I Feel Good...

Whoa-oa-oa! I feel good, nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah nah!
I knew that I would, now nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah nah,
I feeeeeel good, nah, nah nah, nah nah, nah nah,
I knew that I would, now.......

The past ten days have been great. I’ve eaten all raw and I love it. I feel great and I lost another 5 pounds. My skin looks good and I’m bounding up Mount Butler like a mountain goat! But before you send me a note telling me how awesome I am, let me say one thing... April’s Fool!! I had a challenging weekend and thought I’d over come it (see day nine) but I ended up falling off the wagon. I’ve spent the last ten days running down the street, chasing after it. I think I’m on again. Horray! Starting over at 149 pounds on 4/1/11 I’ll let you know how this upcoming week goes. This note WILL be a self fulfilling prophecy. (The first part, not the part about falling off the wagon.)


How to Take a Great "Before" Picture

     Taking a weight loss/body building “before picture” is really an exercise in optimism. No one would ever sign up for this exercise in humility unless they truly believed an “after picture” would soon follow. I am either really lacking in the self discipline department or I am a true optimist. I’ll go with answer B. I’m such an optimist that I have an entire collection of before pictures. In fact, if I ever approach Zoe carrying my camera and wearing a bathrobe (to hide the bathing suit until the last possible moment) she groans and gives words of encouragement along the lines of: “Not again!” and “I thought you said you would never take another before picture!” She’s right, I have said that to her. Many times. But I can usually talk her into “just one more”. If you are wondering why I don’t use an existing fat photo, I can explain. I have to keep starting over on my diet challenges and want to get a picture with an accurate date on it. This way people will actually believe I can make such drastic changes in such a short amount of time. That pesky optimist is on the loose again. 
     The first time you take a photo, have a seat before you look at it. I found that almost everyone has the ability to deceive themselves to some degree (I’m not fat I’m just cuddly/husky/big boned/muscular/etc) and reality hits hard. (The first time is the worst.) After studying your photo, dry your tears and remind yourself of how great you will feel with the after picture that is surely, just around the corner.
     Wear clothes that show your excess. For women this would mean a sports bra and shorts or a good old fashion bikini. Don’t even consider a mu mu or a burqa. I once heard a suggestion that you carry a copy of your before picture to remind yourself to behave. I would not recommend this. It’s best to leave the picture in the safe deposit box or buried in the back yard next to Fido and Spot. If you carry one in your wallet you will always have to worry about what stranger will see this photo should you get into a car accident.
     There are a few things that will get you a better before picture. Look a little depressed, slouch and relax those stomach muscles that are accustomed to being sucked in. Drink about a gallon of water, pull your hair back in an unflattering style and leave the makeup off. A big white belly is always a plus. The white part is important. The big part is essential. If you think about it, the worse you look, the better your before picture. This is really not a good area for over achievers. I wouldn’t recommend spending say, a month, preparing for the before picture. Just be grateful for your current girth and start there.

Tuesday  3-22-11  Day 9
     The weekend proved to be a challenge. Although there was some unauthorized foods, I still ate more than half raw and didn’t binge. I won’t go into any more details other than Monday morning I weighed 149, up one pound from Saturday. I woke up this morning weighing 148 and have started the day right. A great hike with the ladies and a fruit shake afterwards. I plan on eating raw all day and I actually feel pretty good. I noticed that I can do a hard workout and my blood sugar is not going all over the place. I got home and didn’t feel like I needed to eat right away. I also have more energy all day long.  If I keep eating raw I’ll be able to race up the 599 stairs to the top of Mount Butler just like Kim does!

BTW- I did take a brand new photo at the start of this 30-day raw food challenge. I’ll post it right next to the after picture...


Tell Me What You Eat...

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825.  

