Confessions of a High Achiever 

I have a confession to make. For those who know me personally, it’s one that will shock you. And I’m probably breaking some kind of Alpha Mom Code by saying it. But I cannot pretend any longer. 

I hate being busy. 

We all talk about how busy we are. And honestly, I am the queen of busy. Look at me! I can be a freelance performing arts teacher and blogger while advocating for my child’s special needs, all while keeping up a social life! Wheeeeeee!!!!

When I was in the first grade, I remember telling my teacher (quite proudly!) that I had an activity after school every single day. 

In high school I won the top service award for my senior class. This was just code for This Girl Is Crazy Busy. 

My freshman year of college I was a cheerleader for women’s basketball. I would cheer for the women, run into the bathroom to change, and play in the pep band for the men. This only stopped because the schedules changed and they stopped being double headers. 

It’s been part of my personality my whole life. So it makes sense that by February of this year I was teaching 20 classes a week during the school day, 15 piano lessons a week in the afternoons, and ending my week teaching 2-hour classes at homeless shelters. All while getting my daughter settled in a new school. 

It was a decent amount of money. And everyone wanted me to teach for them. 

And I was miserable. 

If I wasn’t literally standing in front of students teaching, I could hardly have a conversation without crying. I was grumpy and snapped at my family. We didn’t have clean laundry or groceries and we were constantly eating at restaurants because I had no energy to deal. Most of the house looked like this. 


Now, a lot of this was out of necessity. A series of events led to me being the primary breadwinner of the family. My husband was working like crazy, but new businesses don’t provide immediately. 

But a lot of it was beyond that. Being busy had become my lifestyle, and my habit, and quite frankly, a bit of a bragging right. People want me! Hooray! Look at how many people want me!

But I knew something had to change. We were told over and over by therapists that we needed absolute consistency for our daughter to manage her anxiety. And I couldn’t do it. For a while, I was hard on myself. I blamed my own mental illness on my inability to provide consistency. I just couldn’t give enough. I couldn’t do enough. I couldn’t BE enough. 

Then, a friend offered to start a gofundme campaign for our family. The money we raised allowed me to say no to working like a crazy person. (Still working! Just not like a crazy person.) And the answer to our chaos seemed clear. 

In order to declutter our lives, I would need to declutter my schedule. 

Right now, I am sitting at the kitchen table. There are healthy snacks here, and I am sharing them with my husband, who has space to work. We just had a calm discussion about transportation for the afternoon. (Complicated, when we only have one car, I teach piano lessons in students’ homes, and our daughter has therapy every day until 6…) I know what is happening for the week. I know what we’re eating  and when I’ll do laundry and how much money we have and what bills are coming up. And this is very different indeed. 

Over the past month, I have decluttered my schedule. Our lives are still very much works in progress. But for the next few weeks I’ll share what we’ve done. Maybe we can all declutter together!

31 More Days: Clean Eating

I completed this challenge in July. It is now March. I have been avoiding writing this one. I was telling myself it was because it was too much information. But here’s the truth. I think it’s because I didn’t want to post this picture. So. Let me just get this out of the way.

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Now, I fully understand that the “before” picture is not exactly huge. But please understand that I have never gained weight. This is not a humble brag. (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. My body didn’t exactly cooperate with me when I wanted to get pregnant. So please don’t judge me for having a body that doesn’t gain a lot of weight. K?) It’s just how it has always been for me. When I gained 15 pounds in about a year, I hid it well. Most people who know me would have no idea that was hiding under there. So there it is, world. My secret gut.

And now the big shocker.

These two pictures were taken 18 days apart.

And.

I was really busy teaching at a camp. I don’t think I worked out a single time in those 18 days.

Last July I spent 2 weeks with the Cleaning Eating Challenge.

Here’s a review:

1. The Food: It was delicious. Just looking back at the pictures today to write the review makes me want to do it again. (Except it turns out I don’t like chia seed pudding. I’ve tried. A few times. It’s just not for me.) I was definitely full enough all the time and felt like I had an appropriate amount of snacks and treats. Yummy.

2. The Work: It’s a LOT of work. I was teaching at a camp, so I felt a bit like I was either at camp, cooking, or packing food for the next day. I seriously have never chopped so many vegetables in my life. If I did it again, I would probably prep for the week on Sunday. (Like… all day Sunday.)

