Hi sparkies, I am way overdue for a blog here...so here goes!
I returned from France 9 lbs. heavier than when I left...this despite having LOST down to approximating 130 while in Villefranche-sur-Mer at Institut de français!
How do I know I lost that much? My pants all needed safety pins at the waist!
I did nothing heroic to lose this weight, in fact I ate exactly what I wanted, and our food at breakfast and lunch was nothing short of fantastic. We had a lunch consisting of salad, main course and dessert, and everything was so yummy you wanted seconds. Sometimes I had them...
My miraculous weight loss was because of the hill on which Villefranche is built.
It is a steep hill. There are three corniches, or ledges, along which main roads run to places like Nice and Monaco which are nearby. I lived halfway between the Basse Corniche and the Moyenne Corniche. So in order to get to class, or to go to buy food, or to do much of anything, I had to walk up and down these hills every day! It was hard at first. I had to do extra stretching to avoid the leg cramps at night! But by week 3 I was feeling SO in shape, it was amazing.
Some of the Villefranche effect went away when I reached Paris, which is built mostly on flat land. And I had two months in Paris. But NOT unlimited funds, so a restaurant every day was not in the picture. I cooked in my teensy kitchen corner and I must admit I also ate lots of bread, cheese, and drank wine and cognac! So bit by bit...what can I say.
Not so easy to take this off when I got back - my snacking had diminished, true, but I was used to eating bread and cheese and I really didn't want to give them up, especially after I discovered the delicious cheese at Trader Joe's which costs less than Wegmans! I did well at maintaining, and I went down a bit, from 144 to 142...several times...well, lots of times really! The old yo-yo again!
Meanwhile, I was trying to keep up my French, which means reading and listening to something every day and talking it when possible. Also I had determined on a writing project while in France, and on my return, this project looked HUGE. Scarily HUGE. Getting emails from friends in France about it didn't help. I realised I have a very old fear of writing (even though I have done it, when young, and know I can) which I avoided when choosing my musical career. Hey, when you sing, you sing other peoples' words, and nobody can fuss at you about your words. Besides most of the songs are about love any way. Ha!
However, now that I am retired, the chickens are coming home to roost as they usually do, and I am feeling very led to return to this writing thing. But there are still fears. The project involves religion, which introduces even more fears, since this is a very divisive subject in America today, and I have friends on all parts of the spectrum. I have my opinions but I am good at seeing all sides of an issue, I hate conflict, and I often keep my thoughts to myself. If I'm to do this writing project, I have to address all of this.
So what should fall into my Facebook timeline but an online prayer group and a 9 day fast, International Week of Prayer & Fasting, for goals such as peace in our world. I'm adding to the goal our prayer group's intention - to pray for all persecuted Christians and for their persecutors. Personally, I am broadening that to all persecuted for their religion, whatever their faith...and their persecutors. To pray for the persecutors, no matter how offensive they may be, seems important to me. They are human beings, after all, and they are capable of change, and God can do an awful lot when we are bold to ask.
Hence the fast.
One of my spark friends is experienced at this and she sent me the following link to a book by Stephen Buhner - The Transformational Power of Fasting.
This book helped me so much to decide whether, and how, to fast, and helped me see what it would involve. I decided to begin (somewhat late) by cutting out caffeine, dairy and sugar, as the book recommends. I was moderately successful with the dairy and sugar, did better with the caffeine.
My nine days began yesterday. I'm starting with a juice fast - only juices and water - and I've invested in a juicer. I'm using some bottled juices if the labels show them to be free of additives. All fruits and veggies need to be organic or else washed with a biodegradable wash which is actually quite easy to use.
I must say that so far things have gone well. Some gas pains, some muscle aches, some desires to eat something crunchy or chewy - but nothing I cannot bear. The juice is ABSOLUTELY DELECTABLE! I had no idea that you could extract juice this delicious from fruits and veggies. I do not feel deprived of taste in the least. And I was 140 pounds this morning. The book says that weight lost while fasting usually does not come back on as quickly as weight lost by dieting or limiting one's diet. I hope they are right. I'm quite amazed at how much energy I still have (of course it's only day 2) without caffeine or some other stimulant.
The plan is to do 5 days of juice fasting, and then go to a water fast for 4 days to finish up. I will see how I feel at the end of day 5 and decide then. It is said that one still has hunger pangs during a juice fast and that those disappear once you get past day 3 of a water fast. But you can continue most normal activity during a juice fast, while a water fast really drains your energy in the first 3 days, and you will not feel like doing much. I can only contemplate this because I'm retired. But it is a sort of adventure...and my discipline seems to be better under these conditions than it is during everyday life. Perhaps because it is a special choice...and I want to use this time for some needed introspection, at this time of transition for me. I'm continuing to walk, just not as much. Those walks will get even more gentle during the water fast days.
The book I have found to help me with juicing is excellent too. You might check this out, even if the fast aspect doesn't appeal to you - it is packed with great information about foods for juicing and their medicinal and health benefits.
Here's the link - it's by Michael Murray
And now I have to go juice some stuff for dinner! I will try to blog daily about this - it will be a good discipline for me - and let you know how it goes.
Have an awesome week, everyone!