Detox Reflections

WARNING!

This is a massively long and picture-free post! Reader beware!

Previous Detox Posts

Why Detox?

Detox Prep

Detox Week 1

Detox Week 1 In Review 

Detox Week 2

Detox Mid-point

Detox Week 2 In Review

Detox Week 3

(Um, thank God I got the hyperlinking issue fixed!)

Hi there!

So most of you have been following me the last three weeks while I embarked on our second annual New Years detox.  I’ve gone into bits and pieces here and there as to why I am doing this and how it was going along the way.

Now that it’s been a couple of days since completing it, I’ve been reflecting and have made some notes I would like to share with you.

Breakfasts

By far, this was the most challenging meal of the day. I know that most food bloggers love oatmeal, which is one of the few things that were detox-friendly, but I have the attention span of a gnat and get bored with foods rather quickly. More than 2 days of oatmeal in a row and I want to shoot myself.

The puffed grain cereal (aka STYROFOAM) was also a good option. Except it sucked. Cinnamon helped the situation but didn’t save it.

I love variety. I love eggs. I love love love eggs. I think that I might have craved eggs more than chocolate on this detox. Yes, you heard me right. I had eggs on Monday, but I still have not gotten my fix. Honestly, I don’t really see anything wrong with eating eggs. I’m not sure why they are included in this detox. But I’m a stickler for sticking to a plan (HA! Can you believe that?!?) and I wanted to do this as right as I could.

Amazing Grass

I liked the stuff! I mean, as much as you can like grass. I think that having a daily shot of grass would be something I would like to throw into my daily regime. Especially since my stomach doesn’t do well with pills, it’s a great, easy way to get some added nutrients! Too bad it costs so much $$$. Please hit me up if you know of a good deal on AG.

Tea

So I tried a “new” detox tea this year: Traditional Medicinals. I’ve expressed my dislike for the black licorice smell to it. But I managed to choke it down daily.

Last year, I used Yogi’s detox tea. I prefer the taste of it. I also, and this is going to sound odd, liked the fact that it made me parched.

Weird, right? Well, the main ingredients in these teas happen to also cause dehydration. Which is fine. If you are hydrating. The Yogi tea reminded me that I was dehydrated and I would always proceed to guzzle a Sigg after a cup but with the TM tea, that wasn’t the case. But I could tell I was dehydrated in other ways (weight loss, yellow pee, etc).

The Meals

Honestly, the meals were pretty darn good for the most part. I spent a lot of time and energy into finding and creating detox friendly meals that were packed with flavor. I incorporated a ton of spices and different flavors and ingredients into each and every dish.

BUT – there were obvious limitations in what we could eat and by the last week of the program, I was really weary of trying to find something new and exciting and wonderful to make that fit the plan. The third week was really the most challenging, but only mentally.

Cravings

Week 1 = chocolate

Week 2 = eggs

Week 3 = eggs

The interesting thing here to me was that I never craved meat. Not once. That isn’t the same for the boy but we all know how much the men in our lives love meat. I was honestly and truly okay without it! But only as it being my choice. I can not, will not, ever put a label on what kind of eater I am. Vegetarian. Pescatarian. Vegan. Carnivore. Herbivore. The mental game that I would restrict myself from a food group would send me into a spin.

That being said, I would like to make more of an effort to incorporate some more vegetarian meals into our meal plans. I am pretty good at 1, maybe 2 meals (thus 3 or 4 or 5 with leftovers) being vegetarian in a week. It is also cheaper with not buying meat, as long as you aren’t getting faux-meats which can be just as spendy (if not more) than an animal source of meat.

A Support System

This really was a lot easier with the boy being in on it too. Yes, I did fine while he was gone, but it wasn’t as motivating. It’s nice to have a teammate. It’s nice to have a support system. We can talk about things, discuss our struggles, our accomplishments, etc. It really makes it more enjoyable. And yes! This was enjoyable! We did it again this year for a reason. And we plan to continue it every year. I think it is a great way to start off our year.

Supporting The System

I’m calling this an epic failure on my part. EPIC. I did nothing in the support aspect of this detox. I wasn’t looking at the big picture. I zeroed in on the diet aspect of the challenge. Ok, maybe I did turn off the laptop a little earlier than usual a couple nights. Maybe I did eat slower a couple of meals. But overall? Poop.

