Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 20 Riding it out vs. figuring it out

My good friend Meredith commented on my blog post about whether I was experiencing hunger, desire, need, or craving, that my challenge was less to figure it out than to ride it out. And I got to thinking about that marvelous and instructive animated section of the movie What the Bleep where they demonstrate the brain pathways of addiction and the need to establish new habits and thus new pathways. If we don't respond to the old promptings, if we don't go down those well-establish pathways, they will atrophy and go into disuse and the new pathways will take over.

I know this is true for me, for the old alcohol-craving and using pathways have shrunk to next to nothing. I occasionally get an urge, something deep in the body responding to a trigger or an old electrical impulse, but it passes quickly, usually within seconds, so those pathways don't run my life as they did 23 years ago.

Riding out these urges to eat seems a little tougher. For sometimes, they're honest hunger, not a need for emotional soothing. At the same time, I am willing to ride in a way I haven't been since giving up alcohol all those years ago. Most of my attempts to shift my food patterns in the last decades have met with huge resistance of the "Hell, no, you can't make me" kind. Now I'm willing to respond with "How?"

Day 19 Lookin' good!

Yesterday I drove down to Corvallis with my brother-in-law, photographer David Cobb. We were both being interviewed, separately, for a cable access TV show on books and writers called Back Page. The timing had worked out for us to be taped on the same day so we could drive together.

The interviewer, Jody Seay, had instructed us not to wear prints or hot pink or white as they don't work well on screen. So I dressed in my basic black dress-up outfit, black slacks and a black top.

Since I haven't been weighing myself (once a month is my agreement with the couch), I only have my clothes to tell me about weight loss or weight shift as I like to think of it. And my gym clothes have been a little looser as the days have gone by. But I always wear loose, comfortable clothes (I did when I was thin too) so  it's not been too noticeable.

But yesterday when I got dressed and checked the full-length mirror on the hall closet door, my clothes fit really well. I looked different. And my skin looked good and my neck wasn't so thick. And I felt good in my clothes in a way I haven't for a long time. I went into that interview with more thought to what I would say and less concern about how I looked. It was really nice.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 18 Being willing to show up

When I was first sober, I found the world painful in an unexpected way. I was used to going through life in a kind of fog. First, everything was softened by an alcoholic haze of anesthetic. Second, my focus was always on me and my body, for I was a sick drunk and suffered mightily from hangovers and alcohol poisoning. When that got stripped away, I found it exhausting to be alert all the time, to be in the world.

Now I'm choosing to give up the remaining self-medication through fat foods, TV, and overworking. I'm choosing to show up for everything that comes my way.

As my wise therapist said yesterday, I don't have to do this. I have a really good life and I could just rest into that. I could stay fat, continue to use food, and still have a good life. I could continue to overwork through fear of not enough money in the future or because I won't know what to do with myself if I stop and I would still have a good life. I could continue to have pretty good relationships with friends and family. I could have a pretty good relationship with myself.

But I want more. I want to feel great. I want to have great relationships. I want to do great work. I want to be of more service. These don't come out of a "should" but from somewhere else in me.

I've been preparing for this willingness for quite a while. My Buddhist practice is about showing up. My AA practice is about showing up. My painting practice and my fiction writing, they're about showing up. Now I'm willing to put my body into this too.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 17 Hunger? Craving? Need? Desire?

Today I've been struggling to sort out the messages from my body--and my mind. It's a vegetable/fruit smoothie day on my plan, which means a quart of green juice smoothied with more veggies and some fruit and consumed by noon. I drank the first half before I went to the gym (had a good workout) and when I got home, drinking more of it seemed impossible. I was hungry and so I ate a hard-boiled egg, opting to have my animal protein early in the day. An hour later, I finished the smoothie and  ate the other allotted egg. But all morning, I didn't feel satisfied.

I didn't know if I was still hungry or needing something specific. I didn't know if I was just desiring more food or a different taste or if I was craving the feeling of being sated, which I don't get now. I couldn't read the cues. I've indulged my mouth for so long, I've little idea what my body is saying.

When lunchtime came, a big salad (aka greens and veggies and a little dressing) was on the plan. And suddenly I knew I needed more protein so I cut up some turkey and added it to the salad. That felt right, both intuitively and physically, even though more animal protein wasn't on the plan.

