Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nearly 3 Years Later: 3 Broken Bones & 200+ Pounds - The Long-Term Effects of Juice Fasting

Two and a Half Years Later...

I hope that this blog has helped you learn along with me both the good - AND the bad - regarding long-term fasting.  Therefore, please allow me update you on how it has been since the last 40-day fast.

I've had THREE broken leg bones since my last juice fast.  First, my ankle, which broke when my foot slipped off of the side of the pavement whilst walking the dog.  The second was during a mud run: I jumped straight down off of one - yes ONE - hay bale, and the impact cracked my tibia.  Then last spring, I twisted the same ankle on a tree root during a jog in the woods and re-broke the ankle.

Growing up as a tomboy, I endured some hard hits in sports and never had one issue with my bones.  According to my doctor, the last few 40-day juice fasts simply depleted my bones as my body attempted to feed itself.  A good, high-level explanation of malnutrition and the depletion of bone density can be found in the Season 2/Episode 1 of Supersize vs. Superskinny (Credit: U.K.'s Channel 4).  Please refer to section 22:15 - 24:30 as well as the doctor's solution at 38:40 - 39:25.  And do NOT watch this show while at work, because there is nudity!

In addition to breaking my leg bones three times, I severely mucked up my metabolism.  A doctor explained that it would take about three years for my metabolism to recover from the fasting and to realize that there is no longer a famine threat.  He explained that until then, my body would hoard fat in preparation for the next "fast".  Therefore, I committed to eat well and healthy for the following few years knowing that I would most likely gain weight while attempting to convince my body that everything was okay.

As of November of 2014, I was 210 pounds (15 stones).

I am Trying Something Different Now...

November 2014 marked nearly two and a half years since the last day of my last juice fast, and I decided to apply what I learned from reading The New Rules of Lifting for Women as well as the episode of Supersize and Superskinny (referred above): I hired a personal trainer and started to lift heavy weights in an attempt to get healthy as well as rebuild my bone density.

Within eight weeks, I have lost 10 pounds and 4 inches (10.16cm) from my waist all the while building muscle and bones!  My trainer has designed a nutrition plan that includes healthy carbs, proteins, and fats.  I even get to eat an ice cream sandwich after each lifting session. Yum! I lift four days a week for about 35 minutes a day, and they recently added two days of cardio - neither exceeding 30 minutes each.

My lifting regime includes deadlifts, squats, bench presses, etc.  My hubby has commented that in just 10 weeks, my derrière is more round rather than droopy.  The other day I was able to put my 45 pound plates onto the barbell and deadlift 135 pounds.  And last, but not least, my menstrual cycles are normal for the first time in years.

I don't regret the path I took to get to this point, because I've learned a lot about myself and my body. In addition, I would have never listened to anyone who tried to give me information if they had only read it in a book rather than experienced it or witnessed it themselves.  However, I am excited to be getting stronger and healthier all the while EATING.  I am trying to be realistic about my aesthetic goals time-lines, so I'm looking at the process taking about three years to get where I'd like to be.  If it's less than that, then great!

I hope to update this site in about six months or so.  My goal is to have a 150-pound (10.7 stone)-after-fasting-picture next to a 150-pound-after-lifting-heavy-and-eating picture.  The idea of comparing the two makes me smile.  

Stay well and stay healthy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

~15 Months Since My Last Fast - Broken Bones

I've been reluctant to write this entry for a while, but I have to remain true to the goal of this blog: To be honest regarding the good and bad about fasting.

Again, I am grateful that Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead brought juice fasting into mainstream culture and it's now an acceptable thing to do.  Fasters are no longer criticized and scrutinized for fasting.  In fact, some of my closest friends are starting to juice; after all, fasting has some incredible health benefits.

However, my issue with the movie is that it doesn't show the down-side of fasting, including the flu-like symptoms, the purges, the aches and pains, the hair loss.

And now I am reluctantly reporting another possible side effect: Broken bones.  *Sigh*

I grew up a tom-boy and could play sports with the roughest guys in the neighborhood, and I never - not once - had a broken bone.  Then while walking my dog last September, my foot slipped off of the side of the pavement (~2-3" drop), I put all of my weight onto that leg, and POP!  My tendon didn't separate from the bone, but the piece of bone attached to the tendon broke away from the rest of the bone.  Seriously?  It shouldn't have happened. 

(Also, I gained 25lbs in 6 weeks due to the non-activity that came with not being mobile while wearing the cast.  GAH!)

