Thursday, April 7, 2011

You Say It's Your Birthday???'s my birthday, too, ya!

Here we are on April 7th. Hard to believe this 4-month journey is over. Thank you for your comments and support along the way. It has been a good time and I think it was a huge success! I couldn't have done it without this blog, my followers, Inner Strength Fitness Centre and Jodi Sauve's specialized training programs, Alison and Suzanne of Sweet Diva and everyone's support!

It was worth it all and today, I am 40 years old and feeling healthy, fit and fabulous.
Now onto my next goal................

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Portrait of My Almost 40-Year Old Self......Sort Of

This is the second last photo from the Pin Up Girl Shoot that I will be sharing. I like it because it reminds me of the old Hollywood film stars when they had those dreamy looking head shots. It captures the essence of being forty although if you saw me at the Town Hall yesterday getting some items faxed you probably wouldn't have recognized me!

Usually you will find me in jeans, a squall jacket and my bad-ass rubber boots (they have skulls and cross bones on them). My hair will be tied back in a pony tail and I wear minimal make-up. You might also notice that I sport two frown lines between my eye brows and some fine crow's feet which I have earned in my almost 40 years of living. But make-up, good lighting and a talented photographer can erase these small "distractions" from a woman's features and highlight the best of her looks. Here is photo #4:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm Bringing Sexy Back..........

Well, I should say....Sweet Diva is bringing sexy back for any woman who wants to experience glamour......... old Hollywood style. There is just something so wrong and yet so sensual about corsets, stockings, heels, intricate hairdo's, red lips and false eyelashes.......gotta have those false eyelashes.
And here is photo #3 for you all!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Pin Up Girl Shot!

As I wrap up Julie's 40's Project, I hope all of you have had fun! I encourage my female followers to mark a special birthday or event with a professional photo shoot like this. It was so much fun and such a positive experience! Here's photo #2 of the five I will be sharing between now and Thursday.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ta-Da!!! A Teaser!

Today is April 1st 2011.
4.0 months ago on December 1st 2010, I launched Julie's 40's Project.
Thank you for following and checking in along the way.
Today I will share one photo with you and then will share four more starting Monday and with the final one being posted on my actual 40th birthday. So, here you go! Hope you like my version of Rosie the Riveter!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Sometimes we eagerly over anticipate an event. We plan out each detail. We daydream about it. We talk about it. And, as is the case here, we write about it. Sometimes, the event itself turns out to be a bit of a letdown as we have blown it up in our imaginations so much that the actual unfolding cannot live up to that vision.

I am happy to share that this wasn't the case with my Pin Up Girl transformation and photo shoot yesterday. I did my best to just go with it and have fun regardless of how it all went. Of course, I had imagined it a thousand times in the last few months but I went into it with as little expectation as possible.

After gathering all of my props and costumes and accessories and donning yoga pants and a black shirt and sandals, I set off for Ottawa at 9am. I was instructed to refrain from anything that might mark my skin (i.e. socks, bra straps, etc.) and, of course, to come sans make-up and with a head of clean hair washed the night before.

I picked up cousin, Loanna, who was my assistant for the day and we arrived at Alison's studio by 11am on the dot. Alison works with the photographer and gets the "models" ready for the shoot by creating the 'look' of the Pin Up Girl with authentic hairstyles and make-up. The photographer, Suzanne, met us and took one before shot. I had Loanna take a photo of myself, Suzanne and Alison before the experience was officially launched.

From left to right: Suzanne, myself and Alison: Before
Suzanne left and we began the 2.5 hour process of turning me into a Pin Up Girl. We started with hair and before I knew it, Alison had my entire head wrapped up in curlers.

Take a good look. This is the first and last time you will see me in curlers!
 The patience and skill that is involved in creating these hairstyles makes me appreciate the women of yesterday even more. We joked that when they had to refuse a date offer because "they were setting their hair," they meant it. And they would keep these hairstyles intact for a week or so before washing and re-styling them. That's why they slept with hair nets. Before long, the style started to take shape and I was beginning to feel more and more like a Pin Up Girl.

