Ultimate Reset

So let's cut to the chase.  Here are my before and afters.  I'm wearing my favorite pair of 31 inch waist Banana Republic jeans in both pictures.  Obviously I had gained a little weight since I bought them last summer because they were quite tight on day 1.  Now they are nice and loose again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Weight: (Day 1): 172.5 lbs.

Ending Weight: (Day 21): 159.3 lbs.

Inches lost on waist: 2+

Some other things you might be interested in is that before Ultimate Reset I was able to do 65 push-ups in one minute with no problem. Just this evening, technically day 22, after 3 weeks of working out, I was still able to do 65, which proves I didn't lose any performance ability.

What Else Did You Notice?

It's hard to say this without sounding cliche but I'm really just "running cleaner."  Whether it is the way I feel first thing in the morning, my appetite, my daily energy, or my digestion - all things are just running better.  Of the 13 pounds I lost, I'm sure some of it is muscle tone, especially in my legs, but to lose all that in my waist and still have my upper body strength, I'm convinced flushing out of toxins, balancing my fluids, and burning off some intercostal fat was a big part of this loss.

What Did You Learn?

What this proves is something we ALL know but something most of us don't follow: diet is absolutely essential to getting your fitness and weight loss results!  I was working out constantly for nearly a year, 5-6 days a week, and was stuck at my weight, somewhere within 4 pounds of my "day 1" weight.  Here I took a break from working out, worked on self-care and 100% clean diet, and I shattered my plateau. It wasn't even about the pounds lost, it was about getting healthy and on track.

What Did You Eat on Day 22?

I did have a Greek Yogurt and Sushi today, and black tea (in terms of the things I wasn't eating before).  Everything else was still Ultimate Reset guidelines.  I actually dove in faster than you are supposed to, but I figure fish and greek yogurt are not going to upset my stomach.  And they didn't, so I'm ok.  It will be a couple more days before I eat chicken and other meat, and will try to permanently avoid processed foods, including cereal, and limit my cheese intake.  I think cheese and cereal alone were two major problem areas for me!

Any Advice For People Considering Reset?

I said this before - this type of thing is the last thing in the world I would ever want to do, yet it was the MOST important thing I've done for myself in a long time.  We can more easily decide to commit to an hour a day of working out than something like this, which is really committing a full day, 21 times - 63 meals, of your life and sticking with it.  So my advice is you HAVE to do this, or something like this every once in a while, otherwise you are just the proverbial hamster running around the wheel, doing the same thing day in and day out and not achieving your full potential.  Yes it was hard, but not so hard that it was impossible.  There were a few times I got sad, or frustrated, but overall I went to bed every day feeling accomplished and proud of myself for making good choices.  And I look forward to keeping the good habits going into the future.

Beachbody makes it SO easy for you to succeed.  You can use the online portal which gives you shopping lists.  All the recipes are simple enough for an amateur chef like me to prepare.  I found as the week progressed my shopping lists were getting lower and lower.  I think in week 3 I shopped once for $75 or dollars and that covered my entire week!

Final Thoughts?

Last thing I'll say is this cleanse is 100% safe.  There was never a moment where I felt nauseous, sick, or got bad headaches.  I never felt starved, I never felt aloof or off balance.  I usually felt full, satisfied, balanced, mellow and calm, and in control in everything I did.  My outlook on food is so different now, it isn't related to my emotions like it was just 3 weeks go.  I've grown to trust my body that it gives me signals when I'm hungry - and then I eat.  This is no master cleanse, or the kind of cleanse where you are running to the bathroom every 2 minutes.  

Like P90X and Insanity, from the outside looking in, Ultimate Reset seems out of your reach of current ability.  Beachbody must be crazy to come up with yet another program that is challenging and puts us out of our comfort zone.  But, like P90X and Insanity, if you follow the plan, you will see results.  I certainly did!  In an instant gratification society, Ultimate Reset is an answer to your REAL body issues and makes you work for it, but supports you the whole way.  You WILL get your results.  Try it!

Here it is - the final day!  And as luck would have it I have a day full of clinics at a regional school in Pioneer Valley Massachusetts, including an evening concert.  It was a drag because I had to prep everything in advance, but it also left no room for snacking or falling off the wagon the last day!  Breakfast was easy, as usual, for lunch I had a salad I bought from Whole Food the night before and a little bit of leftover rice and stir fry.  For dinner, I found a Whole Foods 30 minutes away in Hadley, MA and made the drive during our dinner break.  I was super happy to see they even had a Vegan Bar there, something my hometown Whole Foods doesn't have!