I eat vegetables and nuts. What does that say about me? At least I don’t eat fruitcake. I once saw a sign that said, “If you are what you eat then I’m fast, cheap and easy.”  Seriously though, I will often eat things I don’t want my children to eat because I love them and want them to be healthy. Or at least I don’t want them to eat the food in the same unreasonable quantities that I do. Maybe I should treat MYSELF the way I would want someone to treat my treasured loved ones. Just a thought.
Day 4   Thursday, 3/17/11 
     I woke up weighing 149 pounds, about the same as yesterday. For the record, I think weighing yourself every day is a really bad idea. Weight fluctuates with many factors and is not a reliable indicator of overall health or body composition. It can be discouraging when the number refused to go down as you expect it to. Especially when you’ve been working hard and gained muscle. It’s just a number on the scale. Sounds pretty good, huh? 
     Now comes the confession: I have weighed myself almost daily since I was 10. When I moved to Hong Kong bringing only luggage, my scale used up valuable suitcase real estate. I once purchased a second scale when I thought (hoped) mine had gone inaccurate. One time I gave my scale to a friend and told her to not give it back to me until the following Monday morning. Twenty-four hours later, after I begged and pleaded, she resigned as scale police. I have stopped short of bringing one with me on vacations but I’ve considered it once or twice.  
     After my morning weigh-in I record it on graph paper. Once I had a long chart (three pieces of horizontal graph paper taped together ) and used it to record every weight movement throughout my first pregnancy. I used the same chart for all four children using four different colored inks. It was pretty. My weight fluctuations make the graph paper resemble modern art and I now have enough of these sheets to wall paper the dining room. Hey, that might be a good idea... 
     Don’t follow in my footsteps. It’s not a peaceful place to be. If you must weigh, do it once a week. I’ll get there one day.
What I ate today:
9:00  apple (slept in and had to run out the door to catch the my ride to the trailhead.)
10:30 cashews and dried goji berries and blueberries while hiking
1:00  Salad with tomatoes and oil and vinegar. (after hike restaurant with the ladies) it was a little sad because their lunches looked better than mine. I guess I still have a ways to go. The bread and butter was calling my name. If I had been alone I would have inhaled the entire basket.
3:00  pineapple, banana, coconut, protein powder and almond milk shake
6:00 salad and three of Zoe’s french fries. We were in McDonalds. So much for feeding my treasured loved ones healthy food.

The sadness I felt at lunch never left me. I was feeling deprived and craved some comfort food all afternoon. Makai helped me to stay on my diet by refusing me a single chicken nugget. By the time I got home I had worked up a few good excuses for myself (the hike, the need to not be too strict, etc) and caved. I had a bowl of mashed potatoes and three meatballs. Mighty tasty.


To Go or Not to Go...

Day Three:  3/16/11
     That is the question. I’m still on very shaky ground here with the raw-vegan detox diet while living in the real world plan. Tonight is the Relief Society birthday dinner complete with lavender-frosted cupcakes. At one time I thought I’d take the noble high ground and skip the dinner. (Flee from situations that will detract me from my goal). But I love Relief Society dinners.  A nice dinner I didn’t have to prepare plus conversation with people I actually like plus no dishes afterwards equals DONE DEAL-I’m there! Wow, that sounds really selfish when I write it down. (I do bring specified side dishes when asked and I’m always willing to help with the dishes if necessary. If absolutely necessary. Paper plates exist for a reason ya know).
     Then I remembered a conversation I had with Carrie Gammons about my fears on driving in Hong Kong. We were in her car, zipping around the Hong Kong traffic at the time, when she bestowed upon me her wisdom. “I just think of it as a challenge.” Challenge as in a good, game-like, sign-me-up FUN word, not a euphemism for “this really sucks.”
     Wow. What would our lives be like if we looked at every situation as a fun challenge. Don’t we all spend time and money seeking out challenges like running a 5K, racking up points in an electronic game or sneaking a cupcake without the scale noticing? Evidently mass numbers enjoy the challenge of building things in Farmtown or becoming an olympic athlete in Wii Sports. There are lots of challenges I really enjoy. What would my life be like if I welcomed EVERY challenge life gave me instead of only the ones I sign up for? 
     I will attend the dinner. I will most likely eat a salad before I go. I will enjoy myself, I will take this bull by the horns and meet this challenge with grace and a rumbling stomach. Hopefully the drooling will be kept to a minimum. And I may just bring a cupcake home for the kids without eating it on the way. 
     Let the games begin.
     I woke up weighing 149 pounds. Hooray! It’s nice to be back in the 140s. This is what I ate today:
9:00 half a scoop of raw protein powder with coconut almond milk and a banana
10:30 more of the same shake
12:30 a big taco salad with spicy walnuts, avocado, greens, carrots, nut cheese and fresh salsa (see picture below). I threw in some fresh sliced okra thinking I’d try a new veggie today. It was a little slimy and gross so I ended up picking them out. 
2:00 raw granola made from sprouted buckwheat and almonds and lots of other grains and seeds with 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt. (Not raw yogurt but it hit the spot.)
7:00 two plates of salad. I passed on the pasta but it looked really good.

