I can hardly believe that today I officially completed my 21-day purification cleanse. Looking back at where I was three weeks ago, it was hard to see the destination and I certainly could not have imagined I would feel the way I do. This process, from a physical and mental standpoint, has truly altered me. I am evidence of the fact that you can change your behaviors and develop new habits in just 21 days.

One thing I know to be true about myself is that when I set my mind to something, I will make it happen. I don’t always believe in myself at first but usually, in a short period of time, I remember what I am capable of. I always want to be an inspiration for others and to let my courage extend to those who may not be able to find the bravery in themselves. I am often underestimated and I love to prove people wrong. Perhaps it is my stubbornness. Perhaps it is my sheer force of will. Whatever the case, I will not be counted out or written off. I am capable of accomplishing great things in my life and I will not stop trying to improve who I am.

The days ahead are unclear to me as I do not have a specific maintenance plan yet but I will pull that together in the next few days. I need to first ween myself off of the belief that I cannot step outside what has become my comfort zone. I will experiment a little with the introduction of new foods and examine how it makes me feel in order to determine what I am going to include in my life going forward. For sure, I need to add variety because, by dinner tonight, I was done. I was ready for something new and different. My brain is a few steps ahead of me and knows there is more and different food to be had and my body is beginning to crave increased variety. Tonight, as I ate my (delicious) spaghetti squash with homemade tomato sauce and the rest of my family ate ravioli and sausage, I found myself wanting to take a big bite into the sausage. I refrained for many reasons but, mostly, because I knew that I would feel bloated and uncomfortable if I did. So, I am going to continue use what I have learned and what I now know to be true about my body to guide me on the next leg of this journey.

What I consumed:

  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries, bananas, blueberries and pineapple
  • Grilled chicken with olive oil, lemon juice and shallots
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower with sea salt and pepper
  • 4 dates
  • Spaghetti squash with homemade tomato sauce
  • 10 gigantic supplement capsules
  • 64 oz water

How I felt:

I woke up this morning definitely feeling better than yesterday. What felt like a rock living in my stomach seemed to have subsided a bit and I was able to get out to the gym this morning. I do think I had a bit of an overdose on the fiber so I have backed off that a bit. By this evening, I was nearly back to 100%. I continue to have tons of energy and am feeling very comfortable and content. The cravings did start creeping back in today, especially when I was organizing the pantry and found four – yes, four – packages of cookies that my son had been slipping in under my nose. I looked at them, fantasized about them for a moment or two, and then moved on. I don’t need them. If I am going to indulge, it is going to be on some delicious meal, not Chips Ahoy.

Physical Activity:

57 minutes on the elliptical.  I wanted to get a workout in today because I missed yesterday and because I am traveling for work starting tomorrow for 4 days. I am brining my clothes for workouts but my time will be tight so I am going to have quick sessions in the gym. I needed to end the cleanse on a high note physically and feel prepared of the days ahead.

I need to take note of my accomplishments as a result of the cleanse:

  • 10 lbs lost
  • Workouts almost every day (I believe I only missed about 4 or 5 days total in the 21 days)
  • Mental clarity and a general happier disposition
  • Less of a dependence on food to comfort me when I am stressed or unhappy
  • Deeper understanding of when I am hungry and how different foods make me feel

The last three are actually the most important to me.  While I still have a ways to go with my weight and would have liked to have lost 15 on the cleanse, the real reward from this experience is my state of mind and my relationship with food. I have struggled to gain control over food since I was a young kid and this is, without question, the first time in my life that I feel like I can make decisions about food without fear. I know that, like sobriety, this will not always be easy and if I slip off the wagon, I will fall hard. Nonetheless, I am confident that I am up to the task. I intentionally went public with my experience and have shared my story about the cleanse with just about anyone I run into because I want to be held accountable. I want anyone who knows me to know that I have made a commitment to change my life and they should all feel free to tap me on the shoulder if they notice I have slipped. I don’t want to hide in shame or make this a secret. This is my true battle in life and I have come to learn that, even though I am the only one who can control what I put into my mouth, I do need a support system to help me avoid triggers when possible and to mitigate my risks when I am feeling vulnerable. I cannot do this alone.

The other great accomplishment that I have underplayed a lot throughout this process is my lack of dependence on Facebook. Initially, it was the hardest part of the cleanse to not have the ability to mindlessly distract myself with perusing Facebook. Now, I don’t even think about it.  I have had to go on once or twice for business-related reasons and I never ventured beyond my company page. I did check my notifications and the other day someone told me they sent me a friend request and I accepted it. I have not seen my own page and have not looked at anyone else’s. With the exception of missing a few birthdays, I feel confident that nothing went down that was necessary for me to see. I’m not sure if I will go back on but I can guarantee that I will not be reinstalling the app on my phone or iPad. I like my independence and I’m going to keep it that way.

So, this is the end of the road, for now. I’ll be checking back in periodically to share my updates and keep that accountability. I do have some lofty goals for myself for this year. I am turning 50 in 2 years and I want to be in the best shape of my life. I want to be one of those people that is not constantly thinking about being on a diet, on a diet, or feeling guilty about the fact that I have slipped off my diet. That paradigm simply doesn’t work for me anymore. I really do want to be 50, fit and fabulous. I have a lot of work to get there but this was a pretty awesome start.

Thanks for tuning in!  More to come….


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.