I could blame it on my 60+ hour work weeks. But that would be the easy way out. I completely, 100%, blame myself. The last few months, I have had a serious lack in motivation. I’m in a rut. An activity rut. When I get home on my days off (of my second job), all I want to do is plop down and watch a movie and do nothing. I need to snap out of this. Looking outside of the detox. Looking at my entire life. I need a routine. I need to make it a habit. That’s how I work. I need a plan. I did relatively well on the New Rules of Lifting For Women plan. But it was too long. 6 months. I got burned out after 4. My body was exhausted. My knees ached. I was tired. I hit my limit. but with an ever changing work schedule, how do you build a routine? How do you make it a habit? I can tell you right now. On days that I get up at 5:30, work from 7-3:30, then 4-9:30, it is physically impossible for me to workout. No, I’m not getting up earlier than 5:30 with a 14+ hour day in front of me. So what do I do?

What I need to do is make use of the precious days when my schedule does not look like that. And that is something I have not been doing.

(Sorry, I know that stretches out of the detox recap.)

Weight

My goal for the detox was not to lose weight. I really want to emphasize that. if it happened, rock on. If not, no big deal. There are so many other benefits that I see and feel from the detox. Weight was not an issue for me.

But I did lose weight. I lost 9 pounds.

Some of that was holiday weight. But not all of it. For the first time since I was 17, I weight under 150 lbs.

If you read on my Weight History page, you will see that my weight fluctuates a decent bit and for over the last year, I have been stuck in the 150’s. Exercising, not exercising. Calorie counting, not calorie counting. High calories, low calories. High protein, high fat, high fiber, low sugar. You name it, I tried it. It wouldn’t budge.

The 150 point became a huge mental barrier for me. I had convinced myself that maybe I was at my happy weight? I’m not unhappy with my weight. Is that what that means? Sure, I thought I could still lose some. I have a little extra around the tummy. The thighs. My arms. But maybe the Icelandic in me was just meant to have a nice layer of fat to keep me warm in my natural environment.

Maybe that is still true. Maybe it isn’t. But if I can chip away a couple pounds every year, by my 30th birthday, I’ll be at what has always been my ultimate goal weight of 135.

I really can not express to you what it felt like to see 149.5 pop up on my scale. I really can not.

Energy

This was, this is the hands down number one reason that I did this detox.

Energy. After the holidays, I was drained. So drained that I endangered my life every single day. Going to and from work, that 21.8 mile stretch between my drive-way and work, it just about killed me. Countless times I did the head bob. Countless times I found myself zoning out and drifting. Countless times, I would desperately call my dad, my mom, my grandma, the boy, just to keep myself awake. I was completely drained.

The detox changed all that. Yes, it coincided with a slight decrease in work hours. But the change was noticeable. I slept better. I wasn’t as lethargic. It was easier to get out of bed. Eating processed food or too much food will give you essentially a food hangover. Your body is diverting so much energy to your digestive system – working so hard to process this “crap”. It is absolutely amazing what real food can do. And listening to your body. Paying attention to how your body reacts to certain things. For me, my bad trigger food is dairy. I’ve known this for years. I am lactose intolerant. But I still eat cheese. And yogurt. And whatever else have you. Because it tastes so good. But at what expense?

Epidermis

When other people comment and start to notice that your skin looks radiant and your complexion is clearer, you know you are doing something right. Not only is my skin fabulously smooth (albeit a bit dry), my nails are hard and growing like weeds and my hair looks rich and soft! Good bye dry, brittle ends! Hello shampoo-commercial hair!

What Now?

So there are all these amazing benefits. Why not keep it up? I just don’t have the mental capacity to do so. But like I have mentioned, there are some key take-aways here. There are things I want to incorporate and strive to do better. I need to be more aware of what and why I am eating.

All this very long winded post being said, do you have any linger questions for me? Thoughts?? Feedback? Have you ever done a detox? Would you ever do a detox? What would you like to see when I do this again?

-L4L-

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7 Responses

  1. Interesting post, Leah. I think detox posts are best left without some of the horrific pictures I’ve seen posted by some. I love your “food hangover” term. Had one this weekend after eating Chinese food. Blech! Congratulations to you on breaking the 150 barrier!

  2. very interesting! I’ve heard of detox diets but I’ve never looked into them myself. I probably never will do one myself because I know I’ll feel super restricted, but it sounds like it worked for you!

