Cleanse Update, Day 4

 

Guilty!

Confessing my sins.

Yesterday was a mixed bag of up and downs. For the most part I did very well. The shakes went down well, I took my walk, I even took a long soak. I planned every single detail of what I would do in the evening. YET…..

I cannot tell a lie. Despite all of my efforts, I cheated. (Argh!) Last night we had decided to do steaks, fingerlings and steamed broccoli for dinner. I was doing just fine until I got in the kitchen. All of the sudden I felt like I’d literally been struck in the heart with a horrible feeling…deep sadness mixed with a little anger. It felt like a vice grip on my heart. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I felt like someone had just hurt my feelings in the cruelest possible way.

I tried everything. I stopped what I was doing and prayed for strength. I ate a salad. I went out for a short walk. I sat down and tried to be rational about where the feeling was coming from. I even tried to write about it. Nothing came.

When my hubs came in from walking the dog, he took one look at me and he knew what I was contemplating. At first he said he was not going to say a word because whatever words he chose would be wrong. Then he reminded me that I had been working the plan like a pro and that the only person imposing the no wine rule was me. (It isn’t part of the actual “plan” I am on- I threw it in.) I kept telling him I refused to fail. Yet there I sat in misery. He told me it isn’t wrong for me to indulge one day a week. I know that. Two glasses of wine is a far cry from falling down drunk over consumption. Still, in my heart I felt a total failure.

My brain urged me to go immediately to the kitchen and stuff my face with dinner. My stubbornness refused. “I. Don’t. Wanna.”

So there ya have it. I had one glass of white wine. I had one glass of red wine. Then, I had dinner and it was delicious.

I could spend the day feeling like crap because I cheated (I do feel crappy about it) or I can do something constructive. Today I am right back on the plan and because I indulged last night, I will accompany the hubs to the gym today to do my penance. Oh, how I hate the gym!

I remain determined to stay the course and so I will push forward and not allow last night to fester into more failure. ❤️

Progress, not perfection, right?

 

 

Cleanse Update, Day 3

For a long time I covered myself, guarded my personal thoughts and generally hid anything important to me because people in my immediate circle frowned on my sharing. In retrospect I know it’s the conforming to other people’s ideas of how I should live and what I should share that has held me back and down and covered up in evening cocktails. Not any more.

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Extra. Extra. Read all about it! I made it through Wednesday and Thursday, the hardest two days of the work week for me! I am so pleased and happy to report that it wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined it might be. Steady as she goes!

The absolute key for me is being prepared. Thursday’s are sometimes really draining for me; which can trigger hard emotions; which in turn trigger me to want to run home and unwind with alcohol. Knowing this, yesterday morning I made a mental note of what steps I would take in order to NOT come home and pour myself a drink.

Let’s just be brutally honest here. I have no problem giving up two meals per day and replacing them with protein shakes. I don’t miss the food one bit. The Usana plant-based protein shakes are fun and easy for me. I like crafting different flavors each day. (This morning I added a tiny bit of almond butter and coconut water to the cappuccino flavor package and the result was delicious.) What I don’t like is not being able to enjoy my wine with dinner. I do not like it at all. So far though, with careful planning, it hasn’t been the huge issue I thought it would be.

Yesterday’s visit with the Parental Units was fun. We talked mostly about all of the dogs in the family and I shared a lot of photos and videos of the animals with them. We also shared a lot of silly stories from years past and the conversation stayed upbeat. (Thank you, Lord.)

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That’s not ketchup, it’s Sriracha. Overdid that a little bit!

On the way home I stopped at the market and picked up some more yogurt and some bath salts and even a little hard candy, just in case I needed it. I admit to feeling pretty crabby by the time I got home. Vodka crossed my mind a time or two or fifty, but I powered through and went to the kitchen to prepared dinner. (Last night we had Mahi Mahi and it was delicious.) Once I’ve eaten dinner and am satisfied, the crazy, wanton thoughts usually subside.

