Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Lots to say: cleansing, reframing, and hooping

I have a lot to say and am not totally sure how to say it.

First things first, the cleanse continues. I’m actually in the most stringent part. Green smoothie for breakfast, one for lunch, and another for dinner. Then I have a big salad post dinner with red leaf lettuce, shredded zucchini, beet and carrot slaw, olive oil, lemon, green beans, and cultured veggies. Last night I threw in a cup of roasted delicata squash. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? It’s delicious. And more importantly, it’s gorgeous – the plate a veritable explosion of colors, especially give that the cultured veggies is a beautiful bright pink thanks to the red cabbage that turns into flamingo pink after sitting for a week in brine at room temperature.

A few days ago, I had hit an interesting place with the cleanse. I was forgetting my supplements, I was forgetting my cultured veggies (to be eaten at every meal). At the time, I attributed it to ambivalence, but now I’m thinking that it was more like simple forgetfulness. It was almost like I forgot I was on a cleanse.

I haven’t been hungry. I’ve a ton of energy. But more importantly, I’ve had my mind on other things.

Michael was away for several days and I had plenty of time to dig old information products off of my hard drive for recycling. A couple of them talked about making space in your life – by literally throwing shit away. One woman recommended throwing five things away every day. You know, like a game. I decided to give it a shot.

The next morning, I got up, totally psyched. I pulled out every thing that didn’t fit (that was either too big or too small). I also tried everything on and got rid of anything that “didn’t serve me.” Notice I didn’t say that was worn out or frayed, but things that didn’t serve me. The idea of only keeping things that serve you is an interesting one. I ended up getting rid of things that I had worn once, or not at all. Most often things that I had bought on sale in response to an unintended weight gain (as if there is any other type). After pulling two trash bags worth of clothes out of my closet, my next stop was the chests of drawers, which were, I am embarrassed to say, teeming with things that 1) I didn’t remember, 2) I hadn’t been able to find in years, and 3) didn’t serve me. And in that moment, I learned the importance of location based living (I hope Michael’s not reading this, or he might try to hold me to this), because if I can’t find it, it’s not serving me.

I found shirts, skirts, jewelry, slips, socks, hair clips, pony tail ties, jackets, jeans…. It was crazy. Another extra large trash bag got packed for Listen.

I also got rid of shoes, empty shoe boxes, belts, pajama tops, and coats.

And then I organized. For the first time in months, if not years, I can actually see what I have when I look in the closet, in the drawers. It’s glorious.

Then onto stuff: framed posters that have lived in the closet for two years, hangers, shoe racks, concert tickets, show strings, drafts of papers, cook books, a day timer from 2009, the list goes on.

And you know what’s scary? I don’t think Michael even noticed. But every day I get rid of five more things. Sometimes they’re small, sometimes they’re large.

And you know what’s amazing? I can feel the space in the house. As I shed the pounds of inorganic matter of the house, I am less concerned about the organic matter associated with my body…even though I know without a doubt that it’s all related.

And it’s not just the physical junk, but also the emotional and mental crap that I’ve been carrying around for years.

I stepped on a scale this morning: 152 pounds.

And instead of thinking automatically, “I can’t believe that I gained 20 pounds since last August,” I honestly thought, “Wow, I only weigh ten more pounds than I did when I was 16. How frickin’ cool is that?”

Something has shifted and I am so thrilled. It’s fun and easy and for the first time ever, I am in love with my body. I’m also enjoying it in a way I never have before….

Because when I’m not cleansing, or cleaning, or reframing the cleansing or the cleaning, I am hooping!

At the ripe old age of 41, I bought myself a huge multi-colored hula and we (my body and I) are having a blast! I have plenty to say about the hula (especially how it ties into my femininity), but suffice it to say that I’m having too much fun looking for the next five things and swinging my hips to whatever music strikes my fancy to worry too much about arbitrary numbers. In other words, I’m more interested in how many times I can get the hoop around my hips, how many songs I can last through (whether it’s Led Zeppelin, Sade, Linkin Park, or Melissa Etheridge) than I am the numbers on the scale.

