22-Day Revolution, pt. V: Day 22

Today, as I'm writing this, is the day 22 of the 22-Day Revolution.  This has been something I know I've needed to do for a while; I've completed it (well, technically one meal left), and have reaped the benefits of the effort.  And truly, I feel great.  My wife feels great.  We did the journey together, and we're both better off.  

I began by reading through the book, which was really informative.  I reserved a copy from the library in November, read through it, and then received a copy for Christmas.  (The site, with meal options and more is: https://www.22daysnutrition.com/).  Knowing myself, I knew the place where I'd go awry was if I wasn't prepared, so made sure to always have foods on the list in the house.  Frozen fruits were especially key, and making sure to have bulk things like quinoa, beans, corn, rice, and sweet potatoes were also helpful.  Another thing that works well in a pinch are the Indian packets found in the 'World Foods' sections at most grocery stores.  Typically they come in a pouch that can be boiled or microwaved, and they're both delicious and fit the bill.  

During the past month, I cooked just about every meal I ate.  The exceptions were at the Chicago Diner, which was fantastic, and a family celebration dinner.  I found that we saved money, felt better, and lost weight.  My wife lost between 12-15 pounds, and I lost 17.  That feels great in a month.  

In addition, I did a lot of yoga, and even as I sit here to type, I feel more relaxed, energetic, and positive.  It's also felt great to not drink for a while.  But I also feel accomplished.  I knew I needed to make a change, and did so.  I did so successfully, and my clothes feel better and I look way better in the mirror.  I've noticed the energy in every day things like climbing steps, walking around, and running errands.  I sit more relaxed, am more aware of my posture, and have taken more pleasure in foods.  

I think something many Americans do is eat things that taste good, thereby getting desensitized to natural flavors.  Going without extra sugar or sweetener, or adding things like chocolate syrup or cream or cheese really make you pay attention to what's in a food.  You notice how a few pumpkin seeds, or a little bit of pineapple or salsa adds so much flavor to a dish.  I made a smoothie yesterday that had oats, almonds, strawberries, a banana, a handful of blueberries, and some natural dark juice and almond milk as the liquid; it was amazing.  The flavors left me content and - no joke - smiling.  And nothing additional was added.  

I'm going to do, probably later in the week, a final reflection on the diet (with before and after pictures).  I'm not going to keep solely plant based after today, but I do plan on adding significant portions of fruit and vegetables at every meal.  

Doing the Revolution, or 22-Day Challenge, absolutely changed the way I viewed adds and food.  I was watching the Cavs/Bulls game last night, and Burger King commercials kept coming on.  I noticed that nothing (except maybe the fries) would count as plant-based.  I thought of how many meals I've eaten that were like that where nothing I put in my mouth was good for me, and it turned into what became the tire around my stomach.  

I began January at 238.8 pounds.  My back was a little sore, I felt tired often, and - quite honestly - felt a bit down.  I end January (or the 22-Day Challenge) at 221.4.  Which means I dropped from the 230's to the 220's and now have the 210's in sight.  My birthday is coming up (Feb 12), and my goal is to be under 215 (maybe even 210) by that time.  I also end the month with more energy, more pep, and fell a lot better.  My mind is clearer than it's been for a few years, and I've really been in touch with what I see as my true self.  

Over and over in the book, I read Marco Borges say that if you just stick with it, you will feel better.  I read that almost to annoyance as I sat feeling fat and unhealthy, driving to get a takeout lunch and then reading the book in the afternoon; he wrote, often, to just trust, just take the first step.  And I did.  I've stepped.  And I feel a hell of a lot better.  I'm treating us tonight with a vegan, gluten free pizza to celebrate the accomplishment.  I'm going to get up early tomorrow, make a smoothie and go to yoga before work.  I write these things with a smile, and a feeling of contentment.  Cliche-ly, the future feels a lot brighter.  If you've read these past blogs, thank you.  If you're feeling slightly sluggish, slightly down, like you need a change: take the challenge.  Write about your experience.  I can promise you, like Borges promised me: you will feel better!

22-Day Revolution, pt. III: You Can Feel Better (or: how to make yourself feel better in a week in four easy steps)

Today is day nine of the 22-day Revolution, and I feel great.  I’m down over ten pounds, feel a lot better, and notice that my general happiness has improved. 

This past weekend, my wife (she’s also doing the revolution) and I were in Chicago visiting family.  On the way home, we were talking about food and we agreed that food is tasting different, better.  That we’re more in tune with natural flavors, and we’re enjoying the flavors of foods better. 

This is most apparent to me through smoothies. 

Before the 22-day Revolution, I’d never been much of a smoothie operator.  My brother, sister, and mom all like them, but I hadn’t hopped on board.  But after looking through the 22-Day Revolution book, I noticed many recipes, and asked for a Nutribullet for Christmas. 

My mom got me one for Christmas, and most mornings I’ve been making a smoothie.  

They are awesome.  The different flavors blend together so well, and they fill me up for the morning.  (So far, the best has been: pineapple, strawberry, blackberries, blueberries, spinach, an orange, and almond milk.)

Last week, Jess and I both had the flu.  So for the first few days of the 22-Day Revolution, we felt terrible.  We stuck to it though (or at least mostly), and have reaped the benefits. 

Typically, I wake up groggy, still tired, and it takes me quite a while to get ready for the day.  I read and have coffee, slowly getting ready for the day.  The typical drive to work for me does not bring excitement.  However, lately on those drives: I’ve felt good.  I drink the smoothie, listen to something enjoyable, and feel more of a pep in my step as I begin the day. 

My attitude is better, I feel better, and the days have been going faster as well.

Noticing this in myself, it made me realize something: you can do this to.

Anyone can. 

A simple fact is that anyone can change the way they feel in a matter of a week. You just have to make the difficult decision to start. 

So the following is a list of How to Make Yourself Feel Better in Four Easy Steps:

Step 1: if you have a substance that you’re drawn to or dependent on: don’t do it for a week.  For a week, say no to it.  This might be hard, but just tell yourself each minute or hour that you will not do this thing right now.  This, I promise, will give you a sense of power.    

Step 2: Eat a plant based diet for 7-days.  Make a smoothie or oatmeal for breakfast, rice and veggies for lunch, and a salad for dinner.  (When you make lunch and dinner, double the portion and then you only need to cook every two days). 

Step 3: Exercise.  And it can be as simple as this: walk around your house or neighborhood while listening to a podcast or your favorite album.  Walk the entire time.

Step 4: Stick to it.  It will be hard, but it’s only a week.  Take it one day at a time.

If you do these things for a week, you will feel better.  This is a guarantee.  If you’re reading this and you feel awful and defeated, just try it.  I promise that in seven days from the day you start, you’ll feel better than you do today. 

Good luck. 

I believe in you.