So all and all, this was a rather easy day.  I can't believe it's actually over!  I look forward to slowly introducing some staples of my old diet, like lean meats, and yogurt, and also slowly getting caffeine back.  The days of 3-5 cups of coffee a day are over though, I'm looking forward to just having a single cup per day.  Even starting off, I will just have black tea.

There will be a more detailed wrap coming soon, and a video!  I'm so pumped that it's over, not that it wasn't a great experience but just that I can be a little more off guard and not so particular about every little thing I put in my mouth.  Happy Day 21!!!

What have I learned?  First of all, I'm not completely done yet, I still have one tough day to go, but I'm so close that I thought I'd wrap up my thoughts while they were fresh in my head.

1. Set Point Theory - It Really Does Exist (?)

I know weight on the scale is not the be all and end all of weight loss, but when you are in a plateau, you know you are in a plateau.  You are working your tail off and nothing seems to budge.  There is actually a theory out there that because our bodies love homeostasis, they find a certain weight and will fight to stay there.  Some argue this is prescribed by genes!  The only way to truly lose weight is not to try to take off as much weight as possible as fast as possible, but to try to change your set point.  To change your set point, the theory says, you have to do something out of ordinary in your routine, and you have to keep making changes as to not allow your body to adjust and go back to your set point weight.  So for example, when I started P90X I was practically sedentary and then went into P90X - that is a shocker!  Probably how I lost the first 20 pounds that got me into the 170 range, but then I basically stayed there for a long time.

I have no proof of this theory except for anecdotal evidence, and possibly some studies you can look for online.  I guess my point is, I was doing Insanity, P90X, or Asylum for 5-6 days a week for nearly 52 weeks and my weight and body basically stayed the same.  My endurance increased, my strength increased, my power increased, but I still looked the same and the scale didn't budge.  However, I decided to stop working out and got rid of alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, eating at night, and processed foods for 19 days so far, and started taking supplements that balance acidity and help with digestion, and suddenly my body is making huge changes.  Just something to think about, that the "go-go-go" lifestyle that we think burns off the pounds is not always the answer, change of routine whether that is a new type of workout, a break from working out, a refocus on diet, etc. seems to be more effective!

Day 19 and 20 both went well. I am writing this on the morning of Day 21, my final day!! On Monday, I repeated a recipe and made a baked sweet potato for dinner again, and also cooked up some broccoli rabe.  Monday was Memorial day so it was definitely a bummer to not participate in BBQ on that beautiful day, but I knew that the long weekend would fall in the middle of my Reset and I'd have to deal with it. I was happy that my wife and I ate together, we shared the broccoli rabe as a side, I made it similar to the "lemony asparagus" recipe for Reset.  Dinner on Day 20 ended up being an Asian stir fry with brown rice.  I made a couple servings of the hearty vegetable miso soup on Monday night as well, which served as my lunch on day 20.  I had to eat around 5:30 which is a little early for dinner, since I had rehearsals from 6:00-9:00, so when I got home I had an apple before bed.

One big change on Day 20 was I added a piece of Ezekial toast and avocado for breakfast.  It was actually just right for me, sometimes the fruit alone wasn't enough for me if I knew I was going to have a late lunch, which I definitely did on Tuesday.  I had a Shakeology in the afternoon on Day 20 - again I can't say enough how much of a life saver Shakeology has been on numerous occasions during Reset!  Another confession - I did workout in the morning, really only the third "real" workout besides walking and stretching.  I did Core Cardio and Balance from Insanity, which is the Recovery Week, so it is lighter than a regular Insanity workout.  Since it builds up slowly and Shaun encourages you to pace yourself and not burn yourself out, I thought it was a good choice.  In some ways, I'm kind of easing myself back into "normal" life.  

Today being the last day is exciting and scary.  What will life be like after Reset?  How fast will I reintroduce "old" eating habits and how much will I keep from this program?  I anticipate gaining some of the weight back when I start working out again, but how fast and how much of this 10-12 pounds I've lost is permanent?  We'll see!  Today will not be easy, as I have clinics and a concert all day with a jazz quintet.  I found a Whole Foods 30 minutes from our gig site where I will drive for dinner!  Can only bring enough food for snacks and lunch, so this is good news!

