Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
December 4, 2016
Recently, Jon started posting the little disclaimer about the dietary discretion for each individual client. It is only understandable because I have once again started talking about my favorite subject as of late, that being my ethical stance toward my diet. I say ethical because while eating an animal free diet has caused wonders in regards to my weight and health, it has also brought me closer to some of the other political and personal stances I choose to utilize in my life. It has made me more centered and balanced in my life, evening out my emotions and allowing to shed some rather horrible habits that used to be constants in my life. No longer do I find myself comatose in front of the television anymore, watching King of the Hill and seeing the episode where Hank becomes a pimp for the 5,000th time. No longer do I make cross town visits to certain restaurants and gorge on so much food that I am feeling sleepy while driving back home. I used to go to a place called KG’s Westside Cafe and the staff ultimately knew me by the order I would ask for…chicken fried steak with bacon and eggs, a side bowl of additional sausage gravy along with toast and an extra side of sausage. I often times switched it up on them by getting sourdough bread or adding fries so I could make my own gravy fries. I could only figure back in those days they just enjoyed the fact they had such a loyal customer. The worst part was my affection for binge drinking, which the now distant memory of my liquor bottle collection exists only in my memories. So while I have taken what many consider a rather extreme stance on my life and trajectory, it has become standard operating procedure for me as of late.
Of course these changes come with a few consequences, for I no longer watch television and have no idea why people get all crazy about certain television shows that seem to be nothing more than a nonstop blood and sex fest (and some times both!). I guess this is the part of the equation where I consider myself strange and disconnected from society, for I often times feel like I am ignorant and know absolutely nothing about the pulse of the modern world. Perhaps this is a subconscious projection I am emitting into the universe, for many of the modern social media jobs and blogging jobs I applied for never even sent me a rejection letter. I can only assume my resumes went into the trash and spam folders. Either way, I have to keep looking, for even though I have steady job now it will not be getting any easier for me now. I had a horrible day at work on Saturday, and I was sick as a doornail the previous day. It was bad because I had a guy go all gonzo on, complaining about a 260 dollar credit and threatening to sue a multi-billion dollar company and saying things like we would need the police to keep him from losing his anger, or something utterly ridiculous like that because I ultimately tuned his selfish ass out once he started talking lawsuits. Or the fact I failed a survey because I told this guy I cannot activate his phone because it did not have a SIM card and he would need to go to a store to get one (trust me, this guy was stupid, arguing with me that a SIM card in an iPhone should be okay for a Droid Maxx..yikes!). Apparently getting off his feet and driving a couple miles down the road warrants a bad review. So yes, those are the kinds of things that can really mess with your bonuses, but I guess I at least have the rest of the month to make up the debacle that was Saturday.
Anyway, back to the whole food and sickness thing. I know, I know, I ramble off into certain tangents and I apologize. But just me, the punchline is coming soon. With the onset of winter and the rapid fire changes in the forecast, it was only inevitable that I come down with something. It seems to happen every other year, mainly because I continue to do the dumb thing of whipping out my winter stuff and not washing it first to get rid of the dust and other particles. Needless to say, the sudden influx of dust was my doom. I still got sick at a practical level, but I managed to help myself in the best way I could. I completely cleaned up my diet for a couple days, eating an overabundance of fruits and veggies. I kind of took out the starches and the carbs and made good use of what needed to be done to get healthy again. Sure enough, in the midst of a tough day at work and munching on blueberries and grapes, I slowly but surely got better. From coughing constantly and having a runny nose, I managed to clear my mind and help out most of the people I was dealing with (sans the two I just mentioned). I was a little tired when I left but I felt well enough to deal with a little end of the day madness…..my car tire was completely flat. And then to make matters worse, the spare donut tire was also flat! Fortunately, I chowed down on spinach and carrots earlier and also took a healthy dose of watermelon and pineapple during the day, making me feel well enough to haul my tire to the nearest Circle K, get it filled up, go back and then get my darn car to a tire place to get the tire fixed, and then go donate plasma even though 12 hours before I was feeling like garbage. But despite all of this, my blood pressure and protein levels were great and I had no trouble with my donation in spite of my sickness from earlier in the day.
