25 October 2013

Move Over, Gwyneth

I originally posted this over on my Weight Watchers Online Community blog. It's been a while since I shared here about my #healthyme journey, though, so since there was a stunning dress involved, I thought I'd post. It's been almost 2 years since I started this journey (check out the beginning over here), and while I've been on track for the most part, this past summer was really rough on me, my eating, and my activity. Here's the story of my little wakeup call, how I responded, and the dress I got to wear as a result.

Really. Eating clean works.

I mean, we all know this, but we all (not so) conveniently forget it. I had to remember over the last 3+ weeks, as I'd chosen to do a cleanse. It was a food-based cleanse led by the amazing nutritionist Ellen Kittridge, and my second attempt at a cleanse, at that. (My first attempt was Dr. Alejandro Junger's Clean Program. You know the one Gwyneth does? It was good, I felt great, and was happy eating clean. But a combination of the plan's restrictions and running nearly headlong into Easter candy sent me on a downhill spiral from which I just recovered.)

An unfiltered look at the stunning color of my beet, avocado, beet greens, banana, chia seed, raw cacao powder (with maca), and coconut water smoothie. I smoothie every morning for breakfast (after a glass of warm lemon water). I've been smoothieing since the beginning of the year, and feel best when I have this "ice cream for breakfast," as one of my WW friends says. Also, who knew? Chocolate + beets? OMG divine.

For me, the cleanse I just completed reminds me that:

  • Eating whole foods is better: tastier, more fueling, and more nutritionally dense
  • Eating more processed foods leaves me wanting: taste, fuel, and nutrition
  • Eating sugar is not as tasty as I thought it was (seriously, sweet is too sweet now for me. I pray that stays around!), and it is not fueling nor is it nutritious
  • Staying hydrated is very useful
  • Eating enough to fuel and satisfy, but not more, is also very useful

One of my favorite dishes I picked up on the cleanse: a sweet potato and red lentil red curry soup with spinach. It's insanely easy to make, and with a squeeze of lime over? Eye rolling good. I was sad when I finished the last bowl of it for lunch yesterday.

All of this, folks, because I'm back on the losing train. I've been fighting (not very hard, mind you, which is why it wasn't coming off) to lose the last of the 10lbs I gained back over the summer's not-clean-eating reign. I didn't lose during the cleanse (there may or may not have been some fresh date+sunflowerseed butter madness in the evenings), but I didn't gain. And now that I've woken up and smelled the daily lemon water (I'm still caffeine-free, too!), well, I've stopped the nibbling and guess what? Down 1.5lbs.


The wakeup call? It may or may not have been trying on the two Rent the Runway dresses I "borrowed" for the White Hat USA inaugural gala last night. (I'll do more of a review next week of the experience I started over here, but for those of you who have events, anything from a wedding to a black tie gala, this service? Crazy awesome. Dress rental. Duh. All price ranges, and you get to wear @#$% you'd never even think you could afford.)

All dresses fit, and the bigger size was too big (you get to borrow a bigger size for free, just in case), but as good as I felt and looked, let's just say I'm glad I'd not let gluten and dairy back in fully yet (since they sometimes to bloat me). I'm certainly going to reintroduce those things and see what happens, but I was on a dress-wearing-in-which-photos-will-be-taken mission.

The first dress I tried on a lovely, striking, and classic Narciso Rodriguez. This was Rosa and Bean No.2's favorite.

And then I tried on my obsession dress, an incredible Viktor & Rolf. The Bean loved this one, No.2 did not. This got the most #twitterfashionshow votes, and I felt amazing in it. Even if I did have to wear the belt from the larger size. My favorite comment? E of District of Chic wrote, "Boom goes the dynamite." I laughed. And I felt exactly like that.

With 2 days to go, I set out to eat as cleanly as possible, eating what I need to fuel my body well and enjoy it at the same time. I was hoping the belt might fit a little less snugly by the time Thursday came around.

This week I felt good and strong. I felt in control. I felt happy with my food choices, and satiated in nutrition, fuel, and taste - even without the activity that my bum knee still won't quite let me have (this weekend! Can't wait!). That's a huge win, people.

H and I in our "prom picture," before stepping out. I'll say it. I know I look good. But more importantly, I felt incredible. Absolutely incredible, glamorous, and, perhaps most important of all, comfortable and happy. I was also thrilled with my accessories. A reliable Ann Taylor satin and patent clutch from oh, about 2006, let me carry phone, card case, lipstick and gloss, and still have room for my Mom-Mom's rouched gloves once I took them off (I needed them last night! It was freezing!). My MIL's vintage fur stole kept me warm and cozy. My earrings were long, delicately colored danglers I got somewhere pre-Beans, and I pinned my braids up with a favorite hairpin I stalked back in the day at Simply Soles.

But looking this good in a dress? It's a dream. Quite literally one I never even allowed myself to have. Who woulda thunk I'd be wearing literally red carpet (and we're not talking the crap ass 3rd tier "premier" in the star's hometown, here, but LA-NY-London-level) gowns?

My newly rediscovered J. Renée sandals, bought ages ago on a lark in South Beach...

My two favorite men of the night, Dealer Doug, who kindly taught me the basics of H's favorite game, craps, and H. Also, it's a lot easier to learn a game when you're playing with funny money.

I bet on my Beans: I put "money" on the 4 and the 6 (their approximate ages). I didn't win (I'm a horrible gambler), but by "betting on our kids," the silent auction, and other fundraising activities throughout the night, we raised $327,000 for Children's National Medical Center and honored a volunteer who was once a patient. It was a pretty incredible and humbling evening.

I turned 40 Wednesday. And as my friend M and I texted (the dear friend with whom I ran the last leg of the Baltimore Running Festival relay marathon two weeks ago), "It doesn't hurt that we're fitter at 40 than we ever were at 30."

Move over Gwyneth (and Nicole and Michelle and ...), there's a new clean eating sheriff in town.

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