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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2 weeks to a cleaner, leaner you!


I’ve been battling a bit of happy-marriage weight gain these past few years, and a big year is coming up, with two family weddings. Besides that, I would rather lose the weight and fit into the clothes in my closet than go out and splurge for a whole new wardrobe in a bigger size.

I used to go to the gym or jog a few kilometers a day when I wanted to drop some excess weight. But a funny thing happened. My early-40s body does not wish to do punishing workouts anymore. It prefers yoga. So I bought a variety of yoga videos and a floor mat, lit some incense and candles and started working out. Within days I could see more definition in my muscles. But I still didn’t fit into my clothes.

I was procrastinating on Facebook one day when a friend in Ireland invited me to join her “14 days to a cleaner, leaner, you” group. I was intrigued. Having tried other ‘detox’ plans before, however (and failed miserably), I wasn’t interested in ingesting any more toxic herbs or supplements. After reviewing the shopping list and menu plan, I was pretty excited. It was all about eliminating sugar and starch and focusing on dark green vegetables and lean, organic meats. I could do that! The moral support and accountability factor of the online group was also very motivating.

I’ll admit I was worried the first couple of days when I seemed to be “high” on hunger and ready for bed by 6pm. But as soon as I took a closer look at the portions I was eating and realized they were out of balance, things started to level out and I felt much better. For example, this menu plan (I won’t call it a diet because it is so much more than that) advises that you eat the equivalent of 100gms of organic oatmeal, 2 whole eggs and 100gms of low fat cottage cheese, all for breakfast. Separately, that’s too much food for me. But if I followed the directions, blended everything together with a dash of cinnamon and fried it in a drop of olive oil like pancakes, I had a breakfast that would last in my belly for a good 5 hours. I didn’t get the usual blood sugar boost-and-crash either. Lunch and dinner called for a lean protein (chicken, turkey, or fish) with dark green leafy or cruciferous (don’t you just love that word? Means cauliflower or cabbage;) veggies. I ate a handful of unsalted nuts or seeds for a snack.

The only thing I really missed was my evening glass of wine. I realize, however, that my vino was a big reason for my weight gain, so I was happy to see it go for a couple of weeks: too much sugar.

I lost a pound a day for the first 6 days. My cravings for sweets, fruit and wine decreased to the point where my willpower overcame them. As I rounded the corner into the second week, something else started happening. My brain got sharper. As I worked on my writing assignments, words came to me more easily. I also found I didn’t forget things as often as I did before (when I would open the fridge and forget what I was looking for). That increased mental alertness can be attributed, I believe, to the detox from chemicals and artificial additives in my food.

I saw a program on TV where actress Jenny McCarthy explained how she reversed her son’s autism diagnosis, simply by eliminating chemicals from his food and environment. I’m telling you, folks, this is powerful stuff. This menu plan is also very similar to the cancer-fighting plan that most oncologists promote. Add some flax seed and cod liver oil to build the immune system (over-the-counter cold remedies are also full of chemicals) and you’ll feel fantastic.

When I hit the 10 pounds lost point, I celebrated with a small glass of the most delicious organic red wine known to man (Bonterra – a Cab Sav from California). To be honest, it was a bit rich for my new palate. That slowed me down, and I savoured every drop over about 2 hours.

By the time this article is in print, I should be down about 15 pounds. I plan to keep going on this plan, in moderation, until I feel like myself again. Of course, if these results continue, I won’t feel anything like the old me. I’ll have more energy and stamina than ever before. What a great way to head into 2012!

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