I was also feeling the effects of two sleepless nights and was wondering how I would muster the energy to be photographed all afternoon. Loanna snapped this flattering shot of me.

After hair, Alison started the make-up application beginning with a heavier stage type of foundation. It had a yellow-ish tinge to it but she assured me that it would not seem yellowish in the photos. Due to the bright lights of the studio, heavier-than-usual make-up was applied.

And finally, I was adorned with false eyelashes. This was the first time for me but definitely not the last time. This one little addition made me feel like a glamorous diva in an instant!

We were finished by 1:45pm and quickly rushed off to Suzanne's studio which is located only blocks from Alison's studio. Suzanne photographs her clients on a white backdrop so that she can add things to the finished product to change the feel of the photograph. Remember this is a Pin Up Girl photo shoot so there are usually lots of props and additions to each pose. I had many costume changes and did poses that involved ice cream sundaes, a chocolate cupcake with a cherry on top, a retro telephone, old suitcases and even some shots with black stockings, corsets and a white fur rug. You can use your imagination.............

Here's a teaser! The very first outfit and pose!

After three hours of shooting, we decided to wrap it up for the day. I finished the session with my own version of the famous Rosie the Riveter pose. It looked awesome!

Since we were on the east end of Ottawa and we knew that rush hour traffic would be at its peak, we decided to go and have a gluten-free pizza at Bella Vista Pizzeria on Bank Street. It was a wonderful way to end the day and to celebrate the completion of this four month journey!

One last Pin Up Girl pose for good measure!
Suzanne has promised me some photos for next week so that I can finally share the end result with all of you!
I am hoping that those of you who followed will be inspired by my journey and will seek out your own Inner Pin Up Girl for she exists in all of us. I know the exact moment during the photo shoot when "SHE" was released! I felt the shift and I even commented to Suzanne and Loanna that MY Inner Pin Up Girl had been freed. I encourage you to do the same.

Was this worth it as far as the investment? Absolutely!! I wanted to do this right and have it done by a professional. This was a shared birthday gift from my husband, Tim, and from my 39-year old self to my 40- year old self. And the experience was worth every lunge, squat, bicep curl, plank and penny. I am grateful that my friend, Justin Tracey, who has photographed my casting exhibit in the past, recommended Sweet Diva Photography because Suzanne (and Alison!) made the experience authentic and fun and comfortable and I can't wait to see the finished product! I will happily bid farewell to my 30's and embrace my 40's with open arms and a big, false-eyelash wink!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The End of the Project is Near

Tomorrow is preparation day for Thursday which is the Pin Up Girl photo shoot!! I have made a list and I am checking it twice. I have clothes and shoes and stockings and granny panties and a pointy bra to pack. I have an antique hand mirror, jewelery, a bustier, and other accessories to gather. Yes, my 29 faithful followers, this four month journey is coming to a close and I am feeling very happy about how it all turned out.

My 40th birthday is exactly two weeks from Thursday and I will hopefully have one photo of the shoot to share that day. The rest may not come for a month or so as the photographer is away on holidays for several weeks. She has promised to get at least one to me to share here with all of you.

When I started this project, I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into but four months seemed like a good length of time to figure that out. I hit many bumps along the way, moments of doubt and had even thought of throwing in the towel at one point until my husband gently reminded me that I was in the midst of hormonal imbalance. I have lost inches and pounds but most of all, I have become physically stronger and in the best shape I have ever been in. I have dropped a size and I am on my way to dropping another size. By my 40th birthday, I will have reached all of the goals I set in the beginning: drop a size, lose 15 pounds, complete a 5km run and be fit and strong. Oh,  and fit back into the $80 jeans I bought last year when I was in liver failure and lost a pile of weight in a short amount of time :-)

Check in on Thursday when I post some of the photos of the transformation into a Pin Up Girl.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Consultation Complete

Yesterday I met with my hair and make-up professional and then my photographer for the Pin Up Girl photo shoot scheduled for Thursday, March 24th. I have to say that five days ago, I was feeling pretty dumpy and although I planned to go through with the "shoot," I wasn't feeling overly "pin-up-y" (is that a word?) because I was feeling thoroughly pms-y. When I talked with my husband about postponing the whole thing, he gently replied, "It's just the water retention talking." Bless his heart. I just about fell off of the couch with laughter!

