Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Note to self: Living in the primal brain

I suppose that the title of this blog is somewhat redundant, because isn’t that what a blog is, by definition?

I blogged about how bad I felt after a day of high-fat/low-water content food. I literally felt like crap. It’s amazing what you can do to yourself even when the only thing in your carry on bag is either made out of flax or almond. It’s scary to think of what I might have gotten up to if I’d actually had junk food in there! Or had helped myself even once to the stadium box of glutenous, sugar filled, processed crap that the airlines attendants – good intentions aside – were peddling (or rather, pushing).

But I digress.

My point is that this morning, I woke up feeling amazing!

Yesterday, I reverted back to my old eating and exercise habits – well, actually with a little dose of circumspection thrown in for good measure.

So, even though there may be a couple of extra pounds for a while, it was good to know that I can get back to go – at least in terms of how I feel – with just a little direction, dedication, and – of course – resources. Because goodness knows I like to tell myself that binge wouldn’t have happened if I’d had access to veggies!

(And I’m going to keep telling myself that, for the time being, but there will be more to come on this topic in future posts!)

While most people might read this and think, “Duh!”, I realized that when I fall off the wagon – so to speak – I automatically assume that I’m off the wagon forever. That if I had one bad food day – that’s it! I’ll never be able to eat healthy food again. If I eat cooked food, I’ll never want anything raw again. If I gain 1 pound, I’ll never lose it again! Not only will I never lose it again – 100 of it’s closest friends are going to move back in as well!

I’m sure that this comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever spent anytime around me after a bad food day – it certainly won’t to my sister! – but it was quite the epiphany to me.

I went to a marketing seminar this weekend and the presenter said that when people are in pain, they lose their ability to think rationally in terms of consequences or cause and effect. That they revert immediately to their “primal brain” – the one that is concerned only with survival. They essentially lose the ability to think, which is why some of the best marketing strikes at emotion, as opposed to cognition.

So, I realize – after close to 24 years – that when it comes to me and my weight issues, I go immediately to the primal brain.

So I learned what happens.

And I also learned why it happens.

Unfortunately, I missed the how – that is, how the heck do I stop going there every single time?!

Well, for now I guess it’s enough to know – at least in my human brain – that it does happen and that I can pull myself out the tail spin at any time.

As I work on figuring out the how – including what I can do to put these strategies into place right now, I’ll be sure to share. Just on the off chance anyone else reverts as quickly as I do. And, as always, any suggestions that you might have will be welcomed with open arms!

Travel Fail

I just recently returned from a very badly planned out trip.

Don’t get me wrong, the trip was great. But the plan could definitely have used some work!

On the one hand, the plan was pretty good in that we packed a ton of raw seed bread, flax crackers, nut butters, and Clearvyte-CR so that we would have lots of good raw food and stay reasonably detoxed, but it was not so great in that we had planned to go to the grocery store upon arrival and buy lots of fresh veggies to supplement all of that fat-heavy – albeit it was the “healthy” fat – food!

Note that I used the word PLANNED.

We arrived late, burned out. We decided to skip the grocery store and scrounge. We did have some veggies – like some sugar snap peas and some baby carrots – but we were definitely short. The conference started the next morning at 8:30 and went long both nights – hence no store.

To make matters worse, my plane left early on Monday and in my hurry to get to the hotel, I left the $7.00 bunch of broccoli that I had finally broke down and bought from the hotel in the fridge – doh! I hate that.

Ostensibly, I was only 247 calories over my daily allotment of calories on Sunday and 500 on Monday, which, if you’re as calorie-crazed, er, conscious as I am, you’ll know that that’s only about 1/5 of a pound worth of extra energy.

However, I felt (last night) and still do (after 5 hours of sleep, an hour of exercise, and 5 hours of work), like complete and utter crap. I feel like there’s a big ball of lard deep inside my gut. I also feel completely clogged up and slightly nauseous.

My mother tried to reassure me that I’d get used to it; heck, that’s the last thing I want!

