Purification – Weekend Travel Fail

Well, it wasn’t a complete disaster.  Maybe.  But it definitely wasn’t great.  Let’s begin with what I should have done.

I should have packed a cooler with some veggies – a few bags of carrots and other easily transportable items.  I should have realized that our hotel room had a refrigerator, and that I could have stored some items there.  I should have realized that it was not going to be “easy” to order lean protein and veggies/a salad while eating on the fly with my family.

My first screw up was Friday while we were traveling.  I failed to recall that eggs were not among the allowable lean proteins and had them for breakfast.  I didn’t recognize that error until we were back home, two days later, and I consulted the purification guide/log, which I’d left on my counter.  Even so, that was probably not the end of the world.  However, the rest of the weekend included some additional hiccoughs.  For example, when we ate later that day – at a fast food establishment – I got grilled chicken and a salad  But I didn’t really allow myself enough time to finish the salad because my family was able to consume their meals faster, and everyone was itching to be done with the car ride – and to get to the hotel swimming pool.  The bottom line for that first day away from home was that I just got way fewer vegetables for the day, while at the same time abruptly upping my consumption of protein from “new” sources.  I did not feel great at the end of the day.

On Saturday at the football game, I ate something I knew was completely out of line with the program.  By the time I went to the concession stand (that is, after I’d made trips to get my kids food and drinks), they were out of grilled chicken sandwiches.  Given that I was trapped at the stadium for the duration of the game, and that I was very much hungry, I made the best choice I could.  I ordered a pulled pork sandwich, thinking it was a better option than a hotdog.  The sandwiches were made by some local vendor the stadium partnered with.  So on a “normal” day, they might have been a decent choice, in spite of not knowing exactly what kind of ingredients were in the barbecue sauce, etc.  I’d attempted to eat just the meat from the sandwich, but that proved to be difficult (and I think I looked like a crazy person).  So I just ate the sandwich.  Yes.  Refined white bun and all.

That evening, I had a delicious meal of grilled salmon and veggies, which included yummy zucchini and squash.  That was a treat because my family members aren’t fans of those veggies, so I seldom have them at home.  But – and maybe I didn’t read the menu carefully enough, or maybe it didn’t include it in the description – the salmon was drizzled with some kind of creamy sauce.  I scraped off what I could, but I still got a good deal of it.

After eating a super-healthy, almost strictly plant-based diet for a week and half, and then dramatically changing to fewer vegetables, more protein/proteins, and “illegal” items, I felt like garbage on Sunday night and Monday morning.  TMI ALERT:  In addition to feeling generally sluggish, I was tremendously gassy.  Just very much full of air.  Not comfortable.

On one hand, the weekend was a good learning opportunity for me.  I learned first hand how the food we consume affects our bodies – and I wasn’t even eating food that you’d normally call “bad.”  Just that shift from very good to not so good made noticeable changes to my physical feelings and energy levels.

On the other hand, I’m very upset about how I was unable to adhere to all the program rules.  When you go on an ordinary diet of one kind or another, you can forgive yourself for minor slips.  So you ate a cookie?  Just pick yourself up and get back on the program!  Do better tomorrow and all is well!  Right?

Well, I want to look at this in the same way, to recognize that nobody is perfect, and that it’s okay to just keep going.  But I feel like on this program, any screw up feels like it makes the whole thing a failure.  If the point is to eliminate certain foods and chemicals from your body for 21 days, then any consumption of those items puts you back at square one.  Yes?  No?  I’m not sure.

Of course, I can’t undo my weekend.  I can’t go back in time and plan better.  All I can do is keep moving forward.  So I’ve decided that I am going back to the “rules” of the first week of the program.  I intend to stick to the part of the program before lean proteins are introduced for the remainder of the program.  (I checked that this was okay and healthy.  I learned that the original purification program was just the shakes/smoothies for 21 days!  I don’t think I could have handled that one at all!) And I am going to extend my plan through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (that’s three extra days).  Of course, so that I am not miserable on Thanksgiving, I’m going to limit myself to small portions at dinner.  (Fortunately, Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t turn me on that much.  I mean, I like it.  But it’s not something I couldn’t live without.)

