My Health Log:
This journal consists of
six pages, archived for convenience. Please click on Page #1 below to
start at the beginning!
Aug -Oct 2003 (newcomers, read this FIRST!)
Oct- Dec 2003
Jan- Mar 2004
April- May 2004
PAGE #6 Sept 2004- April 2005 You are here!
2004, a Sixteen months later: The Story So Far...
June 2003 I weighed close to 290 pounds and realized that
the quality of my life was suffering tremendously. To
the left is a picture of me at 285 pounds.
I also realized
that there was a definite connection between my emotional
state and my weight gain. In the past, I'd tried
exercise and diet programs, but nothing provided a long-term
I formed a
theory, based on Buddhist philosophy: I would go into the
emotional underpinnings, get to the source of my emotional
suffering, and eliminate the causes.
My approach was
Concentrate on understanding and healing the emotional
ignore the food component, allowing my body to reach a
"healing point" as my emotional health improved, and let my
appetite adjust itself. This is based on the
assumption that we WANT to be healthy, given a healthy
environment and state of mind. I wasn't going to go on
any "diet," wasn't going to restrict carbs or deny myself
anything. I was just going to pay attention to what I
ate and what my emotional state was when I ate.
So I sought
counseling, did some serious self-analysis, meditated on my
personal issues, and documented everything here in this Blog
for accountability. By August of 2003 I was down to 273
pounds, as shown to the left.
I also began to
change. As I peeled away the layers, I began to
problem with looking at yourself in your own mirror is that
you often don't enjoy the reflection. You have to
confront the inescapable fact that you're less than perfect.
The picture at the left is me when I reached the 258 pound
This was the
point when I realized that everything I thought I
knew about myself was a complete fabrication; that for most
of my life I'd been a construction of other people's
expectations of what I should be. This realization
triggered a lot of anger.
Where was the
REAL ME? Would I peel myself down like an onion and
find nothing? Was I just a straw man?
I was at an
emotional crisis. My mother had recently passed away,
there were other problems within my close family, and it
seemed like there was nobody but myself to rely on. In
the middle of all this, I had one thing to keep me centered:
my reduction program. I continued to work on my
self-analysis, my weight
reduction, and my spiritual studies. For a long time,
I was stuck at 250
pounds, though -- I couldn't
break this plateau.
One day in
January, during meditation, I realized that I'd been angry
for most of my life. I've been angry at the world, at
my parents, at pretty much everybody and everything.
Mostly at myself though, I guess. I said it out loud, and the anger
went away. Shortly thereafter, I broke through a major
grief issue. I began dropping pounds again.
Which brings us
up to date. Oct 2004. the picture to the left is me at 242
pounds. to the right, at 232 pounds. Currently,
I weigh 225 pounds, for a total reduction of 73 pounds.
You can really tell the difference in my face,
More detail can be found in all the past
blogs. If you're new to this section of the site, I
suggest you read the Archives from the beginning.
At the suggestion of a friend of mine who encouraged me to
write palmistry books for Llewellyn Publications, I intend to compile this adventure into a book
tentatively entitled Intuitive Weight Reduction.
I hope that one day, my success will help others achieve
what I've accomplished.
Now, back to the
21st, 2004. I had to retire the reduction belt and I dug out a very old
belt from years ago to begin another one. REDUCTION
BELT -- The Sequel!
to 225 now. I have a hard time believing it.
I'm on the
verge of closing some major doors to my past and opening new
ones to my future. The thing about major changes in
your life is that even when you see them coming -- even when
you PLAN for them -- you're still never really ready for
them when they arrive. I'm a little stunned at all the
positive things that have happened for me lately. I'm also
quite sad at some of the things I've had to let go in order
to make these things happen. Life is a lot like horse
trading: be sure you check the teeth before you buy.
But once you get a good nag take care of it and ride it
through until the end of the course.
very diligently to get where I am today. But while I
know I'm taking necessary and inevitable steps, I still have
mixed feelings of gladness, apprehension and a little
sadness as I say goodbye to the old me.
23rd, 2004. Weight is now 223 pounds, definitely on a high metabolism /
plateau-crunching streak. Question is -- will I
break 220 pounds within a couple of weeks?
I received a
very good inquiry from my good friend Staff Sgt Jason
England of the Air Force. He asks:
I'm sure both myself
and the other guy who reads your blog would be
interested in knowing if and how your workouts have
changed since you first
started this journey. Are you still doing an aerobic
workout every day? If
so, for how long? Still doing heavy bag workouts 3 times
a week? Have you
incorporated any light lifting into your regime? What's
Jason, Since I moved from
my house into a smaller apartment I had to leave both my
heavy bag and weight bench behind. Now I do routined
martial arts katas and stretching, with brisk walks and some
dumbbell lifting. Also regular (4-5 times a week)
Nordic Trac workouts. I try for at least 30 minutes a
day -- usually 40 minutes -- of some kind of sweaty
activity, which is good for a person in his mid forties.
Considering that the rest of my day is pretty high energy,
that's all I really need.
Also, I always try to work
in a 20 - 40 minute meditation period. I'm religious
This fall, though, I plan
to join a gym and begin some serious body shaping.
With most of the weight off, it's time to begin Phase II of the rebuilding of JR.
I have to be ready for
that nude picture I promised at the beginning of this
Be afraid .... Be VERY
October 01st, 2004. Weight is now 222 pounds. How? you ask.
Busy with shows, good changes in my personal world, my
metabolism is incredibly high, and my outlook on life is so
positive that my friends can hardly stand me.
Can I get
into the TEENS?
Dear G-d, the
October 15th, 2004. Please forgive the hiatus, but I've been on the road
performing for most of the past three weeks!
My weight is
now 218 pounds. The other day I bought a new
sweater, and I got a Large one and tried it on. I used to
have to buy XXXL, etc from the Big Ol' Guy section.
For the past several months I've been buying from the
regular racks though. Kinda a good feeling to be back
among the common people.
too big. I got the next size down, not really thinking
it would fit.