A couple of hours later I found myself pacing between the office and the kitchen. I was restless. But was it mental? Physical? Emotional? Or was I hungry? I remembered my coach saying drink a big glass of water to see if it's thirst and that seemed to be what it was. I was able to settle down and go back to work. I had a snack at 4:30 and went to an evening event. I fixed soup when I got home and it was good but it wasn't enough. And I ate two different snacks. Was it hunger? Craving? Need? Desire? Not sure how to figure this stuff out.




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 16 Getting a grip on the 50-lb. phone

One of the first things they encourage you to do in AA meetings is to get a phone list of other members and use it. Call your sponsor, call your buddies, call relative strangers on the list. Get used to picking up the phone when you're doing well and chances are you'll pick up the phone and call for some help when you're not. More than 23 years in AA and I never learned to do this. Indeed, some of us have a joke in the program about the 50# phone.

I've never liked the phone. When I was a teenager, I used the phone to talk to my best friend Susan for a few minutes every night. But my parents didn't approve of much phone use (we only had one in the house back in the Dark Ages), and I didn't really like it all that much. When I got older and started dating, I hated waiting for the phone to ring, for some guy to want to spend time with me. It wasn't kosher yet for women to do the calling. Later in relationships, I found phone calls difficult, unsatisfying. I wanted to be with my partner, not on the phone with him. I associate the phone too with arguments and misunderstandings and with cold calls for business. All bad associations.

Email has been a great blessing to this introvert. I can do business and maintain friendships without having to call people. But I'm realizing that this has to change in the light of my new food program and what may be turning into a new way of being. For one of the things I know I will need to give up is isolating and one of the things I want is to be more deeply connected to the people I care about. So I've made a commitment to make two phone calls a week to friends. It's a small step but it's in the right direction.



Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 15 The energy to make other changes

I'm starting to feel different, better. I'm not sure how to describe it. I'm a bit lighter in myself, less heavy, less sluggish. I'm not suddenly full of energy but I have more to use, to spend in some way. Here are some examples:

Yesterday my good friend Melanie offered me a nice chair and I said yes without thinking about it too much. It arrived while I was gone, thanks to my nephew Miles and his girlfriend, and it was much bigger than I expected. So I decided to rearrange the furniture in my living room. Today my housekeeper Molly and I tried out a bunch of things and gave the room a good spring cleaning. All of that would have seemed way too much trouble before.

Today I used my slow cooker for the first time (its only former use has been to keep cider hot at my annual Christmas open house). I didn't have a recipe. I just put in butternut squash, zucchini, an onion, a few potatoes, some herbs, and some organic canned broth. All that would have seemed way too much trouble before.

I've started using the dishwasher that my landlord installed five years ago. I want to see if it's more or less expensive than doing them by hand. That would have seemed way too much trouble before.

I wouldn't have described myself as tired or uninterested two weeks ago, but I'm certainly more energetic and more interested two weeks later.

PS The soup was delicious!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 14 Sunday confession

I have to confess that I overate tonight. First time since I've been on this program. I don't feel bad about it;it's an old habit, but I'm physically uncomfortable and I've liked not feeling stuffed.

I didn't go off the plan. Today I had my green smoothie, some oatmeal, and a big salad with turkey but I ate dinner early, about 5, because I was really hungry and then I was still hungry and I ate some nuts and that held me for a while and then I was hungry again. And rather than sit with it or have a big glass of water, I fixed another snack. Half an avocado and salsa and chips and I ate too much of it.

It was delicious and I wasn't being the least bit mindful. I was watching TV (I guess I could blame it on Argo, which wasn't great) and I just kept eating. I didn't even think of my commitment or my intention or anything. I wasn't thinking, I was just eating.

I didn't want to write about this tonight. I had a couple of other topics in mind and I didn't want to own it. But that's the old pattern too and I want to break free of them. That's what's really important to me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 13: The exercise conundrum


I'm beginning to notice that I have more energy. I've always been wide awake in the morning and haven't needed caffeine to get me started since my drinking days so that hasn't changed.  But I putter around at night now, finishing up the dishes and doing a few small chores rather than debating whether I have the energy to floss or will just brush my teeth and go to bed.

I'm mostly noticing more energy at the gym. Normally I walk 20-30 minutes on the treadmill and then do weights and stretches and ab work. It's often lackluster and I kind of drag my way through it. This week I walked 60 minutes on Wednesday and opted to go again on Thursday when my buddy was suddenly free to accompany me. Today I walked 50 minutes. I have more stamina and more zip.

So why the conundrum in the title? Because I don't like exercising. I find it boring. I find it tedious. My mind is not engaged no matter how much I try to be in the moment. The best days are when I'm writing well on my current novel and I spend the treadmill thinking about the characters. But that didn't work today and I was conscious of all the minutes and many of the seconds in their passing.

