National IBD Awareness Week

What does the purple ribbon stand for?  That’s a pretty common question, right?  Everyone knows that the pink ribbon is a symbol of breast cancer awareness and prevention, so what about the purple ribbon?

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The purple ribbon stands for lots of things!  Some of which are Alzheimer’s disease, domestic violence, anti-gay bullying, and cystic fibrosis.  However, this week from December 1st until today it has stood for IBD awareness.

IBD stands for Irritable Bowel Disease!  Irritable Bowel Disease is somewhat of a blanket term Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.  If you’ve been following my blog, you know I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease five years ago(if you didn’t know that, then HI!  Welcome to my blog!)

Today, I’d like to tell you that I’m a little upset.  I’m upset with myself!  I was focusing on work and lifting last week and I forgot all about it being Crohn’s Awareness week.  At least I can forgive myself since I am posting about it today and giving IBD a little bit of the recognition it deserves!  We need to recognize that these diseases exist and work together to rid the world of them.  I’m about to tell you why this should matter to you even if you don’t know anyone who has IBD(besides me LOL).

Crohn’s Disease is a debilitating illness.

When I was 15, I started having some stomach problems.  At a time when I should have been happy and healthy and careless like everyone else, I was going to the bathroom 10 or 11 times a day.  There was blood in my stools and I was malnourished.  I didn’t want to eat but I forced myself!  I knew that if I didn’t eat but kept going on like that, that I would die.  I was losing weight insanely fast.  I was turning into a skinny-fat, malnourished mess.

..I was turning into a skinny-fat, malnourished mess.

me when i was sick

This was 8 days after I turned 16.  ..The calm before the storm.

I remember being six foot tall(1.82 meters), and older than most of my friends but being insanely weaker.  If they wanted to bench press or play sports, I wouldn’t have the energy or the strength.  I went to the doctor for all of this and after an initial lower GI they concluded that I was suffering from hemorrhoids. 

They gave me suppositories and sent me on my way.  I wanted so badly to believe them that I went my whole freshman year without getting any better.  I just sucked it up and dealt with it.  I’d go to the bathroom a lot but I think most of my teachers understood that I wasn’t healthy.

Finally, just eight days after I turned 16 I had gotten my license and it was a big day for me…but getting my license was the only reason I wasn’t in the hospital.  I didn’t want to wait, and I had gone my whole freshman year without treatment, so what was eight days?

Long story short, I waited way too long to get real treatment and I could have died.  As you see me in the photo above, I was very skinny-fat and it was hard to smile with all the pain I had in my abdomen and back.  Somehow, when you have a bad crohn’s flareup you can also have other digestive problems such as pancreatitis and gastritis.  On July 21st, when I was admitted to hospital, it turned out I was suffering from all three.

But this story doesn’t end negatively!  I was treated and given corticosteroids when I was in the hospital that healed my colon and digestive tract.  I started feeling better and over the years they experimented with different drugs.  However, also over the years I have discovered that drugs are bullshit.

I am still on one autoimmune suppressor and it’s called Remicade.  I get Remicade treatments once every two months and honestly, I don’t want them anymore.  I know that this sounds bad, but I have spent months at a time without my Remicade or other drugs and remained healthy.

Is this partly due to the residual effects of the drugs?

Sure it is!

But I firmly believe it is more because of how I handle stress, my environment, and my daily habits.  I used to be inactive, I had a lot of family problems that a 15 year old shouldn’t have to worry about, and I ate awful food.  Over the years I’ve learned a lot and I find that I may someday be a testament to the possibility that all of these illnesses popping up have more to do with processed food and less to do with bad luck.

If we continue to talk about these illnesses and even cancers, then maybe we can have the right people do real research on the significance of our diets.  I hope we can all further the discussion and possibly donate to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to further awareness and possibly help a young kid going through what I went through!

Remember that if the diet we eat is causing a rise in these types of IBD and cancers, that research and discussion could save lives and ultimately help us all live healthy lives.

To donate to CCFA, click here.

