In case you’ve been following along, last week, as an homage to my Spartan warrior brother and a service to my body, I undertook a little Jan1 Kickoff Cleanse last week. In order to remind my body what whole foods were like, how to workout every day, and that not ALL meals have to center around cheese. I get that, for many folks, this might not seem like much of a challenge, but for a busy (but aren’t we all that’s such a copout) cheese loving lady like myself… it was certainly a wake-up call.
Claire and I tracked our eating and activity for three days, with some simple rules.
No booze. Daily exercise. No coffee/soda. Whole/Unprocessed foods.
We each had bonus, personal goals. Mine were 50 each of sit-ups and push-ups and 15 flights of stairs.
Here’s what I learned:
- Getting violently sick on the first day of a cleanse, while probably not typical, is also…. not beneficial to getting you on board. Yes, I unfortunately got “down with the sickness” Tuesday around lunchtime. This left me bedridden for most of the afternoon (luckily I’d exercised in the morning).
- Woman CAN live on spaghetti substitutes and juice alone. Ok, lemme explain: Between the two of us and our 6 non-juice meals each over the course of 3 days, half were either spaghetti squash or zoodles (zucchini noodles, duh). Convenient, nutritious, and fun, these non-noodle noodles became a staple in both of our homes.
- Trader Joe’s, while normally falling under my brain as a “Can do no wrong” establishment, may need to rethink the cold-pressed juice line.
While, in a pinch, these proved decent sustenance in a hurry, I found myself retreating to my FAVORITE juice spot in the city, Ryan Crown’s Juice Club, at least twice. These bottled beauts from TJs are efficient, but they don’t hold a candle flavor-wise to a fresher juice.
- The Big One: Fitting workouts in is easy…. when you realize you have to say NO to other things.
And so that brings me to the overall reflections on the experience. We will start with Claire’s thoughts, since I figure it’s nice to share a totally different view. So, from Claire (tidied up by me, since this was via a gchat):
I’m never, ever a dieter. I tend to just eat what I want, and consider “eating healthy” in a vague sense. It works out, and my general inclination is on the healthier side. That said, I’ve really lived life without reflecting on eating habits, just kinda feeling like “it’s fine” and letting it be. This experience was helpful in a “know thyself” way. Working within a framework, a prescribed set of rules, made it more apparent what my habits and inclinations are. It was really helpful to realize that VARIETY is my bugaboo, in the sense that I found myself so bored of the same salad or zoodles, and that I really need to mix it up in order to continue eating healthy. I feel like I CAN take on any kind of health/exercise challenge, recognizing that I’ll succeed as long as variety is taken into account
And now, from the horse’s mouth (in this case, I’m the horse):
I have done the diet thing. I was a dedicated Weight Watcher for about a year, losing approximately 40 lbs in a very healthy, but very track-heavy manner (if you’re ever bored and feel like perusing my original foray into blogging, check at that sweet tumblr). I left this challenge feeling stronger, more in control. And it lasted well into the weekend where, other than an evening out for a buddy’s birthday, I maintained those healthy habits. I worked out 6 days last week. I didn’t feel bloated or puffy at all. I slept like a lamp. And while, for part of the week, I was going pretty track-happy with Claire, the rest I went off-book. But the reason I was able to do this was because I said NO to a handful of things. As a blogger and a general gal-about-town, the opportunities to splurge are borderline endless. It’s realizing that you DON’T have to go to every restaurant opening, every food and beer pairing, or you DON’T have to eat every dish served at that fun happy hour. In fact, you don’t even have to drink! THE HOUR CAN STILL BE HAPPY!
So that’s what this Jan1 Challenge will entail. Beyond a shift in focus to cleaner eating and consistent gym-hitting (even if it’s 20 minutes, even if it’s 15!), it’s the self-goal of learning to say NO. NOvember seems like a time to start, since it’s built into the name and all, but I think it’s the beginning of just what I need.