Detox Day 5

brooke-lark-194254Oh boy! It’s a brand new year and I am on Day 5 of detox, the social media, personal device, rampant consumerism, terrible news cycle, and sugar kind. I can’t believe it’s Day 5 and I’m doing alright!

Let me back up. As I sat and thought about all I wanted to do last year and how I fell short, I decided some changes were needed. I have had a good, long time to think about these changes and was ready. Now, now…you may be thinking I did a lot last year, and while that is true, I know there are more valuable ways I could be living my life. Besides, while I want to live another 50 years with a good quality life to boot, none of us have that guarantee.

What’s that quote my friend Johanna has at the end of each of her emails? I believe it’s from Hunter S. Thompson:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

I have been known to spend (ahem, you can alternatively read that as “accused of spending”) entirely too much time online, combing through the same disgusting, horrific stories in the news, watching endless silly or heartwarming videos to lift my spirits because don’t we all need to?, and reading updates about the stuff other people were doing, instead of you know….just doing those things myself, whether those things were spending time with family, friends, learning something new, finishing the laundry room makeover, whatever… Now granted, Facebook is where I discovered that I love to write but overall the forum has become way. less. fun. Even the ads! Oh, the ads….endless ads for stuff I don’t need but thought I did. I’d get sucked in, and daydream about how a certain pair of flats were what I really needed to look pulled together. And if I looked pulled together, then SURELY everything else in my life would fall into place. Because that’s how life works. The perfect pair of flats solves everything.


Not to mention how I’d go to bed with my iPad on my nightstand, plugged in and ready to go at a moment’s notice. After I spent a couple of hours checking news and posts in the home office, I’d retire to bed to do more of the same until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer. I’m pretty sure my eyesight has plummeted as a result, but the worse part? The worst part was pulling a muscle in my back doing this a couple weeks ago and then having to admit to some friends that that was why I was so stiff.

Really, Denise?

Not to mention all the articles that talk about how bad for you are the blue light emissions and electromagnetic radiation from these devices, before and while sleeping…  Last month I started to ramp down my usage by powering down my iPad before I slept. Now? I don’t even keep the iPad or iPhone in the bedroom. I let my biorhythm wake me up or use an old fashioned alarm clock now.  That was the first change I made on January 1. I’ve been coaching the kids about their devices, but they like to fall asleep to music. Gotta find a better alternative or just, ya know, parent like a boss…. (Yes, yes. I know that’s the right answer!)

The second change was trying to wean off Facebook. I alerted a couple of friends that I was doing it, so they didn’t wonder what happened to me since I’m otherwise a prolific user. I still ended up checking it every day. Man, that’s a tough habit to break! There are a couple of health groups and school groups that I should to monitor, so I suppose there is no getting rid of it forever. I posted only once during the week to one of those health groups, and then again this evening playing catch up on the birthdays I missed and feel bad about. Going forward I’m going to try to limit my Facebook activity to weekends, like a Friday night quick check and that’s it. This is no doubt inconsistent with some skincare products that I started to sell, which is most successful using social media as the primary sales platform. I find I am unable to bring myself to do it…which is rather telling about my commitment to that business.

Detox applies to the news too. Good Lord, it’s endless bad news. I am just sick over it (see Wake Me Up From This American Nightmare). There is only so much you can take in…so I’m trying to limit that too. It really isn’t serving me well. Besides, you’d have to be stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean not to know what’s going on these days.

The next big detox is that I’m trying my darnedest to not buy any clothes, shoes, or accessories for myself for at least a couple of months. I’m shooting for spring but hope I can go way longer. Honestly there is not one stitch of clothing I need. Not one. I don’t care how good of a deal it is, I don’t care if I’ve been searching for it forever: no. I have plenty of clothing I like that fits. Besides, I just purged half of my closet. I don’t need another gosh darn thing. Let me wear it out or let it fall off my body and then I’ll rethink the strategy.

Which leads to the next big thing: I adopted a ketogenic way of eating on January 1, which basically means cutting WAY back on the simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, pizza dough, cookies, soda, etc., in favor of more protein and way more good fat. I’ve lived in this body long enough to know my liver needs a detox from the non-stop insulin it’s been producing for years now. I know I will feel loads better and frankly, I could lose 80-85 pounds at this point.

So yes, I’m waiting until my clothes literally fall off my body before I buy new.

So far so good. It hasn’t been as hard as I think. Each time I see leftover holiday candy, I think of what someone said to me, “Choose me, choose health.” However I’m kind of a Coke-aholic but I stopped drinking it once before and couldn’t believe the difference in how I felt. My legs stopped aching which was a big deal. I haven’t been insanely hungry this week but I do need some variety in what I eat, and that will come over time as I learn a different menu than what I’ve been used to.

But this week? Eggs and bacon for breakfast, water with lemon or tea with no sweetener at this point (don’t feel I need it anymore), salads for lunch except for the day I got a ham/swiss/guacamole sandwich and then promptly tossed the bun. Almonds to snack for now. Meats, veggies, and seafood chowder without potato and flour to thicken it for dinner.

I’m eager to see what this does for me. From what I see of the online groups that follow this way of eating (woe), the results are dramatic. Significant weight loss, eye-opening improvement in lab work, reduction or outright elimination of medication, powerful gains in self-confidence, huge improvement in skin tone and overall appearance, major increases in energy levels and cognitive function, much-needed healing in the body, and a sustainable and delicious woe that kicks the sugar cravings.

Luckily for me, I don’t have all of those issues. My labs are slipping but I don’t need medication other than some vitamin supplements to manage anything. Thank goodness for that! Sure, I could relieve some of the aches and pains and I would welcome anything that boosts my mood, energy level, and brain function. Not to mention how nice it would be – yes! – to be thinner, to do yoga again without my belly getting in the way.