It just goes to show the power of food my friends, and not just eating any food, but eating the right kind of foods. I have talked numerous times about the specific needs a body has, especially when it comes to our natural need for antioxidants. While there are some online blogs that actually dispute the need for antioxidants, the general truth is this…we need them to prevent diseases. You see, our body creates something called free radicals, which isn’t always bad. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm any of our living cells. They are created when an atom or a molecule (a chemical that has two or more atoms) either gains or loses an electron (a small negatively charged particle found in atoms). Free radicals are formed naturally in the body and play an important role in many normal cellular processes. At high concentrations, however, free radicals can be hazardous to your body and damage all major components of cells, including DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. The damage to cells caused by free radicals, especially the damage to DNA, may play a role in the development of cancer and other health conditions. Of course, I will aways emphasize the word “may,” because it is an ongoing study in regard to finding the reasons why certain diseases occur. This is where the antioxidants come into play.
Antioxidants interact with and neutralize free radicals, thus preventing them from causing damage. Antioxidants are also known as “free radical scavengers,” which is an apt description considering the role of a scavenger out in the wild is to get rid of the leftovers before they can fester some nasty, potentially dangerous bugs and fungus. Anyway, the body does make some of its own antioxidants it to neutralize free radicals. These antioxidants are called endogenous antioxidants. However, the body relies on external (exogenous) sources, primarily in our choice of diet, to obtain the rest of the antioxidants it needs. These exogenous antioxidants are commonly called dietary antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are rich sources of dietary antioxidants, and they can also be available in dietary supplements. Personally, I am not a huge fan of supplements considering the amount of literature that proclaims most supplemental antioxidants are glorified in their effectiveness. Much like the mantra of my old life when I used to work in the newspaper industry, sometimes it is better to get the information straight from the horse’s mouth (unfortunately, too many blowhards are hired to make assumptions for thesis people). Some of the best examples of dietary antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E (alpha-tocopherol). The mineral element selenium is often thought to be a dietary antioxidant, but the antioxidant effects of selenium are most likely due to the antioxidant activity of proteins that have this element as an essential component (i.e., selenium-containing proteins), and not to selenium itself. I found this whole thing kind of funny in my research, for if you remember the movie “Evolution,” selenium was the substance that saved the state of Arizona from a massive alien invasion (though I often times wish the aliens had succeeded).
I will always reiterate one point that people tend to associate with antioxidants…we still have no definitive answer whether they can prevent cancer. Over the years, there has been some promise in regards to small studies, but nothing on a massive enough scale to help give a definitive answer. If anything, the bottom line will always be to do the things that will keep your body healthy over the long run. Eat the right kind of foods and exercise regularly, at least from a standpoint that keeps your body healthy. If you stuff your face with unhealthy food and drink, much like I did back in the day, you will be that weird customer that gets whole bunch of food and then eats his bounty in the parking lot because one is too embarrassed to eat all of the food in front of other people (which is something I did quite often during my heavy eating days).
I will say this, as I write this blog out for all of your to read and enjoy, I am feeling quite good right now. While I certainly have a few sniffles let and still occasionally cough for a few rounds, it was nothing like the way I felt on Friday night, where I was so sick and disgusted with a throbbing headache that I couldn’t even run and I didn’t walk my beloved pups…who constantly need exercise as this winter season typically sees them get lazy during the day and sleep a lot. So with all that is said and done, the slight change in my diet for the span of roughly 48 hours pretty much turned me from a sniffling wreck into a functioning human being. We shall see how I really feel when I attempt a run tonight and try to get back on my training program for Ragnar Del Sol. A good couple of days of additional rest will also do good for me as I get my first weekend off in quite a while, for I start my new shift at work and get Sundays and Mondays off for the foreseeable future. It will be decent situation for me, for much of the people I will be teaming up with work the same hours I work as well as my direct supervisor. So while I will be on a tightrope with no net, at least I will be doing during the hours I want to do it.
Anyway, that is really all I have for you in terms of my weekend, where a light blip on the health radar was really nothing to worry about. But it just goes to show, that you need to maintain a lifestyle that will benefit your life and make those tough moments go away quickly. Back in the day, the sickness that hit me would have been a nightmare to deal with, for I would have been in a fog all day and even contemplate the idea of staying at home. When I was extremely heavy, there were actually days where I would take off from work due to flu or sickness, even though when I was a younger man that ate better and exercised regularly, such things never happened to me. But that is greta thing about changing the way you live and the way you eat. You can always prove to yourself that you can learn new things along this long and winding path of life.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.