phyllis diller

Today was a big day!  I made it to the halfway point and was able to introduce protein back into my repertoire of foods.

I remember when I was just getting started with the cleanse (a whopping eleven days ago), I had a hard time imagining myself at this point. I could not see myself progressing through the first difficult days and never believed I would ever actually fall into a groove. I assumed I would simply struggle through the whole process until I got to the end. Plus, the thought of managing through eleven long days before I could consume protein seemed unimaginable. Yet, tonight, when I sat down to dinner with my family and my husband kindly prepared a beautiful plate for me, I first dug into the broccoli and asparagus, the foods that have become my close companions over the past week and a half, before I dared to cut into the most delicious chicken I have ever eaten. It surprised me and was noteworthy. My taste buds have changed a bit and I have really grown to love the experience of eating this way. I would never have forecasted that outcome. My guess would have been this was an endurance challenge rather than a truly transformational experience. Color me surprised!

What I consumed:

  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries, pineapple and banana (this has become my go-to breakfast – love that pineapple!)
  • Lentil soup
  • Chicken in a lemon, olive oil and shallot sauce
  • Quinoa
  • Steamed broccoli with sea salt
  • Steamed asparagus with sea salt
  • 6 dates
  • 19 gigantic supplement capsules
  • 64 oz water

Today was the first time I had to have a business meeting in a restaurant since I began the program. It was just a meeting over coffee and I comfortably ordered a glass of water and did not make excuses as to why. Moment of pride for me.

How I felt:

Overall, today was a great day. I had some moments, which I will share, that were challenging for me but they were distractions from my positive experience. My body feels so good and healthy and I am filled with energy. When I was getting dressed this morning, I took a close look at my face in the mirror and I cannot believe how great my skin looks. My face has lost a lot of its puffiness and my skin is pink and healthy, even without makeup on. I had been experiencing some breakouts on my face last month (nothing like perimenopausal acne) but now my skin is clear and glowing. Even my hair looks more lustrous. Of course, none of this should come as any surprise because I am eating great, drinking tons of water and taking supplements. My body is receiving optimal nutrients.

Physical Activity:

I got to the gym early again today, which afforded me some extra time with the weights. I did 60 minutes on the elliptical and, at last, the 60 minutes are only troubling because I am starting to get bored rather than tired. It is a great workout but I can easily do another 30 minutes if I had the time or the desire. I spent another 20-30 minutes doing arms and abs.  My elliptical workout was targeted to glutes today so I got a good lower body workout in too.

I was speaking today with my friend who originally turned me on to the cleanse to hear about her experience as she is now on Day 1 of re-entry. She finished up yesterday and, like me, she was fearing the return of foods that she had given up on the program. And, not surprisingly, she was reluctant to introduce much back into her diet. I was excited to hear her mindset because I suspect I will be similar. She did not rush out to drink wine or alcohol or enjoy the foods she missed because she really wasn’t missing any of it. I suspect I will be eliminating a lot of foods from my regular diet once I am done because I do not see them as necessary and I don’t want to derail my efforts. I feel so good and am looking so much better that I would rather live without than fall back into a place that was not very good for me. It’ll be interesting to see where my head is in 10 days.

Emotionally, I seem to have gotten used to my disconnect from Facebook.  In fact, this afternoon, my husband gave me a quick update of some things I had missed (some of which were quite funny) and I realized, as he was talking, that I have forgotten what it is like to participate in the Facebook banter. I am not sure that I really want to go back there either. I kind of like my freedom and anonymity. It has opened up room for other things in my life, like spending more time at the gym. A much healthier diversion.

As I continue to mention, I am extremely plugged into my emotions and how and when I crave food. Today, I got very angry about a situation I was dealing with. I was struggling to find an outlet for my anger and found myself walking around my kitchen looking to eat something. I wasn’t terribly hungry and I knew that I was trying to soothe myself. I pulled a container of lentil soup of the refrigerator and filled a cup and heated it up. I turned to my husband and admitted that I was emotionally eating. Admittedly, I did not have a big lunch but I did not need to eat at that moment. But I did. Sure, it is not the worst choice of comfort foods and was completely on the plan but I would have preferred to have not succumbed to the food at all. I wish I could have identified a better way to manage my feelings. Clearly, still a lot of work to be done there. I love Phyllis Diller’s approach in the quote above and wish I could be that intentional and focused about dealing with my anger. It definitely consumes me in many ways. This is not something that will be remedied in 21 days but I think I am taking some good first steps.


oprah quote

Well, today is the beginning! I started my day with my shake and consumed a large handful of supplements to help with the cleansing process. While this program is focused on my eating and exercising, I am being intentional about including a  mental and emotional detox as well. This is an opportunity to take advantage of the clarity that will come from my purification to sort through my mental attic and decide what I want to keep, donate or toss. My expectation when I decided to start this cleanse was that I would come out the other end feeling better physically and, hopefully, shedding some unwanted pounds. Now, I am even more excited about the idea of unburdening myself from some unwanted thoughts and ideas.

