21 Day Cleanse…Was it Worth it?

On January 5th, I started a 21-day cleanse, which I described here. I did it. I did not cheat. I loved it. And while I am glad it is over, I am maintaining many better, healthier habits.

Here are my key takeaways.

    1. I feel better. In my head and in my body. I am thinking more clearly, my belly is more comfortable, my early mornings are more pleasurable.
    2. I need a lot less food than I think I do. My “normal” calorie budget is 1,300 per day (according to my Lose It Apps anyway). On average, over the three weeks, I ate about 1,000 calories per day and I was not hungry except on the days I exercised.
    3. With these new eating and drinking habits, I need less exercise. During the past three weeks, I exercised only twice per week, which seems to be plenty both mentally and physically.
    4. I did lose weight, 8 pounds to be exact, which is a lot for me and hard to do in three weeks.
    5. I did not miss alcohol, but I did miss the rituals. I missed the ritual of a glass of wine during a lunch date with a friend (replaced by non-alcoholic beer) and the ritual of a glass of wine in the evening to wind down (replaced by many cups of all kinds of different teas).
    6. My evening beauty routine has improved. Somehow exfoliating and masking and “retinol-ing” go better with three cups of hot tea than with three glasses of wine.
    7. My skin is clearer. I don’t know if this is from the liters of tea (herbal mostly) I consumed, from my more regular use of my Advanced retinol serum (see above), or from the lack of alcohol, or all of the above, but I am definitely more “glowy.”
    8. I spent a lot less money on food and beverage, partly because going out did lose some of its appeal, and partly because when I did eat out, there was mostly lettuce and certainly no alcohol on my tab.
    9. I went to the grocery store twice in three weeks (versus my average of once every two months…). With these new habits, having the right food at home and in my purse at all times is essential to avoid “mistakes due to hangry emergencies.”
    10. I discovered a love for apples. I have probably eaten an apple a day since January 5th (the only fruit allowed on this cleanse) and I plan to continue. They keep the doctor away, are easy to travel with, and are available in American Airlines lounges!
    11. My new rituals and habits have stuck beyond 21 days. I have not added milk back to my coffee. I have not added carbs or sugar back to my diet. I am still limiting dairy. I did enjoy mimosas with brunch and a great cabernet with dinner this past Sunday, the first day “post cleanse,” but I have not had any alcohol since. I will certainly splurge on date nights and on weekends, but these new healthy habits are here to stay – and that is the best possible outcome of these 21 days.

I cannot think of a better way to have started 2020!

Most valuable brands: Interbrand's, and mine

I love the global brand scoreboard that Interbrand puts together every year, listing the top 100 global brands. They have strict criteria, including the following (quoting Interbrand): “The brand must be truly global and needs to have successfully transcended geographic and cultural boundaries. It must have expanded across the established economic centers of the world and be establishing a presence in the major markets of the future. In measurable terms, this requires that:

  • At least 30% of revenues must come from outside the brand’s home country
  • It must have a presence in at least three major continents, as well as broad geographic coverage in emerging markets
  • There must be sufficient publicly available data on the brand’s financial performance
  • Economic profit must be expected to be positive over the longer term, delivering a return above the brand’s operating and financing costs
  • The brand must have a public profile and awareness above and beyond its own marketplace”

In continuing to pursue my “paperless goal,” I came across the 2003 listing (torn out of a magazine and kept all these years), which made me ponder not only the evolution of society over the last decade (nothing says something about a people as do the brands they love: we still drink soda and eat fast-food, we smoke less, and are completely addicted to our smartphones and accessing information anytime and everywhere), but also which of these brands I love, relate to, and turn to every day.

For a complete listing of the 2013 Interbrand scoreboard, click here. For a more edited list, here is a comparison from 2003 to 2013, of the top 10:

Ranking 2003 2013
1 Coca-Cola Apple
2 Microsoft Google
3 IBM Coca-Cola
5 Intel Micosoft
6 Nokia GE
7 Disney McDonalds
8 McDonalds Samsung
9 Marlboro Intel
10 Mercedes Toyota

Which brands do you love and can’t live without today? Here are my top 10 (not counting my own, Alchimie Forever, of course).

1. US Airways. I learned early on, pick one airline and stick to it. I have stuck by USAir, so much so that they are nice to me. I love their liberal upgrade policy, and I love that we tweet to each other (just today they called me a #fashionista; how can I resist that?). Given that I fly over 100,000 miles per year, this is one of the brands that has the most significant impact on my quality of life (and yes, I am writing from the air right now, Gogo In Flight Internet on all planes is amazing). (Not listed; Interbrand does not include airlines in its listing)

2. Apple. My iPod/iTunes helps me run faster. My MacBookAir makes my purse lighter. My AppleTV will soon replace Comcast. I am yet to get acquainted with Siri (I still hold on to my Samsung), but I am guessing we will be best friends soon. I have had my share of Mac Crashes, and this brand would not have been on my list last year – but I am a definite convert.

3. Coca-Cola. I don’t have soda in the house because that would lead to unhealthy behavior. And nothing starts off my day worse than me getting to the office at 6 am and not finding a Diet Coke in the fridge (yes, my entire team loves them too). I don’t have a Diet Coke every day, but when I need a Diet Coke, nothing will fulfill that need other than a Diet Coke.

4. Google. I can’t even remember life pre-Google. Google tells me what I need to know. Anywhere, anytime, without asking for anything in return. Thank you Google.

5. Evernote. This brand has replaced Moleskine, which would have been on my list last year. I still miss the beautiful colors of those notebooks, the soft sheen of the paper pages. But Evernote has changed my life. It organizes all of the information I collect from Google and other sources into Notebooks that are accessible from everywhere, from every device. Notebooks that I can share with my team and my loved ones. Notebooks that I will never forget on a plane or on a train. (Not listed)

6. American Express. I run a small business. I rely on credit. I travel all the time. I like to earn points. I like to be able to pay by phone from anywhere (not necessarily with a check in front of me) without having to speak to anyone, and without having to pay a fee. Enough said. (#23 on the 2013 listing)

7. Amazon. I don’t shop online. But I do shop on Amazon. I read (still old-fashioned books made out of paper). I haven’t purchased a book in a bricks and mortar bookstore in years (sorry, bricks and mortar book stores, I still love the way you smell…). I am late to the party, but my guess is I will  be ordering things other than books from Amazon really soon. (#19 on the 2013 listing)

8. NARS. As my mother has always told me, when all else fails, wear bright red lipstick and your day will improve. My favorite brights, the ones that make me feel most powerful, are from NARS. Cruella. Dragon Girl. Red Lizard. The perfect red for each occasion, for every day.  (Not listed)

9. Veuve Clicquot. Yes, I love champagne. Yes, I do think champagne makes everything better, victories of course, but also roadblocks and failures. And yes, all in moderation, including champagne and moderation. I love the fact that while this brand was not founded by a woman, a woman ran this company (starting at the young age of 27). And yes, I have to admit, I dream of the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman Award. (Not listed; Moet & Chandon is #99 on the 2013 listing)

10. Hermes. This is my aspirational brand. One of my best friends has a tower of Hermes boxes in her bedroom, and I have to admit that when I saw that I had to take a picture. And I couldn’t help but wish for my own tower. Above all else, this brand represents hand-made, traditional, French, exclusive craftsmanship. Is this superficial of me? Perhaps. Is it impressive that Hermes still conveys this truth in consumers’ minds, after all these years and in this day and age of disposable fashion and flash sales? Absolutely.  (#54 on the 2013 listing)