     No hiking today. I got in the pool and swam for 45 minutes but took it easy. Detoxing can be a little taxing. 
     BTW, I had a great time at the Relief Society dinner. I brought cupcakes home safely, with no BLTs!  (BLT is Linda Snow’s inventive term for Bites, Licks and Tastes. Hi Linda! I miss you.) 
     Overall, a game well played.


Sugar Junkie Goes Raw for 30 days

     3/11/11 AM

     I’m afraid to drive in Hong Kong. And I haven’t got a thing to wear. What do these two things have in common? Sugar, sugar sugar. Too much of it in my diet, to be specific. My sister will laugh at this since she has once accused me to blaming everything on sugar, including global warming and the price of tea in China. And I have to admit that she may be right. Since I have been unable to divorce sugar from my life for longer that say, 7 and a half hours, it’s a handy scapegoat.  I’m convinced that if I could just stop eating sugar my life will be much better. My body will be better and I will feel more in control. My health, my personality, my teeth, my skin, my outlook on life and my driving will be better. My cholesterol will go down and my popularity will go up. I will be smarter, funnier and better looking. My children will also be more respectful and obedient. My husband will be nicer. That all sounds like an incredible payoff. Sign me up!!!!

     Well, let me tell you, I’ve signed up 1,856  times in the past 30 years and it never lasts. I always go back. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result then I am positively certifiable. But not in a peaceful, happy, basket-weaving at Green Hills Funny Farm kind of way. Which by the way sounds like a very appealing lifestyle to me. Or what about minimum security incarceration? Some days I’d rather be anywhere that nobody is making demands on me. I wouldn’t have to figure out what to wear (happy orange jumpsuits) or what happened to someone’s all-important thing that went missing or even what to do with my hair. Bad hair days are probably a moot point in prison. But I’m rambling now, probably a side effect of too much sugar in my diet.

     Back to Hong Kong and clothes. You see my brain is in a fog most days and I do a lot of stupid things. In Hong Kong you have to drive on the wrong side of the road (as opposed to the right side) and the streets are often narrow, winding video-game like structures that have massive two-story buses careening down the road coming straight at you (very video game-like but the problem is I only have ONE life at the moment.) I was a fearless driver in Manila where sidewalks are normal driving routes. Where one was not required to actually choose a lane to drive in, opting instead to keep one’s options open and drive down the middle of two. But here in Hong Kong where there is very little room for error, I’m scared I’ll have a mental space out moment at the wrong time. After my first test drive to Big Wave Bay the kids were pretty happy and relieved to have arrived in one piece. The car smelled of fear for days after wards.

     Then there's the "I don’t have a thing to wear" stuff. I can’t say this out loud near my husband because he will very sensibly point out that my closet has enough clothing in it to outfit a high-school marching band including the baton twirler who wouldn’t be caught dead in anything from my closet. What I actually mean is that I don’t have a thing to wear that will create the optical illusion of me being 30 pounds lighter. Oh I know there are things out there like miracle clothes and spanx and wonder swim suits but what do they really promise you? Ten pounds at the most. That’s not going to cut it, people. I’m tired of going out in public in my non-magical clothes and feeling like someone who is more than a little out of control in her life. The truth does indeed hurt. I will blame it on the body but it’s more likely the knowledge of my weakness that keeps me from being the sparkling, happy go lucky, witty, take charge, got-it-all-together woman I know I can be. She’s in there somewhere but she’s been silenced by sugar.

     I’m tired of being a middle-aged, tired looking and feeling, not-too-overweight but over-weight-none-the-less invisible person. I’m tired of having only crappy clothes because I’m too stubborn to break down and buy some nice “fat clothes.” I’m tired of feeling like the frumpy, sloppy, pony-tailed, and tennis-shoe shod American in a sea of slender, sophisticated, well-dressed, impeccably groomed, Asian and European women. (Not to mention the polished Americans.)

     So, in response to Hong Kong driving and inadequate closets, It’s time for a trial separation. No more sugar. I’m going to eat only raw food for 30 days. (More on the why’s of raw food later.) I’m going to do it publicly in hopes that the support and threat of public humiliation will keep me in check.