I swear a
tear came to my eye when I looked at the tag and it was a
MEDIUM. I've never worn a MEDIUM anything in my life!
O God, it was sweet!
I'll post a pic soon of me
in my new sweater.
October 21st, 2004.
My latest weight reduction chart. Notice how my
metabolism really kicked in at the 230 pound mark!
Still on the
road a lot during this busy Fall season so I don't have as
much time to post as I'd like, but I have some reflections
on personal changes I'd like to share soon. I promise
I'll write them up very soon.
October 22nd, 2004. Weight is 215 pounds today. I'm going to report
each pound lost until 200, because this is the countdown!
Looks like I may
be moving from Knoxville TN to Indiana within the next few
months. Why? my destiny calls to me.
October 26th, 2004. I realized today that I no longer recognize myself
My weight is 215
pounds now (yesterday I dipped to 214, and for some reason
it scared me). I started this journey a year and a
half ago at around 289 pounds. For a man who's 5'10, a
75 pound weight loss is a significant change in body image.
I'm not even fat
anymore. No-one would think of calling me names like
Tubby, or Fatboy or Biggun, etc. Oh, if I had weighed
195 and was now 215, someone might say "Putting on a few
extra, aren't you?" But by no stretch of the
imagination am I an obese man.
I see my
reflection in store windows and it isn't me.
I see a thin
shadow on the ground, attached to my feet and stretching out
like a ribbon, and it isn't my shadow.
Today I looked
at a security monitor in a store and there was a slender
chap walking along, easily, jauntily, one hand in his
pocket. Light on his feet too, legs swinging along
with no trouble at all. I realized that it was me.
But it wasn't
My body knows
it's me. But I can't seem to get it into my head yet.
Sunday, I went
with a good friend to a park where we had a milkshake and
cheese fries. I can do things like this now and again,
because I know that a onetime splurge won't catapult me back
up to my former weight. We enjoyed the peaceful autumn
colors and the totally terrible-for-us food, while overhead
five black crows talked about us in crow-talk. What
were they saying? I don't know. Unlike
Siegfried, I haven't tasted the Dragon's blood and cannot
interpret bird talk. Whatever it was, it must have
been hilarious, for they laughed and cawed the entire time
we were there. Possibly they were commenting on the
folly of human endeavors, and how twisted up we human get
over matters of little significance?
I don't doubt it
in the least.
I'll be around
200-205 around the end of the year, which is where my doctor
thinks I should be Maybe I'll stop at 195, though
that's what I weighed in High School and my frame was
But will I ever
recognize myself? Inside, will I always look into the
mirror and expect to see an almost-300 pound man?
November 09th, 2004. Here's a great poem Garrison Keillor read on Writer'
I am so amazed to find myself kissing you
with such abandon,
filling myself with our kisses
astounding hunger for edges of lips and tongue.
Returning to feast again and again,
our bellies never overfilling from this banquet.
Returning in surprise,
such play of flavors of gliding lips
and forests of pressures and spaces.
The spaces between the branches
as delicious as finding the grove of lilies of
blossoming just outside my door under the
"I've never held anyone this long," you said,
the second time you entered my kitchen.
I am the feast this kitchen was blessed to
waiting for you to enter open mouthed in awe
in the mystery we've been given,
our holy feast.
Elizabeth W. Garber, from Pierced by the Seasons ©
The Illuminated Sea Press, 2004. Reprinted with permission.
November 11th, 2004.
Going out for the last of my on-the-road shows today, then
I'll be in through the holidays and will be doing a series
of local shows throughout the end of the year, so I'll be
posting more regularly. But I want to report that my
current weight is 213 pounds. A two-pound drop.
I'll post a pic soon, my appearance has really changed since
my last pic. I've toned up quite a bit. I was
afraid my skin wouldn't firm up; it seems to be doing so but
slowly. Probably more information than you want to
hear, but just be aware that if you lose a lot of weight
your skin will be loose for a period of time; you'll wonder
if you're turning into a sharpei.
As I prepare for my move to the Indiana area, (tentatively
scheduled for January 2005) I'm sifting through my
belongings, trying to decide what to keep and what to toss.
I come across a hundred objects that remind me of my
personal history. Some of these are poignant, little
thoughtful reminders of people who are no longer in my life.
For those of you who may be reading this, I hope you know
that I've never deliberately harmed anyone in my entire
life. Sometimes I've acted thoughtlessly and
unskillfully, and for this I feel remorse, and I truly
apologize for any hurt I've caused you. There are
several of you involved, and I hope you all know that you're
in my thoughts. As for my actions during the previous year,
I've only done what I felt I had to do for the best for
everyone involved. This isn't meant as an excuse, just
as an explanation.
November 16th, 2004.
Weight today is 211 pounds, but I don't know if I can
take the credit for this, as I had one of those 48-hour bugs
that seriously kicked my rear-end. In spite of the
bug, I got a lot of exercise in this weekend too, though, so
that probably helped. My moods lately have been ping-ponging.
I feel really good most of the time, but have episodes of
grief and sometimes fear. I think that I'm approaching
another scary weight plateau. As you may know, I
believe that as you excavate weight, you uncover buried
November 18th, 2004.
I've got my
spell on you ....
Me at 210
pounds during a show in Houston Texas, in my new suit I
bought before a show in Miami Florida!
get into discussions with people who fuss at me whenever I
have an ice cream cone, piece of pie or some potato chips.
been doing this for a year and a half -- this is not a whim
or a phase -- it's a lifestyle change. I'm not afraid
of failure at this point. My habits, methods of
thinking, and internal patterns are rewritten. I'm not
going to be 300 pounds again!
But I know
that a lot of people are extreme perfectionists, very
unforgiving of themselves when they experience even the
slightest deviation from their own expectations. I
used to be that way myself. I would start a routine --
like an exercise program -- and if I strayed from it, even
slightly, I would beat myself up. I was this way when
I began my Buddhist practice. If I missed my
meditation period, or slipped up and had an angry thought,
or failed to observe the Precepts, I thought I was losing my
Path. I always returned to my routine though, and over
time, I gained confidence that I always would, no matter how
often I would stray from it.
