Monday, April 2, 2012

The Cleanse Report

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone
How high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line
--Bruce Springsteen

This morning I woke early, stepped outside to drive to the gym and ran smack into my favorite kind of weather. Chilly, cloudy, misty, still. A front was moving in, sweeping out the heat we've been experiencing for two weeks now (yesterday's high was 84, too hot for April Fool's Day, I'm sorry).

I wanted to run so badly.

But I put in 65 minutes on the recumbent and watched a glorious sunrise through the window from the bike. The golden disc of the sun slipped above the horizon, briefly shining in on me through the flower-covered tree branches outside. Then it just as quickly slipped under the cloud bank, leaving the eastern sky pink in its wake like a small dusk. The wind kicked up.

Now, on my lunch break, I still want to run. But I'm willing to be patient longer. I've been in my sacro-iliac support belt except for sleep and showers for four weeks now. I've been doing my exercises. Two days ago, I think I could actually feel that my transverse abdominis muscle is flexing more. My back still hurts in the morning and if I do too much bending or sitting. But I'm making progress.

Yes, I can be patient.

And now, because cleaning up the food act and not gaining weight is an important part of the physical therapy process too, here's a diet update.

The restrictive part of my cleanse ended Thursday and went well. For this part, I used the four-day "kick-start" that's part of the Prevention Flat Belly Diet plan (the book is just called Flat Belly Diet). I never do the full diet (no diet has ever worked long-term for me), but this "kick-start" is great because it's all four days of menus and snacks spelled out for you and it's all about busting cravings, eating clean (complex carbs, protein, fruits and vegetables) and eliminating possible allergens (wheat and dairy and soy). It's very similar to the way I like to eat leading up to a marathon so I don't have any poop issues during the race.

I do NOT adhere to their calorie restriction guidelines (roughly 1,200 a day for the four days)--I exercise too much for that, even at my cut-back level right now. What I DO use are the food suggestions for each meal and snack, and the "Sassy Water" recipe (stupid name, good stuff). If I'm hungry, I stick to the same foods, just eat more of them.

On Friday, I started eating normally again, and was pleased to note that my cravings for sweets and carbs were MUCH better than their frenzied level before the four days. True, on Saturday night, out to dinner with friends en route to The Hunger Games, I went nuts with chips and guac, a glass of wine and two super tasty fish tacos that left me feeling over-full for several hours afterward. But I went back to clean eating all day yesterday and skipped my Sunday treats. Saturday night's lapse must not have done too much damage, because I didn't miss the chocolate at all and still don't. Hopefully I can keep this going!

Meanwhile, I'm still taking the herbal supplements, a product by Renew Life called "First Cleanse." I take two in the morning that supposedly work on my liver, blood etc. and two in the evening that are supposed to help with elimination. They are reputedly pretty mild as these things go (I deliberately chose a product for newbies), and honestly I don't know if they are really doing anything. But they certainly aren't hurting, and if they're playing a role in the craving reduction, I'm all for them.

Tomorrow is my weekly weigh-in. I don't expect to have lost weight, but I don't think I've gained any either. As long as I can maintain my weight through this hiatus from running, I'll be one happy rehab patient.