3. The Groceries: I appreciated the list, but I tried to multiply it by 2.5 (2 adults and 1 child) and ended up with strange amounts of leftover ingredients. Maybe it was my math. But more likely it was that things are only sold in certain set amounts. I did my best to use up as many ingredients as I could, though. And I ended up with 18 days of food instead of 14. I went to the grocery store more than the two suggested times. I had never bought so much produce in my life.

4. The No Coffee Thing: Yikes. I did my very very best to follow this rule. I made it through about 10 days. But as I mentioned, I did this while teaching at a camp. And the camp musical was on day 10 or so. And tech week is not the time to give up coffee. I only had one cup, and it was black. Which is significant since I’m usually a 3-4 cups a day kinda girl. I consider it a major victory that I didn’t have more than this.

5. The Results: The picture above speaks for the results. I try to base things on look and feel rather than weight. So I don’t know what the pound difference was. But it’s clear that this worked.

Similar to the Dr. Oz Cleanse, there was a lot of comfort in having my food all planned out for 2 weeks. I have started to carry this into my regular life a bit. Not entirely, but a bit. More on that soon. 😉

Has anyone else tried this plan? What were your experiences?

In Honor of Pie Day

In honor of a Once-In-A-Lifetime Pie Day, here’s a Thoroughly Modern Mommy favorite, originally posted a few years ago.

I am good at a lot of things. I teach really well. And I can sing. And I can teach people how to sing. And I’m good at things that have nothing to do with teaching or singing. Like writing, or so I’m told. But it turns out there is at least one thing that I just cannot do.

I cannot, to save my life, make a pie.

I made this shocking discovery the week of the Carol Brady experiment, while trying to make a raspberry pie for my husband as June Cleaver. Oh, sure, it turned out alright I suppose. And Ryan absolutely loved it. Ate every bite. But I knew better. I knew it wasn’t quite right. The crust just barely covered the pan. And it took me four tries. And it was tough. And just… not perfect. June’s pies were perfect.

For a while, I was willing to let it go. But then I got some encouragement. My Mom bought me a proper pie plate. And a friend of hers gave me a recipe for a No-Fail pie crust.

Then, a few days ago, a friend of mine jokingly referred to me as the kind of girl who doesn’t make pies. It was a joke, and made sense in the context of the conversation. And I said I took it as a compliment. Because I am a working woman, and an academic, and a really fun Mom. But people don’t necessarily think of me as the girl who sits at home and makes pies.

But it got to me. I can be the girl who doesn’t make pies. But I cannot, and WILL NOT be the girl who CAN’T make pies. I just couldn’t accept it.

So I went to Whole Foods, and got myself some apples, and at 8:30 at night I set out to make a pie. And by 10:30, it was all I could do not to throw myself on my kitchen floor in hysterics. (fortunately, it’s a very small kitchen floor. Even someone as little as me would have trouble finding the room for a full-on fit. So that kept me upright, if nothing else.)

I just couldn’t get the crust off of the counter. I mean I COULD NOT get that crust off of the counter. The No-Fail crust. The one I wasn’t supposed to be capable of messing up. And yes, I floured the counter. And the rolling pin. And yes, I know to roll it up over the rolling pin and then unroll it into the pie plate. It was too sticky. I slid a knife under my third version of the crust (repeating to myself that one is not supposed to over-handle the crust or it gets too tough. But what choice did I have?) Finally, on my fourth try, I was able to get several large pieces into the pan, which I mashed together with my fingers. So it sort, kind of looked like a pie crust.

I lifted my big bowl of apples- which were starting to brown because peeling them and coring them and slicing them took me ninety minutes- and dumped them into the pie plate, knowing I still had a top crust to deal with. But I planned to cheat- a lattice top is far easier, since I only have to get the crust to come out in strips. Then I just have to make it look like a pie. I’m an artist. I can do that.

I put my desperate pie attempt into the oven at 11:45. It takes fifty minutes for a pie to bake, and I was already exhausted, but I refused to let this beat me. Halfway through the baking process, Ryan woke up from the sofa to find me surrounded by dishes with flour all over the counter.

“What in the world are you doing?” It was a fair question.

“Making a pie.” An obvious answer. “You can go back to sleep if you want. I’ll wake you when it’s ready.”