I think that
the fear of straying we sometimes experience may be a
carryover of the idea that there's some omniscient Being
sitting in judgment waiting to strike us down if we break
the rules. I've come to realize that in life, there are no
rules; only guidelines, and that maybe if we wander off the
path now and again, perhaps we'll find a wildflower growing
amongst the weeds that we wouldn't have noticed if we
rigidly followed the straight and narrow.
Other than that, I have nothing further to add than take
care of yourself, meditate often, and have some ice cream of
your favorite flavor now and again, no matter what anyone
has to say about it!
December 2, 2004.
Weight this morning was 205 pounds, I'm on the home stretch.
I love Christmas. A lot
of people hate it, think it's too commercial, it conjures up
bad memories of families, etc.
Okay then --
ignore the commercialism.. Just don't pay any attention to
it. Concentrate on the great music, the cool Christmas
cartoons like Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman and the
Simpson's Christmas Special. Forget about your
dysfunctional family memories and create NEWER, happier
memories with friends and loved ones.
It's YOUR life
-- make of it what you want it to be.
from TS Elliot's The WASTE LAND:
Who is the third who
walks always beside you?
When I count, there
are only you and I together
But when I look ahead
up the white road
There is always
another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a
brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether
a man or a woman
—But who is that on
the other side of you?
Who is that
hooded companion who always walks with us? is it our
own mortality? Is it that obvious? Maybe Elliot
was more subtle than that in this magnificent poem (and if
you've never read The Waste Land, you really
should), but for my crude purposes, it will do.
precarious a proposition to spend ONE SECOND of it unhappy
or unfulfilled. None of us is a helpless victim of
fate; we can craft something magnificent of our lives if we
choose. If there's something you don't like -- change
it. If there's bad associations in you toward certain
aspects of the world -- create new associations. The
mind and heart of a human being has an almost infinite
else, find someone who needs help and for goodness sake --
help them. It feels good.
December 04th, 2004.
I went through my closets and
drawers today to pick out old clothes that no longer fit (I
gave them to Goodwill; my Mitzvah for the day!) and
for some reason this triggered an outpouring of grief.
Looking into it, I realized that some of these clothes went
back several years. I had many memories clinging to
them; lots of associations, both fond and painful,
reminiscences of the OLD ME.
A wise friend
reminded me that even when we make a positive change we tend
to mourn the loss of the old US. As I prepare to say
goodbye to my apartment, which I always knew was just a
resting point for me as I moved to the next leg of my
journey toward wherever my destiny takes me -- in this case,
toward a less lonely and more loving phase of my life in a
town called Bloomington in Indiana -- and as I realize that
I'm five pounds away from my initial goal weight with
almost a full month to go to reach it, before the beginning
of a New Year, I'm filled with wonder at the possibilities
that lie ahead of me for recreating my new life.
But at the same
time, I say farewell to someone I lived with for a long
time, not always happily but most always with love, and as I
let go of the bits and pieces of the person I once was -- a
heavier, more confused and much unhappier ME -- I find that
I mourn for that person -- the old me -- as I would an old
friend. Goodbye old buddy, rest in peace, man.
You went through a lot, and you deserve your rest.
My son has grown
from a fine boy into a man of whom I'm proud. I'm not
worried about him; he's gonna do great. He has his
battles to fight, and he'll win his share and lose some, but
he knows that I'm just a phone call away if he needs someone
to watch his back. I love you Jonathan, never forget
December 16th, 2004.
Holding fairly steady at
204-206 pounds, although I will admit to a bit of holiday
overindulgences involving pistachios, chocolate, and other
goodies at times. I have been under a lot of stress
lately, preparing for my move, trying to keep up with a busy
performance schedule, and I've been hired as a consultant
for a series of specials for The Learning Channel. I
can't talk about the nature of these specials yet, but they
are ground-breaking entertainment. Don't know if I'll hit
200 pounds by the New Year or not, but I'm not really
putting myself under a deadline.
I was talking
with a friend of mine last night about the nature of love,
and as I usually do, I thought about the similarities of
love and life. My friend said that he had a younger
buddy who had fallen in love with a girl (let's call her
Becky) and all he could talk about was how much he loved
her. "I really love Becky;" I can't tell you how
much I love Becky;" "Words cannot describe my love for
Becky." Ha ha -- Intoxication!
this is the part of being in love where you can't see the
part of your beloved that's flawed. I pointed out that
in a little while, a disillusionment phase will kick in and
he'll notice the little flaws in Becky's perfection: that
Becky's feet stink for instance. Ha ha haa.
But if he
really is in love with her, he'll find that there is
no flower in the world that stinks better than Becky's
Okay, so that
ain't exactly Shakespeare, but the point is made. You
love someone, not in spite of their flaws, but often because
of them. How often do we say to ourselves, "I'm not
lovable because of ______ fill in the blank."
Does it occur to us that those little cracks and warps and
irregularities that we find so unacceptable in ourselves are
the very things that make us unique and outstanding
you, never forget that. Celebrate your uniqueness and
never be apologetic for being the wonderful YOU that you
December 24th, 2004.
In my life I've had two sons:
One has two legs and is named Jonathan. One had four
legs and was named Checkers. He was a cat, and he died
several years ago. Now I'm going to tell you a
Christmas story, one that took place a few months after my
cat Checkers died. If you've read this narrative, you
know that I was very close to this cat. He suffered a
long illness, and when he finally died I didn't deal with it
very well. In fact, it took me more than two years to
finally let him go.
So the Christmas
eve after his death, my wife at the time and I had returned
from Midnight mass at her church and were sitting in our
living room. She had made a memorial stocking for
Checkers that hung over the fireplace with a portrait of him
on it. It was a very good likeness; she had sewn it
from various fabrics. I sat in a chair, thinking of
Checkers, and my state of mind wasn't good. My wife
had long ago quit trying to talk to me about it. There
was nothing that anyone could say to me to make me feel
better. I was beyond consolation.
noticed our other cat, Oliver (that's his picture to the
left), sitting in front of the
fireplace, staring at the stocking. He stared at it
for a long time, several minutes in fact. Long enough
to attract my attention. Then he turned and looked at
me. Next, he looked at a spot on a chair where
Checkers used to like to lay, then at another spot on the
window sill where he sat to look outside.
