New Year, fresh start

OK, confession. I weighed myself the other day and I had gained 9 pounds. Yowsa!

I had already planned on doing a cleanse in January, and I knew the last month had been pretty gluttonous, but that was the motivation I needed to kick start everything.

Step one: trash temptations.

And guess what… Mike is doing it with me!

We’ve actually really enjoyed the first couple of days. The food is just so fresh and colorful. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a salad more than the first one I ate yesterday.

In case you didn’t follow me last year, the cleanse consists of one week of an elimination diet where you stop eating processed foods, refined sugar, and a slew of foods that people often have allergies to (peanuts, dairy, wheat, shellfish…) Then you follow that with three weeks of eating off that list, but with two liquid meals a day. For me that was usually one juice and one soup, and I plan to do that again. You can also take probiotics and fiber to help your digestive system heal.

Here’s what I’ve had the first two days:

Breakfast: Blueberry-almond smoothie (1 cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons almond butter, two handfuls of blueberries, one pitted date)
Lunch: Salad of butter lettuce, carrots, pecans, and an avocado with homemade dressing
Snack: Hummus and carrots
Dinner: Moroccan-spiced lamb chops, quinoa with pine nuts and pineapple, sauteed zucchini and shallots
Also, two cups of black tea (trying to wean myself off coffee)

Breakfast: Quinoa oatmeal (leftover quinoa warmed up with almond milk, cinnamon, walnuts, raspberries, and a drizzle of agave nectar)
Lunch: Same salad as Day 1
Snacks: One fruit/nut ball and hummus on homemade crackers
Dinner: Butternut squash bisque (roasted squash, apple, and carrot chunks blended up with onions, celery, apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and turmeric)
Also, one cup green tea and a glass of sparkling water with crushed raspberries

We’ve definitely felt hungry at times and are expecting a withdrawal period to set in. But overall I think we’re doing well. I’d never cooked lamb before, but it was super easy and delicious. I’m trying to be diverse in my meal planning because I know we’ll get sick of eating the same things pretty quickly.

I was thinking about some of the things that helped me lose weight last year. Some deep thoughts, some tips and tricks. If I have a health resolution for this year it’s to remember all of these things and keep using them every day.

• Be honest with yourself about how much you weigh and the bad habits that got you there.
• Then forgive yourself for all of it and work on freeing yourself of guilt from splurges. It never helps.
• Believe that change is possible. You are the one in charge of everything you put in your mouth.
• Eat real food. I’ve gotten to a point where I’d rather have real butter and real cream if I’m gonna have it, just in small amounts. No more diet Coke.
• Avoid sugar and processed foods as much as possible. These are the things that pull you into an addictive cycle that makes you hungry for more junk. If you shouldn’t eat it, don’t keep it in your house either. I always send treats to work with Mike so they don’t hang around too long.
• Get smaller plates and bowls that fit realistic servings. Use measuring cups if you’re not sure what a serving looks like.
• Keep an emotional journal rather than a food journal. It always helped me more to write down how I felt at the end of the day.
• View weight loss like a man. And by that I mean stop beating yourself up for past failures and focus on the practical solutions that will help you get on track.
• At restaurants, order what you want to eat, but eat half an entree. Then you get to have it twice! Also, split desserts so you get your splurge without being overly full.
• Make time to meal plan, shop, and cook. If eating healthy is important to you, you have to do those things.
• Try to eat more earlier in the day when you need the energy (for me being hungry in the afternoon and then eating big dinners has always been a problem). Instead of dessert, have a cup of tea at night. It’s the perfect way to wind down.

I certainly haven’t been perfect with my eating habits, but the past few months have been so eye-opening and so refreshing compared to years of struggling. I still eat well, and I eat plenty of rich foods, but I have changed a lot of my day-to-day habits. The fact that I want to do a cleanse, that I’m excited to do it — that in itself says it all.