DAY SEVENTEEN


cooking

Normally on St. Patrick’s Day, I am eating corned beef and cabbage. There has hardly been a year that I can remember when I didn’t enjoy that holiday meal. Throw in some Irish soda bread and I am a happy camper. This year, I didn’t even realize it was St. Patrick’s Day until I was in the car listening to the radio later in the day and they were talking about the crowds in New York City at the parade. It simply slipped off my radar. And, yes, this was the year without my corned beef. I didn’t even miss it.

What I consumed:

  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries, bananas and pineapple
  • Broiled salmon with mustard, lemon, olive oil, basil
  • Quinoa with roasted butternut squash and green onion
  • Sliced Orange
  • 19 gigantic supplement capsules
  • 64 oz water

This is the second time this week that my lunch was so filling that I didn’t have an appetite for dinner. I did cook up some tuna steaks to save for tomorrow. I am learning to love lemon – especially with fish!

How I felt:

I doubled up on the ambien again last night to help me sleep and it worked like a charm. I am going to back it down to one after last night because I woke up really groggy which slowed me down a bit in the morning. My hope is that having a few nights of solid sleep will get me back into a better pattern.  We’ll see. Otherwise, I feel great! I’m like the energizer bunny and seem to be able to get more done in a day than I used to be able to do in a week, which is very welcomed.

Physical Activity:

I had the best workout I have had in a very long time this morning. My friend joined me at the gym and he and I did a really fun core routine that I made up for us. I spent 57 minutes on the elliptical (broken into two segments – 40 minutes before core workout and 17 minutes afterwards). We then did a routine lasting one minute for each cycle that included: paired crunches passing an 8.5 lb. medicine ball including twists for the obliques, squats with 5 lb. weights, 30 second planks and 30 seconds of push-ups. We did that circuit twice (mostly because my friend hasn’t been to the gym in a while and he needed to stop – I would have done two more sets). Then I did a machines focusing on my shoulders and triceps. And then back to elliptical. I felt amazing afterwards and truly could have stayed at the gym for another 2 hours. I love paired workouts like that but I don’t often have a buddy at the gym with me so I usually have to do them myself.  I am now committed to creating a good circuit workout for myself! I will note, however, that by 8pm tonight, my body was really hurting, which actually felt great.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t really cook. I have been fortunate enough to be married to a man who loves to cook and does it well. Before my kids were born and I was juggling motherhood with my commute into Manhattan, I did a bit more of the cooking in our house but never fancied myself a good or adventurous cook. My repertoire was relatively limited to a few dishes and, now and again, I would experiment with recipes I would find.  Generally my big cooking was relegated to holidays and celebrations when I found myself motivated to tackle different dishes. When I first met my husband, in the very early days of us dating, I did make him a romantic dinner in my apartment and pulled out all the stops. He claims to have enjoyed it but it was the beginning of the relationship, the times when we aren’t always as truthful because we have ulterior motives. I don’t hate cooking but, over the years, I have found it more burdensome and time consuming, and my lack of ingenuity when it comes to pulling meals together has kept me away from the kitchen for a long time. On the other hand, I do love to bake. Here again, I have my staples that I make again and again but I love to experiment with baking and feel a bit more confident about my abilities because there are far fewer complexities (in my opinion, anyway) to baking than with cooking, in general. My best friend always teases me because I tend to follow baking recipes a bit loosely, not perfectly measuring everything out. I make it work though.

As I prepare myself for life after the cleanse, I have been trying to gear myself up for some cooking. Because I know some of what I might be eating will be strictly for me and different than what the rest of the family will be eating, I need to start being able to prepare my own dishes.  I’ve done a bit of cooking during the cleanse, creating a yummy lentil soup, trying out some sauces and dressings and getting more adept at cooking fish – something that has always eluded me. Today I spent some time on Pinterest looking for healthy recipes using ingredients that will be part of my post-cleanse life. I’m actually excited about the idea of cooking and having more control over what goes into my body. As the landscape expands and more foods are available to me, I am looking forward to trying out some new foods that never interested me before. As much as I love quinoa, for instance, I have never ventured beyond substituting it for rice. Today I found recipes for muffins and pancakes and oatmeal-like dishes – ways in which I never would have dreamed using it. It may sound silly and naive but I simply never thought that much about food before.  I just ate the things I knew tasted good and kept my diet pretty simple – albeit not entirely healthy.

