Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Time for a RESET!

Greetings and salutations my friends! Don't you love it when your computer freezes? You mash on key after key, trying to get some semblance of life out of it, hoping beyond hope that something miraculous will occur that will breathe life back into it. You know the feeling, right? And you know the inevitable next step...Control...Alt...Delete.

My body was my computer. Stuck. Frozen. Paralyzed. I was in a rut nutritionally, making some bad choices that just made me feel 'icky' (for lack of a better word), didn't have great energy, didn't have motivation (though I was still working out 5 days per week), and just needed somebody to lean over and say, "Enough!" while hitting a reset button.

Fortunately, there's a 21-day program designed to do just that called Ultimate Reset. Beachbody, the same company that created P90X, Insanity, ChaLean Extreme, Turbo Fire, and a ton of other fitness programs (most of which I've done since I'm a coach for the company), put together a program designed to release toxins from your body, reset your metabolism, and teach you to listen to what food says to you. Some of my friends had done the program, and I knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park...headaches, muscle pains, new foods...it was a bit daunting, but the benefits at the end piqued my interest: lower cholesterol, lower body weight, more energy, no bloaty belly. I was in. My husband, however, thought I was nuts.

The nice thing about the program is the support. There are Facebook groups for each of the 3 weeklong phases and Dr. Wheeler, the creator, even posts and answers questions on there. In addition, the guidebook is phenomenal, with recipes for each meal along the 21-day journey, and the online resource/webpage and e-mail newsletter all provide tremendous insight, support and encouragement along the way. I assure you, that support is VITAL...there will be days when you need it.

The first thing I noticed when I began was that the food prep took a lot of time. I invested in a really good chef's knife and bamboo cutting board. My husband about fainted when he saw I paid $29.00 for a knife (I told him that I could have spent $100 instead!), but that knife actually MAKES me want to eat better! As the Reset progresses, you'll completely eliminate animal products from your diet, and by week #3, you'll find yourself following a vegan eating plan. That scared me a bit (it actually scared me a lot--I grew up in the Midwest on a farm. I'm a meat and potatoes kind of girl), but I found that vegetarian/vegan eating is tasty and actually makes your body feel SO much better in the long run.

In addition, there are supplements that come with the program...prebiotics, probiotics, alkalanize, detox, oxygenize, etc. that you take in different phases of the program. Many of the foods that are common in the diets of many people today put the body into an acidic state. What we truly need, in order to help prevent disease and other health issues, is to do our best to keep our body in a more neutrally balanced Ph.

So how did I do with my reset?

The first three days were a bit of a horror...I had a SPLITTING headache. Yes, my morning coffee addiction required a bit of caffeine withdrawals. I'm glad I was down to only one cup of coffee and hardly any soda prior to the reset. I can't imagine the headaches if your caffeine consumption was much higher than mine was. After the headaches relinquished, I felt pretty good for a few days, but everyone that I was chatting with on the Ultimate Reset Facebook pages warned of body aches as the body's detoxification was underway. Everyone's body detoxes in different ways...most people commented on lower back pain and pain in their legs. I experienced something a little different.

Right around day 8, I started feeling this nagging 'tweak' in my right shoulder. I thought that was a bit odd because I hadn't been working out at all (other than walking my dogs) since I began the reset. As the next day rolled around, the tweak became an ache and by the end of day 9, it was painful. I had difficulty sleeping that night, and the next day the arm was tingly and on a pain scale of 1-10, it was an 8+. It was agony it hurt so bad.

 I volunteer at a local humane society, and while I was there on day 10, I ran into a massage therapist. I explained what I was going through and she worked on my shoulder for a bit. She asked a few questions about my workout programs and if I ever got tendonitis in my right arm ("Why yes, I get it in my elbow when I do pullups"). Well...all of those months of working through the tendonitis, not stretching properly, and making the other muscles in my arm work harder because the bicep couldn't do the job had come back to haunt me now. I never felt as though I had 'injured' the arm, but my body was doing some serious 'release' of something at that point in time. She left me with some stretches to do and I have been doing them religiously since. The pain mysteriously vanished on day 12 and the mobility in my shoulder was better than ever!

As I was going through the 4 days of pain, I chatted with others in the support group that had experienced similar bouts of pain in similar areas. It was nice to know that I wasn't some freak, and that my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing...releasing toxins in areas that had been stressed, probably for years.

Venturing into phase 3, I chose not to eat any of the optional grains that are allowed as part of the nutrition plan this last week. There were a few days that I probably should have eaten the grains, but I found along the way that if I ate a mainly fruit and vegetable diet, I wasn't bloated, I never had that feeling of being 'full' and I still had good energy.

When my 21 days came to an end, here are the major things that I've learned. First, vegetables prepared well are really very tasty, and greens aren't so scary if you know what the heck to do with them! I've found that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE collard greens and kale. Seriously, I could eat collard greens every day. Second, there are foods that were in my regular diet prior to the reset that really don't jive with my body. Sadly, the number one culprit (and this makes me sad beyond belief to say) is oatmeal. I LOVE oatmeal. But post Ultimate Reset, oatmeal automatically made me bloated and gave me that feeling of just being 'full' and feeling icky. I've since switched out my oats with quinoa (which was an okay swap) and today I tried millet (which was FABULOUS!) and I think I won't miss oatmeal so much.

In addition, during the Ultimate Reset, I really learned to slow down and take my time while eating. My palate seems to be able to pick out different flavors when I do so, and leaves me with a feeling of enjoyment with the food I'm eating without any feelings of guilt afterwards. In fact, just this morning I was eating my morning millet with raw honey, toasted walnuts and blueberries. There were 3 or 4 bites left in the bowl, and as my spoon went in after them, my brain said, "You're actually full. You don't HAVE to eat the last bites." It was a bit of an epiphany for me(though I'm sure my grandmother is jumping up and down saying, "Somebody's eyes were bigger than their stomach."). I put the spoon down and didn't go back. That's a bit of a big deal for a 'plate cleaner' like me.

I also have a better sense of how different foods that I've added back in make me feel (see oatmeal story above). I can see myself eating more like this (with a few modifications--I'll more than likely add fish/shellfish back into my eating plan, and the occasional foray with chicken or turkey), but I like how my body feels with a diet with more plant based nutrition.

Now for those of you who like numbers (which I'll admit, I like numbers, too!). I lost just over 8 pounds (and lost another one in the 4 days post reset), two inches off my waist, an inch off my hips and thighs (which was HUGE for me...my hips and thighs are almost always the LAST place that I see changes. I shouted "Amen!" when I read the tape measure), and my belly is no longer bulgy and bloated. I feel more aware, more secure about myself, and I have a sense of pride in what I did.

If you're interested in learning more or want to ask me specific questions, please feel free to contact me. The Ultimate Reset might not be what you're looking for...it's a tough 21 days. But if your body needs to become 'unstuck' from what you've been doing, I think it's well worth every moment you're willing to invest.

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