Dietary Reset (i.e., A Half-Hearted Cleanse)

Yesterday I started a healthy eating plan reset to last up to the Newport Marathon on May 31, and perhaps beyond.

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I need to do this because over the last several months I have noticed a thickening around my middle. And, although the number on the scale doesn’t bother me too much because we all know muscle weighs more than fat, I do think carrying around this extra weight is slowing down my running.

My totally unprofessional, non-nutritionist-approved dietary reset consists of two absolutely forbidden things: fried food and alcohol. Well, and I’m also trying to reduce my intake of refined sugars in general, so have cut back on white flour and candy.

20140422-212344.jpgThe Swedish fish hiding on the top shelf of my pantry are having a celebration.

I felt great and energized yesterday, the first day of my “lifestyle change.” Of course I didn’t exercise or anything—it was a rest day, and the closest I came to running was watching the Boston Marathon live stream on my iPad. I had a green smoothie for breakfast.

20140422-210919.jpgI also had a light meal for lunch. Uggghhh… okay, it was a frozen Smart Ones meal.

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I know—too many multisyllabic words not based in nature to be considered healthy. But I needed something fast and low-calorie. I made up for the lunch transgressions with dinner: a large green salad with grilled sirloin on top.

After work I went to a massage with the amazing Heidi of BeHive Massage Therapy. (I could and will write an entire post about Heidi and the great body work she does for me and other runners.) I felt incredible—loose and light—after that massage and a day of clean eating. I felt like everything was rainbows and unicorns. Hey! This is going to be easy!

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Incidentally, this has to be the ugliest tattoo I have ever seen.

But today was totally different, and I was dragging. I had a green smoothie for breakfast and some string cheese for my morning snack. I went to a TRX class at lunch and I couldn’t do one-legged squats and my upper body strength was a joke. I could barely lift my arms to dress and empty my locker at the gym. I ate a light lunch after class and that did little to relieve my fatigue. After lunch I still felt only 50% of my normal energy at that time of day. It only improved after I broke down and cracked open a can of Cancer Diet Coke.

My best friend, who has survived several cleanses (all of which were much more intense and restrictive than my little dietary tweaks) has assured me it takes a few days to adjust. I guess I’m just surprised my body has been thrown into this level of turmoil. I had no idea how dependent my body was on sugar, and how much sugar I’ve unwittingly ingested on a daily basis up to now.

20140422-214204.jpg…Maybe I should have caught a clue by all my pictures of donuts and such.

At any rate, I hope this fatigue resolves soon, because I cannot see myself running in this state.

Have you ever done a cleanse or otherwise cut out or restricted sugar from your diet? How did it work for you?

14 thoughts on “Dietary Reset (i.e., A Half-Hearted Cleanse)

  1. I didn’t really eat sugar or carbs (except in the form of fruit) for about six months before I got married, but it wasn’t really a conscious decision. I think that if I had told myself I couldn’t have them, I would have been stuffing my face with them every few days. It sort of just happened naturally, and after I started feeling so good and my body adjusted, it was an easy transition. I’m sure if your body is used to have lots of sugar, it will take a little while to adjust, but then once it’s out of your system, you will feel more energy and not crave them. Hang in there!!

    • Thanks! I went for a run this morning and managed to finish it at a decent pace, so I’m better fueled than I think I am. It’s probably laughable to my friends and those who read my blog, who’ve seen how much junk I ingest, but I really had no clue how much sugar I took in until I started eliminating it (fruit excepted).

  2. lawrunner says:

    I’ve done intense cleanses (like the master cleanse) which are the hardest thing to do ever, and I’ve cut alcohol, coffee and sugar from my diet. First thing to remember is that the headaches are from withdrawal and usually stop after about 4 days. Then always remember the rule of 3s. a) The first three days are the hardest, but if you can make it through, it gets a lot easier. This is partly because the way we eat is a habit and you have to break yourself of those habits. But it’s also partly because of the cravings for what you’re used to eating. b) After three weeks your new way of eating becomes a new habit and if won’t be such a huge effort to eat this way. Your body gets used to the new food and your mind thinks this is the way you’ve always eaten. c) After 3 months you won’t even think about it anymore. Drink plenty of water and rest when you need to. You’ll do great!

    • Thank you! Today is day 3, so your post gives me hope that this fatigue will lift tomorrow. I’m not doing a master cleanse or really any cleanse–so I feel kind of like a wimp about my limited changes. For a sugar addict, though, it feels like a revolution.

      • lawrunner says:

        For some people the headaches and fatigue last a little longer 😦 but it should start getting better soon. Resting and drinking water helps a lot. Just don’t give up! it does end and once it’s over, you’ll be so proud of yourself! And you should be! Sugar withdrawal is hard but being without it makes a huge difference. Just don’t beat yourself up if any of the days is harder than another. Everyone reacts a bit differently. If the going gets hard, take a nap, read a book, watch cartoons, eat an apple just don’t give up! You are doing something great for yourself!

      • lawrunner says:

        OMG! I just realized you’re in the Pacific Northwest! I am from Portland and am returning there in early June!

      • lawrunner says:

        Awesome! I lived in Port Orchard for 3 years and Seattle for 2. Portland is so beautiful and a great place to run!

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