Edit:

I think I also need to leave a disclaimer!  I doubt anyone would read my post and think I’m saying they need to quit taking medicine, but just in case, don’t quit taking your medicine!  At least not without your doctor’s consent.  Try to do everything by the book.  If you do everything right and try your best, then you’re blameless among your physicians.  Keep that attitude and build a relationship with your doctors so that they can better help you.

 

Week Recap

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This week I had a great time going over dietary choices with you!  We talked about calorie control, the basal metabolic rate, eating clean, health disorders, and macro-nutrients.  I had a great time doing it too!

With all of this information, it would be silly if I didn’t walk the walk as much as I talk the talk.  As I said in my last post, it’s better to be like Jimmy(who likes eating healthy) than Carl(who eats loads of crap).  I am doing my best every day to eat as well as I say you should, and I hope we can all grow stronger together and help each other make better choices.

I also wanted to mention a few ideas that were presented to me via the comments this past week:

  1. One of you mentioned doing karate and MMA.  You told me it would be a great way to do my cardio.  Thank you for the suggestion!  I really think that sounds like a great idea and I’ve actually been considering it lately.  A few guys I know from a town about 20 minutes away attend a gym that’s very highly rated for its Mixed Martial Arts.  I know I’m not going to be like Chuck Norris in a couple of weeks, but I’d love to learn some self defense and enjoy the sport(..and learn how to kick heads…Just kidding )
  2. I was told to try a vegan diet.  I’ve also thought about that lately.  I think vegan-ism is becoming more popular because of people like Vegan Gains on YouTube.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all!  He seems to be a bit of a sociopath, but other that he gives a great message and raises awareness of animal cruelty.  The animal cruelty aspect alone is a great point for many who have forsaken animal products, but the dietary effects seem to be great also!  I can see how eating a plant-based diet would lower bad cholesterol, decrease cancer risk, and alkalize blood.  However, I honestly haven’t done a ton of research on this diet.  I am mostly stating hearsay, but I do really like what I’m hearing and you may see a post about it from me in the future!

In conclusion, I really like all of the feedback I get from you and I love having the conversations with you.  I hope to continue making progressively healthier choices, and I want to refocus my attention on Crohn’s Disease and auto-immune disorders.

I did, after all, start this blog in response to remission from my Crohn’s Disease.  I want to help others who are suffering with auto-immune disorders and raise awareness.  If you’d like to help with that, send me an email or reblog some of my posts.

All of that being said, I think Crohn’s Disease has a huge link to diet along with other auto-immune disorders.  My assumption is strengthened with personal experience.  I did the Paleo Diet and I know it is completely anti vegan but both diets are great for banishing processed foods.  Cut out the processed foods = healthier life.  Thanks for reading and feel free to join the conversation!

Finding The BEST SUBJECTIVE DIET

Hey all!  It has almost been six months since I started lifting and the journey to being at peak physical condition has turned out to be most like a roller coaster.  It’s had its ups and downs, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

..and although I’ve written a lot about exercise, my Crohn’s disease, lifting weights, and nutrition I have never actually sat down and mapped out what will work best for ME.  Keep in mind when reading today’s post that what works for me may not work for you, and that finding a proper diet is probably more of a subjective issue than something that is objective, i.e. clearly defined and universally set in stone.

So the best subjective diet…What is it!?

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While I cannot get into all of the details today about nutrition and science, I will dive into finding what works best for me and possibly a Subjective Diet Format (SDF) that works for anyone trying to decide upon their ideal dietary needs.  I will be posting every day this week with new information on diet that will help us all find out what works best for us.

So if this week is like a seminar on diet, consider today the introduction.

..and as I said, I will start by identifying factors that will best help me find a diet that is subjective to me.

For starters,

I am 21, I am lifting weights for about an hour every day, I am highly active, I am slightly overweight with a body fat percentage around 15 to 20%, and I have crohn’s disease.

So we can conclude that I am highly active and I should probably look the part, but I am not quite cutting it!  Which is possibly what I need to do…a cut.  So that leads me to assume that I should be dropping my caloric intake.

