The Wellness Workout that Works For Me

Did you know that on average, Americans gain 8 lbs over the holidays? (Yes, I read it in two different national magazines.)

Not me. I lost 5 lbs, and 17.5 inches. Yeah, and I’m just as shocked as you. So read on.

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d be sharing with you the exercise routine that has actually worked for me. Well, here it is: T-Tapp (t-tapp.com).

I truly feel like I can recommend this program, since I am totally non-athletic, uncoordinated, and though I was within my weight range when I began T-Tapp a year ago, I was not toned or fit. Yet, it has helped me to become more toned, increased my stamina during pregnancy, and increased my coordination, in addition to other health benefits (more energy, immune enhancement, improved mood and sleep). And that 17.5 inches lost is hard to ignore.

T-Tapp (created by Teresa Tapp) is a series of movements that strengthen your core, while standing in spinal alignment. They pump the lymph fluid, which I think is the main reason that I feel so much better on the days I exercise. It’s isometric, cardio, stretching, rehabilitative to bad joints, low impact. And because the Basic Workout is only 15 minutes, I’ve been able to DO it, on average 3-4 times per week.

Before this workout, I had tried Curves, and gave it up after a year and a half when I couldn’t be consistent enough with going (6AM was my only time to go, and that’s hard to do when you have an infant). Although it was fun to go and I was certainly sweating through those workouts, it seemed to me that all the women going there never made any significant change to their fitness level (including me).

I’ve also tried a few workout videos over the years, none with much result, even with lengthy workouts. And I also felt like they were taught by fitness models, rather than health trainers. It sort of zaps your motivation when you consider that the instructor has a really different body type than yours, and probably has never been acquainted with a baby belly (or 4th baby belly!), much less with how to lose one. I don’t know that Teresa Tapp has ever had a baby, but there are tons of testimonials on her site from mothers with 6, 7, 8, 9 and more children, who have shed pounds and lost hundreds of inches of baby-weight doing T-Tapp.

Teresa also explains body types and how they affect problem spots, and determine what is realistic for you to achieve with your body. I happen to have the same body type which she has, long torso, short legs. I tell myself: if she can do this, I can too.

The Basic Workout Plus (15 min.) is tough (muscle and coordination wise), but it was designed for people with Chronic Fatigue, so it’s not going to exhaust you. This is what I started with, and I think it would be a good place for others to start. I did this during pregnancy, from the 3rd month to the 8th month. I started in again with this workout at 4 weeks postpartum, although I took it slow.

At 3 months postpartum, I began to add a few moves from the Total Workout, which I did for about 7 weeks over the holidays. This is where I really began to see inch loss. (Basic Workout is the first 15 minutes of Total Workout.) In the coming year, I hope to use a combination of Basic and Total Workouts on an every-other-day basis to become fit, and then drop back to just the Basic a few times a week for maintenance.

If this sounds like something which might work for you, check out the website. Make sure to enter your email in the 10 Day Drawing (winners drawn every 10 days). I entered several times from January-May of last year, then I did win in May. I just entered last week, and won again . . . so there’s proof that if you keep entering you will get picked sometime. The prize is a free workout video (which tend to be shorter, focused exercises) and free shipping. There is no purchase required, but they do also give you a coupon for 50% off a video of your choice (plus the free shipping), which is a great deal if you are wanting to buy a certain workout which isn’t offered in the prizes.

I am not an affiliate of this company, and do not receive any compensation for recommending their products; I’ve simply been impressed with their company and the results I’ve achieved while following this program. One workout is not going to be right for everyone; if you’ve found one that is working for you, stick with it! Consistency is what will really give results in the long term.