I opened the oven with very low expectations. But honestly, it looked like a pie. I may have done it! Until I cut into it, to find a watery mess. The slice I had carved out for myself fell apart entirely on my plate, making it more of an ice cream topping than a stand-alone dessert. And I assure you, that’s what it became.

It’s been a few days since my pie debacle, and I’ve had some time to reflect. I sit here, at my computer, eating another slice of my gooey, not-very-sweet mess, and I realize. This is not about pie. Well, OK, in the very most literal analysis, it’s a little bit about pie. But it’s more about that No-Fail crust. If it’s supposed to be No-Fail, and I couldn’t do it, where does that leave me?

My years of struggling with infertility brought up some really interesting issues in therapy. And I distinctly remember the day when my therapist and I discovered that one of my biggest hurdles was understanding the failure. To be perfectly honest, I have had very few failures in my life. I applied to one undergraduate program, and one graduate program, and later, one more additional graduate program. I applied to one teaching position when I graduated. The year after I graduated from NYU, I went to only six auditions. This is because I booked four of them. My best friend and I decided to start a theatre company. So, we did.

And I don’t say all of this to proclaim how cool I am. I tend to do things at which I excel. This makes success much more likely. I go to the auditions for which I know I’m right. I pick jobs and schools that I know are right for me. But in all of my successes, I never learned to fail. And I’m starting to realize- this is a problem.

So now, I’m stuck with a decision. Do I practice, and learn to make the perfect pie? A big part of me says yes. Because that’s what I do.

But maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll take this as a failure. I’ll be the girl who totally can’t make pies. Because in the grand scheme of things, maybe that’s not so bad.

Who am I kidding? You know I’ll be at Whole Foods tomorrow.

Update: I didn’t go to Whole Foods that next day. I waited all the until the following 4th of July. It took 2 of us. But my friend Andrea and I baked a pie. And it was patriotic. And delicious. Victory.

Pie

37 More Days: Breakfast

I’ve never been a big breakfast eater. Part of my problem is that I’m not a morning person. So I really don’t want to eat first thing. And, if I’m being totally honest… with my “artistic lifestyle,” sometimes by the time I’m up and around, it’s not what we would technically call “morning.” But the Dr Oz cleanse showed me that I can- and should- become a breakfast convert. I had energy throughout the day, and it anchored my morning routine. Routine is something I really need to work on. But. Baby steps. Breakfast shall be the first of these.

As I explained at the beginning of Project 40, some of my challenges will be habits. And eating a good breakfast is the first of these habits. I want to go 30 consecutive days eating a good breakfast. I was going to say I’m on Day 2. But then I remembered I’ve been eating breakfast every day since Thursday because of the cleanse. So I guess I’m really on Day 6! Hooray for accomplishments!

Of course, it can’t be just any breakfast. It needs to be one that actually fuels me. Here’s where my new love of smoothies comes in. I don’t want to have just that every day. We need variety. But since I had so many of these ingredients in hand and my blender was all warmed up, I’ve gone to this easy solution so far. I’ve come up with one that feels too delicious to be healthy. I am not a nutritionist, but I just don’t see anything bad about this. And I am full and have energy. So. Here’s the list of ingredients. I wouldn’t call it a recipe, because I don’t even measure.

One banana

Cocoa powder (like… A spoonful)

Almond milk

A handful of spinach

Almond butter (again, a spoonful or so)

Coconut water (just a little, to help sweeten the Cocoa powder)

Warning: green and brown do not make a pretty color. That’s why there’s no picture. It’s worth it I swear.

I need a name- any suggestions? Let me know if you try it, and we can come up with a name together!

Update: I named it. And now I totally forget what I named it. So. Suggestions still welcome. As far as breakfast, I felt like this habit stuck for a long time. Until it didn’t. Once school started in September, I was really terrible about eating breakfast. But in the past month or so, I have reclaimed my breakfast and once again claim ownership of this important health habit. It helps that my work BFF sometimes brings me Paleo treats. (Shout out to Stacy for this blueberry muffin!)

More on what I eat for breakfast in upcoming posts.

Wow. That might be literally the least interesting teaser in the history of writing.

Keep following my journey anyway?

38 More Days: The Dr. Oz 3-Day Cleanse

 

These blog posts originally appeared on Thoroughly Modern Mommy in April of 2014. Here they are for you in one convenient location. Enjoy!

Day 1:

I didn’t have coffee this morning.