After doing a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator, I have found that I need about 3,000 calories a day to be at maintenance.  For the means of losing fat and looking my best, I will have to eat about 2,500 calories a day and continue my activities.

I have also figured in my Crohn’s Disease, and I should eat less processed food to make those 2,500 calories a day more nutrient dense and fulfilling.

Here is how I added all of this up into what I am calling my Subjective Diet Format:

  1. Age
  2. Activity Level
  3. Body weight, fat percentage, and height
  4. Any health conditions

It’s really all pretty simple and I think it was a good outline for me to use my basal metabolic rate along with remembering my Crohn’s Disease.

I hope this helps you and tomorrow we will go a little more in depth!

 

What I Am Thankful For This November

It is November, and if you are living in the United States or Canada it is a month of Thanksgiving!  I got to thinking that it was so strange that we celebrate this here and not everywhere, and that we don’t practice our attitude of gratitude every day.  So, no matter where you’re from and no matter what day it is I think you and I should practice our gratefulness all the time!  So, I want to list Five Things I Am Thankful For Every Day!

  • I am so thankful for my grandmother who is my biggest supporter.  I always know that no matter what I am going through, that she always will love me and support me.  She always listens to me and helps me through all of my problems.  Since my grandfather died, her and I have always had each other and she has pushed me to be an overachiever.  When I was younger, she used to make me study all the time and now I’m hoping to be successful with the values that she instilled in me.
  • I am incredibly grateful for my health.  I made my blog, Maxed Out Muscles, after having a Crohn’s Disease flareup in April.  I recovered in May, and it has officially been six months since I was sick!  I am hoping to go for a year, and eventually succeed in being symptom free for the rest of my life.
  • I am thankful for the feedback from all of my friends on this site.  All of you who I didn’t know, I am so grateful that you have lent your support and commentary on my posts.  I am so thankful that we have had discussions and interviews.  I hope to give you good content, and I hope to read more great replies! 🙂
  • I am happy for my weight lifting results.  They are modest but they add up over time.  I know that when I look back to my starting point, it is a day and night difference.  So without a doubt, I say to you time after time that consistency is the number one thing involved in seeing weight lifting results.  ..and perhaps results in any field.
  • I’m thankful for how this year has gone!  This is the number one thing, and possibly the most basic.  It isn’t possible for me to be thankful for this year without all of the things I mentioned above, but this year has been so important to me.  Without seeing the long term results and consequences of my choices this year, I am so grateful for all of the experience I’ve gained.  I would say that in this year alone, I have made more decisions and stuck to them than in any other year of my life.  I have grounded myself in some core values, and chose a direction for my life and have so far, consistently, stuck to it!

I can only hope that every thing I am going through leads me to more results and success.  However, whether I’m successful or not I am thankful for who I am becoming because of these things.

I hope you have too many blessings too count and that you have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

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A Thanksgiving Turkey!

Also, Feel free to comment below what you are thankful for this year!  Or, if you would like to, reblog this post and write 5 Things You Are Thankful For This Year!  I am really excited to read all of your great responses.

Health and Wellness Through Hydration and Clean Eating

If you’ve been following Maxed Out Muscles for any period of time then you probably know that I have Crohn’s Disease and that it has been the contributing factor in a lot of hospital visits.  I’ve had Crohn’s Disease since I was 15 and over the past 6 years I have learned some ways to keep the symptoms in remission.

I also answered a question from one of my readers, yesterday, about a condition she had called water diabetes.  She was wondering how she could reduce tummy fat while having the condition.  I told her the basic advice of eating healthy, weight training, and cardio.

However, we have to dig a little more in depth when it comes to our health and wellness.  I think a lot of times our problems may come from malnutrition.  From my experience, this is the case.  I also believed that this is the case for the girl who asked me the question.  Here are two things that I think are most important when it comes to diet:

Water:

Drink enough water!  If you drink a lot of soda, beer, or orange juice it doesn’t count.  Be strict with yourself to ensure that you are drinking enough water and hydrating your body.  I know this seems odd, because

How can something as simple as drinking more water actually help put a disease in remission?”