Detox Lifestyle in a Nutshell

The Bathtub
I like to think of my toxic load as a bathtub: water (toxins in this analogy) are flowing in at the tap, and flowing out at the drain. If the drain is plugged, the bathtub gets fuller. If the tap is turned up very high, the bathtub may be getting fuller even if the drain is working. In terms of the toxins stored in our “toxic bathtub” the goal would be to turn down the faucet as low as possible, and to make sure the drain is wide open and draining faster than the water coming in. If this is accomplished, eventually the bathtub will empty and only the daily toxins coming in will flow right on through.

photo credit: celebrategreatermound.com

Toxins Coming In
We live in a toxic world, and it’s pretty hard to completely escape modern day toxins. Even if we could, our own metabolic processes in our bodies create toxins to be expelled daily. If we weren’t detoxing all. the. time. we would die. Like, within a day.

Nonetheless, it seems prudent to avoid the toxins of:

  • Engineered chemicals in food, medications, and cleaners
  • Hormone mimickers in personal care products
  • Potent organic toxins like mold spores
  • Heavy metals which may accumulate in tissues/bones
  • Off-gassing of chemicals from household products
  • Chemicals and metals in our water supply
  • Die-off toxins from internal bacteria/fungus/viruses
  • Electromagnetic toxins
  • Stress from emotional baggage

Much of this blog has been dedicated to these topics.

Organ Systems and Cells
The toxins in our bodies are varied, and are stored in differing areas of our bodies. For example, an imbalance of bacteria in gut flora may be creating a significant toxic load in my colon, even without symptoms I connect to that organ of my body. I may have a high level of lead, stored in my bones. I may have petrochemical chemicals stored in my skin, along with parabens, pthalates (fragrance) and sunscreens (which can all act as hormone mimickers) from years of lotion and cosmetics use. I may have formaldehyde stored in my cells, fungal/yeast toxins and mercury in my brain. My fat cells may have antibiotic residues, chemical cleaners, medications, synthetic vitamins, pesticides, rancid/hydrogenated oils, and styrofoam. (Some researchers feel that cellulite may have a larger portion of these kinds of toxins, which the body has put in “cold storage” to protect itself.) Although not the kind of chemical toxins that are stored in the body, electromagnetic fields are toxic to our bodies while we are present in them, and may inhibit our detox pathways for hours after exposure. I recommend the book Zapped by Gittleman for limiting exposure to EMFs.

The organs and glands of the body may all be holding any of the toxins in the list above; often certain toxins have an affinity for specific organ systems.

There are 5 mains paths of detoxification: Colon, kidneys, liver (and thus through colon), skin, and lungs.

Where do we start?
I know, it can be overwhelming. First, congratulations that you’ve made it this far, even without much planned detoxing support! Next, make a plan.

[Remember: I’m not a licensed health care provider, and I can’t diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Nothing you read on my blog is a substitute for advice from your doctor.]

1. Turn down the faucet. Start to remove as many toxic sources as possible. No, you can’t do it all this week, but START. Food always seems to be an obvious one to most people, but don’t forget that everything that touches your skin gets absorbed, without the benefit of stomach acid and your liver as a filter. So think laundry detergent, any lotions or creams put on skin, deodorant. Your lungs absorb so much of what you breathe in; so open your windows each night to air out your house. See, you’ve already made huge progress!

I recommend the book Homes that Heal as a good resource for reducing toxins in your immediate environment.

2. Flush. Drink all your water every day. Even if you can’t buy a really good water purifier this month, get a Brita which takes out some of the bad stuff. Everyone (unless your Dr. has you restricted) should be drinking half their body weight in ounces, every day (that means, if you weigh 150lbs, you are drinking 75oz water). Herbal tea counts as water, but add 8oz water for 8oz coffee or black tea consumed. Juice, milk, etc. don’t count for anything. Don’t drink soda. Just don’t.

3. Begin to cleanse the detox pathways, colon, kidneys, liver, skin, lungs, in roughly that order. I have read a lot of detox books/methods over the years, and done several types of cleanses. I recommend the book Inner Transformations by Deardueff as one book with several suggestions on cleansing each of these pathways, and even further into non-pathway systems. The author recommends some tried and true methods like Master Cleanse, veggie juicing, Candida diet, coffee enemas, Epsom Salt baths, skin brushing, as well as specific products to try.

