Sunday, September 30, 2012

Post Cleanse Week 1: Highs & Lows

Post cleanse eating and drinking is harder than I had anticipated. I had heard comments from others about introducing foods back to their diet and their bodies having extreme reactions to said food/drink. I was really hoping for some drastic bodily reaction but nothing happened. The reason I'm disappointed because I was hoping to be able to tell myself "THAT is something you absolutely CANNOT consume" and be done with it. Unfortunately its just too easy to fall back into eating certain foods. Oh coffee with milk and problem. Morning toast for breakfast...sure. Cake WITH frosting...absolutely. Pizza...and twice on Sundays!

Don't get me wrong I haven't blown all the weight I have lost. As I mentioned last week I did gain a 3 pounds last weekend at the destination wedding but despite the dips into forbidden foods, I have still managed to drop 2 of those pounds. I also got my period yesterday so I'm blaming the other pound still lingering on that.

I have tried to cut down to 1 shake a day and try eating more food. While I'm not being as careful I am still eating well. I haven't had a lot of time to cook this week but I did make a chicken soup with a cooked chicken from the supermarket and used lots of vegetables I had already (leeks, carrots, celery, cabbage, parsnips and a couple small potatoes). I also made stuffed peppers with Quinoa, spinach, kale and some leftover Bologanese sauce I had made the week before. I am still snacking on carrots, apples and have started to eat some GF rice chips. I have also been adding avocado to my shakes.

Last night we went to dinner after we took our son bowling for the fist time...he loved it btw and ended up at a pizza place. I had a glass of red wine - remember I said "he" loved it and two slices of pizza. It was a specialty pizza and didn't have much cheese but it still was pizza. I have certainly had other things that were not very cleanse friendly. For instance while watching GLEE the other night I had my detox tea with a side of Annie's cheddar bunnies/pretzel mix. In my defense, I knew I was PMSing and was craving something salty fierce.

The one thing I have realized is that now that there I have more food choices I need to put a  concrete plan in place. Tonight I am going to go back to planning out my food for the week. I did this in week one of the cleanse when I had to eliminate all those foods. I think now that I'm trying to be eating in a cleanse friendly manner I need to be more organized about what I will be eating over the course of the next 7 days.

I do think that overall I want to avoid dairy and gluten as much as I can. Typically if I want either of those its in the form of baked goods and ice cream so I'll also be avoiding sugars too. I still feel good about myself and have been able to wear most of the jeans in my closet which I haven't worn in years.  I have also been in a fantastic mood this week which is unusual for me. There are a lot of positive changes going on in my life right now and I feel really good at them. This is also equally motivating to me to stay focused on this change in food choices.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Days 25 through 30 and beyond: Accomplishments and Deprivation

I wish I could have made this post several days ago but I have been pretty busy since completing my 30 day cleanse. I also apologize in advance for its length. I hope you will read through to the end. The juicy stuff is at the end...

I'm actually pretty proud of myself for seeing the cleanse through till the end. I often think of myself as someone who has really great ideas and intentions for beginning projects. If I were a baseball pitcher I'd make a helluva opener but a lousy closer. Along the way I typically lose steam and give in to whatever temptation crosses my path. I didn't do that this time. I stayed the course of my 30 day cleanse and followed it faithfully. My fidelity led me to lose 16lbs in 30 days.

On my final 30 day weigh in, I was stunned. When I started this cleanse I was 196lbs and 30 days later I was 180lbs. My current weight is 183lbs...but more about that later. 180lbs was my pre-pregnancy weight.  To be honest, I had lost faith that I would ever see pre-pregnancy weight. Now I'm wondering can I get down to my wedding weight 154lbs.

I'm going to move ahead to why I currently weight 183lbs. Two days after I finished my cleanse, I woke up at 4:30am to get dressed and out the door to catch a 7am ferry to Long Island to attend a weekend wedding in Montauk. I have expressed my anxiety about this wedding in a previous post and Thursday night my anxiety was not lessened but I did spend a considerable amount of time prepping food for my journey such as healthy snacks, preparing a shake the night before to sip on the car ride down to the ferry. I packed my blender, my protein powder, detox tea, and fizz sticks. I felt confident I could get through the weekend staying on track.

When we arrived in the Hamptons, it was a normal breakfast hour 9:30am and we were all famished. Yelp is by far the greatest invention as I was able to search for "organic food" and find a selection of local eateries where I could eat whole foods. I did indulge in my first cup of coffee in 30 days but my meal was a vegan hash of spinach, mushrooms, and onions with egg whites over brown rice. The food was delicious as well as the coffee but I had my first almost slip up when I started to take a gulp of my coffee wanting to finish it and have a second cup. I was able to put the breaks on that thought and tell myself "no second will sip this coffee and savor it."