But lo and behold, my inner Pin Up Girl re-emerged once my hormonal state re-balanced and I joyfully drove to Ottawa yesterday morning. I arrived at Alison's home studio on time and we got right into discussing what we would do with my hair. The big issue was my long, all-one-length, hairstyle (if you can call it a style). Choices were limited due to the fact that I have no layers whatsoever. I am growing it to donate to Angel Hair for Kids and although I have reached the ten inch requirement, I am not prepared to chop it off just yet. Alison has an entire book of 1940's and 1950's hairstyles and soon we found one that was in between the 1940's housewife style and a sexier 1940's hairstyle. Make-up is fairly standard for this era.........false eyelashes, pink cheeks and dark red lips. Alison is a real life pin up girl and so really understands the whole "look" of the Pin Up Girl. The consultation took about a half hour and then I was off to meet Suzanne, the photographer.

This consultation involved meeting in person, seeing the studio, discussing my ideas and "vision" for the shoot as well as what I would like to have for my keepsakes.......a book of the top ten photos in 5x7's or perhaps a 13-month calendar or even a deck of cards with one pose adorning the backside of the card. I am leaning towards a 2011 calendar as it has the year that I turned 40 and it is just so cool to BE the Pin Up Girl in the calendar. This was a wonderful experience and meeting Suzanne and Alison made me even more excited to complete The 40's Project.

I soon realized that I would need a pair of black shoes for this event. Now, my husband might argue that I own a lot of shoes. Can you ever have too many pairs of shoes?  Seriously, though, I do not own one pair of plain black shoes........I have silver and chocolate brown and periwinkle blue and pink and red and.......but not one pair of black shoes. I made a quick stop in a Spring shoe store at Bayshore and lo and behold, I saw the most gorgeous pair of nude heels in a Betty Boop style and instantly fell in love with them. I also figured they'd be practical for some of the outfits I would be wearing. They were also only $40.

These remind me of the shoes the models on "The Price Is Right" wore!
 Then I tried on a black pair which I found on the clearance rack and they were on sale for $30.

Check out the complimentary shoe decor!
 I was feeling quite pleased with myself when I spun around to see a woman strutting around the store in a ruby red pair of shoes which had a double strap across the top of the foot. Of course, they were a size 6 and were the last pair. She also found them on the sale rack. The salesperson assisting me quickly ran to the back room and voila......there was one pair left and they were a size 6! I tried them on and then asked hesitantly, "How much?" The salesperson joyfully announced, "$17!" and smiling from ear to ear. "I'll take them" was my reply. So, I didn't get the red satin pair at Pom Pom a couple of weeks ago but instead got three pairs for the same price.
Red Ruby Shoes
 As I prepare for the photo shoot scheduled for a week from tomorrow, I continue to search for some cool vintage outfits or 1940's inspired styles. If you have anything I could borrow or have older relatives who wouldn't mind if you raided their closets or attics, please let me know. Thanks in advance!

Friday, March 4, 2011

No More Screwing Around

Holy Moly! In a week and a half I will be sitting with hair and make-up followed by the Pin Up Girl photographer planning my shoot on March 24th. I have been daydreaming about costumes, new shoes, stockings, gloves, and so on and yet that is as far as I have gotten.

Well, except for last week when I was on a field trip for my other blog, The Letter Writing Revolution.  I was walking by Pom Pom in The Glebe neighbourhood of Ottawa and discovered these incredible $130 shoes on for $80.

I didn't buy them......for two reasons:
One: they didn't have them in my size
Two: I already own red shoes.