 

We played with the dogs and watched movies until bedtime and it was lovely.

This morning I was rudely awakened with the fact that today is Friday. Friday is always homemade pizza and wine night in our household. I love Friday evenings at home. While I was in the kitchen making my shakes for the day, I was feeling high anxiety thinking about what tonight might bring. One side of my brain kept telling me how much I need to stay the course and the other argued that it’s just one night a week. Yeah, right. It’s NOT just one night a week. If I were to allow myself one cheat night, what’s to stop me from two? I can’t do that.

What helped tremendously was when my beloved hubs came into the kitchen and told me how proud he is that I am sticking to my guns on this cleanse. We decided dinner tonight will be the two filet mignon he brought home a day ago and we’ll make some organic fingerlings and steamed broccoli to go with them. Although it’s not the fish we’d talked about doing, somehow, his encouraging words and the fact that we are switching up our menu brought me comfort. I don’t know why my brain thinks I need to have wine to celebrate the end of the work week. I don’t. There are plenty of other things to do.

You know what else helps? Being able to write this out, publish it and not care who might see it or what he/she may think. Many people I don’t even know have sent me private notes of support and encouragement. I appreciate it so much. Even if no one said a word, having a place to journal thoughts and feelings and ideas is a positive thing.

For a long time I covered myself, guarded my personal thoughts and generally hid anything important to me because people in my immediate circle frowned on my sharing. In retrospect I know it’s the conforming to other people’s ideas of how I should live and what I should share that has held me back and down and covered up in evening cocktails. Not any more.

I took my Day 4 selfie. I still look really tired and despite the fact that my sleep is getting increasingly better, I still feel really tired. I imagine it will take many more nights of uninterrupted sleep to actually feel and look rested, so I refuse to be discouraged.

I remain encouraged. I will stay the course! (And I might even find my way to the gym tomorrow. We shall see!) ♥


Lime-Marinated Mahi Mahimahi-mahi

Ingredients:

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pinch salt

2 tablespoons lime juice

Zest of 2 limes

2 (4 ounce) Mahi Mahi fillets

Directions:

Preheat a grill pan at medium heat, coat with olive oil (I also use real butter)

Whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, lime juice, and grated lime zest together in a bowl to make the marinade.

Place the Mahi Mahi fillets in a zip lock bag, add the marinade; allow to marinate at least 15 minutes.

Cook on the preheated grill pan until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Garnish with the twists of lime zest to serve.

 

 

 

 

Cleanse Day 3, Update

I am very encouraged by yesterday’s efforts. I knew it would be hard having to work in the morning and then cook dinner for a huge crowd. As I reported in yesterday’s update, I did experience the usual, “Why am I doing this? …

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Cocktail consumer Alexis would fall asleep shortly before 9:00 PM; sleep until 11:00 PM; wake up to go upstairs to bed; then sleep until 2:30 or 3:00 AM. From there it would be a failed battle to stay off the Internet until around 5:30 AM, when sleep would be intermittent at best. The whole shebang would end at 7:00 AM when it was time to rise to meet the day.

This morning I actually slept until almost 8:00 AM, which is highly unusual for me. I can only attribute it to the fact that I am continuing to execute my cleanse plan. I was awakened again about four or five times, needing to pop into the ladies room, but each time, I was able to fall right back to sleep with very little effort. When my hubs came to awaken me this morning, I was in total shock by what time it was.

I am very encouraged by yesterday’s efforts. I knew it would be hard having to work in the morning and then cook dinner for a huge crowd. As I reported in yesterday’s update, I did experience the usual, “Why am I doing this? Why can’t I just go home and have one or two drinks to relax? I don’t have to tell anyone.” Of course, the other side of my brain knew better.