I had more positive moments on Friday and Saturday. On Friday night I went to the rehearsal dinner which was under a tent on a lovely grassy spot overlooking a glassy pond and as the sun set I sipped my first glass of wine in over 30 days. I should explain that now that I'm no longer on the cleanse I can start "introducing" foods and beverage to see how my body reacts.

I enjoyed myself. I certainly ate foods that I shouldn't be eating but there was so much excellent food at thewedding events however I did make smart choices for breakfast and lunch on Saturday so I could enjoy myself at the wedding. I even had a piece of wedding cake and I savored every bite. It was worth it. I remember thinking on my last bite "okay this is the last bite of cake you will have in awhile."

Sunday though was an entirely different story. I feel back into my old food ways. I ate a lot of stuff that I refuse to mention...let's just say it was bad. I was actually hoping my body would have some apocalyptic meltdown so I would just develop a food aversion but unfortunately nothing happened physically except a 3lb gain.

I am not going to lash myself for falling off the wagon. I got back on today. I had a shake for breakfast. I made a healthy lunch and dinner. I'm enjoying my detox tea right now. Tomorrow I'm going back to boot camp.

What I noticed on Sunday was a terrible feeling of deprivation and resentment oozing through my body. My son was incredibly cranky and with good reason as his entire schedule had been completely thrown off in a couple of days due to early mornings and late nights. He was in heaven though as he got to spend the weekend with his cousins. I knew this was going to happen but I had never been to the Hamptons and wanted to spend Sunday leisurely heading back to our ferry to see the sites. My son was exhausted, unreasonable, and clingy. These traits don't leave room for leisurely anything.

Silly me decided that since he had fallen asleep in the car that 45 minutes would make a sufficient power nap so we could go to a harbor street festival. I just don't learn. I was so desperate for a vacation moment in the Hamptons but all I did was feel defeated. There was this one moment when my son decided he wanted to sit in the dust at the curb of a parking spot and put fistfuls of it in his truck. Now I am a mom who typically doesn't care about her kid getting dirty but I draw the line at curb dust. After he scooped it up multiple times and after I have said "NO yucky" multiple times, I slapped his hand. It wasn't a slap but a "stop it" tap on the back of his hand. Well my son loses it. I am sitting on a curb. My husband in a porta john. My son sitting in curb dust and I just want to float away but instead I just sit there say nothing hoping this moment will just stop.

In my head I'm feeling tense as fellow festival goers stare at me. All I can think is I am a terrible mother. My son is crying and I'm just sitting there staring out into space. Of course some woman starts to walk towards me and my son. I immediately want her to rethink what she's about to do and walk past me but she doesn't. She tries to engage my son "who's truck is that?" He just cries louder which I knew would happen. Although she is probably doing this because she think I'm a bad mother for not consoling my son, he actually hates being consoled and gets more upset. As his mother, I knew this.

I am staring at her with a death stare and a clenched jaw and she keeps talking to him and I say nothing. In my head, I'm just wishing her away. It doesn't work. I cannot think of anything to say except "get the fuck away from me" but I don't want to make her think I am any worse of a mom than I already feel. It isn't until my husband gets back from the john and takes over that I start to think of things I could have said such as "I understand you are trying to be helpful but I find what you're doing right now really irritating." It still doesn't sound polite enough. What kills me is why I think I need to be polite to this woman.

I walk back to the car with my husband and my son. My son is upset. My husband is trying to be a peace maker and I feel like a giant asshole for being upset with my son because its not the curb dust incident that's bothering me, its that I feel like his behavior is ruining my Sunday Hamptons outing. I am finally able to name my feeling because I kept eating and drinking my face off at any available moment.

I was feeling deprived.

I am secretly envious and resentful of my friends who go out on regular dates or get to go away for a few days or an entire week without their kid(s).  I try to create those moments with my son and they always fail. I set my expectations too high. I hate to complain because I am really satisfied with my lifestyle but I do wish my husband and I had a little more disposable income. I would love to have a date night once a week or be able to look forward to a weekend getaway once a year but its not in our budget. This is why I have always consoled myself with food. Food can be rich and decadent and has allowed me to escape those moments of frustrated defeat.  