I can’t really wrap my head around that. But it’s true. I had one cup of green tea. All in the name of art. (And, you know, getting healthy and stuff. But it’s easier for me to commit to things if it’s in the name of an artistic venture. If that sounds crazy to you, you’re probably not an artist.)

I have decided to do a cleanse. I have never done anything like this before. So I’m a little nervous. And I wanted to be careful to choose one that didn’t sound like something through which the human body should not be put. So I chose the Dr. Oz three-day cleanse. It’s totally food-based. I recognize the things I’ll be putting into my body over the next three days. In fact, you’ll recognize them too. Here they are laid out on my table.

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Yummy, right?

I’m not terribly concerned about hunger. I am not a huge eater anyway, and the smoothies seem pretty substantial. I am worried about no coffee for three days though. And I also hope that drinking my tea plain, rather than with a slice of lemon and stevia as suggested, is acceptable. Because I absolutely cannot tolerate any sort of fruit in my tea. Seriously. It’s a thing with me. And I figured the stevia couldn’t possibly be doing anything beneficial. And I like plain green tea. But if this whole thing is a bust, we’ll blame the tea.

There are a few things I’m really looking forward to with this challenge:

  1. Seeing what sort of benefits it has on my body. I’m hoping for some belly loss and improved energy.
  2. The evening bath each night. That’s a nightly ritual for me anyway. I’ve always been a bath person. But this one is with Epsom salts and lavender. And it’s mandatory. The things we do for our art, right?
  3. I know exactly what I’ll be eating and when and how and all of the ingredients are on hand. That’s pretty exciting. It occurs to me that with some planning, this could always be true. WHY HASN’T ANYONE TOLD ME THERE COULD BE SUCH PEACE OF MIND IN MEAL PLANNING???

(Lots of people have told me. Especially Flylady. For years.)

Day 2

Yesterday I completed day 1. It really wasn’t as hard as I thought. I wanted coffee. But didn’t feel like I NEEDED it. (Often I think it’s not so much that I need it. It’s that I really really like coffee.) I wasn’t hungry. In fact, I was too full. I had sort of a late breakfast and a pretty lazy day which led to a really late lunch. I had to start the dinner shake before I had even had the snack and couldn’t finish it. The plan is to have four shakes a day. I had 2 1/2. But I’m really small and don’t have a huge appetite. So I’m hoping that doesn’t make a difference. I am shooting for all four today though, because as my friend Andrea pointed out, I am a perfectionist and enjoy sticking to the exact plan.

The shakes themselves are pretty tasty. Breakfast is raspberry and banana-based with almond butter. Lunch is the one most people don’t like- it has a lot of celery and kale, but tastes mostly like apple to me.

Then there’s dinner. That’s the one I couldn’t finish. It’s blueberry which is great. But has cayenne pepper. Weird.

Energy-wise, I feel so full all the time I’m having trouble getting motivated to do anything. And by the end of the night yesterday I couldn’t even think about fruit. I am thinking about salty/ savory foods a bit, because this is all just sweet. Sure there’s cayenne pepper in the dinner shake. But it’s with blueberries, so….

Did you ever wonder about Pinterest? Like, did you ever want to put something on there that’s totally absurd just to see if people do it? I know it happens. I’ve seen it happen. People are really gullible.

Am I one of those really gullible people???

My belly is really full of fruit.

Day 3

I’m just. So. Full.

Yesterday at 8 PM I had just finished my lunch shake. I knew I couldn’t consume one more ounce of blended fruits and vegetables. But I knew I should probably have more calories. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt full and hungry at the same time before, but there it was.

So. I broke the shakes down into ingredients and just ate them plain. Not all of them. But I had a banana and a spoonful of almond butter as a snack. Then I made a salad with the ingredients of the dinner shake. Not only was I able to finish it that way, but it tasted a lot better, too. It looked a little something like this.

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Ok it looked exactly like that.

The only issue was that I didn’t get all of the coconut water and cayenne, which is what I used as dressing. And a lot of the flax seeds sank to the bottom. But I felt so much better, and my digestive system appreciated having something to break down.

Today is my last day. My husband has asked me to bring him coffee from Starbucks, and suggested we all go to the diner for pancakes. I am ready to get back to life. I am noticing a flatter belly though…

Full report and wrap- up tomorrow. After I have my coffee.