It's the weekend again!  As I say in the video below, sometimes having more free time is not the best for me.  On the days that I am busiest, I tend to be picture perfect because I have to plan way ahead.  Now, I have not broken diet yet, but when I have more free time I find myself having to grab veggie/fruit snacks a little more, and my mood is actually a little down.  I was apparently super mellow this Sunday morning, but I think it was the diet getting to me.  On Saturday, Day 17, I had nothing to do in the morning, but had to play at a wedding and we had a consultation at Home Depot in the afternoon.  I'm finding the fruit in the morning is not filling me up as long as it did before, so on Day 18 I had a whole Shakeology with the berries mixed in and that did the trick more.

A definite keeper recipe was the Moroccan Carrot Salad.  It was simple diced carrots with a variety of spices, like cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, cilantro, lemon, and oil, if memory serves.  I chilled it for a couple hours and ate it on top of a bed of greens, and it was delicious!  Also, since it was spicy, it kept me fuller for longer.  Dinner was supposed to be a roasted delicata squash, but I couldn't find any in the store since it's Memorial Day weekend (no more winter squash!) so I had to make butternut squash instead.  I was craving something a little sweeter since I had just had a baked potato with olive oil and salt, so dressed up the butternut squash cubes with some maple syrup, cinnamon, olive oil, and garlic.  It came out great!  Definitely a keeper as well.  I must say, I tried millet for the first time and it was delicious, I actually like it better than quinoa!  Millet is apparently another grain, somewhat similar to quinoa, which is a plant complete protein source.

Today, lunch was at Whole Foods.  I just wanted some variety.  I found two vegan meals, a carrot/ginger soup and a veggie patty, ironically made with millet for the second straight day, some beans, mushrooms, and other veggies.  I read the ingredients very carefully and deemed both would be fine.  I had the veggie patty over a bed of greens and it was nice to eat something hot for lunch and it filled me something hot for lunch and it filled me up for a while.  I skipped a day on the menu, I wasn't really craving the roasted fennel I was supposed to prepare, so I cooked baked tempeh with green beans and brown rice instead.  I made my wife maple chicken with rice pilaf as well, so I had to cook two whole meals tonight!  But they were similar and we got to eat together which is all that matters, though I'm not looking forward to cleaning the dishes tomorrow :).

Things are going well, though as I have been posting, I'm SO looking forward to the end!  Only 3 more days, it will be very manageable. Tomorrow is memorial day, so no BBQ, but we'll make up for it on July 4th!

 

I'm adjusting to week 3, technically I'm not allowed to eat legumes or nuts anymore, but I anticipate breaking this rule occasionally.  Basically it's all fruits and veggies all the time, with some optional grains at 1 or 2 meals a day.  Dinner is usually a starchy vegetable, like a winter squash or sweet potato, with a side of vegetables and a grain (brown rice, millet, or quinoa).  I will be posting a video a little later with my reflections on week 2 and how I can see the end!!  I'm definitely ready for Reset to be over, but it's so close I know I can do this!

Below are pictures from my past two dinners: a baked sweet potato with steamed broccoli and quinoa, and curried cauliflower with haricots and brown rice.  Surprisingly filling on both counts!  Breakfast every day is a large fruit plate, and lunch is usually a salad, possibly with quinoa or a grain on it, or another side of veggies.  I am finding I am a little more hungry in between meals, so I am going to have one Shakeology a day.  With the 15g of protein, the Shakeology is a great snack in the afternoon, or a sub for breakfast.  Video will be up a little later today and I explain more!  4.5 days left!

 

Today I finished week 2!  I'm so excited, the end is in sight.  Food was great today, but I kind of went off menu again.  I had Shakeology with berries for breakfast, zucchini cashew soup for lunch with a big salad (I just loved the soup last time I made it!) and then dinner was on-menu with an edamame and corn succotash.  It was quite good with some lime and cilantro, almost tasted like a heated up salsa.  I made two servings in case I need a snack next week it seemed like a good choice!

I was happy that today was the last day of the detox supplement!  I actually didn't mind the taste, though I've heard other reseters aren't huge fans.  I just didn't like that I had to mix it with water, I'd much rather take a pill!  It's kind of a big production to mix it all up.  Needless to say, I'm happy to try the new supplement "revitalize," a probiotic/prebiotic starting tomorrow.  Here's proof!  Only 7 more Alkalinize's and 1 more detox (which I polished off today).

I scheduled a physical at my doctor's office today, it will be on June 7th.  I'm actually kind of excited to see what my levels are like post-reset.  Also, I haven't had a physical since I started P90X, et al, 3 and a half years ago (gulp...should have had a physical before now, I know...).  But still - looking forward to it in a weird way!

I will do a video summary for week III sometime on Friday.  I'm a little nervous, technically legumes and nuts are out and a grain is allowed only at dinner, so it's all fruits and vegetables all the time.  We'll see!!  Keep tuning in.