Even though I completed the 30 day cleanse, I plan to keep it up as well as blogging about my experience as I know that my toxic thoughts need regular cleansing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Days 21 - 24: Time Flies and Dress Shopping

I can't believe that I have 6 more days till my cleanse is over. The days have been flying by and so has the weight...ha ha. The weight loss has been slowing but still decreasing. I'm two weeks into my semester and have not had the time to really contemplate what happens after day 30. I have been asked that question though by several people - my endocrinologist included. When I noticed tonight that tomorrow was day 25 (yes I am marking the days off on my calendar) i had an "oh shit" moment of "what is next?"

What is next is that two days after I complete my cleanse I am going to a weekend wedding where I will be attending the rehearsal dinner, the wedding reception, and a day after brunch! I really think I have been trying to mentally block out how difficult that is going to be for me.

A couple months ago I went to a family wedding and of course had gone dress shopping. It was depressing. Everything I tried on just was not flattering or didn't fit. I ended up buying 4 dresses (3 of which I ended up returning) because everything just looked "eh." The dress I ended up wearing was something I did like and felt confident wearing. It's hard to get all gussied up and feel uncomfortable.

Last November I had also attended a wedding where I had a MAJOR wardrobe malfunction. I sat down and the zipper on my dress just completed busted open because it was form-fitting. I really loved the dress too. I had been feeling so good about the way I looked despite being close to 200lbs. When that dress broke I was mortified. Luckily I was facing a wall when it happened and was able to sneak to the bathroom.  Thank god my friend was in the bathroom at the time and was able to grab my coat and my husband. I was so embarrassed that I left the wedding early and took a cab back to the hotel by myself. I held it together until I got in the cab trying to play it off like I wasn't too upset but I cried for a couple of hours after. Once I dried my eyes I put on some jeans and went to drink lane in the hotel bar. When my friends found me,  I told myself and them it was because the dress wasn't sewn correctly but it was just too hard to admit that it was because I was wearing a dress that just didn't fit right. It was too tight and it was a size 16.

Needless to say the dress that I bought for the wedding this summer was a slip on dress made of cotton jersey material. No zippers. No eyelet hooks. No buttons. No potential wardrobe disasters. I plan to wear it to this wedding. New crowd no one from this wedding (aside from husband) has seen me in it and I paid $20 bucks for it on clearance at Marshall's. Sweet right? So I tried it on tonight. It looked really slimming and all I could think was "wow this looks good but I must have looked freakin' huge in this 2 months ago...what the fuck was I thinking?"

I did go looking for a new dress for this wedding. Even though I had one I had to at least look. Don't judge you would have done the same thing. I didn't find anything I liked but it wasn't because of size. Dresses in size 12 were fitting nicely. It felt good to try on clothes and not leave the dressing room with that defeated feeling of nothing fits. I ended up getting a new dress for the rehearsal dinner though. It's really cute. It is a size L but it's nice that my boobs and my stomach aren't aligned anymore. I have a waist and my boobs stick out further than my belly.

I still haven't figured out how I am going to get through the food and drink portion of the wedding weekend buy at least I will feel good about how I look. I'm hoping that the added confidence of looking healthier will motivate me to make positive choices through out the weekend.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Days 18 -20 & Week 3 Results: Why is food so important?

I weighed in this morning for an official weight result for week 3 and I am down 4lbs from last Monday. This brings my total weight loss to 13lbs. I saw a friend yesterday who I had not seen since before I started the cleanse and the first thing she said to me was "did you lose weight?" It was definitely encouraging to have someone notice.

I really love food and in the past couple of weeks I have been trying to redefine my relationship with it. One thing that I have noticed is that I'm not as obsessed with food. I used to find myself thinking about it constantly. I would have these frenzied thoughts about when I was going to eat especially if I didn't have any food prepared to take with me somewhere. If for example I didn't bring lunch when I was off to work or didn't have time to make breakfast, I would be in a state of panic about the route I would take and what food places would be along the way. Ironically no matter where I ended up stopping I would always make a poor food choice. By poor I mean high fat and high carb like a sausage egg and cheese on a croissant from Dunkin Donuts or a turkey club with mayonnaise from a local eatery.

Since the cleanse I have more restrictions, less choices but even less anxiety about food. I really enjoy the structure. Its helping me remain focused on why I love food. I am a visual and textural person. I am also an artist so when it comes to food the ingredients are my palette and my meal is a balanced aesthetically pleasing composition.

Yesterday was the first time I ate breakfast in a while and I was inspired to make hash from a recipe I found in my new cookbook Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso. I had breakfast sausage meat in my freezer from pasture raised pork so I mixed that with grated sweet potatoes, onions, apples, coconut oil and cinnamon. I topped it with 3 egg whites. This was also what I had for dinner tonight. I cannot describe to you how beautiful, fragrant, and satisfying this meal was. I know the sausage meat was a bit of splurge but well worth the indulgence.

