It’s 10:30pm on Sunday night and this would usually be the time of night when I am procrastinating instead of writing a blog. On this night, however, I am writing a blog to procrastinate steaming kale. And beets. And broccoli. And something called millet.
Tomorrow (which, if you are reading this, is probably TODAY), I am going on a FIVE DAY DETOX.
It happened sort of accidentally. It started at a fundraiser for Mazzy’s school. I started talking to my friend Jen (a mother I met last year when our girls were in the same class) and she started talking about work (she runs a pilates studio called Zen Girl Fitness) and I started talking about work (you all know what I do) and then she said, “You should do my 8 week program and blog the whole thing!”
And I said (since I was on glass of wine #4 at least), “That would be awesome!”
Cut to the very next day when she texted me to follow-up and I was like, “Huh? Uhhh…what now?”
As you might remember, I was obsessed with diet and exercise before I had children (I ran four miles on the treadmill the day before Mazzy was born) but I have not exercised since Harlow entered the world. Which would be, let’s see… OVER FOUR YEARS AGO. That is not an exaggeration. In fact, it’s probably longer than that since my exercise program once I had Mazzy petered out slowly but surely way before I ever got pregnant with Harlow.
I no longer own a gym membership, we most certainly don’t own any exercise equipment at home and the free weights that used to live in my bedroom closet were carted down to our storage unit at some point long ago. I can’t tell you when exactly because it made so little difference to me that I didn’t even notice.
The most exercise I get is on my walking commute, which I like to believe is a lot. Although, last year, I discovered it’s actually not that much. Mike bought me a Fitbit for Mother’s Day and I realized I barely break 6000 steps on a good day.
I blame my cab habit.
Despite this lack of exercise, I have not put on weight since the kids. Quite the opposite. For the past seven years, I have actually had my weight more under control than ever, which I believe is due to a combination of three things: 1) When you are not doing crazy cardio all the time and burning tons of calories, you are not nearly as hungry. 2) My 40-year-old woman body that I’ve had since I was 15, is now totally respectable. And 3) my anti-deprivation diet.
You see, I used to have major food issues that led me to roller coaster diet through all of my twenties, taking off and putting on the same twenty pounds. I was very restrictive with what I ate— writing down calories and shunning entire food groups. I tried every diet imaginable from Atkins to South Beach to juicing to flirting with being a vegan. Every diet ended the same way— with a trip for work that involved breakfast buffets and fancy dinners out with the client. Or if there was no trip, it would end with a plate of pastries leftover from a meeting that I’d stumble upon in the office break room.
The roller coaster ended when I got pregnant with Mazzy and completely lost my appetite. It was the weirdest thing but I just lost my desire for food. Not only did everything make me nauseous, but I would fill up on a single cracker. I’d get hungry, eat a Cheerio and feel like I couldn’t eat another bite. It was like the fetus was sitting up in my throat ready to push back out anything I tried to swallow. I think it was morning sickness combined with acid reflux. As a result, I gained very little weight when I was pregnant. And the only things I could stomach were previously forbidden foods like bread and pasta.
What that experience taught me was that I could eat whatever I wanted as long as it was in moderation, and since my obsession with food never really came back after I gave birth, moderation was no longer something that was that difficult.
In other words, deprivation was my enemy, more than cake and cookies.
Since Mazzy was born, I haven’t thought that much about what food I put into my body. I eat salads. I eat candy. I eat whatever is being served and whatever I am in the mood for. But I don’t eat that often (I almost always skip lunch and breakfast usually just coffee) and I never eat past the point of being full, which is something I used to do all the time. I just snack throughout the day on the random things I find in my office.
All this was going swimmingly until recently when I started traveling a lot. Lately, I’ve felt bloated and uncomfortable in my clothes. Even my go-to-make-me-feel-thin pants are feeling a little tight. I’ve also noticed that I’ve gone disturbingly soft in the middle. I mean, my middle was always a mess, but it seems even less forgiving than usual.
When I got back from San Diego, I started thinking about what it would be like to workout again but wasn’t sure I would ever find the time. I even bought myself a new pair of sneakers.
So, I guess that’s where my head was at when I started to talk to Jen after four glasses of wine at the school fundraiser. When she suggested blogging about it, suddenly I realized that I could find time for working out if I made it blog content. I always think about what I should write about the kids but maybe it would be nice to do something that was just about me.
At the end of last week, Jen came to my office to show me what I thought was just going to be a workout plan. Little did I know, her plan also involved a PRETTY SERIOUS DETOX.
My first question: “Wait. No coffee??”
My second question: “And how long can’t I drink alcohol??”
The answer to both is five days, although she recommends reintroducing new foods slowly and one at a time.
I panicked a little inside and then Allie shot me this look. “Do you want to do it with me?” I asked her.
“I kind of do.”
That made it feel more doable and we both agreed to do it together. We are starting the detox Monday and our first workout is at Jen’s studio in the afternoon. You can follow along on my Snapchat and Instagram Stories and maybe I’ll even stick a live exercise video in there too. You can also follow Jen on Instagram (@zengirlfitness). I’m not really a “publish a photo of myself in underwear” kind of person so let’s just see how this goes before I start doing side-by-sides.
Now, I have to go. There are beets to bake and kale to steam.
Wish me luck!