So it's been about 10 days since I waved the white flag on my mood and my motivation. Thank you again for all your thoughtful sentiments; part of the reason I write entries like that is because I think we all--or at least I definitely do--get these imaginary ideas that her life is so polished or she has it so much better than me or why does life seem so much easier for everybody else?
I think it's vitally important to let the curtain down every once in a while--probably not everyday, or you'd get sick of my virtually living in baggy sweatpants--and let others know you're struggling. In addition to you badass mother runners, I had so many neighborhood friends and pals from other parts of my life reach out and make me feel so loved and not alone, so I encourage you to to do the same- if you're feeling beyond blah and can't figure out how to get over it.
I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better. I know I haven't cured my depression, but I've made some important discoveries: namely, that what I put down my trap makes a massive difference in my moods. (Shocking, I know: but sometimes you have to experience for yourself to believe it.)
I started the Clean program last Monday. about 10 days ago. The first step was elimination week: no caffeine, no sugar, no wheat, no alcohol, no dairy. What is allowed: almost all fruits and veggies, most white meats and some fish, brown rice and similar grains, oils and nuts, green tea and pretty much anything else you'd grow, has less than 3 ingredients or would be found at a typical co-op.
Then, on Monday--three days ago--I started the real cleanse: a smoothie in the morning, a big (approved) lunch, followed by something liquid for dinner. Two snacks a day as well. And you water yourself like you're a golf course. You can throw in a lemon or lime into the drink to spice things up.
Here are the high--and low--lights so far:
*Day two: killer headache. Could.not.think. The book warned of that, and recommended not taking anything to relieve the pain. I'm pretty sure the author didn't know I had two kids who were bouncing off the walls and needed dinner. So I popped three ibuprofen and continued to drink water. By the next morning, it was gone.
*Day four: the hardest. The kids started school, which meant I was finally back to my routine. The routine that involves a Coke Zero at 11 a.m., handfuls of sugar and Ritz and whatever else I can find when I'm either a) feeling writers block or b) want to procrastinate. Which means at least 8 trips up the stairs per day for junk. I made it through, but at the end of that day, Ben was eating a chocolate ice cream cone near me after his soccer practice. I could smell the sugar and would've downed it in 3 bites if I could've.
*I have eaten more nuts and seeds than a squirrel in hibernation. Cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds: I eat them by the handful, and they're oddly satisfying:. I used to think when I read how somebody loved to snack on almonds, I used to think, bullcrap. Sliver me some almonds in a salad or throw them in GORP, and I'll happily eat them. But a snack by themselves? Not so much. Now, I can't believe how filling and tasty the seem. I haven't gone totally raw yet, as Clean suggests--sorry, I like some salt and roast with my nuts.
*I have cheated. Ibuprofen and salty nuts notwithstanding, Grant and I split a beer (I know: crazy, right?) the night before the first day of school; every day, I've been having at least one piece of Ezekiel 4:9 bread with peanut butter. (Ezekiel is what Scott Jurek of Eat & Run fame eats, so I figure that's the best it's going to get); every morning, I'm still having a splash of my beloved Chai, but now I mix it with Almond Milk; on Saturday night, there was a luau at our neighborhood pool, where I had two beers and a brownie, among other things. (And I felt totally off on Sunday. Not sure if that was the food or the 3.5-hour bike ride I did on Saturday. Probably a combo.)
*I've stopped myself from cheating. Making grilled cheese for my kids, I wanted to wolf one down so bad. Same with the cream cheese bagels I make for Ben in the morning. I definitely crave a glass of wine each night but a drink, to me, is signal I've made it through the day and I can relax. I need to change my way of thinking there.
After getting through the first few days, I've craved some sugar as well. Tonight, I can't get a slice of Whole Foods carrot cake out of my head, but I'm not so in need of a crazy up because I haven't been crazy down. (And it bears noting: the candy aisle holds zero appeal for me currently.)
*It costs money.* While I only invested in the Clean book--I'm not using any of their other products--my grocery store runs have been costlier than usual. I had to stock up on random things like chia seeds and cardamom (made one Energy Smoothie with the spice yesterday and gagged it down: hoping to find some other recipes that need it so they $9 bottle doesn't go to waste). Obviously, I'm not going to need to restock my flaxseed every week, so I'm betting cost will go down.
*Also, It wouldn't cost as much money if I would read the fine print near the recipes. Little did I know, until tonight, that each recipe made two servings, not one. So I've been doubling them for Grant, my fellow cleanser, and me. Which leads me to the next point.
*I need more calories, especially since I'm a big girl and I'm exercising pretty regularly. So doubling those smoothies and soups is much better than eating non-approved foods. I've also added a salad and fresh fruit to dinner, and I snack pretty much all day long: fruit, nuts, and today, I had some leftover roasted broccoli with this amazing tahini dressing from this salad. (I LOVE this dressing, and the salad is great too.) So I'm not following it to the letter--more like 85%-- but I feel like I'm still getting the main benefits.
*I still need to fuel for exercise. On my recent rides (and one run), I eat (non-caffeinated) GU and Jurek-approved Clif bars, as well as drink my beloved Nuun. My energy is decent, but not great, when I'm sweating. I did a long ride last Saturday, and my quads felt empty sooner than usual, and on my six-mile run this morning, I brought a gel in case I needed a shot of sugar. I did. The Clean program talks about this amazing burst of energy you're supposed to feel, but I haven't felt that yet.
*I suck at planning. But eating Clean forces me to plan because I can't be left in that no-food-so-let's-eat-quesadillas state. So I spent Sunday planning my menu for the week so I'm stocked with plenty of pineapple to make pineapple and avocado gazpacho. (LOVE this one too. I think of it as the healthy person's margarita.)
*All that said, it bears repeating: I feel so much better. I haven't shed a tear in 10 days, which is huge for me, given my recent track record. I have not crashed and exploded. I haven't felt hangry--a beautiful, low-blood-sugar term I stole from a friend--in 10 days. (Hungry, yes. But hangry, like I.must.eat.now.or.I.will.scream.? Nope.) I can see how a slight lifestyle shift--more planning for meals made with nutritious, balanced foods--can make a really important shift in my attitude and life.
Curious: have you noticed a pattern between your food and your attitude? What about your food and your running?