Have a great day - eat something healthy.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Month-long Birthday Present to Myself

Mark and me in Bora Bora on April 4th, 2011

On May 9th I'll be turning 51. Typically I do a 3-week cleanse leading up to my birthday. It's the greatest gift I can give myself - the clean living allows me to hit my body's reset button and enter my next year of life at the peak of good health.

But this year I missed the opportunity. My husband Mark and I had the great fortune of escaping to French Polynesia in April and by the time we returned and reacclimated to life in the Midwest, there wasn't enough time to squeeze in 21 days of angelic eating and non-drinking before May 9th.

Before the trip I worked pretty hard to fit into my bikinis, shorts and sundresses, so I felt good about my appearance and well-being. And I gave myself permission to eat like every meal was my last while on vacation, knowing full well that I’d return to my healthy habits once I returned to my day-to-day life.

Not the case! Since the trip I can't - or won't - shake my gustatory fervor and have been devouring everything on every plate that has been set in front of me, as well as downing a glass of wine or two with more meals than I’d care to admit. And there's no hiding the error of my ways - it's there on my thighs and belly, and I can only imagine what I look like walking away...

But now I’m getting a chance to clean up my act. Whole Foods has invited me to take the Engine 2 Diet challenge beginning Monday, May 2nd. A 28-day program, the Engine 2 Diet calls for the gradual elimination of meat, dairy, processed foods, and oils. On top of that, I’ll be working out 6 times a week.

I’m already a vegetarian who rarely eats dairy so that part of the program will be a snap. And I'm pretty much a workout fanatic so I look forward to trying a new fitness regimen. What concerns me is the elimination of oils. I have no idea how to cook without my beloved olive oil or how the recipes in this program will taste, not to mention how hard they'll be to scrape out of the pan! But why I do this stuff – I get excited when I can add super-healthy, great tasting recipes to my cooking repertoire; if there's a workout that really works, count me in; and, of course, I love to share everything I learn with any- and everybody.

So, for the month of May, I’ll be a lab rat, testing recipes and workouts, putting discipline back into my daily routine, and reminding myself that this experiment is the month-long celebration of planting both feet firmly in my 50s. I’m looking at this challenge as a way to readjust my nutritional focus and whip myself into shape for the summer. I know it's not going to be easy but I'm sure I'll learn a lot - these nutritional hot-boots always bring up new issues and insights.

I'll be posting my thoughts and experiences as things progress so be sure to stay tuned to see what develops!