glow notes

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

goals

"If you're not playing a big enough game, you'll screw up the game you're playing just to give yourself something to do." Anonymous.

What a great quote. I think a lot about goals. A friend of mine doesn't like the concept, finds it too "rah rah." I don't have quite that feeling, but I do have the sense that sometimes we hide behind a goal that isn't, in fact, what we want to achieve.

Women (and some men), for instance, sometimes just "want to lose that last 5 pounds." What happens when they do lose that five pounds? Bliss? Eternal salvation? What? WHAT? I mean, 5 pounds is frankly nothing in real terms. Calculate your necessary caloric intake based on basal metabolism and activity, cut 250-500 calories per day, and lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week. In 5-10 weeks you're there, no big. (Sidenote: I don't mean to imply that it's always that simple -people do have physical problems that impede weight loss, but in a majority of instances, it's something in our thinking that gets in the way).

So now what? You've lost the 5 pounds.

You ready to run for president?
Quit your job and open a fingernail salon?
Start a foundation for pit bulls in need of rescue?
Meet your dream lover?
Travel to the jungles of South America and study rare beetles?
Write that best-selling spy novel?

Wait! SCARY!

We want our dreams so bad, but it's frightening to take the steps necessary to get there. Believe me, I know.

So . . . we get to keep losing that same 5 pounds over and over because it gives your Self something to do while deferring the real dream.

I'm focusing on weight loss, but other small goals (pseudo-goals) can be the same.

I don't have a solution for this, necessarily. But perhaps if I recognize this phenomenon, I can keep it from popping up so much in my life. I know what my dreams are, that's huge. I can take a turtle step a day, that's even huger. And, if it gets scary, guess what?

That's ok.

I can do scary. I can be kind with myself. I can slow down. I can ask for help. I can take spa days and scrub myself with sugar-infused almond oil.

And guess what happens?

It's really not that scary.

update on the after cleanse

My dear reading public, I know you have a burning question that I've left unanswered. You're dying to know: is she or is she not drinking coffee?

I drank 1 cup on Monday. It was only so-so as beverages go.

I drank green tea today (Tuesday). It was divine.

I think I shall leave coffee as a special occasion stimulant (i.e. when I've had insomnia and need to, say, invade a small country before noon). I thought I loved the stuff, but apparently it was not to be.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

days 9 and 10

Wowza - it's over! This weekend I had class both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I woke up at 4am full of ideas from a coaching session the prior day, and got up to writewritewritewrite. I took off for class at 8am, and realized that I'd forgotten my carefully packed lunch and snacks (cherries, tabouli, sprouted almonds, sprout salad). In a fit of reasonable-ness that was quite out of character, I decided I wasn't supposed to have that stuff for lunch and shrugged it off. I walked to Trader Joe's and bought some nuts and a salad with the rest of the class, which turned out to be a fun bonding experience. After class, Husband and I hiked up a small mountain, then came home, dumped all the clean clothes from the bed into a basked and fell asleep like logs.

I woke up this morning at 6 full of energy, studied and wrote for a bit, went to class. I brought my lunch this time, but didn't feel like eating it. Once again I walked to TJ's with the group and bought greek yogurt, ginger granola, and a salad. After class I was still very hungry. I decided that the cleanse was about over - my body was asking for FOOD.

Since the clease wasn't that restrictive, I didn't have to worry so much about shocking my body. So I did what I wanted to do: we went to barbque, then came home and had a most delicious bowl of dark chocolate soy ice cream with walnuts. And you know what? I am a tad full, but I feel GOOD. I feel GREAT. I feel like I don't need bbq and ice cream for some time to come. That is a good feeling. It felt really good to have a really yummy meal tonight that had nothing to do with left-brained "what is good for me based on this chart" and everything to do with what I wanted on a primal, childlike level.

Tomorrow and beyond? Well, I've discovered that I don't really need coffee, and in fact green tea feels better. I also am enjoying using the food log rather than a more structured system for now, and I'll continue that through the end of the month, or as long as it works for me.

I love the light feeling I had during the cleanse. I did get used to the cheeeeewwwwwiiiing my food slowly, which is fabulous for my digestion.

