I haven’t been blogging a ton lately. I’ve really been focusing on Me. Nearly eight weeks ago I began what I called a detox cleanse. I reset. I was dying inside for something new. I was sluggish, in a very bad state of mind. I’m constantly wanting a change, a big change. I’ve been obsessing about our family relocating to a new city and searching for jobs and houses. I’ve just been all over the place emotionally. And I was feeling fat. I was fat. I never really lost all of my “baby weight” and there I was two years after having Jack. It’s hard to look in the mirror every day and think “so I guess this is just what I look like now;” and almost surrender to that. I hated that feeling.
I started that cleanse with determination. I needed something new. I followed the guidelines, I shopped the pre-set grocery lists and ate the meals, falling in love with every bite. I did keep snacking because I had that bad habit as part of my daily ritual. I barely lost a pound in the first week. But then the second week we weren’t supposed to snack. We could eat big meals, until we felt satisfied, but no grazing! I took that rule seriously and stopped. Then, the pounds started coming off. Seeing results only made me feel more determined. I would eat a large meal yes. And then in between for the longest time my brain would say “feed me” but I wasn’t actually hungry. It took many many weeks to re-train my brain to not want to snack. But it really worked! Now, I eat three meals a day, and that is it. Occasionally if one of the meals is small, I’ll make myself a smoothie to tie myself over (usually almond milk, banana, peanut butter, flax seeds and ice cubes — so yummy, it’s like a milkshake.) So now, almost eight weeks in, I’ve lost nine pounds which is thrilling! I feel fantastic. I feel happy inside! I have more energy and I’m sleeping better at night. I’ve retrained myself to eat less and to eat earlier (I used to eat at 10pm!!!). I’d love to lose more weight which I think would be better attained through more exercise. I’ve just never worshiped running or going to the gym. I never found the “zone” that other people talk about. I do attend yoga classes in a studio near my house or use the website YogaGlo when I can’t get away. My goal is to develop a better routine and with exercise, I’m quite certain I’ll be on top of the world. One thing at a time though.
The diet I’m loosely following is the Paleo diet. Don’t worry, I am not going to preach the Paleo mindset, because I haven’t really read about the whole hunters and gathers thing. Essentially I don’t eat dairy, gluten or sugar. The only oils I consume are Olive, flaxseed, avocado, and coconut. I do still eat the occasional potato and corn however, neither of which are allowed on Paleo. At this stage, I can’t argue the theories for or against it. All I can say is, I feel really good. I am happy, I have energy and I am nine pounds lighter!
Eating anywhere outside the house is hard at first. There is sugar in everything. There is soy in everything. There is canola oil, soybean oil, and corn oil in everything! These are cheap cheap cheap ingredients that are fillers. Even my beloved Trader Joe’s has tons of those ingredients in most of their packaged food. The hardest part of this diet is that you will be in the kitchen a lot more. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but I generally didn’t feel like I had the time to cook. Well, I’ve had to make cooking a priority because I’m so invested in this lifestyle change. For me, the only way to be successful is to have a menu planned in advance. You have to have food on hand. I’ve re-used my Reinvent-21 recipes tons of times. I also bought the Winning at the Kitchen cookbook by the same nutritionist I did the initial cleanse from. I still love Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good cookbook. And now I scour Paleo blogs for recipe ideas. Nom Nom Paleo and Paleo Grubs are my new favorites.
Going forward, I feel like I’ve come so far that I imagine introducing any of those items back in to my life. I do still crave sweets. But there are a ton of crazy-delicious desserts you can make with coconut or almond flour and honey or maple syrup. As a double chocolate-chocoholic, believe me, I was skeptical at first too. Have you seen my lemon blueberry cake with icing on top? Another good one is this Paleo brownie recipe. Gahh, they’re so good I’ve made ’em twice! The other day I was craving some thick and creamy Greek yogurt, so I allowed myself to have a small bowl. Other than that, I don’t want to eat slices of cheese or sandwich bread. Those habits have gone away. And the alternative is clean, nutrient rich, whole foods that fill me up, give me energy and a happy outlook on life!
Let’s talk about food: I love it. I love to eat lots of it too. And wine, oh man, tons of it. Red to be exact. And sweets? Yeah, they’re just about the best thing in the world, well second to wine. And all of those things make me happy in the moment and then make me feel pretty bad after consumption. Food is a popular topic and I’ve certainly jumped on the health bandwagon when it’s convenient for me. I buy organic when I can and try to eat grass fed and/or free roaming meats. And frankly our food industry does terrify me. I do believe the articles that tell us how terrible it is to eat packaged food with high-fructose corn syrup, transfat, and other cheap oils like soy and corn are for our health. That additives like sodium benzoate, monosodium glutamate, and the various other items that you can’t pronounce on food labels are either cancer causers, cause hyper-activity in children or just add to obesity (which leads to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in America). Yeah good times. I do believe all of that. But sometimes I slip (never on transfat though!), especially in this doozy of a winter when I cruise the frozen aisle in Trader Joe’s and pick up their delicious high in sodium package meals and down them entirely.
I’m only confessing all of this because this blog is an outlet for me. If I say it publicly I’ll be more likely to keep it up. Here goes: I’m going to embark on a 21 day cleanse. I’ve been following nutritionist Michelle Pfennighaus for awhile and love her positive nature, her easy tips about healthful eating, and tricks to help keep her clients feeling full and even put their sweet tooth in check. Michelle is launching what she calls the “Reinvent 21” — a guided cleanse where she supplies the grocery list and meal plan for you to follow day-by-day. The cleanse consists of real foods (no juices or drinking lemon water with cayenne pepper!), but you will cut out sugar, white flour, caffeine, and dairy. I’ve been interested in cutting out those items for awhile, but haven’t had the willpower to do it myself. My thought is that by enrolling in a guided cleanse, I’ll be on the hook for following through (plus I already paypal’ed her the money). Michelle claims that by following the rules of her “Reinvent” program, we will have more energy, better digestion, and the skills to eat more consciously going forward. Plus secretly I’d love to shave off 5lbs. So there it is.
The program starts March 9th — the first day of Day Light Savings. While I secretly wish it was starting tomorrow, I think the time change and new diet will help me renew my mind and body through a more healthful way of living. Until then, well um, cheers!
Photo found here.