Shortly before we started breaking down the kitchen to clean, I forced myself to eat dinner. It wasn’t easy because I was hot and defiant Alexis didn’t want to! However, I knew that if I didn’t, the chances of my going home hungry and pouring myself a cocktail stood at about 98%. I thought it through all the way to how I would feel waking up this morning knowing I couldn’t follow this plan for even two straight days. (Argh! To be honest it pissed me off. It angers me that I’ve gotten into this habit so much that it’s a chore to break.)

Two pieces of fish, a pile of rice pilaf and some Italian green beans later, I was satisfied. On the way home I thought about the things I wanted to do that would keep my mind, body and soul engaged in non-alcoholic activities. Tops on the list was taking my new dog, Sam, on a long walk and then settling in to read some new blogs.  Check. Check. I did both.

As a treat, I pulled out some organic, all natural yogurt and I giggled my head off when my husband tasted it and declared mightily, “OH MY GAWD, that tastes like ASS! It’s ASS with a side of sour fruit!” He’s a sweets person. I am not. I thought it was great! It’s a brand called, “siggi’s”. I highly recommend it! (siggisdairy.com)

Today on my way home from visiting my parents, I will stop at the health food store and pick up some more yogurt and some more super cool bath stuff. Those who know me already know that Thursday visits with my parents can spell disaster in the emotional department, so believe me, I must have my armor ready.

I will need extra prayers for strength for the time just prior to and right when I get home today. Although I have a plan, a hard visit with “The Units” (my sister and I nicknamed our parents this eons ago) can throw a wrench into almost anything.

I took my Day 3 selfie this morning and thought I looked better yesterday. Of course, I hate nearly every photo taken of me, so there’s that. First thing this morning when I looked in the mirror I could see a trace of “Less Puffy Me” and I smiled.

Day 3 Summary: I’m happy. I’m Blessed. I feel good, but I’ve still got one eye open for the demon temptation who wants to take me down.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1: 2-3

Tonight’s menu will be Mahi-Mahi, sauteed apsaragus and left over coconut rice mixed with whatever I decide to mix it with. My thoughtful husband went out this morning and rented the latest “Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie, so we’ll eat dinner and then curl up and watch it together.

Prayers up. Over and Out until tomorrow. ❤

Cleanse Day 2, Update

The magic number is six. Six times last night my sleep was interrupted because I had to get up to use the rest room. You would think I would be upset about this. Instead, it’s the exact opposite. It makes me happy.

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The magic number is six. Six times last night my sleep was interrupted because I had to get up to use the rest room. You would think I would be upset about this. Instead, it’s the exact opposite. It makes me happy.

This is of course, the by-product of the first day of the two-week cleanse. It means to me that my liver is working on cleansing the rest of the body and it’s a nice sign that things are on the right track.

Even though my sleep was interrupted quite a bit, this morning I am feeling more rested than yesterday morning. Better than this, I feel more determined than ever to carry on. I know it’s just the second day, but I choose to take the good feelings as they come. BTW,  I took my “Day 2 selfie” and I can all ready see a very slight difference. (I’ll post those in two weeks.) Joy, Joy, Joy!

Yesterday I planned what to make for dinner well before I got home. I planned what I would do to reward myself for not having a cocktail and for eating a sensible dinner. On the way home from work we stopped at an organic market and I bought myself some bath salts. Last night when dinner was finished, I excused myself to go and take a well-deserved, relaxing, glorious soak. I have always been a bath girl, so treating myself to something special was just the little treat I needed. Once I had my PJ’s on, the feeling that I was missing out on a glass of wine just wasn’t there.

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I told Charlie this morning that I wished I’d bought more than one variety of bath salts, so I would have them tonight when I get home. Tonight will be one of the hardest nights to get through.

Why?

On Wednesday nights, my husband and I work together to produce a Fellowship meal for about 100-150 people who are members of the church where I work part-time. Every week we plan the menu, shop for the food, prepare the meal and drinks, help to serve it and help to clear it away when it’s over. It is an arduous task but I love it, which is why we do it.