I realized that
Oliver was remembering Checkers, and grieving for him.
All the time I was grieving for Checkers, it never had
occurred to me that Oliver was missing him too.
Checkers had come to live with us as a kitten, and Oliver
had raised him. The two of them had been brothers.
around, in that way that cats do, and walked out of the
room. I followed him. He walked to different
spots in the house, reflecting -- the end of the bed where
Checkers slept; a couple of places where he liked to nap;
favorite hiding spots, following a chain of memories.
After a while, I couldn't stand to watch him any longer.
I went back into the living room. What can you say to
a cat? What words can you say to a cat to ease the
pain of loss?
Oliver came into
the living room and jumped into my lap. I held him and
said, "I'm sorry, Oliver. I'm sorry, Boy. I miss
People who don't
know anything about cats don't realize that cats have very
expressive faces. They can convey a wide variety of
emotions. Make one mad, and see if this isn't true.
Oliver, with his animal instincts giving him a more direct
connection with the mysteries of life and death, looked me
straight in the eye and SMILED.
He settled into
my lap, and that's how the bright sun of Christmas morning
found us: two beings asleep in a chair, both of whom dearly
loved a funny and quirky little cat whom we would never
forget, one who thought of him as a four-legged son and the
other as a brother.
everybody. Remember those who have passed, but
love those who are still with you!
January 16th, 2005.
AND I'M BACK!
Sorry for the
long delay in posting. I haven't really dropped off
the face of the earth -- just been busy moving to Indiana
and waiting for my life to settle down. I've been
working as a consultant for the Learning Channel while
trying to perform, move and juggle other personal things,
and simply haven't had time or the resources to blog what's
been going on.
How's my weight,
you ask? Holding steady, I'm afraid -- no loss to
report, because I've been under so much stress with moving,
etc that I didn't want to add to my stress by trying to
reduce down. So I'm still around 206 pounds.
I'm now settled
in Bloomington Indiana where it's very cold and there's a
lot of snow. I'm going to begin a rigorous exercise
program this year and build muscle mass. Part II of
the rebuilding of JR.
January 20th, 2005.
Well, I spoke too soon ... My
weight this morning was 203.5!
So, I'm on
the weight reduction roll again.
here we come!!!
February 7th, 2005.
myself in the middle of so many projects that I'm a bit
overwhelmed. I'm working on two books -- one on
Palmistry, one on Weight Reduction -- trying to establish
myself as a serious player in the Midwestern corporate
market, working as a consultant for a series for The
Learning Channel, and also trying to keep my irons in the fire of my
this and new romance is enough to keep a fellow busy.
My weight is
holding steady in spite of the tendency to want to eat a lot
due to the stress of major life changes. I've found
that I tend to crave chocolate when I'm stressed, and up
until recently I assumed it was the marijuana-like drug it
contained for which I was jonesing. But guess what?
Recent studies have shown that the concentration of THC in
Chocolate isn't sufficient to explain the craving we have.
In a blind study, three groups were tested. One group
had the straight drug in the concentration found in
chocolate; one had pure chocolate BUT IN CAPSULES, SO THEY
COULDN'T TASTE IT; and the third got to enjoy the chocolate
in its pure form.
the group who could TASTE the chocolate experienced cravings
So there you
have it. Taste, one of our most evocative senses (and
related to smell, to which we often bond memories) can
affect our emotional state. This shouldn't be
surprising. Other polls have shown that men's favorite
comfort foods include spaghetti and popcorn -- in other
words, foods with both a powerful taste and strong emotional
Joyce, Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man:
I asked with my
eyes to ask again yes and then she
asked me would I yes to say yes my flower and first
I put my arms around her yes and she drew me down
I could feel her breasts all perfume yes and her
heart her heart was
going like mad and yes I said yes I will YES
No words at
all in this most beautiful and passionate exchange -- All
Emotion is a
complicated thing. I don't think an emotion has its
roots in any single component within us. Its roots go
deep, and in myriad directions; smell, taste, touch, sound.
Memories, some long forgotten, but the emotional imprint
remains. If you try to trace the interconnections
you'll probably drive yourself crazy. Sometimes it's
just best to observe your feelings and accept them for what
they are -- a fleeting mental state.
Live well. Eat well. Love well. Laugh well. Die well.
February 7th, 2005.
I don't think we
ever attain a perfect "cruising altitude" within this world
(i.e.; a permanent level of comfort), at best we achieve
levels of relative comfort. The happiest sensations of which
we're capable is a reduction of suffering, not a total
cessation. So in this case we're kinda like the chap we come
across who's hitting himself in the head with a hammer. "Why do you do that? " we ask. "Because it feels so
good when I stop!" he replies, and it makes perfect
sense. We're never completely happy, just relatively so: "I hurt less now than I did yesterday -- feels good!"
But in the back of our
mind is the knowledge that even our greatest moments of
happiness are fleeting, and this makes them, in the final
analysis, unsatisfactory. We STILL suffer.
I think about this when I sit on my meditation mat and I
settle into a perfect, comfortable position. It feels great
for a few minutes, but soon, I'm not comfortable anymore and
I want to shift to a new position. I learn from this that
there's no inherently comfortable position on my mat. Or in
reality. After all, the Buddhist term for this world is
Samsara, which literally means "Wandering" or "Moving." The
very word implies restlessness and fidgeting.
So it ain't surprising
that at time we slip, backslide or fall. We take three
steps forward and two back. Sometimes the sheer friction
of all that Wandering wears us out, and when we're tired
we tend to see things in a negative light. Fortunately,
when that happens to me, I whine and complain to my
Significant Other and she pats me on the head and gives
me a cookie, and suddenly my suffering diminishes.