Day 13 was another busy day, with choir rehearsals in the evening.  Breakfast was a nice change from fruit, I had mashed chickpeas, steamed kale, and 1/2 an avocado.  It was very filling and easy to prepare! Lunch had to be a Whole Foods run today, but I got a huge salad and used homemade dressing.  I had a big Shakeology with lots of berries, my first serving of fruit of the day, for dinner.  Choir rehearsals went from 6-9 and when I came home I snacked on a couple raw carrots and that rounded out the day.  There was a roasted squash recipe that looked like a lot of work and not my cup of tea, so I subbed Shakeology this time.  Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler confirmed with me via a twitter conversation that subbing meals with Shakeology is completely acceptable - I imagine in the final week I will have to a couple times as well.

My daily struggles are that I want coffee, again not out of chemical dependance, but just because I enjoy drinking it, and that I wish I could eat meat again.  Fortunately that is in my head, as my body is telling me I'm quite full.  Probably for the first time in a while, my body is full of the nutrients it needs to get through the day!

I was kind of bad today and decided against regulations laid out in the Ultimate Reset guidebook that I would work out this morning.  I did some strength training on all my upper body muscle groups:

Shoulder Presses

Shoulder Fly-Row-Press

Standing Biceps Curls

Crazy 8 Static Curls

Overhead Triceps extensions

Chair Dips

Push-ups

Rows

I did that whole thing twice, and it took about 25 minutes.  I then ate my morning fruit.  I placed it hear because I had a pretty big protein day the day before and felt good, and quite frankly just wanted to feel a little burn!  I didn't notice any extra fatigue later in the day and even wasn't extra hungry or anything.  In the morning before work I chopped up some carrots, celery, onion, garlic, ginger, broccoli, string beans, and bok choy (ugh! so much chopping again!) and made the hearty vegetable miso soup.  It was a delicious soup, something I will definitely make again, and it's basically just veggies, water, and miso paste, a little oil.  I had a huge bowl of that for lunch and still had some leftover for dinner tomorrow.  I caved a little at dinner.  I was supposed to make beets and coconut collard greens, but you know what - I just didn't want to! I haven't had take out since I've started the cleanse and all the cooking and cleaning had gotten to me, so I figured if I was going to eat out again it might as well be tonight.  So far I had sushi one night in week 1, and had whole foods meal subs (totally legit subs!) 2 other times, otherwise everything has been homemade.  Tonight I ordered soba noodles with edamame, carrots, peppers, and scallions from the restaurant Tisane.  It's actually a pretty healthy choice, and I specifically asked to have it lightly dressed.  Noodles are not ideal for the cleanse, but it was low calorie and vegan so I feel like I didn't do anything detrimental.  Some of the Ultimate Reset recipes use agave nectar, or honey to sweeten and certainly there is always sesame oil and olive oil used in the recipes, so I figured any oil in the light dressing wouldn't kill me.

Since today was a little "different" I'm interested to see if I feel any different tomorrow or if all will be the same.  My stomach is fine so far! Tomorrow is a long day with rehearsals at night, but fortunately I have my soup ready to go!

I can officially say I have crossed the half-way point today!  This weekend was a real challenge with 4 shows, two funerals, and a normal church weekend, but I stayed on menu and on track!  To give a sense of what the schedule was like, on Saturday I played 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. funerals in adjacent towns, ran home quickly to reheat my sweet potato soup with a salad, then went off to the matinee show at 1:00. I had time to cook a quinoa and lentil pilaf for my dinner, but saved it for after the show and had a vegan Shakeology with berries and almonds for a snack.  When I came home, I had the pilaf with steamed broccoli for dinner.  On Sunday, I had church early but made it home briefly to reheat some quinoa pilaf and made a cucumber and tomato salad, then went off to the 2:00 p.m. show.  After this long weekend it was important to me that my wife and I spend some quality time, so we walked the dog and cooked together.  I went "off menu" for dinner, but stayed within guidelines.  We made our favorite Asian marinade which we usually use on pork, and while she had it on pork I used the left over tempeh I had, and it actually turned out great!  We finished it with steamed broccoli and brown rice and it was a great dinner.  I felt fuller than I have in a while, which is probably a good thing, the scale has continued to go down and I actually would prefer it not continue to go down!  I will be working out lightly in the morning with some light resistance exercises.