If they had the black pair in my size, I may have figured out a way to spring for them. They were THAT gorgeous......satin with the perfect 1940's satin bow on the toe. It is no secret, I turn to putty when I am in the company of gorgeous shoes. I mean, I literally get giddy when I am surrounded by beautiful and unique shoes. In fact, when our daughter would be admitted to the Children's Hospital in Ottawa which was a total of eight months in her first year of life alone, I used to 'soothe'  (read: self-medicate) myself with a new pair of shoes. It was my little treat and the hospitalization was my excuse to them. The unfortunate thing is that my life as a mother of a child with special needs, a childbirth educator, a retired Doula and a casting artist does not allow me to wear my shoes as often as I would like.

Anyway, my point is, I have a lot of work to do before March 24th. This is a big deal. I need to stop screwing around and get this Pin Up Girl into some vintage shops and maybe a lingerie shop or two ;-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Down to the Wire

It is hard to believe that in only four weeks from Thursday, I will be transformed into a 1940's Pin Up Girl via hair/make-up and appropriate clothing. My photo shoot is scheduled for March 24th. When I started "Julie's 40's Project" on December 1st, my birthday seemed like a long piece away.

I am presently working on details of the photo shoot. I have booked my manicure and pedicure for the day before and I have started a list of items I need to gather and purchase before the big day. Having overcome my cold, I was back at the gym this morning and I also started day 1 of week 3 of the training to run 5km. I managed to not gain an ounce of weight even though I didn't get to the gym for a whole two weeks. I also tried on some clothes that didn't fit me when I started this whole adventure and lo and behold, not only do they fit beautifully but one designer skirt that I haven't even worn yet is now too big. I bought it on a sale rack ($140 skirt for $20) knowing I would fit into it eventually. It reminds me of when you have a wardrobe for your newborn and within weeks, your baby has outgrown the clothes before you have had a chance to dress them in them.

Trying on summer clothes yesterday that were too small for me last year (or perhaps I should say, that I was too big for) really gave me the confirmation I needed that I was, in fact, headed in the right direction. The journey has been slow and I have had a few obstacles along the way but I know that this steady pace will result in my goals being reached and more importantly being sustained.

I am most looking forward to sharing the photos of me as a Pin Up Girl with all of you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Strike A Pose

Back in early January, I received a very cool desk top, daily calendar of Gil Elvgren Pin Ups artwork from my friend, Emmanuelle. It's great because there are 365 pictures of Pin Up Girls from the 1940's right up into the 1970's. It is very interesting to note the differences between the decades and how much racier the 1970's Pin Up Girl was compared to her 1940's counterpart. I went through the calendar and although I liked some of the poses of the Pin Up's in the 50's and 60's, I tore out the pages of the ones specifically from the 1940's. I will take these with me to the photographer as ideas for the poses.

A selection of 1940's Pin Ups

Although I feel nowhere near to ready for this photo shoot and I have not achieved the results I originally wished to achieve (i.e. growing longer legs, for example), I am a woman of my word, and the show must go on. I am now planning my outfits and poses for the photo shoot which is planned for the end of March. I thought it would have been very cool to do the shoot on my actual birthday but the photographer will be out of town. My consultation with hair/make-up and photographer was to take place today but since this Pin Up Girl is feeling ill and will be bedridden as soon as childcare arrives, I had to re-schedule the consult. I also thought it would have been to my benefit to give myself a couple of more weeks since I lost time over Christmas, during my Grandmother's illness and now with being sick but the photographer is away for the month of April and May seems too far away so end of March it is. On the other hand, I am not feeling too keen about investing a large sum of money into the final result photo shoot when I haven't reached my goals.

With that said, I still have 6 weeks to go and so all is not lost. My 40th birthday will come whether or not I am ready for it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Have a Drink on Me

It seems that the Pin Up Girl motif is everywhere these days. Perhaps, I hadn't noticed it until I decided to turn myself into one. I recently received a gift of a mirror compact/key chain from a friend which has a Pin Up Girl on the cover of it. Another friend, brought some empty beer cans to me after she discovered her brother-in-law's beverage of choice had Pin Up Girl's slapped on them! I mean, they're everywhere!