And I learned a new way of cleansing, one that's easier on my spirit and my body than the restrictive cleanses of my past. It's something I could even do once a month for a couple of days, or for longer once a season. It feels great and is easy.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Eight days eight days give the girl a cheer hey hey!

Yuppers, I feel pretty proud of myself, sticking with this thing.

I wake up each morning, say to myself "self, I don't know what you're thinking with this giving up coffee thing," then walk downstairs, drink my lemon water, make my green tea, take my herbs, and feel pretty darned good. I am not sure what I miss about coffee, honestly. I'll do some work on that.

Also, I dreamed about French pastry last night. Need to do some work on that too, because pastries do NOT make me feel great at ALL.

Ok, backing up. I had a massage last night, did yoga, took a long hot bath, then fell asleep. Man, I woke up feeling good.

For the record, can I just say that oatmeal with mixed berries, half a banana, a big scoop of almond butter, and a dash of vanilla soymilk is about the best breakfast ever?

I've been having some of my best workouts ever throughout this cleanse, and have been packing on muscle and losing weight. I feel, well, clean. My stomach is flatter, my intestines happier, my energy more even. I've had some rough moments with the grumpy thing as all those toxins work their way out.

The best thing this has done for me is put me back in touch with my body vis a vis food. I set up a certain amount of structure for the cleanse, but I also gave myself a lot of leeway to listen to my body. The structure that I did set up (i.e. no coffee, no sugar, etc.) was put there lovingly in order to help me feel fabulous.

The leeway to listen to my body's needs, something that Christi emphasized out in her fabulous book, has made this cleanse so much more pleasant than past cleanses. When I felt that I needed more protein, I ate a (very good, high quality, lovingly prepared) steak. When I felt starved in the evening, I ate a small meal. When I exercised, I asked my body what kind of movement it wanted to do.

Throughout the cleanse, I've logged what I am eating, how I am moving, and how I am feeling. I generally eat five small meals a day - breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, though I added in a snack after dinner twice (notably always on weightlifting days - duh).

My M.O. for the past year or so is to use a handheld planner to keep track of my intake and exercise (I got this for $10 on eBay. Unfortunatly, the tool is no longer being made, though you can buy similar tracking tools for a palm pilot, a desktop computer, or can use the free Web based fitday software).

I like this method, because it allows me to a) track my nutrient intake, so that I can be sure I'm getting, say, enough protein or fiber or whatever. I like that it frees me up to be 20% "bad" because I have rational, empirical evidence that I'm still doing quite well in terms of total calories, nutrient values, etc. I like that it's sort of a game, making all the numbers work for me. I like getting the big picture via graphs and pie charts and such. I like tracking my progress. I like making progress.

But sometimes it can a) start to feel like a ball and chain and b) make caring for my body more of a head game, and, as such, I feel less intimately, physically involved with each decision about what to eat, how to move, etc. Less embodied.

The great thing is that I no longer feel that I have to have a forever solution. I can log food for awhile, use a planning tool for awhile, try other things for awhile. I love that I have given myself permission to be flexible about this.

Go me!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Days 6 and 7

Oops, missed posting yesterday. Day 6 was a relative breeze. I was hungry a lot in the morning, even after eating, but that passed. In the evening I was hungry again, so had a snack (dont' wanna lose any muscle mass, and all that).

Today, day 7, I woke up feeling puffy, tired, and grouchy as hell. Either I need a whole day's sleep or I'm seriously detoxing or both. Or it could be that something I've eaten disagrees with me, and now that I'm cleaner, I'm feeling it. Hmmm . . .

Tonight I'm getting a massage, then I'll crash EARLY. Like 8pm.

mmmmm . . . massage . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Day 5: I feeeel good duh duh duh nu nu

Hey all-

Last night I was pretty fatigued. B and I ate dinner (sliced veggies with hummous and a few walnuts and almonds for me, a turkey sausage on a whole wheat roll and green beans for him) and went for a walk on the Bay, then went grocery shopping. On the way home, at about 8:30pm, I got fungry (effing hungry). Usually I don't like to eat so late in the day, but when I'm fungry I make an exception. I want to keep my muscle mass up, and I don't like to go to bed starved. So, I decided to drink a whey protein drink and have an apple. Let me tell you, that was the best tasting meal!