4. Food. Yes, this is important. Not just to get clean sources (organic, grass-fed, etc.), but to have a broad spectrum of foods in fruit, veggie, proteins, and fats categories (dairy and grains not required for cleansing, and often inhibit cleansing). My experience has been that a Paleo type diet is a great jump start for food cleansing, but I recognize that Vegan diets are good cleanses too (think veggie juicing!). However, I don’t think that long term the Vegan approach supplies enough quality proteins/amino acids for some crucial metabolic detox processes. The book It Starts With Food is a good read if you feel helpless to change your diet.

Some foods that are super cleansers are fermented foods (homemade sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.), dark leafy greens, the whole cabbage/broccoli family, the artichoke family, citrus, berries, and fresh fats/oils like coconut, cod liver oil, flaxseed, and avocado. But really, the fermented ones top the list.

5. Exercise/Sweat. I don’t love to exercise, but I feel more energetic and happier when I do. I use the T-Tapp 15 minute workout because it is very lymphatic; focuses on opening up the lymph channels and pumping lymph fluid (clear fluid in our bodies that does not have a pump like the heart pumps the blood). Any “pressing” type movement such as walking, running, or trampoline moves lymph, and this is very important for daily detox. In addition, when we sweat, we release toxins through the skin; terry-towel off that sweat if you’re not showering immediately.

6. Essential Oils. In the past year I have begun to study therapeutic vs. fragrance use of essential oils, and have begun to introduce them into our family as therapies. We have seen a few mild detox reactions, but I have heard and seen more dramatic reactions from others beginning EO therapy. Many EOs do have the ability to cleanse cells of petrochemicals and even do some chelation of heavy metals. Because EOs are absorbed directly into the cells, and can be within every cell in the body (even brain cells) in about 20 minutes, they carry huge potential for detoxification. Lemon juice squeezed in water has long been a detox standby, but a drop of lemon essential oil is far more potent and powerful than the juice; best to start very slowly before ramping up to one drop per glass of water (glass only, no plastic!).

Because of their ability to penetrate every cell in the body, it is very important to have absolutely pure essential oils, from a distillery which preserves every naturally occurring (balancing) chemical constituent. At this time I only recommend Young Living brand EOs (see my Essential Oils tab above).

Essential oils can also assist with emotional detox by opening up hormone pathways, and stimulating the lymbic area of the brain which stores memories and emotions (and is the area which receives signals from scents). I believe that Jesus is the true answer to the needs of our souls/emotions, and that Scripture which reveals Him is cleansing to our minds. I have found that repeating Scriptures to myself which relate to my emotional needs, within a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, have helped me to heal past hurts, depression, and unload emotional baggage.

Detox Reactions
Detoxing is good, but too much, too fast can create some uncomfortable detox side effects: rash, itching, headache, sinus drainage, feeling hot, feeling grumpy, restlessness, loose bowel, nausea, tiredness. It’s likely that the longer a person has been pursuing a detox lifestyle (has a less-full bathtub) the less they will experience these reactions. When these symptoms do strike, here are some things I have done to ease them:

  • Rest/sleep (it takes a lot of internal work to detox!)
  • Epsom salt baths (pull toxins out through the skin so it doesn’t all have to flow through liver/colon/kidneys)
  • Coffee enemas (no more than once a week, and only done in a safe way with electrolytes in the enema)
  • Cease heavy exercise; stretch instead
  • Go back over the list of toxins to find ways to “turn the faucet down” more
  • Consider backing off the detox of the moment, then ramp it up again more slowly.

Special Help
Although we should discuss diet/exercise/detox plans with our doctor anyway, there are some situations which require a doctor’s help for detox. These would include chelation for heavy metal poisoning, heavy industrial chemical poisoning, and advanced cardiovascular disease chelation. A doctor knowledgeable in environmental medicine would be worth enlisting in these cases; it’s likely that he/she will be recommending at least some of the ideas above, so the more educated a person is about home therapies for detox, the faster their progress will be.