Phase II has definitely been a little harder.  Now that the diet is completely vegan, this is a new thing for me, but I haven't broken yet after 4 full days of week 2.  I find myself getting moody at times, but overall I feel great physically.  I knew this would be the toughest weekend! I originally was planning to start Reset on Monday the 5/21 since the show would be over, but now I'm SO glad I already started!  First of all, the finish is near, but also in a way I'm happy to be doing it now when I'm busy.  Soon the summer will settle in and I am glad to have gotten my body tune-up in before summer so I can enjoy summer for what it is!  I am looking forward to my major improvement from reset being my night eating.  For example, today after our dinner at 7 pm I had no cravings to eat anything after we were done, which for me is not normal!  

I do have to reiterate how much I like that in phase II a lot of the meals are a dinner/leftovers for lunch combination.  I have been making double batches of everything for that reason, and best of all I am not throwing away anything.  I've basically used every vegetable and nothing has gone bad, except for some basil and cilantro I bought on the first day.  Below is a picture of the pilaf in a baking dish for storage, that is two big meals right there!  And very tasty!  Best of all I went shopping once on Thursday and bought $95 of food, and it has lasted me this entire week.  Except for a couple herbs I have to buy fresh on Wednesday for dinner, that $95 has given me 21 meals!! Amazing!

Week 2 has started! I was scared about the new supplement called "detox" but it's actually no problem at all.  It is a yellowish powder that has a bunch of fibrous plants, like chia, flax, etc. that is used to help digest and cleanse.  My two scares with this one were that it wouldn't taste good and that the "cleansing" would be rough.  In both cases, it's fine.  They actually sweeten it with stevia, a natural plant sweetener and a little bit of lemon, so it's really easy to take, and so far the effects from it are only positive and not intrusive!

Some of the highlights of meals the past two days were a rice beans with steamed veggies.  I steamed zucchini with garlic and pepper, and cooked up some frozen green beans for this portion.  I do have to say, my wife makes the best rice and beans on the planet, Puerto Rican style, so while this meal was still good, I definitely longed for her rice and beans.  It made me think that the completely new recipes are pretty tasty, but if you make a "reset version" of a home favorite, you might not like it so much.  Nonetheless I took it for lunch on day 9, so I was happy that the double batch lasted me two days.  Likewise, the sweet potato and red pepper soup I made on Day 9 is the lunch on day 10.  I feel like the prep is relatively speaking easier than in week 1 so far.  My wife and I are in the middle of a run of a show at the local middle school, including a matinee and night performance on Saturday, so it will be interesting to see how everything works out on Day 10, but I think I have it under control!

Week 2 is completely vegan.  I'm sure my daily protein intake is a little less than normal, but since I'm not working out it's probably fine.  I will probably do a total body lifting routine 1 time this week.  I'm losing weight still, at about 8.5 pounds down so far.  I know my waist is going down a little bit so I don't think I'm losing just muscle!

Week 1 is officially over!  That wasn't so bad!  Although I have to come clean, today I had a little more to eat in the healthy snack category.  When making zucchini and cashew soup for lunch, I got a little snacky with the extra cashews.  And I had a piece of bread with natural peanut butter on it with my yogurt snack in the afternoon, so a couple extra calories.  I took the dog on a mile run in the morning, and did some very light resistance training and push-ups in the morning.  I just had to move around!  Maybe that is why I felt I needed to eat more.

As I'm looking at the next two weeks, I realize working out will not be needed, its a super high vegetable diet, with not a ton of protein.  I will probably be having Vegan Shakeology once a day for a slight protein boost, but this will certainly be a big change for me.  Tomorrow I will wrap up my feelings about week 1 and looking forward to week two!

Today I had oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, zucchini/cashew soup for lunch, and baked tempeh with green beans and brown rice for dinner.  It was actually pretty easy to prepare today.  Tomorrow I am taking the day off to reset my kitchen for phase II and get ready!  The middle school show I am playing at is going up this weekend, so time will be kind of tough until Monday.  That's about it for today!  More tomorrow!

Day 6 was very straight forward, not much to report!  However, I tried tempeh for the first time, marinated with some apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, and garlic, and baked.  Came out delicious, I was *surprised.*  With some avocado and toast, it was a pretty well rounded meal and I was full all morning.  Lunch was my quinoa salad, which I put on top of the microgreen salad.  Dinner I knew would be a free for all tonight with a long work day and rehearsal.  I was supposed to eat  "roasted root medley" and there was a "roasted vegetable medley" at Whole Foods so I took that as a sign that I made the right choice and saved some prep time!!  I'm actually really excited that I don't have to go home now at 9:30 p.m. and prepare any food, everything is set for tomorrow, I will make my soup for lunch on the spot during my lunch break, and have everything to make for dinner when I get home late, so life is good.  Oh - yes I did have a plain vegan shakeology with just water mid afternoon, I found I was hungry after the quinoa salad.