Happy Hooping!

Phase One: Down; Let the Mind Tricks Begin

I’m eleven days in, 25 if you count the two week sugar detox I went on before this all started (and you discount out the two glasses of wine I had the night before I officially started).

It was interesting in a number of ways.

One, today is the first day I overate. In retrospect, I’m not even sure if I was hungry, if I was really worried about crashing my metabolism and producing cortisol, or if I just finally gave into the insidiousness of my unconscious mind.

Whatever it was, instead of drinking copious amounts of tea after dinner, which has become my habit (and going to bed slightly hungry), I decided that I should eat more calories today and had a green smoothie. Now, granted, it was a green smoothie and I did leave out the hemp seeds, and it was only 250 calories and most of it was high quality protein (raw hemp powder) and leafy greens. But, the truth is, I didn’t need it. The truth is, I would have been better off with the tea, because as soon as I finished it, I realized that not only was a no longer hungry, but I was stuffed.

I suppose that I could have only had half of the smoothie, but trust me on this: I don’t yet have that degree of self-possession. Notice, I say yet.

Then, feeling bloated and stuffed, I decide not to exercise.

Whoa. Can we say slippery slope?

So I took a deep breath, fully associated into the uncomfortable feeling of being overfull (I even turned it up using my favorite food related submodalities) so that I would not be tempted lest I decide to try it again tomorrow. Then, instead of going to bed like I wanted to do, I went and did yoga. 50 minutes.

It was hard. It didn’t feel good. It wasn’t fun.

But I did feel better…after it was done.

Let’s be completely honest: I don’t really think I was all that hungry.

And I am in no danger of starving.

I did not need the shake.

I think at some unconscious level I was making some misguided attempt to “reward” myself either for ten great days of cleansing or finally getting a handle on a work project that had been giving me the slip. Regardless, it was an old strategy – one that I am glad to say, no longer brings the pleasure it once did.

And, though I never thought that I would every say this (at least not in print), I am glad I did the yoga.

Sometimes old habits are hard to break, but nothing’s impossible. And maybe one day, I’ll remember to reach for the yoga mat before automatically reaching for the BlendTec.


Cleansing: Heading into Day Five

I woke up this morning and tried on the shorts that were about three inches from closing about three weeks ago. They closed! They were tight, but they closed. With a long shirt I could actually wear them. However, instead of putting on something uncomfortable just because I could, I shimmied them off (peeled is more like it) and slid (and it really was a slide) into a pair of jeans that fit better than they have in months.


Today is day five. I know I said yesterday was day five on Facebook, but I had gotten ahead of myself.

It’s not that I don’t like the cleanse and am wishing it over. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m rarely hungry and I feel great.

In fact, as cleanses go, this one is pretty mild; however, there are a lot of moving parts. Here’s been my typical day:

Large glass of water with lemon
Green Powder drink (8 oz)

More supplements
And even more supplements
Cultured Vegetables
My typical green smoothie, sans the cayenne pepper

Supplements (2 hours later)
Cucumber with sea salt

Salad with zucchini, organic hormone free chicken breast, beets, lemon juice, olive oil, and cultured vegetables

Second Snack:
More Supplements (2 hours later)
More green powder, this time mixed with supplements

More supplements
More chicken (or fish), green beans (or broccoli), beet and carrot slaw, and – you guessed it – more cultured vegetables

And more herbal tea and water than you can shake a stick at. In other words, I’m not going hungry.

The most troubling, or should I say challenging part of the cleanse, has been the emotional cleansing. My dreams are vivid and emotionally rich. And they’re not happy dreams. They’re sad. They’re confused. They’re suffering. They’re full of guilt, loss, and remorse.

Last night I spent hours (or so it seemed) trying to explain to a friend why we had lost touch. Have I ever bothered to do this in real life? No.

The night before dream-Michael informed me that I was “too much” and that he needed to take a break. Luckily real life Michael assures me daily (if not more) that this is not the case.

