My butt, January 2009

My butt,  January 2009
(who could miss it)

My butt, January 2010

My butt, January 2010
photos by Tom Peal

Welcome to You and All your Brilliant Parts!

In 2009 I lost 40 lbs and I got a new butt. How? Diet and exercise, that's the short answer. But all of the things I learned that made it emotionally possible, that allowed me to succeed when I had failed before - that will take longer. This blog celebrates the intelligence of the body. Please leave me a note to let me know what you think of this writing, if it's been helpful. I welcome your input and experience.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A time to every purpose ... and challenge!

3 Days to Vitality, 1997, Pamela Serure
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY
Snow photo by Julia Schloss; all others Tom Peal

As the snow falls in Dallas today I'm thinking of the seasons of my weight loss.  It started in January, 2009, with Oz and Roizen's You! On a Diet (see post #1.)  I'd lost about ten pounds by spring but I struggled through the following months until July, when Dallas starts to get really hot.

In July I did something radical.  I went on a juice fast.  And boy, oh boy, was my body ready for that.  By August I felt a lot cooler in my body - less weight to carry around, more space inside.
Remember my friend who had the gastric by-pass and had to go on a liquid diet prior to the surgery to shrink his liver (post #2, "There's drastic ...)?  Not only did it impress me that a doctor prescribed a liquid diet (which I had thought of as dangerous and drastic), but the whole idea of a fat liver was novel.  Okay, Jenni - put the pieces together ... pate' foie gras is fattened goose liver ... that heart covered with fat that was demonstrated in a college biology class years ago ...

I'd gotten into the habit of thinking of my fat as on the outside of my body, an extra layer over my bones, organs and muscles.  Like a fat suit.  I think I saw some television advertisement, or maybe something in a magazine, when I was a child that showed a woman "unzipping" this fat layer around her and stepping out thin and light.

When it struck me that my feeling of heaviness was not just coming from the weight of my outer fat layer but the compression of fat in and around my organs, the idea of "flushing" all of a sudden made a lot of sense.  My heart was working harder to vibrate it's health inside a wrapping of fat - fat adheres to muscles.  Each of my organs was having to deal with fat in addition to its normal work of keeping me alive.

In June 2009 I got tired of being addicted to sweets and other empty carbs and large portions.  I wanted to eat all the time and I mean it.  Here's how addictions work:  you eat non-nutritious food, it doesn't feed your body, you want more.  Your psychology (which is also a system serving necessary functions to keep you alive) becomes alarmed and tries to remedy the emptiness any way it remembers - for me it's big meals, bingeing.   Fortunately for me, my upper-level cognitive skills can also be engaged - I can read, reason, and create solutions (something you and I share, gentle reader.)

Each of the above paragraphs is loaded, and I'll get back to each of those topics.  Here's the point of this post:

I did Pamela Shurer's juice fast in July and lost my food addictions.  I also lost weight and continued to lose weight for the rest of the year because I no longer had to fight the addictions every day.  In other words, the juice fast changed the power dynamic between me and food.  I became the controller of my diet.

I'm not going to say juice fasting is safe or easy - what's safe for me may not be safe for you, and I wouldn't call it easy.  But it turned out a lot easier than I thought.  Pamela Serure's juice fast is a seven day commitment: three days of pre-fast, three days of juice fast, and one day of break-fast.  I corroborated Shurer's theories and strategies with an online literature search.  My findings convinced me that, even if they didn't turn out to be helpful or even ultimately safe, her ideas certainly weren't unique.

But here's the funny thing.  I did the fast twice in 2009, July and October.  I did it the same way each time - starting at the beginning of the month with a pre-pre-fast and doing the prescribed seven days the last week of the month.

In July I lost weight on the fast.  In October I didn't.  My body just didn't want to lose the weight.  It was getting ready for winter.  Now, that's intelligence.  Could my organic system, like the trees and humble animals and insects, actually have a clue about what a cold winter we would have this year?

Hmm.  Please write if you have thoughts on this.

But let's cut to the chase on this.  Here's the challenge:  I'm scheduling a juice fast for the last week of March.  I'll start my pre-pre-fast on March 1 - cutting out alcohol, all white flour products, all sugar-sweets, fried food, and cheese, and consciously reducing the size of meals and amount eaten in a day.  On March 28 I'll start the pre-fast, on March 31 I'll start the juice fast, and on April 3 I'll finish up with break-fast.

Care to join me?

Later, Jenni


  1. Historically I am not a faster. Maybe I can change that, so count me in!

  2. Thanks so much for this. Your information so far has me down 4lbs., using 'You On A Diet.'
    The 'Spicy Hot' V8 juice works on cravings for me (as well as the soups, if not better), so I am intrigued.

  3. Big Thank You for the blog. I am just finishing my first week doing 'You On A Diet', 4 lbs the better! Am at the vulnerable point of needing a network and...this is moving me forward.
    Regarding the juice fast, I have had a few cravings relieved by drinking spicy hot V8, I don't know if the spicy heat was necessary, or in fact, if V8 is technically a juice, but the results were miraculous. This is an adventure to contemplate. Time for read, reflect, and practice.
    Thanks Jenni! Thanks to Julia Schloss and Tom for the photos too!

  4. Thanks, Rebekah and Barbara! Be sure to buy the book 3 Days to Vitality by Pamela Serure if you want to do that particular program with me; otherwise we can just journal our experiences with our own approaches.