Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Cleansing

Spring is here!  I look up at this tree from my armchair as I write my blog posts.  I wrote the following post a month ago about doing a “cleanse”, but didn’t want to share it until I saw how it worked out.  I've been doing it for the month of March, and now that it’s winding down I’ll let you know what I’ve been up to.

March 1, 2015:
I was a bit disappointed in my February monthly assessment because I didn’t lose much weight or look different.  I’m pretty sure I know why – even though I’m eating very healthy meals and lots of salads, I’m still drinking wine, coffee with milk or cream, sparkling water with sugar-free (but sweet-tasting) syrup, and eating several squares of chocolate in the evening. I was wondering what to do about that when I read a blog about doing a cleanse.

My idea of a cleanse was some type of starvation diet or fast, which I would never try, but Stephanie, at Wake The Wolves, approached it differently.  She asked “What do I need or want less of?” and “What do I need or want more of?” and “How can I make that happen?”  She then focused on those things for thirty days.  I realized I could ask the same questions of myself and create a personalized cleanse just for me, mainly about food but also including some other things.

What do I need or want less of?

  • Wine
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Gluten
  • Dairy and Eggs  (I don’t notice a problem with dairy or eggs, but Dr. Wahls says I should eliminate them for a few weeks and see how I feel, and how I feel when I introduce them again.)
  • Sitting around in my chair for most of the day
  • Clutter around the house, especially in the family room where we spend most of our time and on my desk and sewing table

What do I need or want more of?
  • Delicious food that’s healthy, including treats
  • Walking
  • Muscles
  • Sleep
  • Flexibility
  • Spending time with my kids and their families
  • Painting and gardening (that is painting walls and ceilings, not pictures). Actually I want the results of painting and gardening, not necessarily the work, so I guess I really want the energy to paint and garden.

So, how can I make this happen?

Actually, I’m not sure I can make it happen.  I have given up wine many times, for a few days or a week, but possibly never as long as thirty days, and certainly never at the same time as coffee and sugar.  I don't think I've had a day without coffee in at least 20 years!  And some of the other stuff sounds good, but what will I actually do?   I’m not going to mention this in my blog until I really do it.

Here’s what I’ll do:

  • No coffee, but I’ll drink tea to wean away from the caffeine gradually.  I have no intention of giving up coffee forever!
  • No wine.  Or other alcohol – no sense starting a new habit.  I’ll allow kombucha though.  I think it has a bit of alcohol, but is healthy.  Will learn more about it. (See my post about kombucha.)
  • Almost no sugar.  This leaves out most packaged foods – I’ll do my best.  I will allow one (1) square of dark chocolate after dinner.  This is to give me something to look forward to at the end of the day.  (Is that a bit pathetic??  Do I really need to look forward to eating chocolate?)  (Yes.)
  • No gluten.  I’ve done this before and I know it’s do-able.  I’m lucky I don’t have to interrogate every item in a restaurant.  I’ll just avoid obvious sources.
  • No dairy or eggs – yikes!  This seems like going a bit overboard, but I’ll give it a shot.  Stan says he can cook a month’s worth of dinners without eggs or cream.  I’ll learn to eat some other types of food for breakfast – I’m probably overdoing now with two eggs per day.  Coconut milk is very good for me, so I’ll use it as a substitute for dairy.  Butter is an exception – I have read it’s okay, and especially clarified butter, which has the milk protein filtered out.
  • Get up by 7:30 AM Monday through Friday.  I love the early morning time, and never intended to start sleeping in after I retired.  I enjoy spending the evenings with Stan, who is an owl, but if I stay up too late I lose my lark’s desire to get up early and enjoy the morning.
  • Keep up our two times per week on the weight machines at the Y and keep walking on the other days.
  • Try out the class called “Gentle Yoga”.  (Unfortunately it’s only taught at 7 AM.)
  • Tidy my three cluttered areas and check on them several times per week to keep them under control.
  • Buy the paint for the family room and just do it!
  • Visit with Tyler, Alethea and Mira at least once during March – maybe attend karate class and/or have a pizza night. 
  • FaceTime with Melanie and talk about scheduling a girls’ weekend soon.

I think this is enough.  Not sure I can do the food parts, but we’ll see.   I read a post on FeedMePhoebe where Phoebe talks about going 30 days without sugar, alcohol or caffeine.  She had a positive experience even though it was hard, so I’m motivated to try.

March 19, 2015:
So, now at the halfway point, I feel successful enough to tell you readers about it.  Here’s how it’s going so far:

1 week in:
Hit a new low weight – 134.8.

What do I miss most?  Thought it would be coffee, but I miss eggs!  Have had some good egg-free breakfasts but miss my eggs and veggies.  The canned salmon I bought for easy breakfasts with veggies was okay, but not really great  – somehow canned salmon smells fishier than fresh.  I also like an occasional paleo muffin, and those are made with a lot of eggs.

Had a clear sign something has changed – during the 4 hours Mira and I spent on our trip to the Great Wheel, I never once thought of finding a restroom.  Even during the long bus ride home, it did not enter my mind.  I had only had one cup of tea that morning, instead of 2 or 3 cups of coffee, but we both had large beverages at lunch plus some water.  Kudos to Mira too!  How easy to travel around when you’re  not looking for clean public facilities everywhere you go!

2 weeks in:
Hit another new low – 133.9.  Obviously one or more of the items I was eating before was keeping me from losing weight.

Doing fine, not perfect, cutting out wine and sugar.  Had one glass of wine at dinner at friends’ house and one glass with my son and granddaughter, sitting on their patio on a warm afternoon while they played catch.  Two occasions when a glass of wine is appropriate and lovely  : )  Had two at a St. Patrick's Day dinner and party, also appropriate, but I could have substituted mineral water for the second.

Have enjoyed my one square of dark chocolate in the evening, and avoided most, not all, sugar otherwise.  It’s in everything!

My appetite seems to be on a more even keel.  I’m not getting hungry or thinking about food between meals, and I’m not stuffed after eating.  So far, so good!  At the end of the month I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Here's a lovely tree I passed on my walk.  I love spring!


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