It may not by itself!  But you would be surprised how much dehydration can damage your body when you are suffering from any kind of chronic inflammatory disease.  Even if you aren’t suffering from some form of illness, studies have shown that 75% of Americans are severely dehydrated.  That’s a huge percentage of Americans.  If you have a condition that makes it easier to become dehydrated, then that is pouring gasoline on the fire.

Think of it this way:  Just like a car needs gas to run, your body needs water.  Drink plenty of water, and stay hydrated.

Eat Clean:

Last year, around this time, I had recovered from a severe Crohn’s flareup and I decided that I would try the Paleo Diet.  In no time at all my Crohn’s Disease symptoms were gone, I was shedding body fat, and I felt happier than I ever had before.  I was on top of the world!  However, it wasn’t very sustainable.  I had a few nights where I went off track, and over time I fell back into my junk food addiction and started having symptoms again.

So now that I am a year wiser and I am starting to eat clean again I have some advice for you.  Don’t fall into the trapping that I did in proclaiming some miracle diet and focusing on it so much.  There were days where I was miserable because I couldn’t have something starchy.  Just eat cleanly and perhaps as strictly as a Paleo or Vegan diet starting out and then reintroduce foods to find what works best for you.  If you can eat certain things without getting sick, more power to you.

Those are what I believe to be the only aspects of dieting and the only ideas you should really have to keep in mind while finding what works for you nutrition wise.  You can do additional research if you want to find how many calories you should be eating or what macros, but as far as illnesses go I’d say I covered it.

Now I have covered nutrition based off of my experiences with Crohn’s.  I’d like to add some other honorable mentions such as weight lifting, cardio, and maintaining your stress levels.

With a lot of sicknesses, keeping a low stress level is about as important as having a healthy diet.  Thankfully, we can branch a low stress level together with weight lifting and cardio.  For me, the gym is what relieves my stress so when I couple that with a good diet I have virtually no symptoms at all.

If that doesn’t work for you, I’d suggest also looking into some meditation and yoga.

Work on maintaining a low stress level, lift weights, do cardio, focus on diet, and find what works best for you.  We are all different and it can be easy to compare ourselves to other people.  Simply breathe, relax, and think about what is the most beneficial for you.

Remember, you can live healthy and happy!

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Eat Healthy Now, Don’t Pay For Being Unhealthy

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Here is a fact:  With a rare few exceptions, once you get so unhealthy you have a disease you will have to eat healthier.

Some people are born with diseases and sickness, and these people probably have to eat healthy and take medication too.

Personally, I have Crohn’s Disease. I was sick in the hospital about a year ago when I started thinking, “I wonder what life would be like if I got a colostomy bag and decided to undergo surgery.” For some, this is their only option. For me, it was one of my options and the easy way out.

At that point in time, I was filled with dread and felt hopeless but it is that thought that made me climb out of despair and take control of my life. I began researching colostomy bags and learned something interesting. If you have a colostomy bag, not only is your life very different and probably embarrassing, but you have to eat healthier! If you don’t eat healthy, your bag can get clogged up in the tubes and cause inflammation and infection.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to go through all that embarrassment and daily cleaning of some dumb bag I am going to go ahead and eliminate my bad habits before it gets to that point. I decided that in the hospital, and I climbed out of this despair I had as I realized that getting healthy now is my only option.

It was my best option. I have started this endeavor for myself and I am proud to say I went from a severe case of Crohn’s with all kinds of medication to only one medication.

Now, I have something to say to you. If you are at risk of becoming diabetic or if you have unhealthy habits, change them now. Do it NOW. Don’t wait and pay for your unhealthy decisions later, like a lot of people may do. Take control of your life and be transformed as your physical, mental, and emotional health all see tremendous improvements.

Thanks for reading. I hope that you apply the principle of “changing now” to your life. I hope you see improvements. I hope you at least give it all you’ve got and that you don’t give up.