The Third Almond: The Detox

I wish I had something grand or exciting to talk about this week. I have, however, lost some weight and I am excited about it. In the past 3 weeks, I have lost 10 pounds.

Thank you, thank you…. Really, you’re too kind…

But on a more serious note, this week I started the detox program. For those of you unaware, the Transformation detox program is an elimination-based system that aims at gradually taking certain foods out of your diet and slowly reintroducing them back to you to see if you have any reactions to certain foods.

The first day we followed our food plan. (Disclaimer: my girlfriend, Kelly, is doing the program with me. There will be times when I say we and I mean she and I [or her and I]… I used to be a grammar freak… See what this program has done to me?!? And yet I digress…) After the first day, we were no longer allowed to have grains or dairy. Do you know how hard it is not to eat grains or dairy if you’ve never tried not eating grains or dairy?

Side story: When I was a kid, I was a bread-a-holic. I remember going to Thanksgiving at my Aunt Karen’s house and eating 5-6 rolls before dinner would even really start. I fantasize about going to Outback Steakhouse and eating an entire loaf of their brown bread. It’s so good! (Was so good. Not anymore for me! Ugh…)

So giving up bread and cheese and milk is a very hard thing for me. I am now on day 4, which has afforded me a steady diet of onions, peppers, and the saliva I take in from seeing commercials about the kinds of food real people eat. I went to a Mexican place today after a 5k I did and they had a free buffet for the runners. My girlfriend and I went through the line and skipped over the cheese, the sour cream, the tortilla shells, the rice, the chicken… We loaded our plates up with fajita vegetables and refried beans. And to be honest, I think I may have taken some liberties on the beans. I don’t know if they’re allowed at this stage in the program, but I deliberately chose not to check my manual because I was very hungry. I actually took the salsa from the chips and salsa tray and just ate that by itself. I’m not proud of this, but a man has to eat!

By now, I hope you see that this program has taken it’s toll on me, to an extent. The only thing driving me at this point is the fact that I am seeing change. I am seeing the weight fall off and I am noticing a change in my personality. The other day at work, I walked by a staircase and thought that I could “spider-man” my way up and over the railing. Now I didn’t try it, but I wanted to, and I believed that if I had the place all to myself, I could have. The point is, I feel healthy. Before I started this program, I would judge my health by the number on the scale, or how believable I looked when I stood sideways in a mirror sucking in my gut. Now, I am daydreaming about running up walls and actually believing that, if I stick to this program (and hit the gym once or twice a week) I could do it.

I am 3 weeks away from being 27 years old. I want to believe that if I ever had a son, I would be able to outrun him when he is 15 years old. I remember my dad could do that and I thought my dad was superman when I was growing up. The thought of sitting around, idly watching him grow up and not being able to play basketball with him or race him around the track kills me.

I am doing this program for me, but not just for who I am today. I am doing this for me today, tomorrow, and the rest of my life. I think I am just starting to really believe what that could really mean. And that motivates me.


The Second Almond: The Change

I don’t know what I expected when I began this Transformation program. I guess when I signed up for it I did so with the idea that it would be pretty easy. I think I saw a lot of the patients who had gone through the process and came out the other side happier and I thought if they could do it, surely I could as well. I am far below the average age of the patients that generally go through this and maybe there was a bit of ego that just told me it would be easy.

I never had a specific number in my head as to how much weight I wanted to lose. I didn’t have an amount of inches I wanted to trim down on my waistline, although I do have a pair of jeans I kept from my “skinny days” that if I could fit into some day, well, I’d be pretty thrilled. What I wanted when I started this program was to learn what I was capable of; what I could do if taken outside of my comfort level.

What I am about to say is as honest and truthful as I can possibly be in my writing. In the beginning, I thought that because I live a relatively healthy-ish lifestyle, that I would skate through this program without much falter. But now, just two weeks into the program, I feel like I am standing at the base of a very tall mountain and all I packed was a pair of flip-flops to climb it in. THIS. IS. HARD.

I have always considered my diet one that was pretty healthy compared to the normal American. And its pretty funny to think that we use the word “diet” both to describe how we eat as a population and how we eat as individuals when we are trying to lose weight. Two very different things, but that is for another time. I thought that there would be very little change from how I ate two weeks ago to how I was to be eating during the program. Let me say this one more time so you know I really mean it… THIS. IS. HARD.

It’s not hard because I don’t like the food I am eating because I do. I enjoy fish and vegetables and the truth is, the food on this plan is not all too different from what I normally ate. What is so hard is the planning. I find myself thinking about what I’ll have for lunch when I am waking up. I think about fish at 6:30 AM and at what meal I want to have a grain. When I want a snack at work, I reach into my desk and grab a handful of almonds and drop them onto my desk. 1, 2, 3… is Greg counting with me? 4, 5, 6, 7… I feel like Dustin Hoffman in “Rain Man” every time I want something to eat!

THIS. IS. HARD. Definitely, definitely hard.

But this is also worth it. I have had days where I wake up and, despite my constant fantasies about chicken wings and beer and whether or not Pizza Hut delivers in the middle of the night, I have noticed a change in me. I want it, but I do not crave the same foods as I did before I started this. I can visualize how a pepperoni pizza might taste, but be able to shift to what’s “realistic,” and make a good decision about what I am going to have for my next meal. I see my waist shrinking in the mirror.

They say that every cigarette you smoke takes something like six minutes off of your life. Maybe it works the same way with food. Maybe every time I choose water over a Coke, or fish over chicken wings, I am not only subtracting from my waistline, but also adding a few extra minutes to my life. I think that might be something that becomes pretty important down the line and I like the fact that I am doing something that is making me a little healthier in the long run.

So, despite my struggles, I don’t want to give up. Not yet. I am grateful that the Transformation team is understanding and helpful throughout this process. I am also very grateful that I am living with someone who is also going through the program with me.

I will leave you with this: do not be afraid to challenge yourself and see what you are capable of. We are all capable of extraordinary things and we will never know what that is until we test ourselves. This first step is always the hardest, but there will come a point in your life you will look back and realize that the first step was also the biggest.