Old Milwaukee Brewery has hopped onto the Pin Up Girl train

I was just watching a show on television called, "Last 10 lbs Bootcamp" and I only caught the end but the female guest lost 15 inches and 14 pounds in 6 weeks!!!  I quickly came to the conclusion that she was literally starved and burned way more calories bootcamp-style than what she had consumed. There is no way that loss of either weight or inches is healthy. Admittedly, my very next thought was, "How did she do it and can I pull off even half of those results in the next 7 weeks?" I'll be honest, when the numbers remain the same on the scale, one can quickly get frustrated. Logically, I have to be losing somewhere because I cannot eat any better than I am. I can only assume that I need to increase my physical activity and then expect that my shape will change. I do want to be in a better place than I am as I am typing this and I don't mean geographically. I am not into dieting. Radically cutting calories is not only unhealthy but just wouldn't sustain me in the experience I call my daily life which requires a tremendous amount of energy.

But honestly, I am willing to work my butt off and eat as well as possible while still being healthy in order to be my best by the time April 7th comes around. It's tough, though, folks. I am feel some pressure, I have to admit and yet I have decided to move through the pressure and transform it into motivation.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beyond the Half Way Mark

First of all, my apologies for being gone for so long. I wish I could say it's because I was so busy working out at the gym and shopping for garter belts but alas, I have just been busy with teaching, working in my studio, caring for my daughter, training a new Family Relief Worker and the list goes on. I have managed to do a minimum of 3-4 workouts per week and I am continuing with my healthy eating.............whole foods, limited alcohol intake, minimal dairy and fat, etc.

I was getting a little bit annoyed with the fact that my weight seemed to hit a plateau over the last two weeks. I had an instant reaction to just ditch this project because I felt like I was working my butt off with no results. So I had my personal trainer do my measurements and will re-do in three weeks to see if I am losing in inches if not in pounds. My clothes are fitting better. I wouldn't say they're hanging off of me by any means but they feel looser. I do need to add another hole in my belt which is a sign that I am moving in the right direction. And my personal trainer is jacking up my workouts so I can longer piddle my way through them.

I have found a photographer who specializes in Pin Up Girl photography. My hair/make-up/photographer consultation is scheduled for February 17th. I am pretty excited about this. It is an extravagant gift to myself but I figure, "Go big, or go home." Four months of exercising and creating a healthy body deserves a proper photo shoot and the results that I want. I may schedule the photo shoot for my actual birthday.

So, my humble group of followers, I am still chugging along and really looking forward to spring so that I can run outside and get off that treadmill.

Friday, January 28, 2011

To Garter Belt or Not to Garter Belt

Yep. I am now on the hunt for a wardrobe for the Pin Up photo shoot. I plan to hit some vintage stores in Ottawa in the next month or so although I have a couple of outfits already. I also need to pick up one or two pairs of shoes that resemble the 1940's style. These styles are all back in so I should have no problem finding them.

 One thing that is for certain, I am going to have to get real nylon stockings with a garter belt. Secret Lace is a company that features a Bettie Page Collection as well as all kinds of authentic nylon stockings and vintage lingerie. I am not planning to pose in one of those crazy bullet bras and big ass undies.  The 1940's Pin Up's were sooooo discreet and so subtly suggestive that I am going to need more of a wardrobe in order to create some interesting shots. You never know, I might be so proud of my accomplishments that I may just strap on one of those big old bras and take a photo. For now, I am trying to figure out the poses, props and the clothing that I will need to pull this off.

 I am always open to ideas.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reality Check

I just returned from working out at the gym. I had to take four days off due to teaching and then training a new person to help with our daughter. I am unable to leave her alone at this point but I think by next week, I will be able to zip out for an hour's work out.

I am grateful for having started this blog. I am  not really certain who reads it....perhaps just my sisters, my mom and a few friends. I know that had I not taken the leap and made myself accountable, I would be far less motivated. I suppose that being committed to something and writing about it serves a purpose. I really want the end result to be awesome and I want to be really pleased with my achievements.

