Monday, January 21, 2013

What's On the Inside?

So I recently came to the realization that I'm old.  Well, old-ish.  I celebrated my 43rd birthday a couple of weeks ago, and found myself, as I do at every birthday, taking inventory.  I generally wake up on my birthday and, as I'm putting on my mascara, take a little closer look at my eyes and the lines that are there.  I'm happy to report that most of them are smile lines, and I can live with those.  But, considering I spend most of my mornings getting ready trying to avoid even a glimpse of myself naked in any of the bathroom mirrors, I began to wonder if it isn't time for a lifestyle change. 
Image discovered at http://healthylifesg.com
Like most women my age, I've tried innumerable different diets.  There was the All Protein Diet (I'm not a big meat-eater), the Raw Food Diet (all natural, and nothing heated to over 116-degrees), the Juice Diet (running all of your fruits and veges through a juicer).  And that is just a very small sampling of the crazy diets I've tried.   Then there was just trying to portion control, or counting my calories of every single thing I put in my mouth using an ap for my iPhone, and then finally and (most recently) the Desperation Diet of only 500 calories a day.  I lost weight on that one; starvation will generally drop you a few pounds!  But I didn't keep it all off.

http://consciouscleanse.com/
A week or so after my birthday while perusing my email Inbox, I saw my book recommendations for the month, and low and behold, one of the first books on the list was called 'The Conscious Cleanse'; I've posted a link to the book for sale on iTunes at the bottom of this post.  Written by "a nationally ranked diver, a high-level competitive gymnast, and a premed honors graduate ready to start a promising career as a doctor" who was hit by a truck while leading a 3,000-mile bike tour of the US.  Having had a very similar serious accident myself, this alone caught my eye.  But in reading the synopsis, I found that she worked with a nutritionist to not only regain her life, but get off of her chronic medication use for the constant pain she was in; again, another similarity. The book was only $5.99, so I purchased it and began reading it on my iPad as I ate my lunch.

Within the first few pages, I realized that this was exactly what I'd been looking for, though it had apparently been subconsciously, and that I hadn't felt this motivated since I quit smoking about 9 years ago!  I know that my particular body does well on a diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean protein....in that order.  But, like most of us, and working two basically full time jobs, I usually just eat what is easy.   Breakfast is generally two cups of coffee, and instant oatmeal.  Lunch is almost always a Lean Cuisine and a Vitamin Water.  And sometimes dinner is just ice-cream eaten out of the carton while standing at the sink, and then a chunk of bread and butter taken to my desk and munched on while I type. Definitely not the building blocks to a good 'inside'.  But I care about my personal appearance.  I love to shop and save money, and look great on the outside.  But I've taken almost no time in my life to look after my insides.  And I'd be willing to bet neither have you! :)

But I'm learning some interesting things.  Like, if you're body is used to getting sub-quality food, you might have allergies to those foods that are causing you physical pain.  Or, my inability to lose weight may be influenced by the fact my liver and kidneys are a bit clogged up with toxins which are literally making my body hang on to that extra fat around my middle (I don't care what you call it, 'muffin top' is not cute).
The entire premise is being conscious of what you eat at all times.  Not of what you can't eat, but on everything that is good for you that you can.  Though today is the first actual day of the program, I started on Saturday, and even for a weekend, can say I didn't feel the least bit deprived.  I don't have to count calories or fat or carbs.  I eat when I'm hungry, and don't eat when I'm not.  The plan doesn't eliminate meat altogether, only anything with more than one or two ingredients, preferably one.  As in, an apple is it's own ingredient: no fillers, no additives, no sweeteners.  That's the basic premise.  Nothing processed, no refined sugars, no dairy.  There are just a couple of additional 'no-no's' on the list just for the two-week cleanse portion of the plan such as no bell peppers, potatoes, or oranges, but they give legitimate reasons for this, and nothing is set in stone.  This is all about taking care of your Self with the goal of finding clarity at the end of the two week cleanse and with it the desire to continue to care for Self as you add back in the foods you love.  

See?  Perfectly reasonable.

So I went grocery shopping this weekend to stores I don't generally frequent, and my fridge is now filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked brown rice and quinoa.  I made this surprisingly good salad dressing from celery, garlic, herbs, and cashews soaked in water that I'll be having on my giant salad when I got to lunch in about half an hour.  I found, to my utter shock, that unsweetened almond milk is almost indistinguishable on my morning hot cereal than 2% milk! And a bowl of fresh fruit topped with half a cup of cooked quinoa tasted so good, I actually made a second bowl. I made kale chips that aren't nearly as gross as I thought they'd be.  And I'm drinking the suggested half-your-body-weight-in-ounces of water a day, cutting out my beloved coffee for two weeks, and will follow the plan exactly for the outlined two weeks and see how I feel.  This time, I'm not looking at it as a diet.  I'm actually looking at it as a genuine lifestyle change, and one that I believe I'm really ready to incorporate.  

So I'll keep you posted.  But I'd also like to encourage you to do something similar.  Start small!  But consider considering your insides for just a little bit and see what your self-inventory brings.  Like My Person pointed out yesterday:  we take care of our cars with regular oil changes, maintenance work, and tire rotations.  But can we say the same for what we put into the vehicle we live in?  I love my life.  And I want to make sure that I do everything I can to extend it as far as possible.  And I'd love it if you would too. :)  Cheers!  ~M

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Footnote
If this is something you'd be interested in doing with me, feel free to leave your comments below, or email me at madonah45@gmail.com and we can do this whole thing together.  The more the merrier!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-conscious-cleanse/id581469707?enlh=3&mt=11&ls=1