Each week I get to work shortly after nine am and do my regular work. (I do the finances of the church.) At 1:15, I change clothes and head into the kitchen where we have until 5:00 to prepare the meal and set up for dinner service. We start serving at promptly 5:15. Like I said, it is NOT an easy job by any means. The pay-off for me is seeing people enjoy something I’ve made. It’s in knowing I worked very hard in the service of others and knowing I’ve given it all of me…and I do. My husband and I joke that, “It is ALWAYS Wednesday!” in our lives. Some weeks it seems to be so.

At some point every single Wednesday between the hours of 5:00 and 6:30 my brain starts to tell me I’ve earned the right to go home, put my feet up and have a few cocktails and usually, this is exactly what I do. (The last thing in the world I want to do is go home and eat dinner after I’ve just spent hours in the kitchen.)

Tonight will be a challenge and I admit to feeling a wee tinge of anxiety. The plan, however, is to force myself to eat dinner before leaving church so I will be full and will not want anything else. Writing this blog helps me to stay accountable too, because I hate to fail and I hate to lie. I don’t want to have to come back here and report that I cheated. I refuse!

Back to last night: For dinner this week, we decided to try to consume mostly fish and fresh vegetables. Last night’s fare was salmon that we picked up on the way home, coconut rice, mango salsa and freshly steamed broccoli.

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My plate last night.

 

I was shocked that I enjoyed the rice because I am not a fan of coconut, but it was lovely. (Recipe is below).

I will check back tomorrow to report on how I did this evening. Pray for me.

 

 

 


Coconut Rice

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This was Charlie’s plate last night. Mine is above. I’m not that fancy.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Jasmine Rice

1 1/2 cups Coconut Water

1 cup unsweetened Coconut Milk

1/2 Teaspoon Salt (I used a little more)

3/4 Teaspoon White pepper

Directions:

Rinse and drain the rice in cold water. Place in a saucepan with the coconut water, coconut milk, and salt & pepper. Place the pot over high heat and, bring the liquid to a boil. Stir and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover the pot tightly with the lid. Continue cooking for 15 minutes.

Ideas:

When I make this again, I will tweak it and add herbs and zest depending on what I am making. Last night I was wishing I’d put some lime zest in it, but it was still really light and delicious!

 

 

 

Narrow Road Serenity

There was a time in my life when it feels like I was much more spiritual. My favorite little self motivator was a simple phrase, “Take the narrow road”. In any situation I faced, I tried to do the opposite of what most people would do.

narrow-road

There was a time in my life when it feels like I was much more spiritual.  My favorite little self motivator was a simple phrase, “Take the narrow road”.  In any situation I faced, I tried to do the opposite of what most people would do.  That meant if I was in a store and the clerk was making mistake after mistake and everyone else was upset, I’d come through and be kind and offer some form of compliment in order to help the clerk adjust her mood towards the positive. It meant that if I knew a friend was lying to me; instead of calling attention to that fact, I’d remain silent and offer some form of kindness as my response.  When the Catholic church decided to change the rules about receiving communion to standing instead of kneeling, I continued to kneel.

All of these things were my little love notes to God in thanksgiving for the graces and Blessings I’d received in my life and for the ones yet to come.  I look back on those times now and remember the enormous sense of serenity I carried with me.  No one ever told me I had to do these things; I chose to do them. Serenity was the natural by-product of my acting in accordance to my personal truth. I like being kind to people. It makes me happy.

I also remember it being a time I was very diligent about my prayers and strict about simple things like when to turn the television off and go to bed.  (I’m one of those people that if the TV is on, I’ll fight sleeping rather than turn it off, because I want to see what comes next.)  It’s so stupid really, so back in the day, I used to ask myself if what I was watching was going to contribute to my life in any way, shape or form.  If the answer was no, and it always was, I’d turn the blasted box off.

I think in retrospect it all goes back to feeding the spirit.  My life was simple then because I made the choice to keep it uncluttered.

It may not be AS simple right now with all that I have going on, but I still try to remember to take the narrow road. I continue to try to do the things that have always proven to bring me peace.