Day 4

I’m sitting here enjoying my first cup of coffee in three days. The last time I went that long without coffee I had the stomach flu. This experience was considerably more pleasant.

First, the plan. I want to give credit where credit is due. So. You can find the whole plan here on the Dr Oz site. (That way you are getting the information from the correct source.) Everything you need is right there!

Next, some tips.

First, I just noticed that Dr Oz says you’ll spend $16 a day. I’m not sure where Dr Oz gets his groceries. I didn’t even go to Whole Foods. I went to Stop and Shop and bought organic, which I find to be reasonable. Even then, I spent around $150 for the three days. He may not be including the supplements, Epsom salt, and lavender. Maybe he figures you already have those things. I did not. The only thing I had was Cayenne pepper, because Cincinnati Chili is a regular staple in our home. Also, berries are out of season, and very expensive. But I suppose if you have lots of supplements lying around and your fridge is already stocked with coconut water and almond milk and almond butter (which was $11) and you’re just buying the fresh fruits and vegetables… then sure, Dr. Oz. Sixteen dollars a day.

Next tip, the lunch shake.

I guess a lot of people don’t like it. I did. All a matter of taste. But it did take me three days to figure out how to get it to blend properly. The cucumbers and celery tend to jam up the blades. I finally realized on the last day that these need to be cut up pretty small. Then I blended just those two things then added and blended the other solid ingredients one by one.

Speaking of chopping…

A lot of people did all of the chopping/ prep ahead of time. I’m just not that girl. But I can see where that would have been a good idea.

As for the snack shake, I only had it one day. (Day three, when my body was a little more accustomed to having alllllllllll that fruit.) I read another review that suggested having the breakfast shake as the snack. I agree in principle. It is the tastiest and lightest. However. If it is any time other than the few weeks a year when raspberries are in season, it is also the most expensive shake. I spent $15 just on raspberries for four shakes. Just something to think about.

Also, I’m a grazer. So rather than having shakes specifically at meal time, I was just sort of always working on one. (I was home a lot for the past three days, making this easier. But I grabbed them and carried them with me a few places, too.)

My final tip, and keep in mind I am not a nutritionist and I am certainly not Dr. Oz, is that I went rogue after a day. Yep. I’m a rebel. I never fully finished the plan each day. I got so full from the shakes I just couldn’t drink any more. So the second and third days I had the dinner ingredients (which I thought were a little gross as a shake) as a salad instead. And on day three I even had things in a different order. Because I am a rebel. And because it was lunch time but my daughter ate all of my green apples and I was hungry and couldn’t wait for my husband- who said she could have the apples- to go to the store and replace them. I figured it was the principle we were talking about here, especially since the snack can be any shake you want. So it must not be an EXACT science. I decided if it was a matter of getting that nutrition into my body, or not getting it into my body, I’d skip the blender and go in the order that worked for me.

And now (drumroll) the results.

I have to say, I’m a fan.

I’m going to stay away from numbers here. If there is one things trying to conceive taught me, it’s that I can become obsessed with numbers. And when the numbers have to do with my body, they often have little effect on the intended results. So I’m being careful during Project 40 not to have everything come down to weight and BMI.

So here’s what.

I feel better.

I am in a good mood. I have what feels like natural energy. (And that’s coming from a coffee addict with no coffee.) I worked on some overwhelming household chores last night (sorting toys….) without complaint. My stomach feels like it has flattened. It looks like it has flattened. I just…. feel better.

I did have a few of the side effects that Dr. Oz warned us about. Nothing major at all. I was a little sleepy and grouchy until about halfway through. I also had a mild headache. And it took my stomach about two days to adjust to all that fruit. I for sure felt nauseous for a while. But after two days that all went away and was replaced by feeling pretty great.

I learned a ton over the last three days. I’ll try to break it down as effectively as I can because I am a teacher.