I was right to do that. I needed protein. I felt about 200% more energetic within 15 minutes. The down side of that is I stayed up a little late, studying. I got to bed around 10:45.

I woke up tired at 6 this morning. I wanted coffee (coffffff-eeeeee). I wanted Barry's peanut butter toast. I wanted a muffin from my favorite coffee shop - they're all full of berries and fluffy yet substantial inside, but crispy on top and man oh man, they're good. Did I mention I wanted coffee? Instead I had 2 cups of green tea and Manna bread with raw almond butter and the most yummiest mango. Felt awake enough about half an hour to run with B. We ran well - 2.6 miles in 24 minutes.

So . . . I drove into work, had a snack of strawberries and sprouted almonds before going to a long meeting. At about 12pm, while working at my desk, I realized that

I FEEL GREAT!

Don't know if it's all the herbal tea, or if the strawberries gave me a sugar buzz, or what, but dang I feel good.

In other news, I'm ready to incorporate more "building" foods into my diet slowly. Tonight we're having grass-fed beef steak with roasted corn and broccoli. I'm looking forward to that meal! Still sticking with no coffee, sugar or other processed carbs, nuked foods, dairy (except whey protein), and am still doing the green tea, lemon water, etc.

Stay tuned for day 6!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Day 4: I can do this

Day 4 of the cleanse!

Feeling good! Of note:

- Sleeping great, waking up easily
- Sinuses are very happy - no allergy symptoms at all
- High energy (though legs are very fatigued from weekend workouts)
- Not that hungry, given that I'm eating so much less
- My tummy feels good - no stomach cramps and stuff

I don't really feel like I'm detoxing any longer. I'm on a pretty even keel.

I've added nut butters back into my diet for energy. Mmmm, mmmmm, nut butter! I may want to add some whey protein and/or meats back in, because I'm doing pretty intense weights workouts and need to repair muscle tissue.

I'll likely incorporate some of these changes permanently, and try one of these cleanses a few times per year, with modifications for situation, season, and mood.

Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Day 3: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Hi all - it's day 3 of my cleanse. Here's the update:

The good
I have lots of energy and strength, and my workouts haven't slowed down at all. If anything I feel more like working out. Ran three miles this morning, then stretched for 1/2 hour (I highly recommend the stretching book written by these two guys, by the way - I'll write more on it later, but it's seriously given me a new body). My sugar cravings are all but gone. I'm enjoying eating more simply - in fact, it's nice not to think so much about food, since I'm not really cooking most of my meals, just eating whole foods. I have had no coffee withdrawal headaches. While I miss my old friend coffee, the green tea gives me a much milder, more even wake-up, less of a spike, less harshness.

The bad
This chewing thing is hard for me. I've discovered that while I love food, I don't much like the process of eating, except under certain circumstances like a really really good restaurant - or in general any great food with great company. Or great food when I'm alone, when I'm totally in love with my life.

That's good news, actually, as it reminds me of what I can work for more of in my life. Lushness. When I went to Park City and stayed at the fabulous Stein Ericksen for my life coach training, I lost 2 pounds in 3 days, eating whatever I wanted (and it stayed off, it wasn't just water weight). It was about loving my life, fully being in my element - it changed my mindset enough that a) I probably was less hungry and b) I sincerely believe my body chemistry changed. I was a different person, and a lighter one. It didn't hurt to have turn-down service and a maid clean my room daily. But I digress.

The ugly
Man, I've had some foul moods today. GRUMP-Y. Not all the time, just off and on. Things keep coming up, as if I'm also cleansing my emotional palette - stuff that pissed me off long ago, or that didn't feel good and I just figured out why. Interesting. Also probably healthy.

Well, stay tuned for day four!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Cleaning house!

I've been feeling a bit sluggish these past few months. I've had some slumps, some times I've felt overtrained, some sugar cravings, some allergies, some aches and pains. So I decided to do a cleanse. Now, I've done cleanses before, but they were the HARD kind involving fasting and drinking green gook alternated with handfuls of herb pills. I was having a hard time gearing up for that.