I hoped at the beginning that 21 days would help to form new habits for me and, no doubt, it has. I still have four days left but I can already see such remarkable differences. I would have never believed it if you told me that I would feel this way in such a short time but now I am a believer!

DAY THREE


mandala sand art

I’ve made it through two full days and almost through the third and I think I have begun to accept that there is no real food coming my way anytime soon. I was at the gym today and The Food Network was on one of the TVs and, as I watched a chef prepare a delicious-looking sauteed chicken dish, I realized that I would not enjoy the taste of such yumminess for quite some time. And, I think I am ok with that.

What I consumed:

  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries and blueberries
  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries and bananas
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Asparagus with olive oil and sea salt
  • Quinoa with green pepper, mushroom and onions
  • 1 head of steamed cauliflower with sea salt and pepper
  • 30 gigantic supplement capsules
  • 36 oz water

How I felt:

Today I felt a little better. The intense headache that I woke up with this morning had to be dealt with so I broke my rules on the caffeine and dosed myself with 3 Excedrin.  That eased the pain and I felt better for the rest of the day.  My energy level is not as high as I would like it to be but I think it is going to start improving. I read that the first few days you might feel flu-like symptoms because of the detox. I definitely felt the aches and pains on day one and a bit more on day two. Today was much better. I was out at meetings most of the day so I was also probably a bit distracted.

I began to really feel the disconnect from Facebook today. For the first time, I stopped looking for the app on my phone and didn’t feel all that disconnected. In fact, I had a few friends text me because they knew I was taking a sabbatical from Facebook, which helped to alleviate any sense of isolation I might have been feeling. I’ve definitely surprised myself with my discipline of not even checking the site. I have truly gone cold turkey.

Physical Activity:

56 minutes on the elliptical at the gym.  I wanted to add some weights and crunches but didn’t feel completely up to it.  Maybe tomorrow.

While yesterday’s word in my head was boundaries, today’s was focus.  I’ve read that one of the side benefits from this cleanse is the ability to better focus and I thought a lot about that today. This morning I was in a meeting and one of the attendees was talking about being present and how we spend so much time thinking about the past or planning for the future. I’ve shared before about my challenges with being present. Because my mind is always at work and I am continually processing everything that is going on around me, I tend to spend a lot of mental energy on reflection – looking backward – rather than simply shutting things down and focusing in on what is happening to me in the moment. It feels like I am in a constant state of time travel, zipping back and forth between different periods of my life, rarely settling into the present and never quite sure when I am going to be lured away or for how long I will be gone.

Today, I received several different messages about being present and had the presence of mind to pay attention. The first was at the meeting and the next came while I was at the gym. On the elliptical I was watching one of the episodes from the latest season of House of Cards in which a group of Tibetan Monks was at the White House working on a Mandala sand painting. The sand painting is one of the most unique and exquisite artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism. The monks spend weeks painstakingly tapping individual grains of sand into an etched design on a platform. The resulting image is breathtaking. All I could think as I watched the scenes with the monks is how critical their meditation practices must be to enable the level of focus required to complete these works of art. Watching them, even on a fictional show, was mesmerizing and transformative. I was captivated by the beauty of the work and the process of completing it.

I felt a little liberated from myself as I began to focus on focusing. I typically feel clouded by all the noise in my head and all of the elements of my life that are constantly in flux. Being able to just slow down and, in this case, just watch the artwork developing, was relaxing and calming. I am no stranger to meditation or mindfulness and am fully equipped to focus in on my own breathing to soothe myself. I just don’t do it all that often. Of course, being on the elliptical helped because of all the energy being directed towards the exercise. It was a peaceful hour for me, free of the typical distractions of email, texts, phone calls, kids, and my own self.

So, today I feel peaceful and serene and focused. And that makes this whole process so much easier.

WEIGHTY MATTERS


Yesterday morning I had breakfast with a new friend who specializes in coaching people about their relationship with food.  We met recently and we both knew implicitly that we needed to get to know each other better.  I believe in following the universe on these things because people come into your life for very specific reasons.  With Randy, while she may have had her own reasons for wanting to get to know me better, I know that she arrived in my life at exactly the right time.

As I have chronicled here, I have been on a journey of getting healthier and it has not been the easiest road for me to travel.  It has been a lifelong adventure for me and, for the past year, it seemed to have kicked in to high gear rather unexpectedly.  As i shared in an earlier post, I began my journey on a dare when I agreed to take a kickboxing class back in February 2011.  This triggered something in me and my life began to change in so many ways.  The net result is that I have lost nearly 50 lbs, have become leaner and more muscular and have a new level of self-confidence and discipline that never existed before.