Tomorrow is the last day of phase I, reclaim.  I know this is 21 days, but I'm literally counting meals, so meal 21/63 will be done tomorrow, with 42 more to go.  Kind of like the third leg of a race, I feel like phase II will be the trickiest, since the end isn't near, but I'm right in the heart of this cleanse.

Other good news is aside from some minor aches on day 1, and little headache on day 2, no side effects.  Digestion: good.  Caffeine headaches: none.  Muscles: alive and well.  And somebody at work told me I had a "perfect, peachy complection" today, I didn't even think of my skin benefitting from this!

Thinking of a couple others doing it - Pastor Patricia Pena is on my team doing it, on the same day, and I've noticed a few other coaches on my team around the same benchmark as me.  Lastly - my next video update will be on Thursday, I will be doing 2 videos, a general one and a more focused topic, stay tuned!!

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about food preparation.  First an anecdote.  Several people recently have told me that when they are doing their food shopping they wonder if I am going to pop up out of no where when they grab the non-whole grain bread, or reach for a frozen dinner.  I just want to get it out there that I am far from perfect when it comes to diet!  In fact, Christen and I eat out a lot, it's just the nature of being two very busy musicians.  We do cook at home, and have some amazing recipes, we love to grill, and I'd say when we eat out, we make health-conscious decisions, but in general I'm sure many of you are better than we are on a week to week basis.

I spend a lot of time making sure Christen is set with her food for the day, as with myself, but dinner is basically a free for all. So the experience of having to prepare every single meal, and truly every meal since I am not even using Shakeology that often during this 21 day cleanse, has been something new for me.  I think I like it, though I'm not sure I could do it with this amount of care for eternity.  To illustrate an example, I don't have a free second to spare from now until Thursday, though I found 30 minutes to food shop and decided to cook at 7 pm tonight when I got home.  I made a menu for myself based on the Ultimate Reset guide for every meal from Monday dinner through Thursday breakfast and made the shopping list, and got it all.  Even though I was shopping at Whole Foods, I only spent about $55, and bought all the food I needed for 8 meals, which is pretty amazing!  At $6+ a meal, that really isn't bad considering the quality of the food.  I am also really liking the empowerment of chopping and cooking during, and cleaning after every meal.  It's tedious and actually kind of a pain sometimes, but I obviously never regret it when I'm done!  Tonight I got home around 7:00, made miso soup with seaweed and stir fried vegetables with brown rice, then cleaned once, and made a new microgreen salad and quinoa salad for future lunches before going to bed.

Actually, I'm lucky my wife cut up some veggies for my stir fry (see below) while I ran a quick family errand, and I was grateful that she helped out, if nothing else for the symbolic gesture that she is supporting my Ultimate Reset.  You'll also see the amount of chopping needed to make my quinoa salad for lunch tomorrow in a picture below.  Mint, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, and lemon - it came out great!  Even though you can buy something similar at Whole Foods, I made two full servings of it for way cheaper, and could control the amount of salt and oil which is definitely a plus.

So at least for now I'm saying this is a good thing and might lead to positive changes in my appreciation for food prep.  There really is something almost spiritual about it, and I am looking at food much differently than I did even a week ago.  Instead of being a means to an end, or a response to an emotion, food is now a process I am intricately involved in from start to finish.  If I can even do 1/2 of what I'm doing now going forward, I think it will be a great benefit to my family!

 

Day 4 went by pretty painlessly.  Breakfast was almost "too easy" today 

with toast, fresh fruit, and yogurt, it almost took no prep time and was very filling.  We had Mother's Day lunch at my family's house, and I brought a salad with quinoa and legumes from whole foods to eat.  Fortunately I have an understanding family and no one took offense.  For dinner I went back to the Day 2 meal, with tortillas and brown rice and black beans.  Very delicious, and didn't even feel like I was on a cleanse, it was just good dinner.  My wife and I ate outside again with the firepit going, and I took the dog for a very long walk after dinner, so in general it was a very relaxing day.

The scale has settled somewhere around 5 pounds down, which I'm actually happy about.  I didn't want it to keep doing down, as it had been every morning.  Last night I did have a craving right before bed, so I had a tablespoon of peanut butter. Probably not the best thing, but better than grabbing cereal as I probably would have before reset.