I liked feeling more energetic but I didn't enjoy the time I spent doing all that walking. Walking outside is better for the entertainment value, but I don't get the same huff-and-puff workout crossing streets and skirting strollers and pedestrians. Besides, it was too cold today to be outside (deep frost on the neighborhood roofs).

So a challenge is going to be finding a way to make exercise more engaging. I know the standard advice: find a sport you love and stick with it. But I don't love any sports. I've been exercising faithfully since 1980 2-4 times a week, pretty much without fail. I do it for my health. I want to be ambulatory at 80 and 90.

However, my coach is suggesting more and longer walks. Yikes!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 12 The surprise witching hour

I've been assuming that evenings would be the hard part of the new food plan. I'm used to eating dinner and then snacking as I wished most of the evening. Sure they were low-sugar, low-fat snacks but I ate a lot of them, enough to help keep the weight on. And most evenings I watch some TV and that has been an incestuous relationship, food and TV. So I expected that eating dinner earlier and not eating after dinner would be the time of biggest cravings.

But it's not. 4 pm is the witching hour instead.

I eat my breakfast and go about my day and I feel pretty good. I eat lunch and I'm still okay. But the afternoon wears on and lunch wears off and it's too long until dinner. I get hungry. I fix an allowed snack but it's not enough and I eat another allowed snack and what I really want is a candy bar or six or a lot of cheese or a lot of bread and butter.

I'm not eating those things. But I'm eating more than I want to and more than is on my plan.

Some of the need is physical. A big salad at lunch isn't going to carry me 6 hours, even if I eat turkey or chicken or beans with the salad. So I need to devise some snacks that are a mini-meal, not just a little bit of food. Or maybe I need four meals a day and should break up my dinner food in some way.

But some of it is also psychological, I suspect. By 4 or 4:30, I'm ready to be done with the day and I usually still have an hour or two of paid work that I need to put in. And I want a reward for sticking with it. I'm used to rewarding myself at 4, for work well done and the discipline to hang in there for a while longer. Maybe I will also have to look at reorganizing my day.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 11 Putting the scale a-weigh

It would be so easy to make this food plan about weight loss. It's what I've done in the past, it's what I know how to do. Change my eating habits, lose some pounds, stick with it a while, lose a little more, then backslide and regain it all over the course of six months or a year.

I don't call myself a yoyo dieter because the intervals between the ups and downs have been so long. I'm not somebody who has gained and lost the same 20 pounds for decades. Mostly I just steadily gained and then hit a top weight. The last weight I lost (22 pounds) I kept off. It happened in the spring of 2010 when I got off intentional sugar (I stopped eating anything that could constitute a dessert (pies, cakes, donuts, scones, candy, cookies and especially ice cream--to my mind, the perfect food). I've relapsed a couple of times on candy but never for long. But I didn't stop overeating or bingeing and though the weight stayed off, it wasn't all that I needed to lose.

There would probably be some real benefits for me if I lost some significant weight: I'd breathe, move, work out, climb stairs more easily. I'd probably sleep better. I'd look better to myself in my clothes. I'd probably be really proud of myself. That's why it would be so easy to make this change about weight loss. And I'm determined not to do that.

These food changes are about feeling great: mood, health, energy. If weight loss comes with it, how nice! I want this way of eating to make me happier and I know enough to know that weight loss won't do that. Instead, I'm hoping that great nutrition will.

I did weigh myself on Day 1. And I've agreed with my coach to weigh again in a month, on April 11. And to that end, I put the scale in the closet.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 10 A question from a reader

In response to my list of all the things that I need to change, a reader asked what I will gain. That's an excellent question and one I can't answer with any certainty at this point. However, I can't help but think that I will be healthier.

Like any food plan, there's controversy around this one, partly I think because it is counter-cultural. For decades, we've been told by the Dairy Council that we need to eat a lot of dairy, even though other foods contain calcium, and by the Meat Council that we need to eat a lot of meat because we need a lot of protein, even though other foods contain protein. But no matter what the food plan or its controversies, no one says "Don't eat fresh organic vegetables. They're bad for you." No one. So I expect to be healthier.

I expect I'll lose some weight. I'm not eating much starch or fat. Unless something is completely wonky with my metabolism, I should be burning fat on this plan. I've never had trouble losing weight before. I've just always gone back to again eating what I want when I want in response to emotions and cravings. That is an excellent recipe for regaining weight and I've perfected it.