Additionally, some people have genetically faulty metabolic processes for detoxification; MTHFR gene defect, inability to methylate B vitamins, insufficient amino acid production, anemia of many types, thyroid and other hormone insufficiency, etc. A knowledgeable integrative doctor will be able to test for these types of disorders and recommend simple solutions to underlying causes. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking the right form of a B vitamin.

Detox for Life
I’m not going to sugar coat this: if you are new to detoxing, it will likely be a year of intentional detoxing before you feel really clean, and then an ebb and flow of maintenance detoxing thereafter. But, the benefit of having more energy and joy, and feeling lighter (if not actually BEING lighter) will make it worth it. You may never know the health crises you’ve dodged by keeping your toxic bathtub empty.

 

Giveaway: 50% Coupon for T-Tapp Video

Teresa Tapp ~ photo credit: t-tapp.com

To celebrate the end of my first T-Tapp challenge, I am giving away a coupon good for 50% off any T-Tapp workout DVD/VHS!

I love T-Tapp; I’m losing inches and feeling more energized (see my blog about that here). So of course I wanted to sign up for the 30 day challenge, which began January 27th, and ends in just a few days on February 27th. Now, as I T-Tapp my way to the finish line, I’ve decided to give away this great coupon so one of you can begin this wonderful, effective, and time-saving exercise program with a great deal.

To enter for this giveaway:

  • leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Feb 27th (Sunday night)
  • for extra entries, subscribe to this blog (right side of the page)

On Monday, the 28th, a winner will be randomly chosen to receive the coupon; I’ll email the winner. The winner of the coupon will have 5 days to redeem the coupon from the T-Tapp store by calling their store (the coupon will expire on 3-4-11). The coupon can be used for any video in their store; I highly recommend starting with the 15 minute exercise routine Basic Workout Plus, list price of $39.99, which would make it $19.99 when using this coupon!

Also on Monday you can read about my experience this month doing the T-Tapp challenge, and more details on how to begin.

Good luck to everyone on this giveaway!

I Hate To Exercise, and Other Good Reasons To Get Moving

photo credit: weightwatchers.com.au

I hate to exercise. At least I used to, before I was able to do it successfully.

For me, success has meant that I was able to fit it in my day, and that it actually made a difference in how I felt, how my body looked, and how I felt about myself. I think these are good goals for exercise.

Success in exercise had never happened for me in my entire life, until this past year. This is one of a few things which has helped me feel better in 2010 than I did for at least the 10 years before it. That’s saying a lot. This non-exerciser/exercise hater/excuse Pro will now choose to exercise every other day because I feel better when I do.

Just by way of review, here are some reasons it’s good to exercise:

  • Good for your heart/oxygenates all your tissues
  • Enhances the immune system/moves lymph fluid
  • Improves mood and digestion
  • Increases energy/helps you sleep better
  • Helps detox processes/sweat is the skin’s method of toxin removal

Of course, these benefits will only be yours if exercise becomes a habit. Part of making habits is just doing it, and part is finding the routine that is going to work for you.

All my past excuses? I’m learning to turn them on their heads by choosing to:

  • embrace the interruption in my day, knowing that I’ll have more energy afterward to accomplish more in less time
  • appreciate a good sweat which is helping me detox through my largest organ (skin) and is an indicator that I’m in fat-burning-mode (and the more days I sweat, the less stink there seems to be . . . indicating a lower toxin level?)
  • be happy about the accomplishment of doing a tough workout

However you exercise, the main thing is that it works for you and that you do it. So find a routine that works, and get moving!

Next post: I’ll tell you about the exercise program that I’ve been doing (read: actually been doing) this past year. I feel like I can really recommend it to others, as it has helped me lose 17.5 inches in the last 8 weeks. . . and that was over the holidays!

[*Gasp* . . . can’t believe I’m blogging about exercise . . .]