A very busy week is coming up, I will have to stay vigilant and on task with my food prep.  Fortunately, I was smart to start on a Thursday, my day off, which means each new phase will begin on a Thursday, and I can assimilate the new routine, go shopping, etc.  I made a shopping list to cover food from Monday-Wednesday to finish off week 1.  Actually, I already have most of the food, it shouldn't be too bad.  I have a rehearsal till 6:00 tonight (night of Day 5), so I won't be able to cook stir-fry vegetables and Miso soup until late, but will make do!

I will say, while my workouts have been pretty much only stretching and walking as suggested, I did a set of 50 pushups yesterday, not really to workout but to see how I could do without having worked out in several days.  I know, it sounds kind of funny, but I did 50 with no problem, so any notions of "lost progress" can be thrown out the window for now.  I plan to go on an aerobic run on Thursday.

So here I am on Saturday night, Day 3 complete!  I have stuck completely to the guidelines for these three days, though I made a few adjustments to the eating schedule to accomodate life and family.  I was unable to cook Friday night because of a gig, but ate some Whole Foods sushi rolls for dinner, which were in a way a substitute for night 3 dinner.  I feel these types of substitutions are reasonable.  I found with the oatmeal and bluberries for breakfast I was hungry sooner during the day than during day 1.  I also added a snack of a vegan Shakeology around 4:00 p.m., mixed only with water and ice.

The Alkalinize supplement is going down a little easier already, I think the key is, by the suggestion of another coach, mixing it with a small amount of water and taking it like a shot.

Some of the things that I thought would be hard are not posing as much trouble as I expected.  For example, I came into this thing as a 2+ cup a day coffee drinker.  I have to say, I was a little hazy by the night of Day 2 without coffee, but today on Day 3 I felt no side effects.  It seems like a cliche, but I truly think by having fruits and vegetables on every meal I am getting the energy from my food, and of course drinking plenty of water.  I wonder if the lack of caffeine was related to my sudden drop of weight on Day 2.  

I also was really worried I would be feeling snacky, particularly after dinner.  That is my bad time, when I'll sometimes just grab cereal out of the box, or other foods just sitting around the house, but I've really found I am surviving these cravings easily.  First of all, since I'm eating about 1800 calories a day, or so, I really am not hungry.  I'm not working out, so this seems to really sustain me.  But by making this commitment, it's a commitment to the WHOLE thing, and I will stay strong when it comes to snacking.

So today on Day 3 I had a very relaxing Saturday with my wife.  We went "off menu" for dinner.  I felt this was a necessary compromise, as she isn't doing the cleanse full out with me, and it was such a beautiful day we decided to grill outside.  I made chicken with a homemade lemon/garlic/cilantro/cumin marinade, and she had skirt steak.  The steak looked delicious but no red meat in Ultimate Reset!  We grilled up zucchini, pepper, squash, and red onion, and I made a plate of brown rice to serve

it all over.  As a little treat after dinner, we threw a couple pears on the grill to warm them up as a healthy dessert.  Day 4 dinner was stir fried veggies and brown rice, so I kind of make this the equivalent of that, and I will be making the Day 2 black beans and rice with tortilla for dinner tomorrow.  Meat is allowed in week 1, so I figured there was nothing wrong with grilling a chicken breast in a healthy, homemade marinade.  I think adjustments like this are important to fit your own lifestyle and family!  I will speak to more on this topic later in the cleanse.  As you can see in the picture, we were pretty excited about grilling, I actually didn't have a "before" picture of the food, but rather a "during" since we started eating and I forgot to take a picture :). It was great to eat outside on our patio, which we worked on weeding and setting up earlier in the day.

For lunch I made the Lentil Lime Salad from the recipe book and had it with the microgreen salad I had leftover from Day 1.  It was a great lunch!  I was also able to have a greek yogurt with blueberries as a snack midday.

Overall, I am feeling great.  Not hungry, but lots of energy.  Particularly in the morning, I am waking up fresher than I normally remember.

Day 1 is complete! I will say, they kind of made it easy on day 1 with fairly standard food choices.  For breakfast I had eggs with kale and whole wheat toast.  Lunch was a big salad with tons of veggies, and I used red wine vinegar as dressing. Dinner was 8 oz. of salmon filet with a lemon basil marinade, with boiled red potatoes, and steamed asparagus.  For me, when I'm "eating right," my daily diet looks something like this.  I took the day off from work to make sure I was on track, and cleaned the house and took care of a lot of Beachbody business as to make sure I wasn't tempted to eat something out of the diet plan.  In retrospect, I should have had a snack as suggested in the afternoon, as I was pretty hungry again around 8:00 (I had to eat dinner at 5:00).  I decided to have a greek yogurt, plain, non-fat, right before bed.  It was only 100 calories and is a good choice as it digests rather slowly into your bloodstream.