Many of the people who eat this way get off their prescription medications and reverse some of their health issues like high blood pressure or high cholesterol or high blood sugar. If my issues are diet-influenced, then that should change for me too.

But right now I'm keeping my expectations on the back burner and just learning to eat differently.
 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day #9 What I'm beginning to experience

This is day 9 off wheat, dairy, sugar, soy, and processed foods. I'm limiting animal protein to 4 oz. a day of lean, clean meat or eggs. Eating a ton of leafy greens, other vegetables, some fruit, beans occasionally. Here are my first noticings:

1. I am more cheerful. I don't know if I'm happier, but I am definitely more cheerful. I also seem to be a little more outgoing and friendly with folks.
2. My skin is much less dry. I'd been going through lotion like crazy and assumed it was just the post-menopausal body but I'm thinking now that I was dehydrated on some deep level.
3. I have little interest in or need for caffeine. I've been off coffee for years and been drinking mostly decaf tea, but I'm not interested even in that anymore. While I need a snack at 4, I don't need a jolt.
4. I'm beginning to enjoy the green juice and smoothies a lot. They taste good to me now, instead of passable.
5. I'm starting to have some small recognition of hungry and not-hungry, enough and need more. I ignored any of those cues for a long time, feeding my mouth and cravings more than my hunger or energy levels.

I find this all quite interesting and exciting.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day #8 A lot needs to change

They say in AA that you only have to change one thing when you move into recovery: your whole life. I did that when I got sober. I changed almost everything about my life over the first few years: got out of a relationship that wasn't healthy for me; got out of a profession that didn't work for me anymore, got new interests, moved, got a new apartment, a new career, a new life.

I'm hoping that nothing quite so drastic is going to be required in my move into recovery from the form of food addiction that I have, but I know there's a lot that is going to need to change...and soon. Here are some of the things that I'm going to have to relinquish:

Eating when I'm not hungry
Bingeing on special foods
Eating while I watch TV
Eating whenever I feel like it
Eating whatever I want
Pretending I'm eating in a moderate and healthy way when I'm not
Eating in secret
Eating to soothe myself
Eating to put myself into a food coma so I can nap

There's a long road ahead of creating new habits. Being sober all these years has let me create an amazing life. I'm holding out the hope that changing how and what I eat will make it even more so.







Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 7 Feeling like I just got out of rehab again

The first days in the fall of 1989 that I spent out in the world after 30 days in rehab are etched in my mind. I bounced between the joy of feeling better than I had in over a decade with the anxiety of how I would stay sober by myself. Of course, I wasn't exactly alone. I had AA meetings and went twice a day. I had a sponsor, whom I never called. But I still had to go past the wine in the grocery store and deal with my habits and cravings.

This weekend, I've been with friends for lunch and family for a few meals. Everyone is most supportive but no one is going to watch out for me. I have to keep my commitment myself. I both feel up to the task and shaky about doing so.

I did bring my own food to my sister's and she's got a juicer and she joined me in a juice breakfast and salad lunch. And there's been plenty to eat. But the crackers went by and the flour tortillas with cheese and there was a lovely cheesy polenta at lunch yesterday, and I felt a bit of envy and those old, old pangs of being an exception. I felt a little excluded even though it's completely voluntary.

I'm realizing I need to marshal a bigger support system just as I did when I got out of rehab.


Day #6 My new love

I'm in my love with my juicer. I was inspired both by the two documentaries I saw about the value of juicing (a way to get nutrient-packed food into ourselves) and by my sister, who's juiced for a long time and swears by it for health and weight loss.

They come in a lot of sizes, qualities, and costs, and it was rather dizzying to try to make a decision. I asked friends for recommendations and everybody loved the one they had or hated the one they had or never used it. I put the word out to see if anybody wanted to unload one, but the only ones available were ones people had replaced for something better. I wanted to make a serious commitment from the first and this seemed a good investment in my health.

I got a Breville 600 masticator, upper end of the line. Masticators squeeze the foods as well as centrifuging them so you got more nutrients, according to a nutritionist friend of mine. There's also less pulp and some people like that and some don't. I'm pulp-neutral.

The setup looked really complicated when I pulled the pieces out of the box and the instructions weren't the best, but it only took me about 4 minutes to figure it and after I'd washed the parts and reassembled it, I was juicing like a pro in under 10 minutes.