  3. Congrats love! I enjoyed reading long posts, especially the outcome of something this big.

    I can’t say it was a success for me. I think the only change I saw was the energy in the morning sans coffee. That’s it. I on the other hand GAINED weight during the detox. Four days later, after I got off of it, I lost 3 pounds.

    I don’t think restricted regimens like this work for me, but it was nice to see how creative I had to get for some meals 🙂 And that it forced me to take a bunch of vitamins lol

  4. ….Ditto!

    J/K. Fine, I’ll elaborate a little bit more than that.

    B-Fast:
    I agree with you about this being the most challenging meal of the day. I know you’re impacted more than I am by a lack of variety, but that being said, I felt the pain of the whole no-eggs…..boring oatmeal……and Styrofoam cereal too. It wasn’t that horrible though. It just puts your ability to put together exciting breakfasts into perspective more. I definitely appreciate that aspect of my mornings. You really do a great job mixing things up.

    Amazing Grass:
    Actually, this wasn’t that bad. I didn’t really mind the taste at all. It’s much better than the crap we forced into our systems last year.

    Tea:
    Not a sufficient substitute for my beloved coffee but it’s better than nothing. I didn’t mind the taste of the detox tea and rather enjoyed the taste of the green tea as the detox progressed.

    The Meals:
    You do such a terrific job in this area. I would be horrible at managing this effort!! I think the meals we (you) cooked provided a healthy amount of variety, did a good job filling my belly, and managed to taste much better than I expected they would have. I was pleasantly surprised and never disappointed.

    Cravings:
    Yes, I craved meat. A lot!! However, the meals you whipped together provided enough variety, nutrients, and flavor…..that I managed to ignore that craving for the most part. I definitely think I could never go without meat on the regular, but wouldn’t mind more veggie/vegan meals mixed into our meal plan.

    I also had a hard time going without coffee…..AND beer. I know it was good for me to do so though. And realize it’s not healthy for me to crave these items to such an extent. We all have our vices…..right?

    A Support System:
    Um, you’re an amazing woman. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I obviously couldn’t make it through a three week detox without you. That’s for sure. I appreciate your support, guidance, and love more than you know. Thank you!

    Supporting The System:
    Um, what an embarrassing effort on my part. Sigh. Epic failure! I don’t want to blame our busy schedules. I really should have done a better job with this. I think I would’ve gotten much more out of the detox if I had. I probably would’ve needed more food/nutrients if I was running/working out throughout the detox. But basically, I was just pathetically lazy in this area.

    Weight:
    I too lost some weight. By the end of the detox, I managed to match my lowest low of 177.5 lbs. Yey! The last time I weighed that much was late July 2009. What a huge win you had though! Congrats!!

    Energy:
    I too felt a significant change in my energy level. Seriously! I really did feel more energetic and alert. I have no doubt, this was the result of the healthy food I was eating (I mean, that you were feeding to me). Certainly makes me more aware of the impact a bad diet can have and how small healthy changes can make a positive difference.

    Skin?
    I didn’t really notice a major improvement in this area for me. I suppose my complexion is a little more clear as a result. My nails grew rapidly too! It was kinda weird.

    What Now?
    I dunno. I’ll do whatever you tell me to….. :-D. J/K. I witnessed the positive changes this detox has had and am impressed at how quickly those changes took place. In a perfect world, we’d be able to maintain an uber-healthy diet. But unfortunately, I don’t think I could maintain this detox over a long period of time. I definitely see the value in doing it once or twice a year though. And would recommend it to anyone.

    Thanks again, for all that you did to make our detox an enjoyable success.

  5. Awesome, awesome recap!! (you and Jodus both 😉 ) Worth every minute reading.

    First, I have to say all your dinners looked amazing during the detox, so I can totally see how successful you were there! As for the support aspect of it, I can also see how easy it would be to put all your eggs into the “diet” basket and do the rest if you had time (which, honestly, you didn’t!). Now that you’ve got a better handle on the diet plan, the support plan can get a little more attention next year. Good things ahead! 🙂

    As for your mini-rant about exercise. A PLAN sounds perfect. I don’t even think it has to be a big or specific plan. Especially since your work week is always changing. You don’t need to work out 6 days a week like the rest of the blog world, do what suits YOU. Sit down and hammer out a plan, then post it, and I’ll be your trainer drill sargeant and make sure you do it 😛

  6. […] Beans a la Olla (detox […]

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