This cleanse requires that you keep a log of your food and activity intake for each of the 21 days. As much as I love to write to process my thoughts and feelings, I loathe keeping a food journal. It seems invasive and shameful to me and evokes a potent memory of when I was 9 years old and my mother sent me to Baltimore, MD to spend a week with her sister and family over the Christmas break. I never liked my aunt very much, probably due to the fact that I sensed the tension that existed between her and my mother. As sisters, they struggled with an underlying competitiveness that was reinforced repeatedly by my aunt. She was the older sister and, despite the fact that, by all accounts, her life was far more successful, she could not restrain herself from continually positioning herself against my mother. My aunt had married a man who spent his career as a government official and, together, they raised a family, amassed wealth and my aunt was a prominent member of her community in Baltimore. On the other hand, my mother was the proud owner of multiple divorces, a dysfunctional and broken family and several trips to the ER after some thwarted suicide attempts. Throughout the years I would hear my mother lament my grandmother’s effusiveness and pride towards my aunt despite the fact that my mother lived closer and was often more readily available to care for her as she got older. My aunt walked on water, even though she was consumed with her life in Maryland and my mother was always viewed as the failure. The competition that my aunt manufactured ran deep and she often extended it to me and her son. My cousin and I were just three months apart in age and as close as we could be, only spending time together when they came up to visit our grandmother in NY.  He and I had wild imaginations and would pretend to be Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 or other mysterious characters as we set out on adventures inside and outside our grandmother’s apartment building in Queens. To keep us on our toes, my aunt would often create little contests between us to see who could read a book faster or quiz us to determine which of us was smarter. I dreaded her games yet felt compelled to participate. And, I was not about to come out on the bottom if I could avoid it.

I only visited my aunt and her family at their home this one particular Christmas and then again with my mother and siblings to attend my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah several years later. I was so proud of myself for traveling on the plane all by myself, overcoming any fears I might have had at such a young age. When I arrived at my aunt’s house, all my pride was immediately erased as I realized the true intent of this visit. My aunt, perhaps in cahoots with my mother, planned to subject me to her own customized fat camp to address my unacceptable chubbiness. Shortly after we arrived at the house, I was summoned to the bathroom to step on the scale and be shamed into revealing my dirtiest secret. I was an emotional eater, using food as a replacement for the love and comfort that was lacking from my family and, back then, no one cared why you overate or abused food, you simply needed to stop doing it and lose weight. My childhood was marked by the embarrassment of always being a bigger kid and the teasing and torment that I faced from the other children because of my size. Not surprisingly, when I do see the rare photos that exist from that period in my life, I was not as big as I remember feeling but it did not matter. Inside of me, I knew I was being held hostage by food and could not control what I put into my mouth because I was constantly looking to plug my holes with cake and cookies and whatever else I could find to ease the pain. My identity was completely wrapped up in my weight and, even if I was just 10 or 15 lbs. heavier than most of the other kids my age, I felt ashamed and wrong. The humiliation I was subjected to with my aunt only further reinforced that I was broken or damaged and needed to be fixed. Even my own family could not accept me as I was. Any fun that I would have with my cousin that week would we wiped away each time I was marched to the scale, leaving behind small pieces of myself in that bathroom.

I have decided not to weigh myself during this cleanse. I have a rough idea about how much I weigh but it is not relevant for me now. While I hope to lose weight, I am more interested in how I feel inside of my body. Gaining control over my eating is less about losing weight and more about removing the burden that has been buried deep inside me for 40 years. I feel inadequate and insignificant when my eating is out of control and, whether or not anyone else is judging me, I marginalize myself and let my self-image trump any other success I have in my life. My worthiness is often tied up in how well my jeans fit or how good I look in photographs. Just last night we had my husband’s family over for dinner and in the midst of dessert chat as we were laughing and sharing stories, a photograph of me and my children from three years ago caught my eye. I dropped out of the conversation and was lost in my disgust with myself because of how much better I looked in the picture. I had just lost a significant amount of weight and was working out intensely. I felt embarrassed to have the picture on display because, to me, it was living proof that I am not able to manage my weight effectively. I struggled to return to the group and abandon the negative noise inside my head.

I’m willing to track my food and exercise during the cleanse but am focusing on this activity as a measurement of matching my intake and output with how I feel. This is not an accounting of whether or not I am eating the right foods or spending the right amount of time exercising. Instead, this is an attempt to reprogram myself to understand how what I eat and how much I move affects how I feel both physically and mentally. I am trying to redirect the neurons to create a different experience. I’m excited to see if I can pull this off because it will be game-changing. They say it takes 21 days to make new habits. Let’s see if I can prove that theory.

More to come tomorrow….