My food plan actually calls for green smoothies, so I juice about two cups of veggies and some fruit and then use that liquid in the smoothies for extra oomph. I'm learning what combos I like and what I don't like. But there are a lot of fruits and veggies to juice so I'm going to trying stuff out for a while. Fine by me. I love time with the juicer.

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Pavlovian relationship with TV

Monday, I was concerned that this week would be tough on the new food plan because I had a lot of social and work engagements. One week a month, I teach three evening classes and that week was this week. But that has turned into a great blessing as I was happily busy with other people until past 9 pm each night. No time on my hands, no butt in the chair in front of the TV.

You may remember the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who discovered the concept of conditioned responses. He fed dogs and rang a bell at the same time. Before too long, the dogs would salivate at the sound of the bell even when no food was present. I have a Pavlovian relationship with TV. For decades, I've eaten in front of the TV, mostly mindlessly. A great deal of the extra weight I carry is from TV eating.

On my new plan, I don't eat late and I don't eat after dinner unless I'm actually still hungry. TV eating is not about hunger. It's about restlessness, it's perhaps about loneliness, and it's definitely about conditioning.

Tonight was my first night alone on the new plan. I had dinner at 7 in front of the TV. I was full and not hungry but the restlessness didn't take long to set in. I sat with it, continued watching TV, and felt the repeated urge to get up and get something. I had a craving for something sweet, something salty, something fat. I did not have a craving for kale. And I made it through it without eating and then turned off the TV to write this blog.

I knew when I started the Feel Great Project that unhooking TV and food would be one of the challenges. And it is.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

My first craving experience on the new regime

This afternoon I had to deal with my first craving. I went to lunch at Old Wives Tales, a place near my home, with a big and rather famous salad bar. I was meeting a potential client for lunch and that seemed a safe place to go on my food plan.

While the salad bar had quite a few choices, it turned out that not many them worked for me. There were greens, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, and beets, but no beans or corn, no hard-boiled eggs. There were two kinds of tofu (I don't do soy), cottage cheese and cheddar (I don't do dairy), croutons (I don't do wheat), and potato salad (I don't do mayo). I made myself a big salad of what I could eat and enjoyed it, but I wasn't full and I wasn't satisfied.

I came home and the craving for something fat and sweet or salty really kicked in. I wanted a candy bar. I wanted cheese and crackers. I wanted Cheetos. but I knew I wasn't really hungry so I sat with the craving for about 45 minutes and then I did the best thing I could think of. I took a nap. I read my book and dozed for about an hour.

When I woke up, I was hungry but not craving and I recognized the difference. I fixed a snack of allowed foods and settled in to work for a couple of hours and then had a reasonable dinner of quinoa and beans and spinach and the craving didn't come back. One day at a time!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day #3 Food Insecurity

I've known for years that I suffer from food insecurity. I buy way more than I need, way more than I can eat.  However, I don't think having a lot of food around has made me fat. Eating a lot of high-fat, high-sugar (aka calorie-dense) foods has made me fat. Eating pretty much whatever I want has made me fat. Eating in front of the TV has made me fat.

But among the emotional components of my overeating is the need to have food--plenty of choices and plenty of quantity--available to me. I do not like being hungry. It makes me anxious, it makes me panicky. And so when I went shopping Sunday afternoon for the first week of the food program, I bought an awful lot of food. Granted, some of it is stuff that will last (a box of stevia packets, a huge jar of raw almond butter, etc.) But I bought lots of veggies and fruit, four bags of food instead of the usual two.

Of course, kale and spinach and apples and bananas take up a lot of space. And clearly, I had little idea of what it will take to fill me up or how much of anyone thing I can tolerate or enjoy. And that will sort itself out. But I shopped as if I were headed to the hinterlands where nothing would be available and not just a few blocks down the street. I shopped as if a lot of food could save me.

In keeping with the wisdom of the mid-1940s, I was bottle-fed and I've long suspected I was fed on a schedule. Mothers were admonished back then to feed their babies every four hours. I don't know if this was for convenience or a sense of discipline or trying to move us to three meals a day from the get go. But I suspect I was hungry a lot and that it created some kind of survival anxiety in me. Many of my age peers talk of having the same relationship with food.

One of my challenges in the months ahead is to come to a different, gentler understanding of my hunger and its place in my life,


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Making the food plan work for me and working with it

I made it through the second day and met a first big hurdle: eating out. If I'd done this cleanse week last week, I wouldn't have been faced with this challenge. I had a much easier social calendar and no meals out last week. But this week is this week and my brother and his family were in town and we met for a  meal. I had two choices: eat before I go or make it work for me.