I’ll just close with some other small pieces of good news.  Although I haven’t lost any more weight, I haven’t gained either.  My clothes still fit.  All is well on that front.  In addition (another TMI alert!), I am getting my period.  In spite of not sticking exactly to the program, I am not having a major breakout like I have pretty much every month.  A few, small blemishes showed up, but I normally get more of them – and they’re bigger and much more painful.  This month, I feel like I still look human.  So I continue to experience good results even though I fouled up a bit.

I’ll be back to let you know how the balance of this plan goes – how I’m feeling, whether I lose additional weight, etc.  Wish me luck!

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Purification Week 1 – Additional Observations

After I created the last post, a few things hit me.

For one, I was writing about how tired I was over the weekend, but it didn’t dawn on me that I was feeling just plain old, regular sleepy, and not fuzzy-headed tired.  I definitely lost that head-in-a-fog feeling.  It’s funny: you walk around like that for so long and it starts to feel “normal.”  You’d think that when something helps you lift that feeling, you’d have this EUREKA! moment, but it just didn’t sink in right away that I’ve been feeling normal-normal and not just used-to-fuzziness normal!

Related to the tired/sleepy thing:  I stayed up a little too late on Monday night.  I was busy, and then I misplaced something and kind of got obsessed with finding it (I didn’t).  But I felt just fine all day yesterday until the evening.  Then I started feeling suddenly Tired, and I went to bed early last night.  I feel like I used to be able to weather the one night of a little lost sleep better.  But it occurred to me this morning that it’s not, “Man this purification is making me tired!”  It’s more like, “Nice, this purification is reminding me that it’s important to get enough sleep!”

Additionally, as I was running around yesterday for work, having my shake, lentils, and baby carrots on the run – and feeling like I just needed more to eat – it really drove it home for me that I need some better plans for taking care of myself through the day.  And by that I mean for now, as I finish this 21-day program, as well as for when I have completed it.  Because I’m on this program, I’m doing a much better job of taking with me what I need to nourish myself through the day.  At least mostly.  But typically, I grab a snack or two to eat through the day, and then I often eat too much (or eat something unhealthy/no-nourishing) when I get home.  One of my challenges this time is that soup or salad makes a great meal for getting enough vegetables into my body, but those are difficult to eat in the car, even if I stop during my travels through the day.  I need to begin now with brainstorming some ideas for lunches that I can eat on the go that will still be healthy and nourishing – and prevent me from stopping at a convenience store for peanuts or something all the time.

Finally, I was feeling frustrated about the scale being “stuck” where I was at the end of Days 5 & 6.  At the same time, I was thinking about this coming weekend when we are going to be traveling.  While we’re away, I’m going to be able to stick to the spirit of the purification – by taking my shakes with me and by ordering lean protein and veggies or a salad.  However, I’m not going to be able to stick to what might be the ideal of the program.  For example, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to order brown rice or lentils, and I may or may not be able to get in as many veggies as I would be able to if we were at home with access to my refrigerator.  I was really looking forward to dropping 10-12 pounds like I did the last time I completed the purification.  But I realize now that I need to shift my focus.  The important thing here is that I’m working to purify my body of stimulants, sugar, additives, etc.  And it’s setting me up to develop better habits and making me aware of weaknesses (like the having good food on the go thing) so that I can continue to lead a healthy lifestyle after the 21 days is over.  That will help me focus on eating healthy and on losing the weight I need to lose over the long-term.  Which is perfect, considering we’re entering the holiday season.  How great would it be to not gain weight this holiday season – or to even drop a few pounds?!

So the analysis at this point is: This purification isn’t going flawlessly, but I’m looking for the positive.  It’s not just about the specific results – at least with respect to weight loss – during this 21-day period.  It’s about habits, learning, self-care, and focus.  And I’m feeling positive that it’s giving me the boost I need to move my weight and overall health in a positive direction for the long haul.

I’ll be back after the long, travel weekend to report on how that goes!

Purification – Survived Week 1!

Today starts week two of the purification program.  I’m happy to say that I successfully survived the first seven days, even though it was harder than I expected.

Let’s start with some good news.  I had a work dinner on Friday at a Mexican restaurant, which I was a little nervous about.  Fortunately, I have understanding co-workers who were supportive of my efforts.  I did experience just a little bit of teasing about having to order a salad when there were all these delicious dishes to choose from, but no one tried to tell me that it was okay to “cheat” or that I should make an exception because it was a special occasion.

