juice fast is two-fold. One, I love a challenge. There is no doubt in my mind that it would be very hard for me to do, and since I can’t ride a bike currently, due to a chronic injury that I am working on getting fixed, and don’t have the ability to do any form of a race, I am drawn to the challenge. Secondly, I think there is a part of me that wants to eat a more healthy diet. I know that there are things in my life that could probably be changed for the better if I cleaned up my act. Plus, I might actually get ripped like I always wanted. Even when I was at my fittest and racing pretty damn fast, I was never ripped. I suppose my desire for that is a whole different issue….one of vanity for sure.
Here is a list of some of the things I think a change in my diet could help:
- I have a ton of inflammation in my body. Advil is my friend these days.
- I suffer from anxiety (something I will write about later)..and bouts of depression.
- I have more “fat” on my body than I want…yes, I know I look fine, but still.
- I have issues with low energy. I have less perceived energy than when I trained for Ironman.
Here is a list of things that could be a negative with a diet change:
- I LOVE food. It’s social and tasty and my drug of choice. Will I miss it too much?
Okay there really is not a list for the negatives. It’s simply the addiction of food that is my problem. I have no ability to be moderate with it. People tell me all the time that I should just eat things in moderation, yet we hear now from doctors that sugar is up to 8 times as addictive as cocaine. I don’t see anyone telling people with a coke habit to just do it in moderation. The AA crowd isn’t allowed to drink what they want one day a week, which is a common trick for the people trying to eat healthy. I seem to be either in or out with food.
I have the proof too. I have gone off sugar for 90 days. I stopped eating gluten for 90 days. I was vegetarian for 6 months. All of these times I was 100% in, and the “crack” or “fall of the wagon” came when I simply allowed myself one break in the eating style. It threw me back to my old ways of getting high on food with no wagon in site. I mean seriously, I am drinking a Venti mocha while I write this! And it was the FIRST thing I thought of when I woke up this morning. And no, it is not for the caffeine, as I only drink decaf now. My anxiety doesn’t allow the boost anymore. It just causes a huge wave of anxiety that I have a hard time turning off.
The decaf thing is interesting. I have no problem quitting caffeine because the pain it causes in me is greater, much greater, than the positive affect it has. Maybe that is just it. Is my negative pain regarding food not great enough to cause change? If so, I have no desire to gain 400 pounds to spark it up. Although it might be fun to go on “The Biggest Loser” and be rewarded for allowing myself to let my body fall apart and then get it back…but I digress….
Should I give the juice fast a shot? Would it be a way to spark myself back into a healthy eating pattern and solve some of the issues my mind and body face? I don’t know…. They say you don’t do something until you are ready. Sitting here writing this at my office I can see the Mc Donald’s and Burger King out the window, knowing they are next to the Trader Joe’s that carries all those delicious cookies I love so much. Maybe I am not ready yet? Let me sip on this mocha and think it over. I’ll get back to you….