I know I have only been on this cleanse 20 days but when I think back to how I used to eat B.C. (before cleanse) I imagine myself as an addict just looking for some kind of tasty fix...literally. I still want to experience those slow, satisfying swallows of  gastronomic pleasure. I feel the need to add a disclaimer right about now as this post appears to be entering a "fifty shades of grey" ode to food. I guess what I'm trying to say is that post cleanse I still want to enjoy food but not enjoy food. It's about finding the balance between food being important, sustaining, and pleasing. I think I've said enough.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 16 - 18: Finding Balance when experience the "hangries"

I have been struggling with an enormous amount of irritable energy the past couple of days. I guess the stresses of the new semester and considering altering my career path are getting to me. I have had no time to cook the past couple of days and last night I had the time but absolutely zero motivation. I was just exhausted. In my line of profession when I a child/teenager appears agitated the fist question you ask is "are they hungry?" because if they are hungry and irritated they have the "hangries!"

I have been having the "hangries" the past couple of days because I have been on the go A LOT. I go from pre-school drop off to work to dr's appt to work to campus to home (that was Wednesday) on Thursday I went to campus to a dr's appt to work to pre-school to the farmer's market to home and luckily out to dinner. I eat a lot in my car and have been transporting lots of snacks, shakes, and water along with me. In the morning I'm so frazzled making sure I have everything I need and everything my son needs for school. My son's needs are different as at his previous daycare they made all his food and kept all his stuff now its up to me to remember every morning.

The dishes have been piling up in the sink. I have not done any laundry all week and my husband drank the last of my almond milk this morning. I really almost threw my blender at the kitchen window. Luckily I had a stash of individual chocolate almond milks for my son which was a lot of sugar but I was desperate. So I'm out of almond milk, out of toilet paper (thank god for the box of tissues I have), I'm out of almond butter. My son's snacks are dwindling however I managed to make dinner tonight...go me.

Its so hard to feel balanced although I don't feel out of control. I have been in that position and if I were then I would have been cleaning up broken glass this morning. I also don't feel like I'm doing it all alone. My husband is super helpful...not always but if I ask its only once. He loves spending time with our son and sometimes its just helpful for my husband to take our son outside to play for a few minutes while I empty the dishwasher even though I freakin hate doing it.

Last night was particularly difficult as we went out to a semi-comfort food kind of restaurant at our son's request. I wasn't cooking and did not have the brain power to make a decision so thank god for his desire for french fries and chicken fingers. I wanted a glass of wine SOOOOOOOOOOOO BADLY! I didn't have one but decided to have a nicer meal than a salad as I truly hate salad. I had sea scallops sauteed with red peppers, corn, and asparagus. It was over white rice but I didn't care. It was satisfying and I didn't have a drink.

To be honest now that I'm posting I feel a bit more relieved. I folded clothes from last weekend's laundry and have a load in the dryer. Those are also clothes waiting from last weekend to be washed. The kitchen is straightened up. I was able to get my son and husband to clean up the toy room. I'm hoping to have a family apple picking day trip tomorrow as I was told that Sunday "was for football." My husband has two fantasy leagues. He is useless on Sundays between now and the first weekend in February.

Now that we are entering the autumn season, I began to crave hot cups of coffee on chilly mornings and smooth glasses of red wine on chilly evenings. It's going to be a long couple of months!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Days 13 - 15: Celebrating A Holiday Weekend Detox Style and Week 2 Results

The long weekend has completely screwed up my concept of time. Monday felt like Sunday....Tuesday feels like Monday. On the bright side - Friday will be here before I know it!

Despite enduring Labor Day weekend, I managed to lose 3 more pounds. That's a total of 9 lbs in 2 weeks. Go me! I have noticed a difference in my pants as my muffin top is no longer cinched and hanging over at the waist. I have also been able to wear some form fitting tops that show a smoother curve along the waist instead of the 2 or 3 rolls of flesh I have had in the past year.

Over the long weekend we hit up the beach and had friends over for a cook out. The family beach day was fun and relaxing. As the tide went out we went for a long walk and collected seashells. To be honest, I collected seashells my son was more interested in collecting sea grass. My husband just walked along making sure our son didn't drown. Food seemed like a non issue. I packed snacks, my shakes, and sandwiches for the boys. I even managed to read an entire issue of Entertainment Weekly cover to cover while watching my son and husband dig in the sand with construction trucks.

I found ways to eat out and eat clean this weekend too. For instance after the beach, I needed to go grocery shopping as I was having people over the next day for a cook out so we went to Whole Food did our grocery shopping and ate at their prepared food stations. I avoided all the "free samples" along the aisles (which was really really hard to resist) and had a sesame kale salad, a quinoa sweet potato cake with cranberries, and some wheat berry salad (which I think is gluten but it looked good).