When we first arrived, I felt a little awkward about drinking my iced water and abstaining from the appetizers while everyone else enjoyed their favorite adult beverages and munched on appetizers including chips with salsa and guacamole, fried chicken, and meats and cheeses.  After a bit, they did bring out some celery and a dip.  In spite of pretty much hating celery, I had some with guac because it at least gave me something to do, while I waited for my salad.  Oddly enough, once my salad finally arrived, I was super happy with it.  It was pretty ordinary at first, but then the server suggested that I could add a serving of fajita veggies to it and that made all the difference.  It was quite tasty and I felt confident that I really had eaten plenty of vegetables on Friday.  It wasn’t the ideal scenario to experience during the purification, but I felt really good about myself that I was able to manage it effectively.

The “bad” news was that, over the weekend, I was still feeling pretty exhausted, when I was expecting to start having my energy bounce back.  I took a nap on both Saturday and Sunday, which left me feeling better but like I wasted a lot of free, weekend time.  I’m not sure if I was still just not getting enough calories, or if I just legitimately wasn’t getting enough sleep last week, or if I’m under more stress (I am) than I was when I did the purification in the spring, but I could not snap out of it.

So far today, I am feeling great, though.  I’m hoping that I rounded the corner on the sluggish feelings and that week two is going to be more energetic for me.  I’m going to need all the strength, confidence, and energy I can get because this weekend’s challenge is even greater than the work dinner:  We are going out of town Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Fortunately, I can add lean protein after this Wednesday, which will make it significantly easier to manage eating out for three days.  I’ll just have to pack my tools for making my shakes and then order a grilled chicken breast or something similar with a big salad or order of veggies.  So the timing is good.  I’m not sure it would be possible for me, otherwise.

In other news, my skin is remaining very clear in spite of the fact that this is prime time this month for it to blow up on me!  It feels really smooth and it not breaking out at all.  Fingers crossed that it stays that way!

I’ll maybe check in again later in the week to write about my energy level.  If not, I will definitely be back Sunday or Monday to write about how it goes on our trip!

Purification – Days 2-5

Well, it’s early in Day 5, but I thought I’d provide an update while I have the time.

My success with the Standard Process 21-Day Purification Program, along with a good Day 1, had me a little over confident about the rest of this week. It’s been a little rougher than I expected, but I’m hanging in there.

Let’s start with the bad news.  I got a headache – a pretty bad one – on both Days 2 & 3.  It was coming from across the bridge of my nose, which is not my typical headache.  The purification literature says that often times people will experience pain or other symptoms around old injuries, even ones that happened decades ago.  It sounds like a bad thing, but it’s because more healing is sometimes required, even if you didn’t know you still had a problem in that area.  I’ve never broken my nose, but I did fall on my face at gymnastics as a kid.  I put my teeth into my lower lip, and I believe I got a nose bleed.  Maybe it was that, or maybe that’s just what my detox headache felt like this time.

Fortunately, I also had my appointment at Keystone Spinal Care on Tuesday (which is also where I got my purification kit).  That helped my headache some.  Later in the day when it was bothering me again, I dealt with it by lying down in the dark for a spell, eating my healthy food, and drinking more water.  It helped a lot, but didn’t completely knock it out, so I had to muscle through.  In addition, I felt pretty sluggish on Days 2 & 3.  Having a headache will do that to you, but I think my body was also still adjusting to the nutritional changes.  Furthermore, on Wednesday (Day 3), I felt uncomfortable and out of whack around my hips and low back, but that passed quickly with a little stretching.  (I didn’t exercise those days, and I find that lack of movement will make my back a little stiff.)

But the good news is that I woke up yesterday (Day 4) and today feeling good.  Yesterday, I got myself going for the day with a short weight workout in the basement (it was short because I over slept a bit).  Today, I got in a three-mile run in the cold – which felt great in spite of the cold.

Additional good news:  I’ve lost 6.2 pounds.  This could be easily dismissed at water weight and not a “real” weight loss, but I know better from my last round with the purification, when I lost eight pounds the first week.  Plus, I’m able to wear slacks that I couldn’t button a week ago.  Amazing what a few days of really treating your body right with nourishing food will do for you!

Finally – and I realize this picture isn’t totally convincing – I appear to already be de-puffing some.  Here’s my eye this morning:

 

Right eye

Okay, not perfect, but less puffy – especially for first thing in the morning!