The supplements were pretty easy to take.  Before meals, you take the optimize, oxygenize, and mineralize supplements.  That seems like a lot of supplements, but oxygenize is just a dropper bottle that you put into your water which contains iodine, chloride, sodium, and chromium.  Mineralize is pure Himalayan salt, so by putting these two in your glass of water you are just adding some trace minerals.  Optimize is a pre-biotic/pro-biotic blend.  Once a day you take the alkalinizer, which is a green powder of supergreens that you mix with a little bit of water and can take as a shot.  I have to say, this was not so tasty! But is just a small shot so it wasn't so bad.

I didn't feel any difference during the day, however I am writing this on the morning of Day 2.  Surprisingly, the scale moved down 4 pounds overnight.  I'm not going to say "I lost 4 pounds" because I know that isn't what happened.  But it does go to show that my diet had gotten out of hand, whether I was retaining water, or what, from what I was eating daily, and having a "perfect" diet day and taking the supplements seems to have already had a shift on my body!  I have lots of energy, my legs are a little sore this morning, but I did do some crazy working out on just Wednesday.  The book said I might experience chills and mood swings, none of that so far!  So here I am on day 2.  The diet shouldn't be took difficult today, as I approach the first weekend I anticipate the first couple of challenges.

 

Life has definitely been crazy for me...since December!  I haven't taken an official recovery week from my workouts since then, and besides a week vacation in April, it's been non-stop at work and home.  Therefore, this is the best possible time, as the year is winding down, to take care of my body and mind with a 21-day cleanse: Ultimate Reset.  I am doing this to focus on my diet, take a break from working out, and to help me get through physical and mental plateaus, and just in general to feel a little less like gerbil running on a wheel!

What is Ultimate Reset?: A 21 day, non-starvation cleanse.  Includes a full meal plan and daily supplements (does not include laxatives)

Why this cleanse, now?: I'm ready for a break.  I've been working hard, I've been working OUT hard, for over 6 straight months with little break.  This will be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to focusing on the positive things in my life, being very strict with my diet, and feeling the benefits of this cleanse.

What did you eat on "Day 0?": 5/9 was the day before my cleanse.  I had eggs whites and Tropical Shakeology with berries for breakfast, a raw bar for a snack, some peanut butter on Ezekial bread with some fresh fruit and fresh veggies for lunch, and then pizza and one beer for dinner.  (oops, no more of that once Reset starts!!)  Also on Day 0, I did a mega workout!  P90X Shoulders and Arms with Insanity Fast and Furious directly after.  Then I went on a 5 mile fast paced walk with a work colleague.  

What does this first phase look like?: Day 1 looks amazing.  I get to eat eggs, and toast, and kale with pine nuts for breakfast.  Lunch is a big salad, and dinner is Salmon with asparagus and red bliss potatoes.  Eventually animal products are phased out by the end of this week, but for now it's just supplements 4x a day and awesome food!  Snacks are allowed, I have my Vegan Tropical Shakeology on hand, as well as some greek yogurt, fruit, veggies, and nuts for phase I, should be pretty similar to what I strive for in my "normal" diet, but will get harder as I progress into week 2 and 3!

Will you continue p90x and Insanity?: Not for the next 21+ days.  This will be a challenge for me, I love the feeling of doing my workouts, but I am focusing on yoga, taking the dog for long walks, stretching, and light cardio and light resistance if I need to move.  I'm aiming for about 1800 calories a day.

What do you expect to see?: I guess I'm not necessarily looking for a certain number to lose on the scale because I'm pretty much at my ideal weight, but I'm looking forward to be able to wake up in the morning with more energy than I currently have. I want to remember that eating is not an emotional response, but a vital function for health and energy.  I would like to tighten up a little bit, especially around my wasitline.  I truly believe in order for me to continue to progress physically, this break is essential.  It will keep my mind active as I follow the plan, prepare the meals, and take care of myself.

Are you doing anything else in addition to cleansing?: I am going to work on being more positive and meditative in my daily activities, including not swearing!  Otherwise, focusing on taking care of my wife and dog, and being grateful for everything I have.

I will be doing a video blog on some landmark days, so stay tuned!! I want to do this right.  I will need your support, feel free to follow me on twitter by clicking the icon on the far right of this page and help give me support!