However, I'm a man who asks very little of life.
The news (neither good nor
bad, just news) is that everything is cyclic and that it
changes. We're taught that there's always an undercurrent of
suffering underlying even the happiest of moments. But
(since truths tend to be symmetrical) sometimes I think that
we neglect to notice that the mirror of this is also true:
that even in the darkest of moments there's an undercurrent
of hope, that even the most intense suffering transforms
into lack-of-suffering if we don't force it and wait
patiently, and we can observe the process and understand the
WHY and WHEREFORE of the process. I think this is a
Valentine's Day to everyone. I went off for a romantic
weekend, had a great time the first day, woke up the second
day with a flu-like infection. Arggh and dammit.
So I find
that my weight had STUCK at between 203 and 206. Okay,
so I need to add some cardio / aerobics to my workout.
I plan to do that as soon as I can work it into my schedule.
Actually, according to my doctor, my weight is really good
at this point -- I just want to see if I can break 200
pounds for my own satisfaction. I'm not entirely
convinced that the 200 pound barrier isn't psychological.
I guess I'm trying to prove something to myself.
Today I'm going
to discuss something that I've avoided discussing throughout
this somewhat rambling journey from obesity to normalcy.
I don't really know why I've avoided the topic, especially
since this particular themes is woven into my weight
"problem" like a gold thread through an elaborately woven
oriental tapestry. Today I'm going to talk about what
it's like to be Bipolar.
Disorder used to be called Manic-Depressive Disorder because the subject experiences dramatic shifts between
exhilaration and depression. During the manic phase,
he or she is capable of enormous outpourings of creative
energy. People like Vincent van Gogh and Tchaikovsky
were Bipolar. They contributed great art and beauty to
the world. They were also horribly tormented and
unhappy. The manic cycle is a fun place to be.
You're high as the clouds; full of energy, you feel like a
God. Problem is, it doesn't last. You crash into
the depressive cycle.
If the manic
cycle is spiffy, during the depressive cycle, well -- you
can hardly move or remember your own name. 25 to 30
percent of Bipolars commit suicide, and it's considered one
of the more serious psychiatric disorders. I was
originally misdiagnosed about twelve years ago with chronic
depression, because I complained about the depressive
symptoms. This, by the way, is common. Very few
people complain about the exhilarant high of the manic
cycle, so unless the doctor knows exactly what to look for,
misdiagnosis is easy. So for four years I took
antidepressants which is not a good idea for Bipolars -- it
makes the cycles worse.
diagnosis was corrected, I was treated with a combination of
medicines and psychotherapy. Now, here's where this
monologue relates to my weight reduction project: ALL OF
THE MEDS USED FOR BIPOLAR TREATMENT RESULT IN WEIGHT GAIN.
This is because they increase your appetite. At the
time I began the meds, I was in the process of dropping
pounds, and I was determined that the meds weren't going to
interfere with that. After an initial weight gain of
about ten pounds, I began to drop again. But I have to
tell you -- I feel the appetite pangs most of the time, but
I've learned to ignore them. It's not real hunger;
more like that undifferentiated food craving that most
overweight people can relate to so well.
So what I'm
saying here is that even with the deck stacked against you,
if you are determined and mindful, you can drop weight if
you learn to tell the difference between physical hunger and
My meds, I
found out, do not cure the symptoms. They knock the
top off of the manic phase, and psychotherapy is the
recommended treatment for the depressive symptoms and
learning to cope with the functional disabilities.
Most Bipolars report that they spend as many as 50% of their
weeks with some symptoms. Relapses are common. I
wasn't told this by my doctors. i found out about it
through experience and some reading I did on my own.
More on being
Bipolar next time.
In the core of
my mind there is a stable, calm ME that observes my
behavior. When my Bipolar symptoms manifest, this part
(which I named, perhaps naively, "Clear-Mind")
watches and tries to maintain control. I'm in show
business, by definition an extroverted profession. In
addition, many people seem to feel that it's somehow okay to
be rude and insulting to performers. When the "down"
side of the cycle is in dominance, there is social phobia
and hypersensitivity to criticism. The inner Observer,
says, "These feelings aren't real. These thoughts
are illusions. Do not act upon them."
maintaining this constant inner dialogue, I can function in
my profession during the bad spells. But it isn't
easy. Even though my mind recognizes that the thoughts
aren't real, my body reacts to them as though they were.
I'll have panic reactions, fight-or-flight instincts,
feelings that I can't go out there and do the job.
by the way, have difficulty holding jobs. As many as
64% of us, according to various studies, are chronically
unemployed, work only part time, or work from the home.
We have functional difficulties that prevent us from
maintaining a stable level of performance even when our
symptoms are in remission. The 9-to-5 regular cyclic
thing just doesn't work out for you when your own cycles are
erratic and unpredictable. Same applies to
relationships. Our partners get tired of our
unpredictability, our functional problems, our periods of
moodiness. If someone can get past all that and sticks
with you, they are very special indeed.
diagnosis and subsequent research, I never
knew that this was the reason I couldn't hold a "real" job
-- I was always told that I wasn't paying attention, that I
was too slow, or was "slipping." In the engineering
field (where I worked before my "retirement" into performing
for a living), there isn't much forgiveness for lack of
perfection, and a mental disorder is usually seen as an
excuse, or something that you can make go away by just
pulling yourself together and willing it to go away.
alternative, other than getting on the public dole, was to
become self-employed. My decision to go full-time into
what had been a hobby was forced upon me by circumstances.
lost jobs, two failed marriages. Lots of wreckage left
behind me simply because I didn't know why I was acting the
way I acted. Sometimes I was brilliant -- I have a
near-genius IQ -- and sometimes I could barely recall
my own name or where I lived. I've written almost 30
books, won several awards, been hired as a consultant by
television companies. I was also once fired from a job
CHANGING TIRES, because I couldn't get the hang of it.
Welcome to a dizzying ride on the Bipolar Express.
inside, the calm, stable Clear-Mind watches and says, "I know
that I wouldn't be who I am without all the parts of ME.
