Practicing What I Preach

Almost every day I write a post about fitness, Crohn’s Disease, and life.  Almost every day, I try to share advice that was given to me, research, and my personal opinions on the above topics.  That does not mean that I am a testament to this perfect, idealistic version of me that I am trying to assimilate in this blog.

However, every day I keep in mind of where I’m at and I remember my end goals.  I remember that eating a nearly perfect diet that I believe in will further my goals, that pushing out the extra rep will also help, and that blogging is my form of expression and a means to an end for going the extra mile until I choose to go even further.

Not having these things all figured out oftentimes makes me feel like a hypocrite.  I’m reminded of a quote from Jesus in the Christian’s New Testament:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

That’s Matthew 7:3-5 in the New International Version of the Bible(crazy how many different versions there are!!).  I was raised in a fairly religious home, thus I remember random scriptures often that I sometimes relate to things I’m going through in my life.

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I chose this image from freeimages.com because the bar looked like a barbell

However, if those words were taken literally I wonder if there would be a single person willing to preach.  That’s where Christians believe in grace and moving forward, even when they make mistakes.  That’s where I believe in getting up, even when I fall down, and continuing to blog while simultaneously fighting to improve my life into that idealistic version I spoke of in the first paragraph.

So what is the idealistic version of myself?

Idealistically, I’m going to continue blogging and working out, running, and dieting, studying nutrition and also furthering my career.  I will turn into someone I would proudly call a role model.

I will practice what I preach.

It’s going to happen!  I believe in myself and I know I can do it!  Since I wrote the series on diet last week, I have made a lot of healthier choices.  I’ve been running a lot more and eating cleaner just like I said my character Jimmy would as compared to Carl who only likes greasy, nasty food.

So as long as I talk bad about Carl, I’m going to be a Jimmy!  While practicing what I preach, I’ll continue to keep you posted and share content.

 

 

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.

 

How to Diet – Basic Advice

This is just basic advice for anyone wanting to follow a diet for whatever reason. It’s pretty simple. You just have to experiment a little bit with your calorie intake and make sure that it matches up with your goal.

If you’re wanting to get bigger and have lean muscle you should aim to eat more calories and also pay attention to your protein, and try to eat about .8 grams of protein per pound. You may try eating .8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. You can find your lean body mass by finding your body fat % and subtracting your amount of fat from your total weight.

If you’re trying to cut up and lose some weight you will want to experiment and lower your calories a little bit. You don’t want to go overboard because you could be setting yourself up for failure doing a diet that is hard to maintain. What I’d recommend is starting out by dropping soda and simple sugars like cake, candy, or ice cream. From there you can set a new goal every couple weeks like lowering your fast food intake, etc.

If you want to maintain what you’re at then you probably just need to keep doing what you’re doing. This may not hold true for someone who has spent a long time building muscle as a person with a lot of muscle probably needs to keep working out and needs to eat slightly more calories than a regular person.

If you want to find an easy way to keep track of all of this, learn a bit more about nutrition, and have an easy way to count your calories then you can try an app I’ve used and played around with. It’s called nutritionist and it should be in the apple App Store and if you have an android you should be able to get on there too. I’m sure there’s other useful apps like that too, such as fitness tracker and my plate. 

Do whatever works best for you, and if you have any other advice to add to my own feel free to add it down in the comments below.