  1. I can do it! I have never done such a specific dietary plan before. I was daunted by the idea of no coffee, no meat, no dairy, no bread…. But I did it. And after about a day I didn’t even crave those things. I had thought of doing a vegan week this year for Project 40 but wasn’t sure I could manage. Now I know I absolutely can. (I didn’t even realize until it was almost over that this was a vegan plan.)
  2. Planning is key. I know I do better when I have a menu plan for the week. I know that. I need to remember.
  3. Almond milk is awesome. So is almond butter. (And coconut water) We’re lucky that the only food allergy we have in this family is Food Dye. This cleanse introduced me to a few things that will stay in my diet.
  4. Whole food smoothies are the bomb. I’ll be having them for breakfast and snacks in the future. They won’t make up my entire diet. But they’ll be sticking around.
  5. I care what I put in my body. This was the biggest lesson of them all. I feel better. (“So much better! Thank you doc for taking all the ouchies away!” Yep. A Dr Oz/ Disney Jr mash-up. You’re welcome.) And I want to continue feeling better. So everything in moderation. But there will be some changes coming.

The Most Important Meal of the Day

I’ve never been a big breakfast eater. Part of my problem is that I’m not a morning person. So I really don’t want to eat first thing. And, if I’m being totally honest… with my “artistic lifestyle,” sometimes by the time I’m up and around, it’s not what we would technically call “morning.” But the Dr Oz cleanse showed me that I can- and should- become a breakfast convert. I had energy throughout the day, and it anchored my morning routine. Routine is something I really need to work on. But. Baby steps. Breakfast shall be the first of these.

As I explained at the beginning of Project 40, some of my challenges will be habits. And eating a good breakfast is the first of these habits. I want to go 30 consecutive days eating a good breakfast. I was going to say I’m on Day 2. But then I remembered I’ve been eating breakfast every day since Thursday because of the cleanse. So I guess I’m really on Day 6! Hooray for accomplishments!

Of course, it can’t be just any breakfast. It needs to be one that actually fuels me. Here’s where my new love of smoothies comes in. I don’t want to have just that every day. We need variety. But since I had so many of these ingredients in hand and my blender was all warmed up, I’ve gone to this easy solution so far. I’ve come up with one that feels too delicious to be healthy. I am not a nutritionist, but I just don’t see anything bad about this. And I am full and have energy. So. Here’s the list of ingredients. I wouldn’t call it a recipe, because I don’t even measure.

One banana
Cocoa powder (like… A spoonful)
Almond milk
A handful of spinach
Almond butter (again, a spoonful or so)
Coconut water (just a little, to help sweeten the Cocoa powder)

Warning: green and brown do not make a pretty color. That’s why there’s no picture. It’s worth it I swear.

I need a name- any suggestions? Let me know if you try it, and we can come up with a name together!

Since this is a short post, I thought this might be a good time to check in with Project 40 progress.

Physically, I feel pretty awesome. I’ve lost five pounds, and it’s been less than two weeks. (But part of that was during a cleanse.) I’m feeling inspired by my results, but need to stick with it! Already today I haven’t worked out yet. I need to go for a run but couldn’t get Lily to school and am headed out of town tomorrow and my whole day tomorrow is full so I need to pack tonight and I have to do laundry and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg! If it wasn’t for the accountability of this blog, I probably would skip it. However. I will run tonight when I get home. I will make it a priority, and I will be glad when I’m done.

As far as my challenges, here’s where it stands.

Completed Challenges:
1. Presidential Physical Fitness Test
2. Shrink Session
3. Dr. Oz 3-day Cleanse

Challenges in Progress:
4. 4-week Summer Fitness

Habits in Progress:
5. Healthy Breakfast every morning (6 consecutive days)
6. Making an effort to drink water every day (2 consecutive days)

Upcoming challenges:
7. Riverside Run (3 miles) on May 10

In order to do 40 challenges in a year, I need to do 3-4 a month. By May 27 I will have completed 7. Who has two healthy thumbs and is on pace to be ahead of schedule?

This 39-year-old.

The Dr Oz Three Day Cleanse: A Review

I’m sitting here enjoying my first cup of coffee in three days. The last time I went that long without coffee I had the stomach flu. This experience was considerably more pleasant.

First, the plan. I want to give credit where credit is due. So. You can find the whole plan here on the Dr Oz site. (That way you are getting the information from the correct source.) Everything you need is right there!

Next, some tips.

First, I just noticed that Dr Oz says you’ll spend $16 a day. I’m not sure where Dr Oz gets his groceries. I didn’t even go to Whole Foods. I went to Stop and Shop and bought organic, which I find to be reasonable. Even then, I spent around $150 for the three days. He may not be including the supplements, Epsom salt, and lavender. Maybe he figures you already have those things. I did not. The only thing I had was Cayenne pepper, because Cincinnati Chili is a regular staple in our home. Also, berries are out of season, and very expensive. But I suppose if you have lots of supplements lying around and your fridge is already stocked with coconut water and almond milk and almond butter (which was $11) and you’re just buying the fresh fruit and vegetables… then sure, Dr. Oz. Sixteen dollars a day.