I am ME, for better or worse. There are people who
love ME, Bipolar and all. I am not the condition, I am
So I fall
down. I get back up. I try again. I keep
I read that
the Bipolar Disorder tends to worsen and becomes more
resistant to treatment over time. When I was in
college, I worked at the State Mental Hospital on the
Chronic Ward. I used to wonder if trapped inside some
(or perhaps all?) of those incurably insane people was a
sane and aware consciousness screaming at the horror of
their situation, wanting OUT.
stable part of me I call Clear-Mind wonders this, and shudders.E-MAIL
2005. Here's me at
203 pounds by the way, in my now-traditional jeans and black
I think it's
important, when we concentrate on dropping weight and
maintaining it, to eat foods that we like. Sometimes
we think at "food plans" and shudder. We think of
bland, unappealing foods and a constant self-denial.
Nah, man --
there's lots of room for tasty stuff. Even for
Take a salad,
for example. I love a bowl of mixed greens with a few
tablespoons of raisins, grape tomatoes, some walnuts or
sunflower seeds, a lemon squirted on it (maybe some grated
sharp cheddar) and a vinaigrette dressing. That's a
good way to begin a meal.
waffles, oatmeal -- very good for you. Recent studies
have shown that these foods, along with grapes and tomatoes
can help fight diabetes. Just be careful with the
add-ons like syrup and butter. Use them, but
the way, contains literally HUNDREDS of compounds that fight
disease, stave off aging, and help your joints. You
don't like broccoli? Think again, it's your friend.
You can really develop a taste for it when you think about
all it can do for you. Personally, I love the stuff!
should eat foods that you like though. If you find
that all that you like is Super Meat-Lover's Pizza, Premium
Ice Cream, and Chocolate Cheesecake, perhaps you need to
read this blog from the beginning and determine what you're
I eat in a
healthy fashion about 95% of the time. Every now and
again I'll scarf out on the cheese fries though. It
won't kill me, at least not very fast, heh heh ...
Eat what you
like, Your body knows what it needs. Just be
mindful of portions, content and nutrition.
2005. Sometimes I
hate being a man. You know, passing gas, belching, all
that bodily hair, missing things like "signals" -- the
primal ape stuff. I sometimes think that I miss out on
about 75% of the communication that goes on in the world,
even sometimes between me and my Significant Other. Is
connection between humans possible? Can we even
connect with ourselves? Can we read our OWN signals?
Hmmm ... deep.
understood people who cheated on relationships, or who
otherwise tried to maintain more than one relationship at
once. As a friend of mine says, he has trouble
maintaining one. Personally, I think he
overestimates himself -- If a man can maintain 50% - 75% of
a relationship, he's WAY ahead of the curve (ha ha ha ... I
important to enjoying life (okay, with OCCASIONAL bouts of
overindulgence!) whether it be food, sex, spending.
2005. When I was a
child I blew some soap bubbles, and through some miracle I
was able to hold one in my hand for several seconds without
it popping. To me, at four years old, this was magic!
these days. I've gone through a lot of self-analysis,
personal changes, been through the fire, as they say. But
sometimes it seems to me that happiness may be as fragile as
that soap bubble. That everything can collapse with
just a little bit of pressure.
though, tells me I'm wrong. She says that this
particular bubble is strong. I thought about this
glass ball that I have and think that maybe she's right.
one thing about bubbles, when one pops you just blow another
2005. Nobody gets
from HERE to THERE by his or herself. There are people
who help you along the way, sometimes with huge, dramatic
gestures, and sometimes with nothing more than a smile and a
word of encouragement when it's sorely needed.
you though, whether you helped me big or helped me small.
Growing older (since I never managed to grow UP) I had many
teachers. Some of them had definitely made bad job
decisions. It was obvious that they hated kids and
took it out on us.
were those ... oh yeah, there were those teachers who loved
us. A few of them made the difference to me, anyway.
I just want
to take the time to thank you. Anne Wray, my fifth
grade teacher. Joanne Terry, Ted Ross, a couple of
English teachers who really helped me with self-esteem
issues in High School. You guys were great.
teacher who helped me most was a chap who reached out to me
at a time when a very confused young man needed some
guidance. He went on to become more than a teacher,
but a friend. This friendship has lasted to this very
day, through a lot of years and storm-tossed life passages.
Weston, I hope you're doing well. You'll never know
how much you helped me. I love you man.
are very special people. GOOD teachers are especially
so. Let them know how much you appreciate them.
2005. Much earlier
in this huge blog I wrote about the connection between
television and overeating. Television, it's been
proven, generates a near-hypnotic Alpha state where we go
into a deep relaxation and are more receptive and passive.
what? ALL television content is designed to sell
advertising. You know -- commercials.
So let me
describe a typical scenario. You're watching a scary
movie, let's say with vampires or monsters, and you're
scared. Now, intellectually, you know there's no such
thing as a vampire or monster, that it isn't in your closet
or under you're bed, but the suggestion has been planted in
your mind. Like hypnosis.
comes a commercial that says "Buy this." "If you want to
feel good, you must drive this." "You gotta have this."
really think that you snapped out of that suggestive state?
A minute ago, you were believing in vampires -- now you have
a Big Mac dripping grease at you on the TV screen and YOU
GOTTA HAVE IT!
we're an overweight nation. I said it over a year ago:
You want to drop weight? Kill your TV.
2005. Well people,
those of you who have followed this weight reduction
adventure from its inception, a lot has happened to me in
the two years since I began the trip. Now it's time to
begin the book. I've spoken with my publisher and I
can't see any reason not to begin.
that I'll come up with more things to say as I work on
putting this blog into a more presentable book form.
feel good to be a disciplined writer again. I'll
divide my time between this and my book on palmistry for
relationships. That should keep me out of trouble!
everyone, for your e-mails and encouragements!
