Saturday, January 15, 2011

Week One

The day of my father’s seventy-fifth birthday, we settled on hard chairs in a middle-school classroom while the lively, lean program leader described the numbers game for every day of Week One: three meals; no snacks, potatoes, rice or grains. Nothing processed, no alcohol. No lattes.
This was drastic.
“You’re going to love plain yogurt,” she promised.
At that point, I couldn’t even look at my dad (aka Fodder).
Elpis’s description had prepared me, more or less, but could I really do it? No rice or potatoes?
I went gluten-free eight or nine years ago and without bread to fill in the gaps, I’d been hungry all the time. Obviously the same thing was going to happen again and I was not interested in being uncomfortable, listening to my stomach rumble, feeling starved and constantly thinking about food.
I wanted to lose weight without giving up anything: that was my aim.
Countering that goal was the cheque that had already cleared my bank account. I’m a long way from broke but I’m also not a spendthrift, which I like to think is the reason I’m a long way from broke, so blowing off those two hundred and fifty dollars was not an option.
As we left the meeting and returned to the car, I adjusted my tummy where my pants were digging in and finally ventured a glance at my dad.
“It’s only for a week,” I said. “I can do this for a week.”
He looked thoughtful, but “Right,” was all he said.
Starting the next morning, I stiffened my upper lip and learned to eat fruit. I cleaned celery, chopped broccoli and steamed kale. I peeled carrots, roasted beets and sliced peppers. And I drank water. Lordy did I drink water. Getting four cups in before lunch was a challenge but what made it easier was that if I started to feel like I wanted to eat something, I heard our fearless leader saying, “If you get hungry between meals, drink water.”
I was skeptical. Water, after all, is not very substantial and the stomach absorbs it fairly quickly. To my surprise, though, sipping a bit more H2O really did help control my urge to chow down more often, although it led directly to a bigger difficulty, another challenge to add to my daily list.


  1. Drinking water is good, and surely all those additional trips to the bathroom burn off a few calories...

  2. I'm hoping that urgency makes the speedy trips to the biff especially effective. I add them to my cardio exercise total for the day!

  3. Water, water everywhere...ya gotta time it, though; you don't want to end up running to the bathroom a million times a night. Lisa

  4. LOL, Lisa.
    Maybe that's why the guru said to get four of the eight cups in before lunch. Hm.

  5. It really makes you think about what you can do without for a week, doesn't it? I could maybe do without rice, potatoes or grains, but what a challenge to figure out what to eat! And how much more time in food prep - though I guess that burns calories.

    I can live without lattes, but then I only have 1 or 2 cups of coffee a week anyhow. Alcohol, though... I like my glass of wine with dinner. But I know I can do without it because occasionally I have (e.g., if I've been on antibiotics).

    You know what I can't live without for a week? Reading! I once tried Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way," and when she got to the week where you weren't allowed to read, I barely made it through one day. Yup, my name is Susan and I'm an addict. Addicted to books, and I don't want a cure!

    Good luck this week, Rachel. If you start getting sick of water, I bet you can add a squeeze of lemon for variety.

  6. Right there with you on trying to break the reading addiction, Susan. I'm really surprised at what I can do without on the food front (oh, lattes!) but I get pretty twitchy without my fiction fix!

  7. Natural yogurt?? You mean without the fruit and flavouring??
    Aww!! Not even one glass of wine??
    Fine, one week isn't so long. 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 mins...

  8. Oh sure, Mimi, when you break it down like that…(sob)