Then in March, I participated in one of those muddy obstacle races.  I made it through the whole thing (skipped a couple obstacles), and at the very end, I jumped off of one bale of hay straight down and ended up with a hairline fractured down my tibia.  Basically, instead of bending my knees and absorbing the shock, my knees were locked, and all of my weight came down onto that bone. Again, this should have never happened.

(Luckily I didn't gain any weight this time, because I learned how to adjust my intake to compensate for the lack of mobility.)

Next Steps:

Understand that I am assuming that fasting caused calcium depletion in my bones, simply because my bones have always been stellar and strong. The first injury I chalked up to being a freak accident.  But two broken bones in 6 months after a life-time of strong bones???  There's something more than just freak accidents.  

The next time I go in for my physical, I will talk to my doctor about possible calcium depletion as a result of several long-term fasts, and I will report the results to you.  Until then, I am still lifting weights to help build my bones back up as well as eating spinach, kale, yogurt, and taking multi-vitamins.

Again, I didn't want to post this, because I want to be able to say that fasting is the end-all and be-all.  Now I am not 100% certain, and it's only fair that I am honest with you.  Believe me when I say that I don't regret my first fast whatsoever; it broke addictions and taught me that I am a strong person and  can accomplish anything.  However, I probably should not have done the other 40-day fasts, at least without being under a doctor's supervision.  Fasting is a great resource when used appropriately - just like the right medication.

Fast wisely, my friends.  And be good to yourselves and stay safe.

Friday, September 7, 2012

6-Month Post-Fast Update (Before and After Pictures)

EDIT: Please read my Nearly 3 Years Later: 3 Broken Bones & 200+ Pounds - The Long-Term Effects of Juice Fasting update before considering juice fasting.  I hope that my experience will provide you with real-world information about long-term juicing.

Hi there!

It's been almost six months since I ended my last 40-day juice fast, so I figured I would stop by to let you all know how it's been going.

First, I started lifting weights - heavy weights.  I learned from reading New Rules of Lifting for Women that low weights/high reps doesn't work.  The more research I do, the more I learn that the only way to really burn fat on a consistent basis is to build muscle since it's the muscle that metabolizes the fat.  Sure there are many more variables and this is a blanket statement, but let me show you what has happened since ending the fast - especially since I have been promising you before and after pictures.

The first picture is of me in June of 2011. I think I was ~165-170lbs.

The second picture is one month or so after my fast.  I was ~145-150lbs.

The third picture is of me last month, mid-August 2012, which was about 5 months after the second picture was taken.  I was ~155lbs.  Yes, 10 pounds heavier!  But as you can see I am more toned and less squishy, though I wish those thighs would go away first.  

I have had some incredible (and hot) women take me under their wings and are guiding me through the weightlifting/ body building process.  No, I am not trying to bulk, but I am trying to build muscle, which leads to burning fat.  It also leads to bones that are more dense as well as a better heart not that there was anything wrong with my heart.  Also, I had to come to terms with the fact that getting the body that I really want will take a minimum of two years.  Yes, years.  It's like my friend's personal trainer told her when she asked how long it would take her to look like a Baywatch babe, "How long did it take you to get where you are now?"

One of the major things that I am learning is how to EAT.  It took a few weeks, but I am finally up to 2000 - 2200 calories a day with the right macros (30% protein, 30% fats, 40% carbs).  I recently purchased Schuler and Cosgrove's latest lifting book, The New Rules of Lifting for Abs.  Let me stop here and say it is not a book on how to get 6-pack abs.  Rather it is a book on the importance of strengthening your core while lifting.  This is super important for me since my physical therapist found that my leg injury was due to a weak core last year. 

The biggest success I have had is that I am no longer weighing myself daily.  With muscle weighing more than fat, it was really messing with my head.  Other benefits include being able to actually do push ups.  After my fast I could not do one.  I had no idea I was so weak.  Now, not only can I do them, but I can do them while my lower legs are on the swiss exercise ball.  And I just did 44 of those swiss ball push ups the other day! From 0 to 44.  Amazing.

Regarding hair loss, I had another round of it.  This is only the second time going through this process, but I suspect it is because this was the second 40-day fast that I did 100% correctly.  My hair just stopped falling out last week, and it was falling out for ~6 weeks.  It was not as horrible as the first time.  It will be interesting to see what happens next.

I have enjoyed receiving your feedback and insight.  For example, some have sent me new information about the kombucha teas that I didn't have while fasting.  Those posts were updated with the new information.  Thank you!