Chances are I’m feeling particularly bad because of how cleanly we have been eating this month – but it’s not necessarily something that I want to test.

Last night, on my way home from the airport, I stopped at a local grocery store and bought two bags of produce! It was beautiful, glorious, and green. It looked clean. It felt clean. It smelled clean. In fact, it’s not too far of a reach to say that I felt like I was literally being bathed in chlorophyll.

Even though I am still pretty full (it really is surprisingly gross how polluted I feel) I did manage to have a nice raw butternut squash soup, some zucchini, and some turnip for lunch.

Despite it’s still overfull state, my body literally sang~

Tonight, I think I’ll have some Swiss chard.

You probably think I’m kidding, but, seriously, I can’t wait.

And next time, no matter how late I get to where I am going, I will go to the grocery store – come hell or high water.

post script: even though it was a colossal fail on the fresh veggie front, I am proud to report that no sugar crossed these lips! I have five more days on the sugar detox cleanse and so far, so good. So, perhaps I should change the title of the post, because after all it could have been a whole lot worse!

Now that’s a headline!

Fatty Foods May Cause Cocaine-Like Addiction.

With a lead in like that, do we really even need to read it?

The Verdict’s In

I stepped on the scale yesterday wrapping up a ten day limeade cleanse and the first five days of the subsequent 10 Day Biotics Cleanse.

I sort of knew something had changed when I tried on a size four dress in the juniors department at Kohl’s the other day and it actually fit!

Regardless, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I actually got on the scale. And got off of it. And then got right back on it.

I swear, if that scale had been in my bathroom instead of in the faculty locker room at the gym, I probably would have fallen asleep there standing upright!

For the first time in my adult life, I don’t need to lose any weight! In fact, in a completely unanticipated turn of events, I am actually substantially below my stated goal weight!

Go figure. I guess all of those old boyfriends who used to tell me that I was full of crap were actually onto something!

Anyway, goals or no, I’m curious as to what the next 15 days will bring!

Fifteen days – that is – that include 5 more days of prescribed deep liver cleansing, followed by 11 additional days of sugar detox!

Then let the maintenance begin….

Just in case you were beginning to wonder, the fun never seems to end here at Camp Living Lively!

Breaking Fast (and heading into the 21-day Sugar Detox)

Well, the limeade fast is officially over. I got up this morning, did some yoga, had some herbal tea, waited for Michael J to get up, then made the Biotics NutriClear and Rice Protein Shake. I blended in a couple of extra ice cubes to make sure it was chilled, then served it in goblets.

It was okay. But more to the point, it wasn’t limeade! Laugh!

I personally think it’s nothing a little cinnamon and vanilla bean wouldn’t fix (though MJ wants his cacao)! We decided to try it straight the first time and see how long we could last before we start the modifications. Though it’s breaking protocol, we figure anything that doesn’t contain sugar is fair game!

I realized how weak I’ve gotten doing yoga this morning. It was tough and it used to be something I could breeze through. I think I may add a couple of different exercise routines in during the day, keeping them short and sweet until I get my strength back.

I tell you sitting down to break-fast will never have the same meaning again!

Day Ten of Ten

We made it! The limeade fast is done – or will be in a few minutes, after we go to bed.

Today, I started cooking again. I made a balancing broth from Penni Shelton’s book, Raw Food Cleanse: Restore Health and Lose Weight by Eating Delicious , All-Natural Foods – Instead of Starving Yourself and some flax crackers from Raw Dawg Rory’s excellent e-book Getting Raw with Raw Dawg Rory. I also made some tabouli (albeit with red quinoa instead of bulgur) for Michael J, in case he’s up to adding that back in for dinner.

It’s funny the things that almost undo you.

In my case, it was the soggy sweet potato that I strained out of the broth and the strip of seeds that I’d removed from the cucumber.

I think the smell of food – not to mention the weight of it in my hands after 10 days – made me weak. But I prevailed. I sipped on and stayed strong.

