Well it's been a minute, hasn't it?
The beginning of 2016 sure brought a lot of big changes... some amazing, others not so much. And in the midst of it all. I lost track of a lot of things. This blog, for starters. But a lot of other aspects of my life fell by the wayside too.
Most notably? My health.
I think I was sick no less than a dozen times between January and March. I gained weight, I wasn't sleeping, I was up late diagnosing myself with some different and terrible health problem every night on WebMD. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times and I was kind of tired of the extremes.
I needed structure and balance and a healthier diet. So I went back to one of the only health plans that has ever truly worked for me: The Fast Metabolism Diet. The first time I did it, it changed my life. Since then I turned my back on soda for good, really started learning how to cook healthy meals for myself, and started to understand nutrition more. It didn't come without it's challenges, but in the end, I was a convert.
Like the first time, I decided that tracking and sharing what this diet looks like in practice was helpful for both me and anyone who was ever interested in trying it out themselves. The only difference? This time I'm doing it more or less scale-free since losing weight is not the most important part for me this time around. But more on that (and everything else that's happened over the past six months!) later.
For now, it's time to cover how my first week back on FMD went...
Day 1 - Saturday Phase 1
After going to bed the night before a little stressed because I didn't have time to do a big grocery store run for this new round of FMD, I woke up to find that I actually had enough items from previous failed attempts at the diet over the past year to make a Pineapple Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie for breakfast (frozen fruit, unopened box of steel cut oats). This would get me going enough to head out and go to the store for my big grocery run! But first, Ryan and I went down to Chula Vista to check out a Scratch and Dent furniture sale that I'd heard about on Facebook. I didn't know how long it would take so I brought along my first Phase 1 snack, an apple, just in case.
We weren't going there with any intention or anything in mind, just to see what kind of deals there were. But when it turned out it was a Joybird Scratch and Dent sale and they had two amazing couches we just had to have? Well... my grocery store run went out the window. The next few hours involved getting the couches home and in the house and getting the current couch out. By the time that was done, I was starving and decided to just find something at my local bar that would do. I ended up eating a Lettuce-Wrapped Turkey Burger with tomato and vinegar and some sweet potato fries. Likely not FMD-approved, but this was all part of my approach this time around... taking it easy and doing what I can. I had another apple for my second snack and made some bland Grilled Chicken Breast and Brown Rice for dinner. All in all, I managed to stick to my start date without prepping for it! This was a win for me, since kicking the diet off is always the hardest part.
Day 2 - Sunday Phase 1
I didn't set an alarm the night before since it was a weekend and since I wake up naturally before 7am most days. But for whatever reason... caffeine withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal, aspartame withdrawal, sugar withdrawal, moving furniture all day, or more likely, a combination of the five... I woke up at 10:30am feeling like I had just been on a bender. Splitting headache in tow, I dragged myself into the kitchen, made another Pineapple Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie and tried to dull my headache with TV. Soon enough 3 hours had rolled around and it was time for me to finish off the last apple we had in the fridge. I really needed to get to the grocery store. Which is why I promptly took a 4 hour nap.
Waking up disoriented and an hour late for my lunch (you're supposed to eat every 3-4 hours), I was a bit panicked. So much for that whole "taking it easy and doing what I can!" approach. Luckily, I found a can of Amy's Organic Vegetable Barley Soup in the cupboard and decided that this was an appropriate, if not fresh Phase 1 substitute lunch. After downing that, I finally got my act together and went to Trader Joe's for my first big shop of the diet. I came out about $140 bucks deep in organic groceries. The FMD madness had begun. That night I made some Brown Rice Fusilli and Chicken Sausage for dinner and didn't fall asleep during Game of Thrones (But how could I even? It was the best episode in a long, long time... you know the one). Wins all around!
Day 3 - Monday Phase 2
My first Phase 2 day of this round of the diet. Oh, how I didn't miss you. For breakfast, I made the Spanish Egg White Scramble from the book. I don't know if I did it wrong or if it was bad eggs, but the whole house smelled terrible... and it didn't taste too good either. My first Phase 2 was off to a predictable start. At work later, I begrudgingly ate my first snack, Buffalo Jerky in the break room. I know the Trader Joe's version has some soy in it, also not FMD-approved, but it isn't like I'm going to make my own. At least my lunch was a decent reprieve: there's a little mini health food store across the street from my new job so I walked down, bought some lettuce and grilled chicken breast and made myself some tacos with mustard. More jerky and six hours later, Ryan and I sat down to a dinner of the Stuffed Red Bell Peppers from the book... a dinner that we both would eat again!