20140427-092631.jpg

Next tip, the lunch shake.

I guess a lot of people don’t like it. I did. All a matter of taste. But it did take me three days to figure out how to get it to blend properly. The cucumbers and celery tend to jam up the blades. I finally realized on the last day that these need to be cut up pretty small. Then I blended just those two things then added and blended the other solid ingredients one by one.

Speaking of chopping…

A lot of people did all of the chopping/ prep ahead of time. I’m just not that girl. But I can see where that would have been a good idea.

As for the snack shake, I only had it one day. (Day three, when my body was a little more accustomed to having alllllllllll that fruit.) I read another review that suggested having the breakfast shake as the snack. I agree in principle. It is the tastiest and lightest. However. If it is any time other than the few weeks a year when raspberries are in season, it is also the most expensive shake. I spent $15 just on raspberries for four shakes. Just something to think about.

Also, I’m a grazer. So rather than having shakes specifically at meal time, I was just sort of always working on one. (I was home a lot for the past three days, making this easier. But I grabbed them and carried them with me a few places, too.)

My final tip, and keep in mind I am not a nutritionist and I am certainly not Dr. Oz, is that I went rogue after a day. Yep. I’m a rebel. I never fully finished the plan each day. I got so full from the shakes I just couldn’t drink any more. So the second and third days I had the dinner ingredients (which I thought were a little gross as a shake) as a salad instead. And on day three I even had things in a different order. Because I am a rebel. And because it was lunch time but my daughter ate all of my green apples and I was hungry and couldn’t wait for my husband- who said she could have the apples- to go to the store and replace them. I figured it was the principle we were talking about here, especially since the snack can be any shake you want. So it must not be an EXACT science. I decided if it was a matter of getting that nutrition into my body, or not getting it into my body, I’d skip the blender and go in the order that worked for me.

And now (drumroll) the results.

I have to say, I’m a fan.

I’m going to stay away from numbers here. If there is one things trying to conceive taught me, it’s that I can become obsessed with numbers. And when the numbers have to do with my body, they often have little effect on the intended results. So I’m being careful during Project 40 not to have everything come down to weight and BMI.

So here’s what.

I feel better.

I am in a good mood. I have what feels like natural energy. (And that’s coming from a coffee addict with no coffee.) I worked on some overwhelming household chores last night (sorting toys….) without complaint. My stomach feels like it has flattened. It looks like it has flattened. I just…. feel better.

I did have a few of the side effects that Dr. Oz warned us about. Nothing major at all. I was a little sleepy and grouchy until about halfway through. I also had a mild headache. And it took my stomach about two days to adjust to all that fruit. I for sure felt nauseous for a while. But after two days that all went away and was replaced by feeling pretty great.

I learned a ton over the last three days. I’ll try to break it down as effectively as I can because I am a teacher.

1. I can do it! I have never done such a specific dietary plan before. I was daunted by the idea of no coffee, no meat, no dairy, no bread…. But I did it. And after about a day I didn’t even crave those things. I had thought of doing a vegan week this year for Project 40 but wasn’t sure I could manage. Now I know I absolutely can. (I didn’t even realize until it was almost over that this was a vegan plan.)

2. Planning is key. I know I do better when I have a menu plan for the week. I know that. I need to remember.

3. Almond milk is awesome. So is almond butter. (And coconut water) We’re lucky that the only food allergy we have in this family is Food Dye. This cleanse introduced me to a few things that will stay in my diet.

4. Whole food smoothies are the bomb. I’ll be having them for breakfast and snacks in the future. They won’t make up my entire diet. But they’ll be sticking around.

5. I care what I put in my body. This was the biggest lesson of them all. I feel better. (“So much better! Thank you doc for taking all the ouchies away!” Yep. A Dr Oz/ Disney Jr mash-up. You’re welcome.) And I want to continue feeling better. So everything in moderation. But there will be some changes coming.

This cleanse was done as the 3rd part of a year-long blog series called Project 40: 40 health and fitness challenges in preparation for my 40th birthday. You can see all of the Project 40 blogs here.

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