I am not feeling pressured at all with this project as I might have been in my 20's and maybe even my early 30's. I was constantly bashing myself back then....never thin enough, never tall enough, never good enough. Ironically, I would love to even remotely resemble my physique from my early 20's! I have come to realize that likely isn't going to happen. I have also accepted that I will likely not look a whole lot like the 1940's Pin Up Girl. None of them were 5'1" in height and certainly none of them wrestled with a 35-pound child with cerebral palsy every single day. I also suspect that most had not gone through their childbearing years yet, many smoked and perhaps lived on martinis and cocktails and little food.

I was looking at my arms  the other day and I wondered how I was going to pull off creating slender, delicate arms by my 40th birthday. Seconds later, a little wise voice inside of me whispered, "You're not." Thanks, Wise Voice, always so blunt and to the point. And, as well, there is a good chance my legs aren't going to grow by several inches and I suspect they will never be slender and delicate. Not in this lifetime anyway.

But you know what? That's okay. I may not come out at the end of this looking exactly like a Pin Up Girl but I will still be a Pin Up............but maybe more of a Pin Up Woman. As I visit the gym more and more, I can feel how my endurance is increasing. I am seeing changes in my shape and I am attempting more challenging exercises (like squatting on a bosu ball while throwing a kettle weight above my head) and each time I do it, I get a little bit better, a little bit stronger. As I gear up for 40, I look forward to the woman I am becoming. 

"Phenomenal Woman"
 By Maya Angelou
"Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me."
Strong Arms~ Photo by Erin Egan 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Getting Close to Half Way There

I successfully completed the cleanse and even did it for two days longer than I had to. I strictly followed it for 12 days straight which resulted in a 6lb. weight loss and some shrinkage in inches although I am not sure exactly how much. I did discover that I feel much better without flour-y products and dairy in my system and so will continue with this trend. I also feel that sugar is poison in my body and after being off of it for two weeks, I just don't want to re-introduce it as I know that the cravings will surely follow. And, well, we all know what that leads to. I will eat maple syrup and honey occasionally but no more white/brown sugar for me. With that said, I am not going to be an all or nothing type but more of a 97% of the time kind of thing. If my mom makes mashed potatoes and puts butter and milk in them, I won't refuse them.

One thing I have really gotten hooked on is my oatmeal/banana combo in the morning with almond milk. What a perfect way to start the day. And I feel full for so long and it is remarkably delicious. It took two whole weeks for me to start to see a change....ever so small.....but a change in my shape. I continue to work out 3x per week although I wish it could be more. My life isn't allowing it at the this time as I teach on weekends and I am training a new family relief worker on Mondays and Tuesdays. This leaves little time for working out. If the weather were just a tad warmer, I could run outside in the evenings but you won't see me running in this -39 degree, Canadian winter weather. Never. Ever.

One thing I have to start thinking about is how I am going to execute the final part of The 40's Project. This blog has mainly been about the journey but in the end, I do want to create a professional photo of myself as a real life 1940's Pin Up Girl. I need a photographer, a make-up artist and someone to turn my long hair into a gorgeous, 1940's up do. I also need to find the perfect outfits. I have decided that an entire calendar might be  too lofty. I think if I have two wicked outfits/sets, then that will be great. If YOU can help with any of the things I need, have suggestions of stores in the Ottawa area who may have vintage clothing or have any other ideas, I want to hear from YOU! I will most likely book an appointment at the MAC counter for the day of the shoot. I would like to have the photos done and processed by my 40th birthday which is April 7th. I am thinking this all needs to be done by April 1st.

I technically have only 8 weeks left. I am almost at the halfway mark. Still lots of work to do but I am starting to see the transformation ever so slowly but surely.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pin Up Girl's Cleanse

Since so many people have been emailing me and posting me messages on Facebook about my cleanse, I decided to give you "a day in the life" so that you can see how I am applying the No Wheat/No Sweet/No Meat/ No Teat cleanse into my life. I am going to break down each category followed by a couple of day's worth of meal/menu ideas.

