Detox Diet: Day Three (aka The Final Frontier)

I’m not going to lie to you, today has NOT been easy. When my alarm went off at 6.55am I could barely find the strength to lift my head off the pillow, let alone do my pilates DVD as planned. So it was back to sleep for another 45 minutes, and even then I felt like someone had dropped a breeze block on my head from a great height.

At work I was grumpy and impatient – though having to proofread a 310 page document would probably have that effect on me with or without a detox.

At lunchtime, to cheer myself up, I had an extra-large bowl of garden salad with lemon and oil dressing, rationalising that the ingredients would otherwise have gone to waste (because I’m sure as hell having something different for lunch tomorrow – most probably something that’s been deep fried in a foot of animal fat then coated in three consecutive layers of chocolate and cheese) and anyway, how can it possibly be bad to have an extra half of a tomato and a handful of spinach? Give me a break.

After lunch I took a stroll outside, then sat in the sunshine and read for a while. At one point, having watched countless happy people strolling past with iced coffees and frozen yoghurt, I almost succumbed to the sugar craving and had a tic tac to keep me going. But I resisted.

In truth I nearly gave up altogether when my colleagues asked me for a post-work glass of wine, but I hadn’t come this far to fall at the final hurdle. So I made my final revolting (and I really mean that. So many tasty ingredients went into it but the only two I could taste were celery and parsley. Gross.) mean green juice and threw it down the hatch in one, grimacing all the way.

When I got home I forced myself to do the pilates DVD I’d sacked off this morning, and I feel a whole lot better for it (if slightly light-headed given I’ve consumed the sum total of about five calories in the past 72 hours).

Tomorrow I’ve invited a friend for dinner and have promised her a nice big, cheesy lasagne with lashings of garlic break – in your face detox!

As for now, only one portion of ‘fat flushing soup’ and a chamomile tea stand between me and FREEDOM!!! It’s pathetic, I know, but I’m actually quite proud of this achievement….

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Changes

I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but there’s something amiss in my world at the moment. Possible reasons are:

a)      The weather (if in doubt, blame that)

b)      My best friend moving to San Francisco next week (I’m excited for her but will miss her tremendously – just thinking about it makes me well up)

c)       Lack of exercise – after months of marathon training it’s now been over 6 weeks since I did any exercise due to my training-related back injury, so the endorphin supply is running low

d)      Lack of sleep – probably due to all the other reasons, but in recent days my quality of sleep has dropped dramatically, and I’ve noticed when my alarm goes off I’m often slap bang in the middle of a traumatic /stressful dream, which doesn’t get my day off to the best of starts

e)      My overdraft, which is once again getting so large it’s scaring me

f)       Pressure to succeed in writing (see point e, though this is about far more than just money, it’s about realising ambition – or not, as the case may be)

g)      The onset of wanderlust (which may or may not be related to point b)

h)      A combination of all of the above (most likely)

Whatever the reasons, I’m feeling out of sorts and stressed, and I need an action plan to ease me out of the doldrums. That plan is as follows:

a)      Hmm, not much I can do about the weather…

b)      Not much I can do about the friend moving to the US either…Oh dear…

c)       Aha! Here’s one I can work on! Lunchtime Pilates class booked. Let’s see how that goes…

d)      Earlier nights. Switch off technology, have a relaxing bath and go to bed with a good book. This approach I shall trial tonight.

e)      Stopping spending is the obvious one, or moving out of credit crisis London? Neither looking all that possible in the immediate future…Stop eating perhaps? Become a Breatharian?

f)       This one’s obvious: Write more. And believe in myself more. Also maybe give up sleeping and socialising as well as eating in order to find time to get my writing where it needs to be.

g)      I would say go travelling again, which would certainly address point a), but since it would do nothing to help point e), in the short term I’ll just have to settle for booking a (very) cheap weekend away in the UK to keep the wanderlust at bay.

I’m so glad I decided to write it all down. Just a few ‘small’ lifestyle changes and I’ll be back on an even keel before you can say ‘it’ll never work’….

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Pilates Revival

Truth be told, I’ve never really held a deep (or even shallow) belief in yoga and pilates as serious forms of exercise. Granted I have dabbled in both at various stages of my life, and I do appreciate their benefits for people with injuries, but on the whole I always seem to come back to the more conventional cardio options like running and cross training in the gym.

But after attending a free pilates session today as part of Team London Bridge’s #lovelunch promotion I have to say I’m coming around to the idea this might actually be something worth incorporating into my life more regularly. I left the office feeling stressed out and stiff and have returned in a Zen-like state, completely free of aches and pains (one neck exercise we were taught will definitely be included into my stretching repertoire from now on).

It strikes me, now I think about it, that an important – yet often overlooked – factor in people’s enjoyment of yoga and pilates in particular (given their reputation as relaxing practices) is whether or not they like their teacher. In a gym class it’s somehow easier to tolerate an instructor with an annoying voice or irritating manner – you just grit your teeth and get on with it, focusing on the end results for those abdominals. But yoga and pilates are different – you have to like your instructor. You have to trust them. If they annoy you then you’ll never reach that place of inner calm and tranquillity that your practice demands, and therefore you will fail to reap the benefits.

Another important factor is where the class takes place. If you can hear the busy main road with its beeping car horns and shouting builders then you’ll never be able to relax enough to get the most out of your practice.

Today’s class was held at Globe House, a charming bare-brick space with a New York loft apartment feel that’s set back from the hustle and bustle of the roads around London Bridge and has a lovely calming atmosphere. The instructor, Liz, was neither annoying in voice nor irritating in manner. Far from it – she was warm, friendly and clear in her instructions (unlike many of the yoga and pilates teachers I have come across in the past, who have you twisted up like a lump of scrapyard metal in your pursuit of the elusive posture they’ve just demonstrated).

I nearly didn’t go to today’s session but now I’m really glad I did – it might just have ignited a new passion for pilates. Watch this space…