I have also had this little rashy area under that eye that’s been coming and going.  It’s cleared up some.  I’m anxious to see if it keeps clearing up and stays away or if it comes back again.  I’m not sure if it’s just tiny blemishes or some other condition.  For example, even though it’s only just started to get cold, my skin is already starting to get a little dry and flaky like it does in the winter.

Looking back over the week, I have to wonder if my headaches (and other aches) were due to detox or just lack of calories.  Unlike last time, I’m having to manage this purification on the run more.  For example, Tuesday evening, I had to eat my lentils and have my shake in the car.  Normally, I make the shake in the blender and can add some veggies and fruit.  Also, since I’ve been so busy, I think I have been consuming the bare minimum amount of food.  I’m going to try to make sure I am eating my veggies and fruits throughout the days.

Related to that, here’s an amusing story.  I had to take my midday shake with me again yesterday (Day 4).  When I first mixed it up, it was a little thick, so I decided to add more water.  I was in the car, so I waited until I was at a red light, added the water, made a big deal of making sure the lid was screwed on my shaker, and gave it a good shake.  The problem was this guy:

Shaker

Note to self: Make sure you hear the ‘click.’

I’d closed the flappy thing over the spout, but it didn’t click shut.  Shake all over me and the car.  Basically, I looked like I threw up on myself.  I didn’t think to take a picture of my lap, but here’s part of what happened to my car.

Car mess

At least it didn’t smell like vomit.

Tonight I face the first of my “big” obstacles for this purification: My husband and I are going to a dinner with my co-workers.  And I have to leave for the dinner straight from my appointment.  I ordered a salad for dinner, can’t partake of any of the alcohol (and, I’m told, my boss brings plenty o’ it), and I’m going to have to eat my lentils and have my shake on the run again.  It’s a bummer I can’t have some yummier food at the Mexican restaurant or enjoy some adult beverages, but I’m planning ahead so that I won’t be hungry and it won’t be tortuously tempting.

I’ll check back in by Monday to give a summary of finishing week one of three!

Purification – Day 1

Just a brief intro to the structure of the purification plan, to make this easier to understand.

For the first 10 days, I can eat all the vegetables I want and up to half as many fruits.  There are Standard Process shakes I can have 3-5 times a day (last time, I typically had three each day.)  And I can eat a couple of small servings of lentils, brown rice or quinoa.  That’s it.  Just to spell it out for you, that means, no dairy, no meat, no beans, no seeds, no grains/breads, no caffeine or other stimulants, no sugar, no processed foods, and no alcohol.

On Day 11, select, lean proteins can be added.  All the other rules still apply.  Now that that’s out of the way….

Yesterday, I prepared for the purification by shopping for the things I would need.  This included fruits and vegetables, as I already had quinoa, lentils, and brown rice.  I specifically grabbed the veggies and vegetable stock I would need to prepare some soups I can eat during the first 10 days of the program.  Raw veggies are great, but you simply cannot chew enough salad to get through a day where vegetables are the bulk of your diet.  So soup it is.  Standard Process has recipes available to make this easier.  My favorite purification soup came from another source, but I can’t find the link to share it.  When I figure it out, I’ll include it in a post.

Just like last time, I’d originally planned to give up coffee (and other forms of caffeine) for a week (or at least a few days) before starting the program.  But I was never going to get started that way, so I had to just jump right in, and I had to do the same thing this time.

I woke up with a headache – just as I do about half the time lately.  I feel like I’m getting enough sleep, but maybe haven’t been sleeping well.  I was up early to run, in the freezing cold, but I had to cut my run short because I thought my hip felt funny and I didn’t want to risk it.  At least I was up and moving.

When I got back from my run, I had my first shake of the day.  I guess I’m still used to them from the last time because I didn’t think it tasted bad.  In the spring, they were very much an acquired taste.  I prepared it with a big fist full of spinach, plus a couple of frozen strawberries and chunks of frozen mango.  I think the freezy pieces help with the taste and feel a lot.  Through the morning, I munched on some raw veggies, and at lunch time I had my second shake and a half cup serving of lentils.

Dinner consisted of a big bowl of cauliflower-carrot soup, some more lentils, and another shake.

