Today marks day 21 of a 21-day fast (for spiritual reasons). I have not been able to stick to the fast 100%, as I simply was not getting enough protein and iron on a daily basis. But, I would say I was able to stick with it about 98%. The fast did not have the impact, spiritually or physically, that I anticipated, but it did teach me some things.
Things I learned:
- I didn’t miss sugar that much. I miss sugar in my tea, but, well, that was pretty much it. If I craved something sweet, I ate a piece of fruit, and was satisfied. And, even at the church gathering yesterday where tons of desserts were served, I had no problem walking by the table. I just didn’t care.
- I didn’t miss meat as much as I thought I would. In fact, I barely missed it at all.
- I missed cheese, but not as much as I would have thought. There were some recipes that I couldn’t make because they required cheese–and I missed enjoying those foods (I make a killer cheesy pasta dish), but, well…that was the main thing.
- I was still full on veggies, fruits and limited whole grains/rice (without yeast).
- I love using coriander seed in cooking zesty dishes. It really adds something special.
- Curry is way yummier than I remember it being (but not a great seasoning to go heavy with before a long bike ride).
- A truly healthy, balanced diet isn’t as hard to come by as I thought it was (meaning a day that provides all nutrients needed in 100% quantities).
- I don’t really care for cake much. Lemon bars and ice cream are probably the main desserts I will bother with in future. After all, I don’t need dessert, ever. And I don’t have a freezer that can hold ice cream. So, when those two items are available on rare occasions, I can indulge.
And tomorrow will be the first day of my new dietary plan. I have decided to back to the meal plan I had back in my last year of university. That year, I ran 2-3 miles daily 5xpw, and lifted weights 2-3xpw, on top of this basic dietary concept below. I lost 40 lbs. without aiming at it, in less than 7 months. Looking forward to starting this meal plan again! Of course, my training is different this time, as I’m actually training instead of merely running for the heck of it (funny thing–I wasn’t even trying to lose weight that year–I wanted to take up running so I could surprise my roommate who loved running. Go figure.). That means I have to make some additional adjustments, like adding snacks. I can’t possibly sustain energy and focus on as few calories as I had before, when I’m working out twice as long and twice as hard each day.
The basic meal plan:
Breakfast: big and hearty. Lots of whole grains (I will do oatmeal with supplements like wheat germ, flax-seed, etc.), lots of water, some milk, some juice, some fruit and some protein (I used to do 1-2 hard-boiled eggs per day, but I get ill from eating eggs now, so can no longer do that).
Lunch: medium-sized hot meal of my choosing. This meant anything from pizza to stir-fry to pasta. I ate only the appropriate portion size, with salad, several glasses of water and a glass of cranberry or grape juice.
Dinner: light and lean. Open-faced sandwich (or one sandwich thin or pita pocket) with proper portion of meat, cheese and veggie (like tomato). Salad and fruit. Lots more water and one cup of juice.
Snacks: avoided. Drink hot tea with milk and small amount of sugar, or pop a Vitamin C drop, or chew gum to divert non-actual hunger cravings.
Desserts: limited to one per week, tops.
VARIATIONS from that plan that I will adapt for my current circumstances:
- Instead of drinking so much fruit juice, I will drink green tea instead with little or no sugar, with a limit on fruit juices, simply because they have so many calories and so much sugar.
- Instead of avoiding snacks, I will spread my fruit out throughout day to help keep metabolism boosted throughout entire day. I will also include snacks immediately following work-outs to recover (includes: almonds, craisins and skim or soy milk).
- For treats instead of dessert, on days when I really want something special, I’ll simply drink some of my favorite teas with a little skim milk and tiny amount of sugar.
This Week’s Action Steps:
Monday: Research foods that contain high amounts of nutrients I consistently lack (iron, potassium, Vitamin A & calcium)
Tuesday: Start on the “Senior Year” Meal plan once again
Wednesday: Start actual meal planning, one week at a time
Thursday: Do distance training walk in Quincy, with camera to capture all those lovely houses, flowers, etc. that I keep “meaning to” (9 miles)
Friday: Start cleaning out email inbox (I get overwhelmed when I see “1000 unread emails”!)–read all new, discard any unnecessary, unsubscribe to unwanted, and daily maintain this action, plus eliminating 20 old emails per day
Saturday: Increase biking mileage to 35 miles
Sunday: Start getting up early enough on Sundays to have quiet time and hearty breakfast before leaving for church