Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fast Food III ...

OK, boys and girls. Let me explain my motivation behind this cleanse:

First of all, I know it sounds crazy, but if I thought it was in any way dangerous, I wouldn't be doing it.

I've always struggled with my weight. It's been up and down my entire life. I have tried most of the "diets" out there, and none to good effect, because I was never willing to accept that what I really needed to do was change my relationship with food. Richard Simmons and Susan Powter and Larry North and all the others didn't have information I was lacking. The answer wasn't in big bottles of vitamins and blue-green algae and crazy-scary pills that make your heart race. The answer has always been inside me. I just didn't want to do the necessary work. I, like millions of others, wanted the "simple" answer that would let me sit on my butt and watch TV and have the pounds magically melt away. Why exercise and eat right when I could just dial a 1-800 number and order the latest, greatest miracle?

Many miracles later, I finally accepted that the change had to come from inside. Mind you, I always *knew* that, I just didn't want to accept it. So I started shifting my habits. I cut out milk. I cut out almost all red meat. I started walking regularly. I started drinking a lot of water. I stopped drinking diet soda. (I had long ago stopped drinking "real" soda.) All good things. But I was still prone to eating things I shouldn't (not that we can all be perfect every day of our lives). The point is, I was looking to make a dramatic change.

So when Kelley brought up this cleanse (again; I'd heard her talk about it before), it was a case of "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." It was the right time for me to hear what she was saying. I was receptive to the idea. I did some research and thought about it on my walks, and I realized that this would be a good way to define the space between my two ways of eating. As I wrote to a friend earlier in an IM conversation, "I really want to radically change my diet, and this is like the demilitarized zone. I figure, once I take this time and get myself clean (sounds like something an addict would say, but then, I'm a food addict in a lot of ways), it will be much easier to pursue the healthier eating. Once you go through this, you don't think, 'Hey! Yeah, triple-bacon cheeseburger and chili fries!' You think, 'Fruit. Salad.' You realize just how much you put your body through and you want to take care of it. And part of it, too, is purely that I'm getting older. Feeling that feeling of needing to take better care of myself."

So I'm not doing this as a diet, though you can't help but lose weight on it. (Yes, some of the weight does come right back when you go back to solid food.) I'm doing this as a jumpstart. As I wrote on IM, "I just felt the need to do something drastic. Or dramatic. Really shake things up. It's kind of like trying to rock a car out of a rut. You rock forward and slip back because you're always partly in the rut. I've gotta get my car fully out of the rut and moving in the direction I need it to go. So I need a big push from behind."

The first day was very hard. I really wanted to quit. I had many conversations with myself. But I realized that that day was a defining moment, not just in the cleanse, but in my whole relationship with food. If I couldn't even make it one day without caving, things seemed pretty hopeless. So I made it through the first day (thanks in large part to a well-timed pep talk by L.A. Dave that night) and yesterday was much better. I was both more clear on why I was doing this as well as armed with what the experience is all about.

In reading message boards about this cleanse, I'm amazed at the people who refer to this lemonade concoction as "tasty." What mixture are they drinking? This stuff is vile. But then, I'm one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap, so maybe there's just something fundamentally wacky with my tastebuds.

But I've worked out the kinks. I've figured out how to make the lemonade drinkable and I'm riding the wave of momentum now. Today is Day 3. I went for a two-mile walk this morning on an empty stomach and I felt fine.

Most of all, crazy as this may sound to some of you, I feel good. I feel powerful. I feel like I'm doing something really good for my body. I feel like this is the launching point I need toward a healthier life.

I won't prescribe this for everyone. I won't get preachy about it. If you don't want to do it, that's fine. If you think I'm insane for doing it, that's fine. But I'll have gone through it, and if people want to know about my experience, if they've been thinking about doing it themselves, I'll be happy to provide my take on it, share my tactics, root them on.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a glass of Fireball Punch.


Anonymous Ethan said...

You're not alone in the cilantro/soap department. Although it smalls soapy to me, otherwise tastes like something leafy.

10:55 AM  

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