I asked to choose the restaurant from everybody's suggestions and I checked out the menus on line. Two places had nothing simple at all on the menu but the third choice, a tavern, had some reasonable options so we went there.

I asked the waiter about food prep and learned that the Brussell sprouts were braised in olive oil with seasonings and some butter, but the butter could be left out as they were cooked to order. I ordered a small simple burger (with nothing) and the waiter suggested a spinach salad (red onion) with vinaigrette on the side. Perfect. I got in another serving of greens, a very tasty vegetable, and meat, which I'm allowed in small portions. It was a bit more than 4 ounces but I didn't have meat yesterday and that seemed okay.

Others at the table were eating huge mounds of French fries, fancy burgers with cheese and other stuff, and two people ordered the signature dish of fried chicken on a waffle with maple syrup. The waffle looked great. I do love sweet carbs but I enjoyed my meal immensely and felt fine afterwards. I have another meal date this week, a work appointment, and I going to email right now and change the venue to one with a big salad bar. I need to make all this work for me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Made it through day 1

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. And the first day of my food regime. I ate what I was supposed to, mostly on time. I figured out a way to get a big salad for lunch between my work appointments on the other side of the river (thank the universe for New Seasons salad bar). I was hungry a lot as I am used to eating much more fat and much more meat. No meat today. Lots and lots of veggies. Some beans and avocado. Some fruit.

I had a lot of anxiety this morning. Anxious about changing my routine. Anxious about not having food whenever I want it. Anxious about not having the foods that I want, the treats and high-fat sating foods that I'm used to. But it was okay and when I ate lunch, I was hungry and enjoyed it and when I ate dinner, I was hungry and enjoyed it. and that too is a change.

My writing group just left and normally I'd be sitting down to a Netflix movie and cheese and crackers. Instead, I'm going to bed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The day before the big adventure

Tomorrow I'm starting Project Feel Great. I've signed up with a local health coach and am going to be eating differently. The basis of the food plan is to consume as many leafy greens as I can, supplemented with other vegetables, fruits, beans, quinoa and some organic brown rice, and a little clean animal protein. I'm moving off dairy and wheat for the next 90 days. Refined sugar and processed foods are not an option either.

I've been thinking about this for a month, since I saw Forks over Knives and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, two inspiring documentaries about the curative powers of a whole-food plant-based diet. A month ago, I also had my first consult with Beth, the coach. But I was headed off to Nashville for 10 days, where it would be difficult to start a new program, and I needed time for my new juicer and blender to arrive. 

For the last week, I've been moving in the direction of the plan. I figured out how my juicer works and I've had a big glass of green juice every day (my favorite so far is tangelo/kale/romaine/parsley). The greens are 80% of the juice and the fruit 20%, for flavoring. 

I've also been eating what's in my freezer. My favorite frozen pasta dish from Trader Joe's, the last of the brie, a favorite yogurt, and this morning, a package of almond croissants that are dangerously good. 

This afternoon I'll take Beth's convenient shopping list and buy what I need for the week on her plan. 

I'm excited and I'm apprehensive and I'll keep you posted. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A whatever-comes-next day

I got back from Nashville last night. About 10 hours of airports and airplanes, including the dirty, noisy, slots-ridden monstrosity of Las Vegas International Airport. I was glad to be home, glad for some solitude, and very tired from my Tennessee adventures. So other than the gym this morning with my gym buddy, I opted for a whatever-comes-next day today.

It's just like it sounds. You don't have plans, you just do whatever occurs to you to do next, whatever strikes your fancy. I did have a date to go to the gym and I needed to shop for food, but those were done by 10:30 and the rest of the day was free.

Here's some of what I did: Balanced my check book, played with my cats, very slowly unpacked and put things away from the trip, ordered a stylus for my iPad, snuggled with Frannie, got some checks endorsed for a deposit, emailed two friends, unpacked my new juicer, cleaned the litter box thoroughly, chased Sammy around, massaged my feet, roasted some vegetables, looked through a couple of catalogs (art supplies), finished a magazine article I started on the plane, took out the garbage, installed iCloud on my computer and uploaded photos I took on my trip. Printed out 5 of the photos for use in the studio. Made my first juice (apple, carrot, cucumber). Sent a couple of thank-you notes. Took a shower.

This seems like a lot but it didn't feel like a lot. It didn't feel like a burden or a duty or an obligation. It felt spacious and open. Anybody else do this?