But everything (and everyone has their limits), so instead of sitting here and smelling the scents of the crackers which are dehydrating in the basement, I am off for my last cup of Senna tea and then to bed.

Though I typically hate Day Light Savings Time, I am grateful that my last day of the cleanse was for all intents and purposes one hour shorter than the first nine.

Good night.

Stay tuned for more cleansing adventures as Michael J and I turn our attention to the 21 Day Sugar Detox!

Quote of the Day: Andrea Albright

“When you feel inspiration towards your body, or when you think a positive thought… stop & REWARD yourself. Spend time in that space- the TRUE you shining through. When you are always focused on what you DON’T want, you only create more of it. Focus on what you DO want & AMPLIFY those feelings & thoughts when you have them. This is a REWARD for your body, heart, mind, & whole Self… a gift from your spirit.” Andrea Albright, Yogi, author, and founder of Amazing Body Now.

Nine down, one more to go!

Yes, I’m still alive after 8 days of limeade cleansing!

The most incongruous part of this whole process has, ironically, not been the complete absence of food, but my workout shoes that have laid untouched next to the Nordic Track. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve gone 8 – 9 days without exercise.

Now granted, I have done some light yoga (barefoot) and walked from my car to the office (in my regular shoes), but there’s been no sustained activity.

I figure there will be plenty time for that next week, however, as I attempt to restart my metabolism, which has surely slowed during this process.

The next eleven days will be interesting, because, believe it or not, we’re not done!

Tomorrow – while I’m still on the green juice – will involve food prep. Again, it was a shock to open the dishwasher for the first time in a week and see, lo and behold, dishes! Not to mention the forgotten feel of a fork in my hand. I remember laughing with Penni Shelton, the founder of Raw Food Rehab said, when starting her juice feast, “Sometimes it’s a good idea to just step away from the fork for a while.” I think she might be on to something.

Then, from Monday March 15 to Wednesday March 24, we’re on a ten day deep liver cleanse, which introduces some food, but not a lot.

Breakfast – 2 scoops of NutriClear and 1 scoop of rice protein powder and a package of detox supplements.

Lunch – a clean meal (meaning nothing with anything that even remotely looks like sugar) and another pack of supplements.

Snack – 2 scoops of Nutriclear and 1 scoop of rice protein powder.

Dinner – a clean meal (again, no sugar) and yet another pack of supplements.

Personally, I think this is going to be more challenging than the limeade fast, because at least with the limeade you could get a sugar hit every 10 minutes – whether you needed it or not.

However, I am thrilled to be back in the kitchen tomorrow. First up: Ani Phyo’s Black Sesame Sunflower Bread!

Then, between March 25 – April 3, even though we will be on regular meals (that is, no more Nutriclear and Rice Protein Powder shakes for breakfast and snack) we’ll still be sugar free.

Let me tell you, the term spring cleaning has taken on a whole new meaning at Camp Living Lively!

Six down, four to go

I really can’t believe how quickly time flies when you’re not eating!

Maybe it’s because I’m getting more sleep, which is a good thing.

Maybe it’s because I’m not spending all of my time planning, preparing, consuming, and cleaning up after my next meal!

Whatever it is, it’s interesting. Time has become as fluid as my meal supplements. And it’s not because I’m light headed either! 😉

Today, I actually broke down and bought a German engineered tongue brush/scraper, because the fuzzy tongue thing had just gotten the better of me.

I also bought a dry skin brush.

Dry skin brushing is probably old hat to most people, but it was new to me. And boy was it exhilarating – especially after a long massage where the masseuse actually “cupped” my feet and slathered my abdomen in caster oil in an attempt to get the lymph to move more freely through my body!

Off to get at least eight hours of sleep.

Stay tuned for day seven!

P.S. I’m actually more concerned about adding the food back in, as Michael J and I are heading into 21 days of no sugar – no fruit, no chocolate, no nothing. But I guess there will be food, for which I I am pretty darned sure that by that point I will be grateful!