What are some of the things YOU do to feed your spirit?  If you can’t think of any off the top of your head perhaps it’s time to reassess.  These days, we aren’t going to find much from an outside source that will automatically do this for us.  It’s a choice.

“For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”  Matthew 7:14

 

Note:  Interestingly, today happens to be the official first day of my two-week cleanse. (Certain to feed this girl’s spirit as well as her body.)I started the morning with a shake, made another one for lunch and dinner tonight will be salmon, coconut rice, mango salsa and steamed broccoli. No more cocktails for two weeks. I won’t lie. That part isn’t at the top of my list of easy things to give up. Can I do it? We shall see!

I am just about to hit the kitchen to start cooking. Today I feel strong and determined and happy about this decision.

(I also took my first-day photo over again, but I won’t post them until the end of the two weeks.)

Best Laid Plans

    “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” -David Allen
    The plan for this past weekend was to finally get our house back in good order and cleaned after the past three months of traveling back and forth to Chicago. The last trip we made there, we brought back furniture and other items that my beloved mother-in-law wanted us to have. Said items have been sitting in the middle of our family room, with no place to go, for weeks. It’s amazing to me that I’ve let them sit there this long because I am not a person who lives well with clutter. In fact, clutter tends to make me crazier than I usually am and that is never a good thing.
    So, the plan was to re-organize and clean in order that today I could begin my two-week cleanse on a good note.
    It didn’t happen.
    Last week I was wandering around on Facebook when a friend posted the picture of a dog she’d just encountered. She was asking that someone adopt the little guy because he was far too cute to be in doggie jail. His story was that his owner died and he was placed in a shelter and was on death row because of his age. (He is 7.) Our local rescue went and got him and he was up for adoption.
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This is Sam
    It was more his story that got to me than his cute face. This is because I had a beloved dog, Jack, who came to me in exactly the same manner. We got Jack at age 5 and just last year at the ripe old age of 16, we finally had to let him go. It was devastating. Jack had been my constant companion all those years. In fact, he had even gone to the office with me daily. He was little, but he was fearless and he left a huge hole in our hearts when we had to let him go.
    I took one look at Sam, read his story and I knew he was waiting for us to come and get him. Without ever meeting him in person, we immediately did the paperwork and turned it in within 24 hours.
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Jack, the office dog

Friday evening we’d just settled in for the night. The pizza was in the oven and we were sipping wine and chatting about the day when the phone rang. We’d been approved and when would we like to come and pick Sam up! OMG! OMG! I was unprepared for being as excited as I was. When I hung up the phone I jumped around the house like an adolescent who was just told she was going to Disneyland! Then of course, I made my husband swear that we would get up early and get the house in order! I was so excited and nervous, I barely closed my eyes all night.

Saturday morning came and although we did get a lot of furniture moved upstairs, we simply did not have time enough (or energy) to do a full re-organize or clean! We were off to pick up our new baby, Sam.

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This is what Sam really looks like!

Two days into having the little guy, my heart is full. It’s such an interesting realization of how much I truly missed having a little one in the house. He walked in like he owned the place, exactly as Jack did so many years ago. I had no idea how much I loved Jack until this little being came onto the scene. There are so many similarities between the two. Even our other dog, Chinah, who is 14, got excited about having another little brother. What a Blessing!

So how does this all work into the 2 week cleanse I was supposed to start today? First off, the protein shake mix I re-ordered from Usana did not arrive on Friday as expected. Instead, I am told it will be arriving tomorrow. (Built in excuse not to start today #1) Second, the house is still a complete wreck. (Lame excuse #2) I got a new puppy dog. (Okay, that doesn’t even pass as an excuse, does it?)