All in all, I felt better than expected today.  Although the morning headache left me feeling fuzzy, I chalked that up to my normal state of being, and not being on the purification.  And despite the fact that I somehow didn’t get a crushing, caffeine withdrawal headache when I jumped into the purification cold turkey in the spring, I was still nervous that I wouldn’t get that lucky a second time.  But I’m happy to report that I did not get a bad headache or crave something with caffeine specifically.

Once again, I did not feel hungry throughout the day.  I repeat: I did NOT feel hungry.  However – same as last time – I almost constantly, wanted “something” else.  The effects of eliminating a bunch of “bad” things makes it very clear that I eat way more often and way more junk than I even realize.  I very clearly understand the definition of “craving” now.  I just wanted something, anything else – a bite of something sweet, something salty, something crunchy, something carby, anything.  But I told myself I could manage it.  I got through the first day much better than I’d hoped.

I also weighed myself this morning for the first time in ages.  I’d been too scared!  And now I know why!  I’m at the very top end of the 15 or so pounds I’ve been swinging for the past two years.  Starting the purification couldn’t have come at a better time.  I’ll be interested to see if the scale changes already tomorrow morning.  I’ll be sure to report – and to have an even more pleasant day tomorrow as the cravings begin to subside!

Up First: Eating Plan – Cleaning up My Act

One of three components I’ve identified for meeting my health and fitness goals is changing my lifestyle when it comes to food.  Specifically, I’m going to start eating real food exclusively again.  To get me off on the right path, I’ll be starting the Standard Process 21-Day Purification Program tomorrow.

I’m excited to embark on the purification because it’s the second time I’ve done it, so I know that I have some really awesome outcomes awaiting me at the end of these three weeks.  (About one week in to my last purification, I wrote about the experience here.) Here are some good things I have to look forward to, based on past experience:

  • Weight loss – I actually forget how much weight I lost over the three weeks (10? 12 pounds?), but I do recall that I lost eight pounds the first week.  And it was “real” (e.g., not water weight) weight, as I was able to wear clothes on Day 8 that absolutely did not fit me on Day 1.
  • Clearer skin – My skin has been one of my problem areas since I turned 40, breaking out once a month – and clearing up just long enough to start it all over the next month.  Here’s a “before” picture of me I took the other day.  WARNING: Between the fact that it was taken during the worst possible phase of the month and the no makeup, it’s scary.

    Skin - before

    Is my nose that knobby in person?

  • De-Puffing – Not only did my skin condition and tone improve, I was less puffy.  Here’s an extreme close up of my eye, also taken a few days ago.  Possibly even scarier than the last picture.  If you can make yourself look at it for more than a moment, you’ll notice that both my upper and lower lids are puffed up like one of those birds, trying to attract a mate.

    Puffy - before

    Are my eyes planning a trip around the world? Because those bags are PACKED.

  • No Food Cravings – At the end of the program, it is so easy to eat real, good, clean food – from the Earth – because you genuinely no longer want to eat any processed garbage, sugary snacks, etc.
  • Caffeine Addiction, Broken – After the 21 days, I was fine without a morning cup of coffee.  Unlike my current state of being.
  • NO Belly Issues – ONE time, when I ate too many sweet potato fries, I had a tummy issue during the last purification.  Other than that, I had no stomach or intestinal discomfort, whereas tummy issues pretty much occur daily when I’m not eating real, nourishing food.
  • NO Joint Discomfort – When I did the purification, and for the months afterward where I continued to eat clean, real food, all my achy “old” parts that tend to bug me stopped.  Stopped.

The downside of starting the process a second time is that I am also very much aware of the challenges I’ll be facing.  The first day is fairly uncomfortable (although I will say that it was not as bad as I expected).  Day 2 is much like Day 1, only a little milder.  I wanted to eat something else in the worst way.  I didn’t specifically crave something salty or something sweet, but I would have settled for either of those things.  I just wanted – craved really is the most accurate word – the bad things we all become addicted to without even realizing it – because those foods are so “normal” in our diets these days.

So I know tomorrow is going to really stink.  However, I know that if I just get through the first two days, it will pass, and I will start to feel better and better throughout the program.

I’m going to face some additional, logistical challenges this time that were not a problem last time.  I’ll write about those and how I deal with them, as I face them.  I’ll be back tomorrow to let you know if Day 1 turns out to be better, worse, or about the same as last time.