Saturday, April 16, 2011

And On The 6th Day, There Was Peanut Butter

I have been a part of a personal experiment for the last five days. It didn't start out that way. It started out with my resolute and determined attempt to clean up my act. Or at least my diet. See, I am what you call 'skinny fat'...well, that's what I call it anyway. I don't eat the greatest and I thought I would take a stab at heading my sure-to-fail metabolism off at the pass. This meant a 30 day intensive program that included a strict diet and exercise regime. Tracy Anderson calls it her 30 Day Method. I call it hell. I was dreading it, but convinced that I could do it. After all, what is 30 days in the grand scheme of my life full of carbs and sugar?
This is Tracy Anderson. She is a powerful pixie of death. And she has a hate-on for me. I read the book, spent several hours gathering all the foods I would need for the first week of meals and psyched myself out. I had the DVD, I had running shoes, I had kale. The shopping list was extraordinary. Never has my fridge looked so bountiful and fresh. I'm pretty sure I bought every single vegetable available. Endive? Check. Hearts of Palm? Check. Sugar snap peas? Check. How is one single gal supposed to ingest all this?

For five days I subsisted on fresh fruits and vegetables, poached fish, steamed turkey and chicken. Period. That's it. I'm not kidding. I did not slip once. There was nary a piece of bread or refined sugar anywhere. For those of you who know me even a little, this was a severe departure from my regular lifestyle. No cheese, no red meat, no pork products, no sweets, no carbs!

I had no idea how much work it is to eat this healthy. I had to think ahead and prepare meals the night before so I wasn't stuck cheating at work. Each day I spent a minimum of 90 minutes preparing food. And during a busy week such as this one, that kind of commitment had me up until 11pm steaming chicken and chopping zucchini. Only to rise at 6am for the hour long exercise routine.

Who is this girl??

Some days (i.e. Day 2) I was pumped and excited at the inevitable changes that would appear after 30 days. Other days (i.e. the rest of them) I was downright pissed off. I hated all the work, I hated not being able to eat what I wanted, I hated exercising and I hated water chestnuts.

It made me realize how happy food makes me. Everyone is an emotional eater, whoever says different is lying. Coming home after a crazy day, I kept yearning for a slice of hot pizza or the perfect sandwich. Instead, I was comforted by lettuce leaves rolled around turkey, avocado and edamame. Food became all I could think of. The fact that I couldn't have it made me want it even more. I found myself craving food I don't even really like. I'd drive by a KFC and whine.

Also, this seems to be the absolute worst week to start this craziness. I had 3 events to attend this week and this, of course, means free food. Event #1: an industry insiders' party at the Royal Elgin/Winter Garden Theatre. I attended with Katy who graciously tried all the food and described in detail each morsel for me. She really went above and beyond with the blueberry chocolate cigars. Event #2: corporate event at McMaster where the food was all themed for the guest of honour. This meant tuna melts, tomato soup, mini cheeseburgers, and candy bars. Instead of enjoying these, I sat in my car eating cold chicken protein soup. Event #3: client BBQ full of sausages, pizza and Italian veal. I had salad. And tears.

Today is the 6th day. After a night filled with blindingly painful stomach cramps, I deduced that my body was crying out for carbs and sugar. This is the only explanation. Plus, I was becoming miserable eating like this. I had some peanut butter on crackers. Now, I'm eating a pizza. Whatever.

The reason I originally decided to do this was because I felt I would respond well to the strict instructions and meal plan. It was all laid out there for me to follow and succeed. I thought the intensity and severity of this 30 day change would work for me. I might have been wrong. I know I'm talking about lasting 5 days like it was a miracle, but for me, it really was. It was one of the hardest things I've done. I'm a bit melodramatic, I guess. Turns out, I may need to approach this with a little more flexibility and realistic expectations. Changing my entire life is setting myself up to fail. Maybe I can incorporate some of the principles into my current diet but not beat myself up if I really want a Billot Log, which I'm eating right now.

Life is too short. Failure sucks, but being unhappy sucks even more. And food makes me happy. You do the math.

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