Four Down, Six to Go

The fast is going by quickly – I guess that’s why they call it a fast!

No real symptoms to speak of.

Though things are obviously still being cleansed (stuff that I don’t even care to know how long has been in my body given that I haven’t eaten in four days!) I’ve decided to take a break from the optional portion of the fast – that is, the internal salt water bath.

The first couple of days it was fine, but today it was the gift that kept on giving. Given that I have classes tomorrow, it’s probably not a good idea to be dashing to the loo every five minutes!

And speaking of classes, before I started this regimen, I had promised mine that I would make them some raw fudge/cookies on the last day of classes. The bad news meant that in order to keep my promise, I was actually cooking tonight. The good news is that I am so sugared out from the local grade B maple syrup in the limeade that the dough wasn’t even remotely appealing. All of the cookies made it into the freezer unmolested and all of the remaining nuts and dough remnants went right down the sink.

Anyway, time for a cuppa (sans the biscuits) and off to bed!


Pushing my boundaries (shopping for spring clothes)

Shopping for clothes in stores is always an adventure.

For the last two days, I’ve been scouring the Kohl’s sales racks. For those of you who don’t know about Kohl’s – it’s a mid tier department store (somewhere between Macy’s and Target). They are known for their sales. At the “end” of every season, they slash their inventory by anywhere from 60 to 80%

Luckily for those who live up north, spring doesn’t really arrive until about a week before summer. That means that you can wear the heavily discounted stuff for weeks – if not months – before you need to break out the linen and t-shirts!

Regardless, while I was there a couple of interesting things happened.

One, I found myself shopping at the low end of the clothing racks. It wasn’t that long ago that I would start at the 12s or 10s or the innocuous Ms. This time I found myself seeking out the 6s, the occasional 4s and the Ss. (Unfortunately I am not naive enough to think that Kohl’s and other mid-level department stores all across America haven’t gone to what one might call “vanity sizing,” but it was still fun!)

Two, I actually put things back that made me look “too big.” This is noteworthy, not because I’m significantly smaller than I’ve been for the last year or so, but rather because I’ve finally come to terms with what I look like in a mirror. And, perhaps even more importantly, I’m no longer trying to hide it.

There was a time that I would have cringed if anything that even remotely looked like a curve was visible. This time, not so much. Does this mean that I don’t have any love handles or (perish the thought of even using this word) muffin tops? No, unfortunately, they’re there; that’s life.

When I did a little fashion show for Michael J, he congratulated me for trying more form fitting clothes.

I thanked him for the compliment and asked him to promise me one thing – that is, to tell me if I go too far, as its easy to get seduced by the pull of smaller and smaller sizes.

“How far is too far?” he asked.

Good question.

After a moment’s consideration, my personal guidelines for if I’ve taken it too far: I look bad or it looks like I’m trying to dress younger than I am.

He agreed. And I trust him to tell me truth.

If you have a Kohl’s near you (or any other store with decent clothes and ridiculously slashed prices) go spend a couple of hours pawing through the sales racks. You never know what you might find. Who knows, you might – if you’re lucky and you’re willing to take some chances – find a completely new you.

In fact, I’ve found some of my favorite pieces of clothing by trying on what other people have left in the dressing rooms. The benefit of trying on other people’s left behinds is that unless that person has your exact same taste, they’re choices are almost certain to be outside of your comfort zone and something that if you’d seen it on the rack you wouldn’t have given it a second glance – let alone tried it on.

As a wise man once said, all progress comes when you’re outside of your comfort zone. So step out of yours and have some fun. After all, it’s not like you have to actually buy it!

Two down, eight to go

Second day of the limeade fast.

More energy? Check.

Fuzzy tongue? Check.

Headache? Nope.

Hungry? Surprisingly, not at all.


If someone had told me three years ago – heck, three weeks ago – what I would be able to go two days without food and not really even miss it, I would have laughed in their face.

Stay tuned.

The importance of planning ahead

I am going to be traveling again and the first thing I thought: what am I going to eat?

