I’m not old, but I am getting older. While a big part of me is kicking and screaming about that, the other part recognizes that growing older is better than the alternative. The sad reality is that even though I feel pretty good and I’m in decent shape, I don’t have my 30-year old body, much less my 40-year old one.
I eat reasonably well. I’m big on salads, and I haven’t eaten any fast food (other than the odd trip to Taco Bell or Popeye’s once or twice a year) or had any soda for nearly a decade. I guzzle water daily. I don’t eat a lot of prepared foods.
I’ve tried all sorts of exercise, and truth be told, I’m one of those people who doesn’t mind doing it. I have no issue droning away on a treadmill or an elliptical. I like lifting weights. I look forward to doing routines like P90-X and T-25. My issues are twofold…..
Time. I spend at least 2-1/2 hours a day commuting. That doesn’t leave much time at home for anything, much less exercise. Sure, I could get up earlier, but who wants to do that, especially at the expense of losing evening time with the family?
Injury. Granted, I’ve got a bum knee and wrist from a motorcycle accident that tend to hamper things, but my biggest problem is me. It’s not enough to start doing T-25, I need to do the advanced routine as fast as possible. It’s not enough to do a couple of dumbbell curls, I need to 3 sets of 5 different curls with a ton of weight.
So last weekend, with very little collusion, my wife and I decided we needed to do something about how we looked and felt. Mind you, neither one of us are obese and neither of us have serious health problems. We just both recognized that we could stand to lose a few pounds and generally take better care of ourselves.
We had looked into various “cleanse” diets, and though I think there’s dubious benefits to them, figured, “what the heck” and plunged in.
The plan was to eliminate the following: caffeine, dairy, gluten, alcohol, added sugars, and as much “junk” as possible. We decided the easiest way to get our nutrients in was a Magic Bullet juicer. We have a friend who swears by juicing, so that was a huge push in that direction. I also decided I needed to do 20 minutes on the elliptical every day. Enough exercise to keep me going, not so much that I was going to hurt something and lose focus.
Juicing is an interesting thing. You mix a “base” – in our case spinach – along with various fruits, and combine that with water, flaxseed, and a protein-heavy MRS (meal replacement shake). You blend all this stuff up, and you have a truly horrific-looking runny paste. Seriously, it’s like something that would leak out of a zombie. The upside is that it miraculously tastes pretty good. So far every combination has yielded not only a drinkable mix, but in some cases, a downright enjoyable one.
Monday was murder. My body was missing caffeine badly, and I hadn’t slept well. With no jump-start to the morning, I was dragging hard. I hadn’t figured out that I needed to add the MRS for the protein, so I was running on no coffee, no protein, and about half the calories I was used to. Bad headache, light-headed, and starving is not how you want to go through your day. I had to fight off a nap to get on the elliptical, but I made it.
Tuesday I added the MRS and solved the protein and hunger issues. I still didn’t sleep worth a damn, but the headache was better. Less awful for the exercise too.
Wednesday morning I woke up from one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years. I don’t know what to point to that made it so, but I woke up from 6-1/2 hours of sleep feeling refreshed. The diet seemed to be agreeing with me, and I felt reasonably good about everything, right up until about 8pm.
Funny things happen inside of you when you radically change your diet. I won’t go into graphic detail, but I totally get why it’s called a “cleanse”.
Thursday and Friday were a walk in the park. The routine of eating 6 times a day has been cemented (I was already doing this for the most part), the exercise was working, and the tremendous amount of fruits and vegetables haven’t killed me.
So here we are on Saturday morning. It’s 9am and I haven’t had my morning coffee. Today is the 8th day I’ve gone without certain staples in my diet. I haven’t missed a day on the elliptical. While cleanse purists might turn up their noses at a couple of the things I’ve eaten (dry-roasted peanuts, that teriyaki chicken breast), I’ve kept it pretty clean. I didn’t succumb to the box of donuts at work yesterday. I didn’t grab one of the delicious IPAs in my garage fridge.
I feel good. I’ve slept really well since Tuesday night. Nothing’s sore, I’m not ravenously hungry, and as a bonus, I’m down 4 pounds. My pants are even fitting a bit better. Could I live like this? Could I maintain this for months or years? Yeah, I think I could. The shakes are really not bad at all, and are very satisfying. Weaning myself off of the last little bit of junk has probably done me a world of good.
But it’s Valentine’s Day, and I’ve got two huge ribeyes marinating in the fridge, along with the aforementioned IPAs to consume while I’m grilling, and a nice bottle of Cab for the meal.
I’ll get back on it tomorrow……..