I am glad that I finished the fast, because once again it wiped the slate clean for me.  My head is clear and I feel great.  And now that I am lifting, I am stronger than ever.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 38: Store-Bought Apple Cider vs. Fresh Juices Experience

EDIT: Please read my Nearly 3 Years Later: 3 Broken Bones & 200+ Pounds - The Long-Term Effects of Juice Fasting update before considering juice fasting.  I hope that my experience will provide you with real-world information about long-term juicing.

Weight: 145.6
BMI: 33.8 %

The craziest thing happened yesterday.  So I am getting a tad lazy these last few days of the fast, and I bought a jug of apple cider from the store, which is pasteurized.  Right after I drank some of it, I had tummy rumblings and flatulation.  Here's what's so interesting: I juice apples all of the time, and nothing happens to me; I just go about my day and don't think twice about it.  Why is it so different?  Now when I think about it, I even remember having regular, store-bought, pasteurized apple juice in the past and having the same tummy issues.  But this doesn't happen with fresh apple juices that I make.  Something has to be so different that my body reacts violently to the store-bought, pasteurized juices but doesn't for the fresh juices.

So once again, fresh juices are the only way to go with a juice fast.  They truly are different from store-bought, pasteurized juices.

Last night we picked up a used Body Solid home gym set.  We found it on and it was super cheap considering if we bought the same system new it would be about $5,000.  We paid a tiny fraction.  Hooray for!

My significant other complained that when I was 128 pounds that I was too thin - almost boney.  So we agreed to get this so that I can tone up and hopefully won't be so gaunt looking.  He's really looking forward to using it as well.  This machine is HUGE, and I have no idea where we're going to put it.

I am super sleepy since we had to tear this thing down last night at the original owners' home and try to fit it into two vehicles last night.  We are surprised that we managed to get it all to fit!   Now the trick is going to be putting all back together. : /

Two more full days.  I think what I am looking forward to the most is some normalcy including sitting down with my significant other at the dinner table and just spending time with him over dinner.  I still walk pup, and that has been wonderful for me (and for pup - silly spoiled girl).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tip: Take Oranges Out of the Fridge the Night Before

I try to remember to pull the oranges that I need for the following day out of the fridge and set them on the counter.  Otherwise my fingers usually end up numb from peeling three or four oranges at a time, because they are so cold from the refrigerator.  I found that if I sit them on the counter the night before, they are room temperature by the time I am peeling them and it is much more tolerable.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Supersize vs. Superskinny

BBC's Supersize vs Superskinny is a shocking look into the very different but similar lives of super-sized and super-skinny people. This can be disturbing as it tackles the issue of extreme eating (over and under).  They pair a skinny and an overweight person together for five days and they are to eat each others' normal meals during that time.  It seems that, at least for the first episode, the two volunteers learn a lot about each other and learn to respect one another, which is so refreshing!

Gillian McKeith keeps it light by tackling the ever-expanding bum and is on a No Big Bums! mission.

Then Anna Richardson, a journalist, interviews a former model and finds out to what extent some models go in order to remain skinny.  Then she gives the crazy diet a try and is humorously candid about the ordeal.

Overall, the only episode I have watched [below] has helped me put things into perspective and really evaluate my goals.

Please note that there is nudity, so do not watch this at work. 

Below are parts 1 through 4 of season 1, episode 1.

Supersize vs Superskinny, Season 1, Episode 1

Cost of Juice Fasting

EDIT: Please read my Nearly 3 Years Later: 3 Broken Bones & 200+ Pounds - The Long-Term Effects of Juice Fasting update before considering juice fasting.  I hope that my experience will provide you with real-world information about long-term juicing.

The overall cost of juice fasting depends on several variables including when you fast (fruits and vegetables are more expensive during the winter months); where you shop; and whether you buy organic or non-organic produce.

On average, I spend between $150 - $200 a week.  This includes the occasional kombucha tea (yes... I haven't given those up) and Gerolsteiner mineral waters. This figure isn't written in stone; yours may be more or less depending on how much you drink.

Of course I try to buy only organic produce, and I tend to shop at our local grocery store chain.  I have completed fasts using Whole Foods produce, but I have noticed that I can purchase just as nice fruits and veggies at a lower cost elsewhere.

Hopefully this will give you an idea of how much it may cost.  Remember, there's a chance that it's the choice between a bump up in your grocery bill or potential medication costs for weight-related ailments.