So, I bought this amazing little e-book from a very cool holistic health counselor named Christi Lehner. It's called The Ultimate Spring Cleanse Book for Beginners. One thing I love about Christi's approach is that she embraces life's lushness, and this book is true to form. It's inspiring and it helped me look at cleansing in a new way - as a treat for my body, not as medicine!

So, I'm going to post my experience here. I'm doing a 10-day cleanse, which is a longish time, but it's not harsh. It's a simplification, not a drastic reduction. I'm doing the following for my cleanse:

1) Replace my usual morning coffee with green tea

2) Drink lemon juice in water each morning first thing

3) Drink lots of water and delicious cleansing herbal teas

4) Focus on eating cleansing foods (In the book, Christi talks about "building foods" [meats, nuts, fats, dairy, eggs, etc.] and "cleansing foods" [greens, sprouts, fruits, whole grains, etc.]. I'm starting with almost all cleansing foods, then will add in more building foods as my body asks for them.

5) Eat slowly and consciously. Chew 20 times per bite. Be aware while eating - no reading, no computer, etc.

6) Continue to work out, but listen to my body and perhaps replace some weight or cardio workouts with yoga or go for long walks on the beach.

7) Write down my top one blessing each night - and I have a lot to pick from!

8) Give myself a yummy non-food treat each day - for instance, a clay mask, a sugar body scrub, a long hot bath, a massage, a walk with my honey, a trip to the beach. mmmmm . . .massage . . .

9) Oh yeah, and I'm giving some stuff up too. No sugar, no refined carbs, no dairy, no meat for the first few days, no nuked foods.

10) I'm also giving up stress, or at least being aware of reducing it. Simplifying my schedule. Not stressing over being on time for things. Saying 'no" or "not right now" and not even worrying about it (much).

I'm just winding down day 2. Here's the recap.

Day 0 (preparation) -

-Went to the health food store to stock on organic produce, treats (body sugar scrub, new face wash, etc.). Had a rough moment when I saw that they'd restocked the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies to die for. Reminded myself that I am doing this cleanse to feel refreshed and delicious, and that I will eat lots (and lots) of cookies in my life.

-Made a list of treats - some are even FREE - and made a massage appointment for later next week.

-Took a long hot bath with dead sea salts, put on a clay mask, read a good book.

-Went to bed feeling great, ready to get started!

Day 1-

-Felt pretty darned good for no coffee!

-Went to the gym, considered yoga but really wanted to pick up some iron. Felt strong, and like I was sweating out toxins.

-My food choices feel good. My intestines are starting to feel cleaned out. Eating slowly is hard but has merits! Am eating fruit, veggies, oatmeal, sprouts, soy milk, tofu, brown rice, stuff like that.

-Made a pot of split pea soup with veggies and a pot of brown rice to have all week.

-One rough moment when I opened the freezer and saw Husband's ice cream. Reminded myself that it will feel sooooo good to be free of refined crud for awhile.

Day 2-

-Eyes popped open at 6am!

-Went mountain bike riding with Husband. 10 miles! Hoo ya! I'm getting better at it, too. Felt really energetic, had lots of endurance.

-Had a big plate of fresh veggies with hummous for lunch. Tasted good, but chewing this much is getting old. I'll be glad to have soup for dinner.

-Took Raisin to the beach. Mmmmm . . .ocean air! Took a dip. Came home and sat in the hot tub, chlorine be damned. Then a long hot shower with sugar scrub, followed by mango body butter.

-Soup and sprouts for dinner. Mmmm mmmm good!

-Did I mention all the cherries, berries, nectarines, etc. I've been eating? Oh man, summer fruit is better than baked goods anyhow, any day!

-I feel a hungry, but not starved. I feel lighter and refreshed already! Tomorrow I'll add in some almond butter and sprouted grain bread (manna bread - the kind that looks like a bread bullet and isn't baked) after my workout for energy. Plus cherries.

I'll keep logging my experience. I really recommend Christi's book if you're interested in doing a cleanse (she gives lots of options and ideas - it doesn't have to look anything like mine). And let me know how it goes!