Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wellness One Year In

About a year ago I set out on a path of deliberate wellness. By that I mean that, besides embracing nutrition (see post from April 23, 2013) and exercise, I committed to making medical appointments I had put off and dutifully reporting for various screenings and tests I had been too frightened to schedule. I wouldn’t recommend it for stress relief, but no one needed to tell me it was the smart thing to do.

I began with a “wellness visit” to my physician, followed by lab work (blood analysis) and a series of appointments with specialists. In the last 12 months I’ve had a mammogram, a hearing test, an eye test, a colonoscopy, and screenings by a gynecologist and a dermatologist.

My reports were good, but my nutrition and exercise programs had become inconsistent. I had slowly gained weight over a period of months and couldn’t seem to lose it. With spring on the horizon—yes, yes, superficial reason—I knew I had to jump-start my weight loss.

After reading about the 10-Day Detox Diet, I ordered the best-selling book by Mark Hyman, M.D. I knew that Dr. Hyman’s program would be an extension of my previous forages into nutrition, but I did not realize it also encompassed exercise and relaxation.

The 10-Day Detox diet is meant to address food addiction, reboot the body, and result in reduced insulin levels. Weight loss is an advertised benefit. As I write this, I’m completing the diet a few pounds lighter than when I began it March 6. Here’s the scoop:

Weigh and Measure. The first thing I did every morning was to strip down and weigh myself. I had not stepped on the scale at home in many moons (so to speak), but the weighing was helpful, not traumatic. How else would I see my progress? Ditto the daily measuring, except that my plastic tape measure was v-e-r-y cold against my skin.

Exercise. The second order of the day was 30 minutes of exercise. I chose brisk walking and took the opportunity to try out my mid-weight long underwear from REI, purchased for hiking. It was cold and often still dark when I walked out my front door. The first day I lasted 15 minutes before coming inside to do floor exercises. After that I walked every morning. I loved it. A couple of times I witnessed gorgeous sunrises over our lake. The ducks were black silhouettes as they slept. I did have to pack my pockets with tissues, as my nose and eyes ran constantly in the wind. I learned that I can walk in 36-degree weather much more comfortably than I can in 20-degree weather. Occasionally I would pretend I was on the Appalachian trail, noting that if I were on the AT I would not be going back to my nice, warm house anytime soon.

Food. Yes, finally it’s time to eat! I especially loved my morning shakes. All of the meals except luncheon salads were made from recipes. For the uninitiated, this means that you have to cook before you can eat. With the exception of some recipes that provided leftovers, I spent a great deal of time chopping and mixing and watching bits of asparagus and cauliflower ping off the cabinets or roll across the kitchen floor. Yes, all fresh ingredients; nothing packaged. Let’s just say that I considered getting on the delivery route for a produce truck. I also spent a great deal of time cleaning up after myself. In addition to the food, I took vitamin supplements. One, I ordered online. The picture on the box showed a fine powder to be dissolved in drinking water, but this stuff couldn’t have been broken up with a ray-gun. I ended up putting it in my food and hoping it would melt.

Relaxation. One of the recommended stress-breakers is a bath with certain ingredients (e.g., lavender oil) added to the water. I bought the products but had to give up after two nights and an aching back. My bathtub has to be the worst tub ever made. Who in the h--- would design a tub that prohibits leaning back unless one is a contortionist? Hmmm. Oh, could it be Sa-tan? Same one who designed the U-Scan-It machines at the grocery store.

So there you have it. I’m glad I embraced the 10-Day Detox Diet, and I'll continue the parts of it that worked for me: the weighing and measuring, the morning walks, and many of the recipes. In fact, I’ve ordered Dr. Hyman’s cookbook. I feel good and finally can put my mom jeans in the regular laundry rotation in favor of items I previously could not wear. Yippee!

What am I writing? Besides this, you mean. For the last week and a half, I’ve been journaling my way through the diet. That’s a part of the program, too.