2005. The other
night I had one of those breakthrough experiences that
really shook me up. As you know, I began this
experiment with the idea that there were unresolved
emotional issues in my life that caused me to gain and
retain weight as a sort of "band-aid" that covered these
wounds. I realized that weight gain wasn't about food --
food was the symptom -- but about the underlying emotions.
So I began
working through unresolved grief, and this was like
following a string of pearls back into my past, farther and
farther. One by one, I faced each loss and mourned for
those I had lost long ago.
missed one, it turned out.
feeling nervous all day, like something bad was going to
happen. Maybe you get these feelings, I don't know.
I finally went to sleep and almost immediately
dreamed/relived a memory from the summer before the ninth
I had a
dog, one of those homely street mutts that just love you
with all their hearts when you give them a home. She
was tan and white, and I named her Pax. She followed
me around like, well ... like a puppy.
got her killed. She died because she wanted to be with
I was up on
the roof of the house with a friend, I can't remember why.
Maybe we went after a Frisbee or football. But somehow
the ladder, which was a heavy wooden kind, slipped and fell
back to the ground.
It fell and
hit Pax, who waited on me. I could hear her back
on the ground for several seconds before she died. I
could tell that it hurt, and I couldn't get to her to
comfort her while she died.
ends there, like so many things in my life I must have
blanked it out at a certain point. But I haven't
thought about that in thirty years until two nights ago when
it came back to me like it just happened.
My mom, who
never really thought of animals as people, said, "We'll get
you another dog." And she did, and she was a good dog
-- but my mom didn't understand that you can't replace a
person in your heart with another person. You can make
room for the newcomer, but there's always a spot where that
other person lives, be it human or dog or cat.
remember, love is a strong and dangerous thing. It can
kill the people you love. Treat it with care and
Oh my poor
little dog. I'm sorry I haven't thought about you in
all these years.
2005. I went over to
the health club that's part of my apartment complex today
and worked out with weights. I haven't done this in
more than a year. Man, have I lost some strength since
I weighed 240 pounds! I think I can build it back up
though. I think a lot of difference is in the "poise;"
I just don't have the counter-leverage and balance I used to
talk about food and diet for a while. When I became a
vegetarian, many people (well-meaning, I'm sure) told me the
many reasons I shouldn't be a vegetarian. Dismissing
illogical arguments such as "It's against Nature,"
Animals were PUT here for us to eat," (put here by
whom?) "Well, they eat each other," (yeah, people
actually say this) or "Well, they would eat YOU!" (undoubtedly true, some would -- and get indigestion
probably), I did take seriously some of the health issues.
to be concerns that a vegetarian diet didn't provide enough
protein. This was disproved several years ago by a
number of sources. Human breast milk is only 5%
protein, and it is estimated that adult humans only need
2-3% protein in their daily diet anyway. It even turns
out that the body will create missing amino acids from
discarded and dead cells in the intestines. We have a
remarkably efficient machine at our command when it comes to
processing food. Man is an omnivorous creature capable
of digesting a wide variety of substances, as any parent of
a toddler will attest.
time I came upon the vegetarian scene, B12 was the big
concern. B12 is most commonly found in meat, diary and
eggs, so if you're on a totally vegan diet, the concern was
that you didn't get enough of this vitamin from an
all-vegetable diet. This can be serious. Some symptoms
of B12 deficiency are:
pernicious anemia, diarrhea,
fatigue, nerve damage, depression, PMS, heart disease,
trembling, low sperm count or poor sperm motility, and a
sore red tongue.
B-12 is important in
proper formation of red
blood cells, manufacture of DNA, formation of fatty
insulation surrounding nerve cells, detoxification of
cyanide from cigarettes and food, cancer prevention,
nervous system health, proper growth, prevention of PMS,
posture and balance, memory and concentration, proper
cell division, sperm production and motility. Eventually
a B12 deficiency manifests as nerve damage and
pernicious anemia, a very serious type of anemia where
red blood cells are improperly formed and white blood
cell count is low.
So this was serious.
I was still doing a little bit of dairy, but not much.
Although my multivitamin has B12, I got a vegetarian-based
B12 supplement just in case I began to show symptoms.
doing some extensive research though, I found that there
is no evidence that vegetarians are more prone to B12
deficiencies than anyone else.
are a small number of people who develop B12 deficiencies,
most of them are not vegans, just like people with
deficiencies in every other type of vitamin and mineral.
Ever heard a dieter say that his or her hair fell out while
dieting? That's borderline scurvy, a Vitamin C deficiency.
Any friends or relatives have white hair, wrinkles, maybe an
aneurysm? That's copper deficiency. Know anyone with
cystic fibrosis (CF)? His or her mother suffered a selenium
deficiency before and/or during their pregnancy. Vitamin
deficiencies are as common as bad health in general; in
fact, they're behind a lot of the bad health that's so
epidemic these days.
B12 has a very low recommended daily intake requirement,
about 2-3 micrograms per day. That's MICROgrams, not
milligrams. In addition to having extremely low intake
requirements, Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver, kidneys,
and muscle tissue, and most B12 (65-75%) is reabsorbed by
the body instead of excreted. A deficiency could take from 5 to 20 years of inadequate intake to develop. So
how could anyone develop pernicious anemia when B12 intake
requirements are so low, and when the liver stores so much
that it takes years for a deficiency to develop?
given for this is that B12 is found primarily in animal
foods. Many people believe that few plant foods provide
good sources of B12. In a way that's true, but only
because the source of B12 is neither plants nor animals;
neither manufacture their own B12. Actually, Bacteria produce the B-12 on which both plants and
animals rely. And in humans, that bacteria doesn't
necessarily come from plants -- the mouth, upper
intestine, and lower intestine all contain bacteria that
produce B12. However, it's unknown if enough B12 to
meet the daily requirement comes from internal sources
of B12. More likely, they produce some, and the rest
comes in with food and water consumed.