     I’m starting right now. Unless there is something really good at the Women’s conference  I’m attending today. Then I’ll start tomorrow. Tomorrow is a good day to start because it’s my sister’s birthday. I’ll be able to remember my new life anniversary easier that way. Of course that was the reasoning behind starting my sugar free life on other auspicious days like 7-8-9 or 9-9-9 or 10-10-10 or 1-11-11 or nearly every Monday morning unless I was on vacation and definitely every Jan first for the past 30 years.

     But there’s no time like the present. I’ll let you know what happened...

     3/11/11  PM
What an increadible conference. I am inspired and uplifted. Thank you everyone who was there, both as fellow attendees and as speakers.
The home made chocolate chip cookies did me in. But the deal wasn’t actually set in stone at that point so I’m still good. Those of you who know me well will recognize my way of thinking right now. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I am indeed Queen of Rationalization. Of course since I decided to start tomorrow (my favorite starting date ever) I spend the evening stocking up on fresh fruit and veggies (for tomorrow) and chocolate (for right now) I’ve got a bit of the “last supper” mentality going on but I will try not to get too carried away.

3/12/11    Day 1  153 pounds wake up weight
     Success!!! Which is so exciting since I usually mess up on day 1s. One down, 29 to go. I even succeeded in knocking out a two-hour hike. But I’m a little tired now and really looking forward to sleeping tonight.
     Here’s what I ate today:
     For breakfast I made a shake with coconut, banana, raw protien powder (Sun Warrior is my favorite) and one date for a little sweetness. It held me over just fine until my 11am apple. I had a big salad with mangos at lunch then a snack of banana and walnuts later on. For dinner I had another big veggie salad with taco-flavored walnuts, salsa and lots of veggies. Surprisingly enough I felt no hunger today, even with a long hike. I’m feeling hopeful that this may actually be the time I do what I set out to do.

Sunday  3/13/11    151 pounds  (down 2)
     After yesterday’s high it is with surprising regret that I announce today’s crash and burn.
Did just fine for my 7:30 breakfast which consisted of a banana, nut milk protein shake. I didn’t get home from church until nearly 1:00 at which time I was starving and consumed an enormous amount of cheese and crackers. I then proceeded to serve up a pasta dish with cream sauce and to dig on in with the best of them. To give myself a little credit, I also ate my super healthy salad (the kind the kids won’t eat because it’s too weird) and I passed on the brownies and ice-cream. Did you hear me? I PASSED on the brownies and ice-cream. What alien has taken over my body? Who IS this person ‘cause it sure doesn’t sound like me. I handled the brownies all afternoon it seems-dishing up, serving, putting them away, etc with nerves of steel. In the spirit of total honesty I did inhale a few of the brownie bits that stuck to the knife but we all know those don’t count. The calories disappear from them just like anything that is licked off a spoon, eaten over the sink or trimmed off the edge of a cake.

     I decided that I needed to start over in the morning with the 30-day raw diet. I will not flog myself for my mistakes. I’m still a good person, I’m still a good person, I’m still a good person... Beating oneself up over dieting disasters, we all know, is a sure trigger to consume at least another 1,000 calories of junk filled with self loathing and frosted with guilt. I’m not going down that road anymore. If I have any future diet disasters I’m at least going to enjoy them! So I ate some more pasta for dinner (last supper mentality) and called Lily to tell her I would be hiking in the morning after all.

     Monday  3/14/11    151 pounds (no change)

     No weight loss after yesterday’s pasta party. Now that is a miracle. I’m feeling pretty good about starting over. Even when I was swimming competitively one false start was okay. (I actually did that quite often which caused my parents considerable spectator anxiety.)
     What I ate today:
 8:30 Strawberries, almond milk and raw protein powder shake
10:00 salad greens with cucumber, orange, and an orange/walnut dressing
1:00 salad with cucumbers, tomato, corn and a handful of Zoe’s french fries :(
2:00 Mango with coconut pulp and water from one young Thai coconut
2:30 Apple and pear and any other sweet fruit I could eat to keep me away from my main supplier, Jason. (Jason’s Market carries Lindt chocolates, Haagen Daz and Nutella. And it’s right next door to our apartment!)
6:00 Salad with taco-flavored walnuts, avocado, home-made fresh salsa, cilantro and sprouts. And a handful of non-raw cheese. Perhaps perfection tomorrow but pretty darn close today. I’ll take it.