On the way to work this morning I did take a photo of my face because I said I was going to photograph  my face every day in order to note any differences. Good grief do I look bad! Granted, I have not slept a full night in about a week or more. All I can see is puffy, tired eyes and wrinkles everywhere. Wrinkles. Humph. My skin is dry and dehydrated and I look old and just generally horrible. I am not just being overly critical. Do I have the guts to post said photo? Oh double hell to the double no. I did take a bathroom selfie when I got to the office this morning. I MIGHT post that one. I will save the close up head shots until the end of two weeks and then I will post them all together.

Now I have a few built in excuses not to start and I have one very ugly real reason not to give into stupid excuses. This morning for breakfast I had half an avocado mixed with sliced baby cucumbers, baby heirloom tomatoes, and red onion marinated in balsamic vinegar & olive oil and a side of about two tablespoons of cottage cheese. For lunch I made a salad of romaine lettuce, organic carrots and celery and a small avocado. My feeling is that I can at least eat healthy until the shake mixes come, right? Tonight we had all ready planned Italian for dinner (hubby’s choice). I will consider today a win if I can have dinner early -sans the wine that usually goes with it. Otherwise, I will wake up tomorrow and begin again. How I truly will hate that, but it is what it is.

Here are some positives I can take away from all of this:

  1. Perhaps I am meant to break out of the psychosis that tells me I can only begin new things on Mondays. Maybe I am supposed to begin this project on a Wednesday, which is typically the hardest day of the week for me.
  2. In keeping with that line of thought, maybe my house doesn’t have to be perfect in order for me to start a new project.
  3. I think Sam was sent to me by Jack. This has nothing to do with my project -unless I mention that Sam really likes to walk. I need exercise and walking seems doable.
  4. The Lord works in truly mysterious ways and I am grateful no matter what.

I woke up feeling happy and Blessed (because of Sam), but also anxious about not having the tools to start my cleanse today. My opening quote about being stressed about not finishing something one has started is so true. Of course, I haven’t really started yet, have I? Argh.

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Risky Business.

This morning I have no doubt the Universe is conspiring towards me getting healthier. The minute I sat down to the computer to write, I hit a wrong button that directed me to a page with the headline…

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I was up half the night reading and following a lot of blogs. Like I said yesterday, the ones that inspire me most are written by people like me, who are trying to be and do better. I particularly love the ones that tell it like it truly is: the good, the bad, the funny and the ugly.

This morning I have no doubt the Universe is conspiring towards me getting healthier. The minute I sat down to the computer to write, I hit a wrong button that directed me to a page with the headline, “Give Up Alcohol for Two Weeks and These Incredible Things Happen to Your Body!” Okay. Okay. Message received.

So this is me declaring that as of Monday (because by now you should know that I always begin anything new on a Monday), I will embark on a two-week cleanse. (Yes, I am calling it a “cleanse” and you can humor me on this one.) In actuality, it’s supposed to last one month, but I don’t want to start off with that big of a commitment. I still have one more trip to Chicago to go. If my calculations are accurate, that trip is just over two weeks away. So there’s that.

This will of course, mean that in addition to my two protein shakes replacing breakfast and lunch, I will abstain from alcohol and I will eat a sensible, organic meal at night. I was thinking this morning it would be a worthwhile project to take a photo of my face every day for two weeks in order to document the difference.  This will require a huge amount of courage on my part because at the moment, my face and I are not on friendly terms. This also begs the question, “Am I brave enough to actually post the photos?” The jury is currently undecided and will get back to you on that.

The mere thought of doing this gives me anxiety, but I have worse anxiety thinking about never being confident in my appearance again. (Does that sound vain?) I’m so sick of looking and feeling tired and puffy. I equally as sick of feeling like life is slipping through my fingers at a rapid pace. I desperately need a jump-start and so this will be it.

I am not going to even try to pretend this will be easy. It won’t. I do very well following a prescribed plan, but I have some huge triggers to overcome. In past blogs I’ve spoken about Wednesdays and Thursdays being hard, but I haven’t actually been that honest about why Thursdays are such a big deal. I think it’s important for me at this time to drop my guard, so expect for me to get very honest and open.

Great things never come from comfort zones, right?

.risky