No Wheat:

This section of the cleanse isn't overly difficult for me personally as I am gluten sensitive so I avoid wheat anyway. However, on the cleanse, the No Wheat section includes flour products of any kind (gluten or otherwise). This includes, crackers, bread, muffins, sauces, gravy, etc. I do allow brown rice cakes but just occasionally.

No Sweet:

The cleanse does not allow sugar of any kind except for the natural sugars found in fruit. I do not drink fruit juices, though, as the sugar equivalent and the effects on the body can be very similar to sugary sodas. The No Sweet category includes molasses, maple syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, Aspartame, sugar replacements and honey. I suppose Stevia would be fine occasionally but I am personally avoiding all sugars.

No Meat:

Although chicken and fish are allowed, red meat and pork are not.

No Teat:

I came up with this term for the No Dairy section as I liked how all of the words ended with "eet/eat" but the Dairy one just didn't fit so..............Some cleanses allow for plain yogourt and butter but I am avoiding ALL dairy for the ten days. Instead of butter I am using light tasting olive oil drizzled on vegetables, for example.

As well as the top four categories, I am avoiding caffeine, alcohol and anything processed even if it is "natural."

A typical day looks like this:

**First thing in morning I have either a cup of herbal detox tea or a warm glass of water with juice of a half a lemon in it
Breakfast at 7am:
1. 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, sliced banana, some walnut pieces and almond milk
2. 2 brown rice cakes with almond butter and a sliced apple
3. 4 egg whites plus one egg yolk omelette with vegetables of your choice and a sliced apple.

Mid Morning Snack at 10am:
Handful of carrot sticks with 2 tbsp. or so of hummous

Lunch at 1pm:
1. Two cups of organic greens topped with either baked salmon or 3/4 cup of chickpeas, chopped peppers, sliced english cucumber, blueberries (if using salmon), sunflower seeds and 1 tbsp. pf light tasting olive oil with 1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar.
2. Quinoa Tabbouleh  (a salad made with cooked quinoa, chopped red peppers, diced english cucumbers, chickpeas, loads of chopped fresh parsley and a dressing made of equal parts olive oil/lemon juice and fresh garlic. You can have a good cup of this for lunch instead of the salad above.

Mid. afternoon snack at 3pm:
Gala apple sliced with 1/4 cup of raw almonds or raw trail mix and a cup of herbal tea

Dinner at 5:30-6pm:

1. PC's Blue Menu Halibut steaks topped with halved grape tomatoes, lemon juice and fresh cilantro salsa served with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice and broccoli. I drizzle light tasting olive oil on the broccoli.
2. Baked 4 oz. chicken breast brushed with light tasting olive oil and sprinkled with a herb/spice roasted chicken blend. Served sliced with yellow beans, Brussels sprouts and 1/2 brown rice
3. Baked salmon fillet brushed with olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper and served with roasted sweet potatoes that were previously tossed in light tasting olive oil/sea salt and pepper and a vegetable f your choice.

Basically you want to make sure servings are not larger than the size of your fist. This is a good rule to follow. I measure my olive oil and one "drizzle" equals a teaspoon. Correct portions are very important and you will soon discover you were probably eating enough for 2 people :-) I never feel hungry because I eat every 3-4 hours so keep my blood sugar stable. I drink lots of water and herbal teas. I am feeling very, very good and I may continue with this cleanse for fourteen days. Once the cleanse is over the only changes will be occasional red meat, pasta, bread and natural sugar like honey and maple syrup. I still intend to keep my dairy intake down except for plain yogourt as I suspect my body prefers life without it. And I think I may kick my coffee habit for good.

I hope those of you who are making your own lifestyle changes are doing well.You really need to take it one day at a time and expect the first 3 days to be pretty rough. Soon, you will feel very good and your body will appreciate and work more efficiently especially your bowels :-)

If you have any questions, post them below.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Getting Better All the Time

Well, dear readers, I have completed a whopping four days of my self-imposed cleanse and I feel terrific!
The first day was rough, I will admit. I am have a habit of gulping down a big mug of coffee with cream and sugar every morning at 5:30am sharp. Instead I gulped down a glass of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Just not the same.

