Monday, December 10, 2012

Getting This Off My Chest

I was in the pool last week when the answer came to me.

[Confession, I was swimming, not lying in Shivasana like I told you I would try to do every day last week. Lying still for 10 minutes is lovely in principle, and in principle I will continue to aspire to do that as often as possible, but I remain attracted to moving meditation. For the record, it was only a 10-minute swim.]

How is it possible for my chest to lose 1.25 inches?

As I mentioned a while back I have been part of a pilot for Life Time Fitness testing a detox program they will roll out next year. The first two weeks were stark: no allergens or artificial anything. The "Do Not Pass Your Lips" list included:

Iodized Salt
Sweeteners (Sugar, Honey, Syrup)

What could I eat?

Lots and lots of vegetables, rice, quinoa, organic meat and fish, beans, legumes. The pilot program provided a vegan protein powder for smoothies, fiber, and supplements to support the liver.

And lots of water. The goal was to drink half your body weight in water daily and poop twice a day or 12 inches. (I didn't make that up, but I've been dying to share it.)

I became a tea drinker. Not easy. I identify as a coffee drinker. I gave up sugar, even high-sugar fruits. I learned I prefer almond milk to coconut milk. I sat in the sauna three times a week, as recommended.

When Thanksgiving hit, I abandoned the detox program for a good four days. And then you know what happened? I wanted BACK ON.

Within that short time span my face broke out, I felt bloated, and sluggish. So, I got back on the detox train, which after the first two weeks allowed us to introduce a formerly forbidden food every three days.

Now I know my body is better off without gluten and dairy. Gluten, not so much because I have an adverse reaction to it, unless you call intense carb cravings an adverse reaction, which I guess I do. I just know the less of it I eat, the less of it I want to eat. Dairy, is a bit harder to let go (I love you half and half, cheese, and yogurt!). But there's no denying it: my skin looks great when I avoid dairy.

Before I talk about the 1.25 inches lost around the chest, let's talk about more impressive numbers.

Before and after the four weeks we took a subjective test regarding medical symptoms. Before detox my score of symptoms hovered in the "upper moderate" range at 45. After detox, the score dropped to 20. (Sadly, the section on "Joints/Muscle" didn't move much.) I no longer had symptoms like stuffy nose, headaches, and insomnia. I dropped big points under categories for "digestive tract,""energy," "mind" and "emotions."

What's more my LDL (that's the "bad" cholesterol) dropped 8 points and my triglycerides were almost cut in half, while my HDL (the "happy" kind) stayed the same. My total cholesterol, which was under the recommended 200 as it was at 164, dropped to 147. So if my cholesterol was good, why would I care? Because there's "normal" ranges and there's "optimal" ranges, and I'm going for optimal, of course!

My weight didn't budge, which was fine, I wasn't looking to lose. Interestingly, most high-intensity exercisers didn't drop weight, most likely because we were supposed to do less and easy, which for some people I think might have been more than nothing. Many in the group who did want to lose weight lost big numbers: 8-10 pounds or more. My body composition did change some, going down negligible amounts. Except my chest. And I was stumped. A whole inch and a quarter lost! How could that be? The injustice!

I even had it measured by the same guy who measured the first time. I wore the same top and bra. He measured me right under my arm pits, though... and that's when it hit me:


I lost back fat! Of course! It's perfectly acceptable to lose back fat! Yes!

As it turns out I won't need your generous offer Heather Morrissey, who is the winner of the book "The Happy Hour Effect: 12 Secrets to Minimize Stress and Maximize Life." Her comment to me, which did make me laugh out loud was:

You can have two inches off my bust. I'm very giving like that.

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