The cook out was a success from a food perspective too: grilled chicken, sauteed peppers and onions, black beans and brown rice, homemade mango salsa, guacamole and baked GF chips that I made from cutting up GF tortillas. My friend brought fruit salad and cupcakes (which were not GF or sugar free). I also made "mock"jitos. I did indulge in a cupcake. It was small but worth the splurge.

Monday was another wonderful family day just walking around town. We hit the playground, stopped in the local toy store for our son to play with the train table and ate lunch out. In our town we are fortunate to have a pretty tasty vegan restaurant.. After lunch my son wanted ice cream so I went to a consignment boutique and my husband took him for ice cream. I only have so much self control and that would have put me over the edge. I LOVE ICE CREAM! After that we rode a sight seeing trolley around town as this month is free for residents.

I love spending time with my son and my husband particularly family outings. When I was a kid my parents were divorced and I'd see my dad on Saturdays He'd usually find ways to entertain me. Occasionally we'd go to the MET but primarily we'd go to the movies, the arcade (more for my dad than me), exotic car showrooms because my dad loved sports cars and we'd play pool. How many dads would take their 10 year old daughter to a pool hall? Probably just mine but I am a pretty decent pool player now. My mom who I lived with worked a lot during the week and on Fridays we'd go out to dinner and go shopping or a movie. Rarely was I in a room or out with my parents together because it was always tense, uncomfortable and anxiety provoking.

I try really hard to make outings a regular part of our family life. I am trying harder and harder to make them less about food and more about fun. As we enter the fall season this is going to be increasingly more difficult. As the weather gets chillier comfort food become more enticing. Apple picking always involves cider donuts and other delectable bakery goods. Halloween = candy, candy, and more candy. One day at a time...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Days 10-12: Adventures in Emotional Eating (and not eating)

I have really wanted to post more frequently but this has been a very busy week.  My semester starts next week and I'm teaching 3 different courses in two different colleges. Today was my son's last day at his wonderful fabulous daycare that he's been at since 5 months and next week is his first day of  pre-school. I have had an emotionally challenging week at my primary job this week that has led me to re-evaluate my priorities and explore other opportunities. On top of all this I have been trying to plan fun activities for my son on the days we are home together and keep my domicile to a minimum mess however there's a mound of dishes and glasses in the sink because I'm too tired to empty the dishwasher, I have mounds of laundry that need washing, there are so many toys strewn about my house that it looks likean obstacle course, and I have had a pesky fly bizzing around my house for days that I cannot seem to swat.

Somehow with all of the above going on, I have managed to keep up with my cleanse. All of these "to-do's" make me feel anxious, overwhelmed, insecure, depleted and worried that I am going to forget something which will eventually end with me disappointing someone or just feeling guilty. This is EXACTLY the type of emotional jumble that makes me want to eat as if food or the act of chewing will somehow make it all go away. I know that emotional eating does not help. Inevitably it just intensifies it. Ironically, food and my consumption of food this week is the only thing I don't feel anxious about. Even as I compose this post, I am sipping my detox tea.

Food is the one thing I haven't really had to worry about as I know what I can and cannot eat. I have less meals to plan. I have noticed that knowing I will have a shake for breakfast and a shake for I sound like a Slimfast commercial but seriously...knowing those decisions are already made and that I still have some options in terms of what kind and add-ins for my shake satisfies my need for control and variety. I have even managed to eat out on a few occasions this week (once for dinner and once for lunch) and make really sound choices that fit within the cleanse clean eating guidelines.

Today I made afternoon snack for my son's final day at his daycare. I made a dark chocolate mousse. It is one of Tosca Reno's recipes and calls for silken tofu, dark chocolate chips, almond milk, and vanilla. It's super easy to make and I portioned it in 5 ounce Dixie cups. I also brought a fruit salad, cookies for the kids, and organic lite pink lemonade from Whole Foods. I had some fruit, I had a couple spoonfuls of mousse which was totally not on the cleanse but I it is freakin' delicious. I couldn't pass it up but a couple of weeks ago, I would have inhaled that sucker. I drank water with a fizz stick. I did not have a cookie.

It's Friday night of Labor Day Weekend and we are having friends over on Sunday for a cookout but my one friend is GF so that helps with menu planning. I have free range chicken to grill, lots of tomatoes, and we received lots of fresh corn from our share this week. I do feel like I earned 1 cocktail but I'll see how I feel about that as the weekend progresses.