Instead of stressing about it too much, I just asked for what I need. It worked pretty well last time, so I thought I might try it again.

First things first, I asked the very helpful person who has been coordinating my upcoming visit if she could take me a to a grocery store immediately upon landing. This is imperative, as I typically travel with a blender – a travel blender at that – and love making green smoothies in my hotel rooms. I find that if I start the day off normally – well, as normally as anyone who drinks spinach, broccoli, red pepper, carrots, cayenne pepper and pear for breakfast can – then the rest of the day will go that much smoother. Of course she said yes.

Second, even though I am the keynote speaker at a banquet (hence the invitation to travel), I asked that a special meal be prepared: a large plate of uncooked vegetables or a large salad. No problem, she assured me. Now, who knows what the quality of the veggies will be, but that’s why it’s important to make sure I have snacks and high quality produce in my room for after the event.

Third, there are people who want to take me out to dinner when I get there – presumably after the trip to the grocery store and before the main event (which is the next day). When asked if I had any preferences, I simply said that i was currently on a raw vegan diet and that anywhere where I could get a big salad and perhaps an avocado – or at least someplace that wouldn’t object if I brought my own – then I was golden.

This is what she sent back, saying that it wasn’t raw, but she was sure they would accommodate.

Looking at the menu – particularly the appetizers and the salads – I think I may be the one to accommodate.

Given that the definition of High Raw is 80% raw or more, I think I’ll be okay. Meanwhile, that Cauliflower Miso is calling my name….

The moral of this story: I used to be really concerned about asking for what I need. I used to think that I was being bothersome or troublesome. What I’ve found as I have practiced this – and not been so apologetic about it – is that people are happy to help. But it helps if you’ve done your research. If you’re going to go visit someplace new, find out what the options are ahead of time. I lucked out, because my colleague happened to know about The Vegiterranean.

And for those of you who are traveling to a new place, without the benefit of helpful hosts, the internet is your friend. It’s amazing what you can find – and where you can find it – in just a few minutes on-line.

One down, nine to go

Michael and I just finished the first day of a limeade fast.

There’s a lot to say about this (including how horrifyingly fuzzy my tongue is at the moment); but now is not the time.

Stay tuned.

And just when I thought I had it beat….

….stress eating comes a callin’!

Ironic, given that I just lost that ten pounds again.

Yes, I am back below 140 and look remarkably different than I did just 5 weeks ago.

All of my clothes are looser, the shape of my thighs are different.

I’ve lost at least one inch off the waist.

I should feel pretty good about now, right?

Then why did I spend the entire evening eating way more than I should and, more to the point, more than I really wanted?

All of the weight loss coaches I know say that you eat to hide your emotions and that you’d be better off journaling them so that you can confront them once and for all. Intellectually, I know that, but it’s so much easier to grab a handful of walnuts.

(The good news is that although walnuts are incredibly fattening, they’re also really good for you. So, in that sense, I suppose it could have been worse).

So what am I feeling?

Besides overfull?

Well, let’s be honest: fear.





Fear (oh, did I say that already?)

I know the what; what I don’t know – really know – is the why.

Why am I afraid to be thin?

It’s not about not feeling strong or not wanting to be healthy – it’s about the size and shape of my body. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened. When I lost the weight the first time, I was at 142 for all of about 2 days. Last year, I got to 138.4, which lasted a little longer – at least 4 days, maybe 5!

So here are my questions for tonight, assuming I was the journaling type: Why am I afraid of being thin?

And when I figure that one out: What is the end goal? What does it represent to me if I achieve it? And what does it mean if I don’t?

Is it more important to be a solid size four (which means breaking through my limiting beliefs about who I am and what I look like) or to be a semi-solid size six who is comfortable in her skin?

One of my coaches says that if you really don’t want to do something, then that’s the thing you need to do most.

I’ll think about that too.

And who knows, I might even pick up a pen and write about it (because God knows that I’m going to be mad as hell if I get back on that scale come Wednesday and it says 142).