Day 4 - Tuesday Phase 2
Not ready to risk eating the egg white scramble again, I ate some of the leftover meat mixture from the Stuffed Red Bell Peppers for breakfast. Since I saved one of the Bell Peppers for dinner, I knew I'd be having a lot of that today. At work, I decided to try and switch things up for my first snack of the day and had two hard boiled egg whites with salt. I don't know what it was, but I gagged the whole way through. Maybe I'm just not an egg person? Back to jerky for Phase 2 snacks, it is! Lunch and dinner were repeats and when I put that last bite of stuffed pepper into my mouth, I felt like I'd made it through the second biggest hurdle of this diet: getting through both days of my first Phase 2. Plus, because I'd had leftovers for dinner, I had time to pre-cook a Phase 3 dinner for the next night! After work on Wednesday I was going straight to my friend Desiree's for Girl's Night and didn't want to have to come home and rush through cooking a meal first. So I made up and portioned out a delicious batch of Chicken and Quinoa Risotto from the book and went to bed so proud of myself for prepping for the next day.
Day 5 - Wednesday Phase 3
I couldn't wait to get out of bed and start Phase 3 on Wednesday! I was so starved for food that I like (quinoa! tomatoes! olives! hummus!) that I put not one but two pieces of Sprouted Grain Bread into the oven to toast up for Cucumber Hummus Toast. Then I went to the counter to start chopping up veggies for snacks and meals. It was then that I found them: my prepped food from the night before still sitting on the counter in their Pyrex. They had been sitting there all night. I wanted to just say fuck it and risk it, but I didn't want to get sick and have to take time off work... so I tossed it instead. Threw it all out. I could have cried. I did cry, a little.
I haven't felt that defeated in a while. In a major funk, I ate my toast and made my lunch, Olive and Tomato Salad from the book, and stayed pretty pissed at myself all morning. Wasted food, wasted time, and now I was going to be late to Des's. It was a huge bummer and somehow, felt like a major setback. But since I have the best boyfriend in the world, Ryan went to the store and re-bought the ingredients for me and had them chopped and prepped when I got home. I made the meal all over again, made sure to put the leftovers directly in the fridge this time, and headed to Des's for 4+ hours of great company and great smelling wine. Notice I said smelling... I stayed committed to FMD and honestly, wasn't even too tempted to have a drink. Notice I said "too"...
Day 6 - Thursday Phase 3
It's hard to believe the week is almost over. On Day 6, I'm in my groove. It's the first day I don't have to cook or prep anything. My veggies for snacks were pre-cut, I'm having leftovers of the Risotto for both lunch and dinner today. The only thing I have planned that will require some effort is one of my snacks... and by effort, I mean only insofar as it happens to be a snack I've never had before and I'm not sure if any special tricks are involved. For the first time, I was attempting to eat a whole avocado. Yep, lived in California for 6 years and have never had an avocado as a snack before. It's shameful. The fact that I didn't really like it after I ate it? Unacceptable. Time to move back to Connecticut I guess? This was the easiest day of the week and I capped it off with a nice long walk with Ryan and the dogs down by the San Diego River.
Day 7 - Friday Phase 3
This is it! My first full week of the diet is almost complete. For breakfast, I make a Berry Nutty Smoothie with frozen Raspberries and Sunflower Seeds, then head to work. At work today I have a huge project I am determined to finish before I start my weekend and when I get into it, it IS a doozy. I barely blink before 5 hours have gone by and I wolf down my first snack, Cucumbers and Hummus super late for the FMD feeding schedule. I had been planning to run out for lunch and pick up a salad but there's not time for that now, which stresses me out a ton. Stress, by the way, is also not FMD-approved.
Soon enough another 4 hours have passed and I skipped lunch altogether. I had my second helping of Cucumbers and Hummus, finished the project just before 5pm and left feeling pretty great about my workday... and pretty shitty about my lack of lunch. Still I tried to remind myself that with a schedule and recipes this strict, there are bound to be f-ups. The more I try to resist that, the more stress it will cause me... and stress is a no-no if I want this diet to work, so I have to let it go.
I came home and took a walk with Ryan to the market to get some items for dinner and cooked up Coconut Chicken Curry from the book. Our friend Pre came over for dinner and the three of us watched some stand-up comedy specials and took it easy with the dogs. This may be the most striking difference between doing the diet now and in 2014... back then I would have been at a bar, miserably sober until midnight or later and feeling left out. Now? A low-key night at home with Ryan, the dogs, friends and a home-cooked meal is pretty much heaven.