But, here’s the strange thing about losing a lot of weight.  After a while, you forget that you were fat to begin with.  That is not to say that I have shed all my extra weight and am now tall and slender as I dream of being.  Instead, it is about perspective.  Even though I have discarded clothing that were 3-4 sizes larger than the ones I am currently wearing, I do not see myself much differently than I did when I was 50 lbs heavier.  It is quite a self-defeating position to be in because, rather than celebrating my success, I still critique myself with my old lens.  I look in the mirror and have to squint when looking at myself to be certain that I can see the differences.  I know there are changes but I simply do not have the perspective to see it.  I look at my body every single day.

When I began my journey in 2011, I was so deeply out of control with my eating and my physical health that I was in one of those places in life where you just do not know how to get started.  I felt like my body was a big pile of dirty laundry laying haphazardly on the floor and I just could not begin to sort through the colors and whites to begin the laundering process.  Ultimately, I did not put any pressure on myself and was as surprised as anyone that this new pastime actually made the difference for me.  It sort of makes sense to me now because of the outlet it provides for me to both release aggression and be competitive without actually having to compete against anyone other than myself.

Today, as I live in my life, I am struggling.  I am challenged to appreciate and celebrate what I have accomplished and, instead, am lamenting that I have not accomplished more.  I never set a goal for myself but, once the transformation began, I became very ambitious about what I could accomplish.  I work out 7-8 times a week, taking kickboxing and karate classes and now running in the mornings.  I try to eat healthy but, in reality, I struggle with that.  I gave up sugar and carbs for 2 months in order to gain some control over my eating and I fear that I placed too much focus on the food and actually sabotaged myself.  I worry every day that I will not be able to sustain this and the success I have had will be temporary, quickly replaced with the return to the “old” me.

During my breakfast with Randy yesterday, I shared a lot of these feelings and concerns and explained how this part of my journey fits into the larger parts of my life.  I have been transforming myself internally and externally.  I have freed myself from toxicity in many parts of my life and consciously chosen to be intentional about how I work, who I spend time with and where I put my energies (such as investing time in myself vis a vis exercise).  I also explained how my fears and anxieties about not being in control of my body is torturing me at this moment in time.  And, with the ease of someone who really knows what they are talking about it, she attempted to release me from my paralyzing thoughts.  She suggested that I am where I am supposed to be.  She indicated that, perhaps I simply need to level off a bit and get used to myself at this new stage rather than be so aggressively looking for the next goal.  I need to accept myself now – exactly where I am today.  Sounds pretty simple, huh?  It was a pretty profound perspective to me.  And I know she is right.

Last weekend, I was at Target during my normal weekly shopping adventure and I decided to buy some ice cream for dessert for the family.  I had not had ice cream in nearly two months and was really in the mood.  “Why not?,” I thought.  “I have to be able to live a life where I can eat ice cream now and again.”  So I bought two pints to share amongst the family and had no second thoughts about it.  Later that evening, my older son and I were preparing to watch a movie and were scooping out our ice cream to snack on.  I pulled out the two pints and began scooping the ice cream into my bowl.  I was scooping and scooping and my son said, “Look, old mommy’s back!”  That stopped me in my tracks.  No it was not old mommy.  It was new mommy who felt liberated enough to eat as much ice cream as she wanted to without fear that there would be no way to stop.  As much as I feared that I would revert to old behaviors and begin to gain the weight back, I knew in that moment that I actually had a new level of control.  Yes, I still binge on candy every now and again but don’t a lot of people do that?  I occasionally overeat when out to dinner or have a little too much dessert.  Isn’t that common even for people who are not struggling with their weight?  

So, when Randy suggested that it was time for me to simply settle in to where I am at this moment, I realized that I was already beginning to do that.  But I was doing it in a way that was unfamiliar and a wee bit scary.  I have much more control over food and what goes in my body and I maintain a very healthy and active lifestyle – something that was remarkably absent from my life a year ago.

My journey continues and I have so much work to do both internally and externally.  Yet, I am trying very hard to celebrate and appreciate me.  I have so many wonderful people in my life who continually remind me of this and fail to get frustrated with me – even when I share my innermost demons.  They understand the challenges I face – perhaps even more than I do.  And, I am grateful that I have a new friend in my life who can give me an additional perspective to help me turn the corner to the next road of my travels.