The night before…well, let’s just say it’s not fit for public consumption.

I’ve cleansed before, yet this is the first time that I have experienced the emotional side of it. I’d heard stories and read warnings, but for the most part I was too tired, irritable, or hungry to notice my feelings.

Or maybe it’s because this is my third or fourth cleanse and since the only things I really had to give up were tomatoes, beans, onions, and the occasional trip to the candy jar (which, technically had stopped a few weeks ago already), I’m finally able to start getting to the stuff underneath – the stuff that undoubtedly led to the reason that I decided to do this cleanse in the first place.

When I say that this is day five, what I mean is that this is day five of the first ten day phase. The second ten day phase adds in certain grains (like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, rice, etc), but takes out all animal products (at least for five of the ten days). The second phase is also less supplement heavy, but I’ll still be drinking protein shakes before meals, sometimes one a day, sometimes three. The third phase, which is a three month minimum, begins on July 4th. There the animal products come back, but the rice gets taken out, as does the fruit. It’s funny, I haven’t eaten fruit in close to a year, but I have certainly enjoyed my daily apples!

In other words, I’m in it for the long haul. And subsequently I expect there will be some heavy lifting, not only in terms of my autoimmune system’s ability to care for my body and my weight, but also in terms of my habits and, probably even more importantly, my emotions.

In the meantime, speaking of habits, I have containers of vegetables culturing in the guest room (it’s the only place that gets even close to 72 degrees these days) as well as bottles of coconut water keifer. You know, between that and all the supplements and shake powders, somedays I feel more like a chemist (or a biologist) than a sociologist!

But it’s all good…even the dreams.

Pre-Cleanse Questionnaire

I started a cleanse today. So far so good.

Just so you know, there is a ten day component, a fourteen component, and then the rest of your life component (more on that later).

But I thought I would post the pre-cleanse questionnaire that my excellent friend, Kelly Cornell sent me.

How are you feeling right now? What kind of shape is your body in? How are you feeling emotionally/mentally?

Right now I feel good; I feel strong and optimistic. I’m excited about doing this cleanse. I look around at so many different areas of my life (my car, my office, my closets, my desk) that have just exploded and realize that I need to cleanse and de-clutter in every area of my life. The school term is over and I am feeling light and excited for summer. I am invigorated – physically, mentally, emotionally. And even though I am thicker through the middle than I have been in a long time, I am in love with my body. I’m not sure when that happened or why. But it’s a glorious place to be. I am not sure how my blood work is, but I am feeling better and I continue to make healthy choices designed to support my autoimmune system and, thus, protect my thyroid and central nervous system.

What is motivating you to start this cleanse?

At the most shallow level, my upcoming wedding. However, at a deeper level, there are certain things/behaviors that I have just never gotten the hang of. For instance, being present with my food, eating reasonable portions, eating slowly, properly chewing my food, and not stuffing my emotions. I can go for periods and have some success, but these things have not become part of my identity. Sort of like yoga and meditation 😉 I’m hoping that taking this time to do this cleanse – and to do it right with all of the journaling and self-care that implies will help me implement these things into my life once and for all so that I no longer struggle to remind myself, but, rather, they are second nature.

What do you hope to accomplish through this cleanse?

To build a more sacred relationship with my food and my body. To break the sugar addiction and my tendency to overeat, to eat when I am not hungry, and to stuff my emotions. I also hope to make substantial progress in terms of healing my immune system and safeguarding my thyroid function. Of course, I’d also love to drop ten or even twenty pounds in the process, but that really seems secondary to these other goals – and that’s the first time in my life that I could honestly say something like that. I feel like that the weight is just a symptom of all of the other things in my life that are out of balance.

Make a commitment right now to complete this cleanse. Set your intention and sum it up in one simple affirmation (Ex. Today I make the decision to take my health into my own hands.”)

Today I make the decision to love and cherish my body, from the inside out.

I’ll keep you posted.