The headache kicked in about two and a half hours later. This is relatively early and made it very clear that I had consumed a heck of a lot of sugar over the holidays. I was a smoker back in the day and when I quit smoking cold turkey on January 1st 1998, I was slammed with a pretty gigantic headache. This one was not as bad but bad enough. The thing is, you can't take an Advil for a headache when you are cleansing. That defeats the purpose. So, I went to the gym instead and re-introduced myself to the Elliptical. I hate that thing. Have I mentioned that?

The only down side to this is the fact that you have to be on top of things. Meals and snacks need to be planned ahead. It is critical to have a large selection of fish, chicken and vegetables and fruit to prevent a moment where you are hungry and confused and can't figure out what to eat so you grab a handful of crackers or eat a hunk of cheese out of desperation.

The benefits make it well worth it. I feel lighter, clearer in the head, less agitated, calmer and my skin even looks better. If you want to do something like this, please be aware that the first three days are the hardest. You will want to give up. You will want to cheat. You will convince yourself that you're too stressed, too tired, to busy to follow something like this. Ignore those messages! Move forward! Each day you resist the urge to gobble down a bag of chips or eat a dozen cookies, each day that you persevere  and carry on, that :inner critic/saboteur will lose power and you will become more and more resilient to that harping and harassing. If the very thought of going without dairy, red meat, all sugars (natural or otherwise) and wheat/all flour products, frightens you, please know that there is a glorious amount of grains, vegetables, fish and fruit that you can eat. Lemon juice, olive oil (I prefer light tasting), herbs, sea salt, pepper, hot sauces and spices can turn a piece of salmon or a stir fry into a gourmet, flavourful meal. Before you know it, the cravings will pass and you will be getting excited about quinoa and salads.

If you have any questions, comment below and check back for my answers!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back In The Saddle Again

I am going to be honest, this is not how I had planned the first month of Julie's 40's Project to go. A while back....seems like a lifetime ago.....I admitted that I would allow myself the joy of the holiday season and would indulge with everyone else. And did I! The problem is that my week long gorge fest carried into another week and then a third week. On December 27th my parents made a decision to being my ill Grandmother home from hospital where she had been for 7 weeks. I, along with my sisters and relatives, helped my mother in caring for this dear matriarch at home until her final breath was taken at 10:25pm on New Year's Day. I wasn't about to hit the gym nor did I give a rat's ass about what I put into my body. My heart was broken and I found myself shrouded in grief. It has been nine days since my Grandma passed on and I am feeling a little less heavy in my heart.

I am also feeling a bit of panic as I feel as though I have lost valuable time on this road to Pin Up Girl  and so I really have to get down to business. The good news is I haven't gained any weight over this last few weeks but the bad news is that I am back to square one in the exercise department. One thing I know is that I despise the warm-up stage of working out. D-E-S-P-I-S-E it. I hate treadmills and I hate the Elliptical.  The bottom line is that if I wish to burn off fat, I need to do some major cardio whether I like it or not. I think I may run outside tomorrow before reuniting with Jodie and the gym. I don't love running but I prefer the fresh air and the scenery of the outdoors to the repetitiveness of an indoor machine.

I start my 10-day cleanse tomorrow which is basically:
  • No Wheat (or an gluten-y flours/products)
  • No Meat (red)
  • No Sweet (all sugars, natural or otherwise)
  • No Dairy (or as I like to say: No Teat!! Ha!Ha!)
Since it is January and the clock is ticking away, I have a lot of work ahead of me but I am confident I can reach my goal by April 7th which is my actual birthday.Will report tomorrow after I shock my body with a workout and a day without sugar or caffeine.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We Interrupt This Program

Since January 1, 2011, I have, along with my family, been processing the reality of my life without my dearest Grandma. I'll be taking a break from blogging to grieve and remember her. Being present at the moment of her last breath was a privilege and a gift. Read about it from my sister's perspective at her blog at The Knitty Gritty Homestead
Until later...