The American diet is awful, and it seems to me that the carb/sugar-heavy diet of Eastern Europeans that I grew up eating definitely does me no favors. So stay tuned. Trust me, I’ll be leaping for joy if I drop even 20 pounds off this frame, let alone 80. That will take me all year, but I’m detoxing. This is it. This is the year! I’m an older mom to younger kids. I’ll be 60 years old when my youngest graduates high school. I intend to be the rocking hot mom at his high school graduation ceremony, and I want to jitterbug at my youngest grandchild’s wedding in 2067. That’s right. You heard me.

Five days isn’t much of a milestone, but here’s what has happened since the first of the year: I’ve written this post, finished a book I started in November, slept like a baby for the last three nights and remembered my dreams in detail, totally rocked two meetings at work, planned a birthday party, haven’t purchased anything but gasoline and lunch, cut my social media habit to a 10th of the time I used to spend, and maintained this new way of eating.

If you ask me, I just put five notches in the win column for all of it. Yeah, baby. Bring it!


Image by Brook Lark, courtesy of



#3 Reboot My Face, Body & Overall Health

To continue the series on my 2017 resolutions, I will address #3, the “reboot”. This is huge. This something I’ve been in denial about for several years, and put on the back burner for just as many. Talk about layers to unravel. Where do I even begin to dissect this one?

I’ve been working on  for 26 years so I know a thing or two about rebooting. The good ol’ Ctrl-Alt-Del. Too many tabs open, programs hanging endlessly, and sometimes the dreaded blue screen of death? Just reboot and start fresh. That seemed the appropriate thing to do when it comes to the physical aspect of me.

Do I take pride in my appearance? Yes. Do I try to look my best? Yes. Should I look my best for the professional role I’m in? Absolutely!

Do I? Eh.

See, I am not a frou-frou, high heels, perfectly-manicured-nails kinda chick. I have gone years in a row with bad haircuts as I struggled to find someone who knew what to do with my goofy hair. I’m not an athlete. I don’t naturally love sports, running, swimming, or any of that. And nutrition is not something that was well understood in my house growing up, nor did I think for the longest time that it was something I had to pay any attention to. I figured that my strengths were in all sorts of other places, so for sure, nutrition didn’t have to be something for me to master.

Man, I have been wrong on all counts.

We really are body, mind, and soul, and it doesn’t make help to focus exclusively on the latter two without caring for the chassis that holds them both for now. It is essential to focus on the body just as much.

Starting at the top, not to mention the fact that if you’re like me, you stare in the mirror to start your every day, I took a good, hard look at my skin. For most of my life, I never had to do much to take care of it. It was always pretty good, and I inherited some killer genes from mom. But it starts to show when you do virtually nothing after 50 years.

I guess you could say that problems arose around my first pregnancy when I started dealing with rosacea. Who knows if it was due to hormonal changes or just an accumulation of bad habits, but that’s when I first noticed the mild flair ups. It’s been a battle trying to calm it down. I finally resorted to wearing foundation to cover it up and it took me a few years to find something that I liked.

A coworker of mine was selling Rodan + Fields, which I had never heard of until about a year ago, and I wasn’t interested at first. I politely turned her down more than a few times. But man, I would see her at work and her face was GLOWING. I mean, absolutely radiant. And she’d tell me she wasn’t wearing anything but eye makeup. Huh.

And there’d be days I’d be too lazy to wipe off my eye makeup at the end of the night. I’d roll outta bed in the morning with my crazy short hair pointing in every direction and lo and behold! It was like Keith Richards was staring back at me in the mirror. Dang. Yep, maybe it was time to “up” the old beauty routine.

Fast forward: not only do I use it, I’m selling it now. I’m just starting out but this stuff is the real deal. And being that I was never really the girlie girl type, I figure it can’t hurt for me to invest in the one good beauty asset I have always had. And if this gives me a way to connect with other women in a way that makes them feel good in their own skin, or even helps them with a side hustle, then I figure I’m meeting a couple of my goals.  Check it out:

A little over a year ago I finally took the plunge and got Invisalign braces and I’m into the final stretch…I may be done with the process in December. Couple all that with the new shorter haircut and going back to my original brunette, and I’m making over everything on the outside above the neck. This is very out of character for me. I’ve been all about everything on the inside of my head, not the outside. Still, I’m feeling good about these changes and happy with the overall effect.

patrick-hendry-45138Now working on the old bod, has been tougher, a life long challenge, actually. All year I’ve been reading a ton about health, controlling my stress through mediation and walking, boosting my immune system, taking supplements to replenish where I’m deficient so I get heal my adrenals, get my energy levels back up, slowly getting back into yoga, cutting back on my caffeine, trying but failing to reduce my sugar intake, and looking into the very promising ketogenic way of eating. Maybe more on keto in another post another time.

See, I could count on getting fairly sick every single year, my immune system was so low, and the stress of my job only made it worse. I pretended like I could handle it but my body was showing the world otherwise. Life is gym class: I wish I had realized that when I was small and learned to embrace movement and health right away. I mistakenly believed that, ok, good nutrition and physical movement just happened to be the things I didn’t do well. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses, and the fact that I haven’t mastered healthy living just happened to be my weakness. No biggie. 50 years later, this faulty way of thinking is catching up to me, and frankly, I want to be healthy, strong, and vital (to borrow a phrase from my friend Dr. Vonda Wright) well into my senior years.

Did I accomplish all I wanted to do with this resolution? No. This is likely a repeat candidate for 2018 but maybe with a slightly narrower focus to increase the chances of success. Still, I look back at what I set out to change this year, and I am pleased with the progress made.