Radical New Perspectives; They Come Quick

So I’m on day three of my journey to reclaim my body and I’ve noticed a couple of things:

1) Change (mental change, that is) happens quickly. Although I was completely bummed out on Sunday, I have been having an amazing three days.

2) I’ve unfrozen my fatness. What I mean by that is that I’m not thinking about myself as fat, but rather as carrying more weight around than I want to be. That’s huge. When you’re stuck, there can be no movement.

3) In a previous post, I mentioned that I was trying to learn to appreciate the now. Well, I can sum up my efforts there in one word: cleavage! I actually have cleavage! And for someone who was in a nearly A just last summer, that’s a pretty big deal. (But don’t you worry, before I got too attached to the idea of natural curves, I went and checked out the local selection of push up bras. That way when my own go away again, I’ll know exactly how to get them back in a way that doesn’t involve the words chocolate or peanut butter).

4) I’ve also been adding some HIIT into my cardio routines. It’s amazing how much of a kick that puts in your day. I only have a few words to say on that: I am not P90X worthy. And that’s okay…at least for the moment.

Never be afraid to ask for what you need (or to put your money where your mouth is)

Yesterday, I woke up feeling refreshed; literally like it was a new day. And for the first time in a long time I felt optimistic about my weight loss efforts. I was looking forward to wearing my new clothes and feeling comfortable.

However, I know myself enough to know that wearing a pretty new dress wasn’t going to cut it, at least not on day one.

First things first: I admit that I am a calorie counter. This was a problem, because I was counting the empty calories as I ate them. I’ll continue to count calories, but I will also be more diligent about the quality.

For example, the apple that I had yesterday afternoon was much more satisfying than 1 1/2 Reese’s pieces cups that I get for the same 95 calories!

Remember the candy bowl – you know, the infamous office candy bowl? Well, unfortunately we became reacquainted – after an almost two year hiatus somewhere along the second week of February? (Can anyone say Valentine’s Day?) What started off as one piece of substandard dark chocolate, quickly became became two, and then eventually shot up to 6 or 8 pieces a day. And, much to my chagrin, I was no longer limiting myself to dark. I’ll admit it, I hooked again – not on cheap chocolate, but on the sugar.

And for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, sugar, for some of us, is as addictive as crack.

So the very first thing I did yesterday morning was draft an email to my entire office:

Hello all!

I need your help as I have fallen afoul of the infamous bowl.

If you see me with a piece of chocolate in my hand, or even reaching for one, I will give you $20.00.

Thanks for your assistance in this small, but consequential matter.


Now I would have loved to have seen their faces, when they opened that message. Because, trust me, it didn’t take long for the responses to start pouring in. Here’s a sample:

This is a great decision. I should also become brave like you and participate in the pledge. But, for now, I look forward to making some money this year. I will be watching you very carefully. – M

As incoming chair, I wouldn’t mind if your first official act in office was to remove the bowl in the first place! But I’ll keep an eye on you anyway. Let me know when you want to have lunch. – J

To me it seems like you have infinite will-power, but I will be happy to help out (and take your money!). – D

I shall be vigilant and have started my vigilance by absconding ten minutes ago with one Hersey mini from the infamous bowl. – B

One thing that many of you may not know about me, because this is a blog about food and not money, is that I am about as cheap as anyone can possibly get. I also have enough pride to choke a horse and even though I am willing to bare my foibles here, I am not willing to do so in the office. And though I know that there are going to be times that I am alone in the office, I have enough personal honor to know that if I were to reach for a Hershey’s miniature (shudder) that I really would feel compelled to leave a $20 on the departmental administrator’s desk.

And, knowing her, and not to mention my luck, I can just about guarantee that she’d use it to – you guessed it – buy even more chocolate!

The funny thing is that now that I went public, I am no longer tempted. Nothing’s changed. The bowl still sits right outside my door. But the thought of laying down $20 for a single piece of candy (or $120 for 6) or people watching me do it….

No way.

I’m not quite willing to offer Michael $40 every time he catches me in the tahini jar, but it’s a close thing.