Imagine my surprise
when I found out that all of the Vitamin B12 in the world
ultimately comes from bacteria. Neither plants nor
animals can synthesize it. But plants can be contaminated
with B12 when they come in contact with soil bacteria that
produce it. Animal foods are rich in B12 only because
animals eat foods that are contaminated with it or because
bacteria living in an animal's intestines make it.
found a single author who pins the blame for pernicious
anemia on vegetarianism. Most people with B12
deficiencies and/or pernicious anemia are NOT vegans. Very
few vegans have pernicious anemia. B12 deficiencies occur
Something is competing for your B12 (like parasites)
2.) Something is destroying your B12 (like cyanide in
3.) Something is preventing the proper absorption of B12
(like inadequate production of intrinsic factor).
Most recent books I've
found refer to parasites and intrinsic factor (IF)
production problems as the common causes.
So, my quest for the
mysterious role of B12 in a vegetarian diet ends with
"there's nothing to worry about." But, there's always
SOMETHING. The science of nutrition is a volatile one,
and I wonder what the next panic-inducing nutritional scare
2005 This marks the
second year of this blog, and I have a confession to make:
this entire blog has been a hoax. The pictures have
been modified using PhotoShop, and all the stuff I wrote
about -- well, it never happened.
A lot of
people have asked me how I learned the skills I use to make
my living. I grew up in a family of psychic readers; my mom, grandmother
and aunt practiced various forms of divination. I learned to
read cards and palms at a very early age. Also, being raised
by psychic women (my father was absent most of the time and
left for several years at one point) my intuition, empathy
and sensitivity were encouraged rather than suppressed. What
I mean here is that men of my generation were not encouraged
to have emotions. We were supposed to be tough. There was no
room in a male for the so-called "feminine" emotions. But I
learned at a very early age to read emotional states of
people and this was never discouraged.
As I grew older and became more analytical, I wanted to
study the nuts-and-bolts of intuitive phenomena and learn
how it worked. Up to that time I was always encouraged to
"go with it" and not question it. But I wanted to understand
more about how the mind works. So for several years I
studied ESP, voodoo, the siddhis that yogin are supposed to
be able to perform (learned a few, like stopping my pulse
and breathing for a long period of time), hypnosis, all
sorts of strange psychological stuff like brainwashing,
subliminal suggestion, how we read each other on a
subconscious level, etc.
During this time I also refined my first love, Palmistry,
attempting to sift out the truly valid stuff from the
superstition. I've written about these studies in my two
books Runic Palmistry and Karmic
Palmistry (working on a third "ic" book right now, Erotic Palmistry).
I perform my stage shows for a bewildering array of venues:
colleges, companies, private parties. I also do
palmistry for entertainment for corporate affairs and
private parties. I also do private consultations, but am
very selective. Many people simply want fortune-telling (Is
my husband/wife cheating on me, how long will I live, how
many times will I be married, etc) and I won't do these
types of readings. The best way to describe what I do is I
help people untangle their lives.
How I developed these skills is simple : I used them. Most
of us simply don't have room for intuition or empathy in our
"world." I applied intuition to as many aspects of my life
as I could and wasn't afraid to fail. Over time, my
successes outweighed my misses. I don't do any special
exercises or anything, other than meditation. I have no
Now, I want to say that I
am not particularly outstanding at this. There are a lot of
people much better than me -- some of them work for various
governments. I can't do distant Remote Viewing, for example,
I have to be in the same room with someone. It doesn't
matter if I see them or not (skeptics like to explain my act
with "body language"
proximity is essential. Basically, my show consists of
Useless Psychic Tricks, like you see on my video.
Interesting and entertaining, but of no real practical use.
There are lots of books on learning how to do various
things, from aura reading to developing clairvoyance. My
suggestion to anyone getting started in this field of study
is to examine why you want to do it. When I worked the
Psychic Fairs, there were a lot of "control freak" psychics
who wanted to control people's lives and TOLD them what to
do. Sometimes they would use scare tactics, like predict
dire consequences if the client didn't do exactly what they
were told. In my opinion, this is when the reader's ego took
We all have psychic or
intuitive abilities; the degree to which we develop them
depends on the individual.
2005 There are things
we can know and things about which we can only speculate.
Sometimes we drive ourselves crazy wondering about STUFF
we'll never know the answer to. Once a chap asked Lord
Buddha a series of these questions, which were:
Universe have a beginning and end or no beginning or
a soul or not, and what happens to it after death if it
a Creator of everything or not?
Realize that Buddha lived
2600 years ago, and that these are questions that resist answering to this very day.
We may have beliefs about these questions, but we really
don't know -- which is why wars are fought over differences
in belief over these issues. Lord Buddha answered the
just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with
poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives
would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say,
'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether
the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a
merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this
arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of
the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was
tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was
dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his
home village, town, or city... until I know whether the
bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a
crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with
which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew,
hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with
which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I
know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was
wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a
peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the
shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew
of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He
would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know
whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a
common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed,
or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those
things would still remain unknown to him."
Ah, man, how we worry
about things we will never know the answer too, and fret
over events that we can't change.
2005 For the past
several weeks, I've been e-mail bombed by well-meaning folks
who are worried about my soul. These e-mails urge me
to give up my "psychic ways" and repent, embrace God, and go
to heaven. That these e-mails are obviously form
letters doesn't lessen their sincerity one whit, I reckon.
Well today, I
got a CD in the mail --anonymously -- that was a recording
(with very nice piano music in the background) of a woman's
testimony of how she used to go to psychic readers for
advice. Until one night, The Lord appeared to her with
his angels, and told her to STOP IT or burn in H*ll.
folks -- God THREATENED her if she didn't quit going to
psychic readers. She went on to urge all psychic
readers to repent and quit practicing the "Magical Arts."
Well, it cost
about two bucks to send me this CD, and I appreciate the
concern for my well-being in the afterlife. However, a
couple of things gave me pause: One, it was obviously
a script read by an actress, and two, I perform palm
readings for two venues: for entertainment, and for private philosophical counseling. I ain't a
Fortune-Teller or Necromancer; never have been, never will
importantly, I'm not going to change my religion over
being threatened. So please save your time and money
... I'm a lost cause!
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