Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cleansing your colon, one gram at a time

Another of the unutterable joys of aging is talking about your colon with your best friend. She doesn't really know my colon or its habits, but she cares about me and she reads my blog and worries about my health (thank you dahling), so she and I were discussing the benefits of getting your RDA of fiber. Which is 25 grams per DAY, if you want your colon to be happy and clean.

(Insert a cute cartoony graphic of a happy pink colon with a smiley face - "Hi! Mr. Colon here to talk to you about bran!")

Now, 25 grams of fiber is a shitload (literally) to eat in one day. A banana has 3 grams of fiber; so does a small apple. Veggies are a good source, but the most high-fiber vegetables are lentils (6 grams) lima beans (11 grams) and brussels sprouts (6 grams) -- ALL OF WHICH I refuse to eat. Life is too short to eat horrible legumes and stinky mini-cabbages, and my personal feeling is that I can't do it unless they are smothered in butter or cheese or bacon or a combination of all of the above, which pretty much cancels out any of the benefits from the fiber. Besides, even if I had a cup of lima beans (shudder) I would have only hit the halfway mark for my daily requirements, and I guarantee I would be off my feed if I ate a cup of lima beans, even with a martini.

I guess I could always eat a bowl of bran flakes, but I am afraid of them. I have a bran phobia. Not only because of the taste (something like a cross between burnt styrofoam and recycled wood pulp, with a smidgen of old yeast) but just the simple act of buying a box of bran flakes in the grocery store is like holding up a five-foot sign to your fellow shoppers stating "HI, I AM OLD AND CONSTIPATED, NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR COLONOSCOPY," and how it felt like someone took a wire brush to your formerly happy lower intestines.

(Insert graphic of formerly happy Mr. Colon, only this time beet-red with a frowny face.)

Of course there are bigger guns - like trying one of the many 'Colon Cleanse' products. Those scare me too, even worse than the thought of being caught red-handed with a box of bran flakes. I would never survive the trip to the health-food store -- I would be paralyzed by the variety and too self-conscious to ask which one is best. (There's a conversation you don't want to have in the middle of Whole Foods.) Plus, the idea of the 'cleanse' itself is frightening. No way do I want to spend a weekend strapped to my commode with a seat belt to keep myself from being shot upwards like a rocket by an unhappy Mr. Colon being forced to work overtime.

I know this stuff is supposed to 'flush out the toxins' and get rid of years of accumulated sludge, but I don't really want to know that. I don't want to know what sort of sludge I am carrying around, and I want even less to see it after it comes out, unless I thought I'd swallowed the Hope Diamond but in my case would probably be a rhinestone pinky ring that I'd swallowed when I was five after eating straight out of the cereal box. See, I KNEW there was a reason for my fear of bran!

Anyway, as far as I know my colon is happy with its daily salad and assorted fruits. And if it isn't, I hope it has better manners than to announce its displeasure in the middle of yoga class.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back in the groove

So, I guess my scale got the message - drop the number or die. I was on the edge of veering off the path, ready to shrug my shoulders and dive into a bucket of ice cream, but then I did my weekly weigh-in and actually lost another pound.

Of course, this does not mean that my insanity is cured.

But it's definitely better. At least I know that I'm crazy - old habits die hard, and that fixation I had about how much I weigh or what size I am is still popping up occasionally. But then I remind myself to breathe, and slow down, and focus on my wellness and strength. Going to yoga on Saturday is also a huge positive - I come out of there completely drained and almost euphoric.

I am also starting to relax about my diet and exercise patterns. Not counting calories so much any more, because I have got the healthy eating and portion control so fully ingrained that I don't really even need to worry. It's so freeing to be able to go out to eat and enjoy a meal and my beloved glass (or two) of wine without worrying that I am setting myself back. I've pretty much determined what my calorie intake is to maintain my weight, which is an entirely new concept for me. I used to lose ten pounds in four weeks eating about 1,000 calories a day but of course as soon as I went back to my old habits I'd gain it right back. Now I can eat normally, exercise normally, and feel healthy. What a concept! I feel positively French.