Tuesday, 3/15/11    150 pounds  (down 1)

     Yesterday I ate a lot of food, especially sweet fruit and high fat foods like coconut, avocado and nuts. I find I’m eating even when I’m not hungry in an attempt to make the longing for other foods go away. I’m still trying to reach my optimum diet but this transition stage is difficult. Hiked again this morning from 6 am to 7:45.  I felt a little tired and was slower than normal today. Maybe I’ve started to detox and maybe I didn’t get enough sleep last night!
     Here’s what I ate today:
    8:30 chia seed pudding with coconut, mango and banana
    10 minutes after finishing this I ate another bowl just like it. I’ll blame it on the hike.
    10:00  a handful of goji berries thrown in my glass of water
    12:30 a lovely salad with avocado, taco-flavored walnuts, fresh salsa and a veggie/flax seed cracker.
    2:00 a hazelnut chocolate bar  (no comment) Please see Sunday’s comment about not beating myself up. No need to anyway.
    6:00 squash “pasta” with marinara sauce and pine nut parmesan cheese
    7:30 An orange

     I promised I would explain some of my rational behind this raw diet. Some call it insanity (you know who you are) and others thinks it’s a weird cult/fad. My problem is that I just plain know too much. I’ve been to the amazing raw-food detox center called The Optimum Health Institute in San Diego, California four times in the past eight years. I’ve seen some pretty amazing results. I’ve taken all the classes and learned much.
    If anyone needs to schedule an oil change, minor maintenance or repair work or a major overhaul on their body, this is the place to go. Check out their website for more information: optimumhealth.org
    I go for the minimum stay of 1 week. Usually just for a tune-up but sometimes I needed extra help with allergies, asthma or old injuries that just refused to finish healing. I wish I could stay forever. But more than that, I wish I would never need to go back again. Not because I will never need to detox. Stuff happens. Stuff gets eaten. But oh how wonderful it would be to feel the detox power again. And how incredible it would be if I could actually do this on my own. I hate, hate, hate the fact that the only time I ever go more than a day without sugar and simple carbs is when I am practically locked up and all temptation has been removed. The weakest of the weak. At OHI I have no one to worry about and I don’t even need to prepare my own meals. Someone else has planned what I should eat for maximum healing and then someone else has lovingly prepared it for me. It’s not real life, people.
    At OHI I am usually sobbing by the second day, deliriously ranting such things as,
    “Why am I here again?! I paid good money for this???? (as opposed to bad money), I should be on a beach somewhere! I snuck out of my life for a whole week to suffer like this???? Wheat grass juice and colonics are the epitome of cruel and unusual punishment! What was I thinking?!”
    Needless to say, during the beginning of the week I think and speak with many, many exclamation points. (Some things better left unprinted.) I feel a little sick, a little grouchy, a little tired and a lot miserable. Especially at night when my tummy says to my brain, (imagine an annoying, whiney, high-pitched voice.)
    “I can’t go to sleep like this. I’m usually full and bloated and packed with so much food that bed sounds like a wonderful place to lay the body down. I feel light and a little hungry and I don’t like this feeling! I just want some mashed potatoes with extra butter on top. And dessert. I want dessert. Is that too much to ask for?”
    I’m never really hungry at OHI even though it’s a low calorie diet at 800-1,100 calories per day, except for “juicing” days (torture) where I would guess you consume less than 100 calories of green juice three times a day. The food is so nutrient-dense that your body gets what it needs. Food cravings are another story all together, but you can usually tell them apart from real hunger. And they actually go away after only a few days of clean eating. When you are consuming mostly raw veggies, sprouts, sesame seed cheese and sauerkraut there is a lot of food on your plate with not a lot of calories. The weight pretty much falls off.
    Then somewhere around the end of the week a new me emerges from the tears and bad breath. I am smarter, happier, at least 8 pounds lighter and more optimistic that a kid on Christmas morning. Fatigue, foggy brain, and flatulence are things of the past. Morning breath no longer exists. My skin looks better, my eyes are shinier and I feel like I can conquer the world.
    Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that I would be much better off if I continued the program for more than a week. (As they strongly recommend at OHI.) It’s just not enough time for my addictive personality who remembers the lure of sugar all too well after only a week apart. This trial separation needs to be at least 21 days (to break a habit) and preferably 30. So in a nut shell, I would just like to gain a little self control, lose a little weight and get my superpowers back.