I've been doing a ton of work on myself for the past couple of years, exploring mindset and positive thinking, uncovering some of my issues and beliefs around money, education, societal norms, and reading and watching many amazing people who are much farther along on their journey than I am, for sure. But nothing has compared to the last couple of months really diving into meditation.
First, what you may think is meditation is probably not what I'm doing. I mean, at first I was sitting a certain way, forcing my thoughts to be still, repeating numerous mantras (depending on what I was working on), and even using guided meditations to help with my focus. But with the permission of Kyle Cease (author of I Hope I Screw this Up and creator of Evolving Out Loud) at the end of May I began to try things a little differently.
Now? I just sit. Thoughts come up. I accept them, whatever they are, but I try not to engage them. Unless I want to. Then I do. It's all very, "just do what feels right" which for someone like me, that wants to make sure I'm doing something "the right way," drives me a little bonkers. But for all the times I've sat there for an hour (yes, I've been doing hour long meditations- I'm kind of impressed myself) and felt like nothing is happening, this is a waste of time, this is stupid... there have been the mind-blowing sessions where I transcend the story of who I was, or who I think I am, and am just me. I know! It sounds insane to me too, and yet...
However, that isn't what this blog post is about. It's about why becoming a Beachbody Coach about a year and a half ago was both one of the best decisions I've ever made and the worst. What? How can that be true? Well, it is and I realize it fully, like not just "Huh. That's interesting" realized it, but more like "WTF" realized it. When I think deeply about it, I've been building to this moment for awhile, but it didn't all crystallize until today.
Today I realized that one of my biggest issues around my body and weight gain. (which, if you don't know, is one of the main reasons I decided to become a Beachbody coach- if it all of sudden becomes my job to get and stay in the best shape of my life, to "be a product of the product", then I'll have to put my health and fitness first AND I'll be able to make money at this by helping others do the same! Two birds, one stone. Which is very different than two girls, one cup... but I digress.) The reason I've struggled so much for the past 5 years, is not because I haven't found the right program or diet that works with my body, not that I don't know the things I need to eat to stay at my healthy weight or which workouts will get my body lean and strong. It's that I have always been the story that it is hard for me to lose weight/get fit/be healthy/have willpower. It's the story of little C that was always "fat", always wanting to be thinner, prettier, more athletic, stronger. It's my story that when it comes to my body, I am not enough.
So instead of working on that part of myself and examining it more, I plotted out how and what. Beachbody is all about giving you the tools to succeed, and use them I did. Which workout will be the ideal workout to get me ripped? Which diet will have me feeling and looking the best? Yet everything failed. I lose a little, I tone up some, but then I gain it back and have to start again. Time after time, I just stay pretty much the same. (Which I'm finally realizing is awesome... I mean, I can do push-ups and shit, so that voice inside me that tells me I'm still fat, it can just stfu.)
What if the Universe is trying to tell me something? "Um, Colleen? The problem is not what you eat or don't eat, what workouts you do or don't do... the problem is that you think there is something here you need to fix. And that everyone else knows how to do it except you."
Mind. Blown. This? Makes me feel so much peace you can't even imagine. Knowing, really knowing, that this is the thing I need to work on? It's a relief. Because it's what I've been avoiding for so long. It's so much better than feeling like there's some answer out there, some workout I haven't done yet, some supplement I've yet to try, that will break through all my weight loss barriers. Now? I can begin doing the real work. And although it might involve a Beachbody workout or a specific style of eating, it certainly won't come from a feeling that I'm not already enough, just as I am. Because I am. And so are you. We all are. Improve where you are? Sure. But you don't have to. Only if you want to.
Be the cairn. This is something that popped up in my head during a meditation awhile ago, and I felt like it was important, but I didn't get how really important it was until today. I am my own guide. If I listen to my heart and body instead of the voice in my head that is terrified of moving beyond the old story of who I am, then I know exactly how to eat, how to move my body, how to lose weight (if I want to...). Because when I'm really listening, then I'm always moving from a place of lightness and excitement and fun and love. When I'm not and instead am listening to the voice, I'm moving from fear and stress and boredom and anxiety. If I can recognize the difference (which thanks to this meditation work, I getting much better at it) then I'm golden. I know the answers.
So thank you, Beachbody. Without you, I might not have begun any personal development. I might not have found Kyle Cease or done this work. But I'm done with you now. You've been stifling my forward progress. You reinforced my old story of not being enough the way I am, of needing someone else to help me and tell me what to do. But now I know that this is just not true.
A couple of weeks ago I went in to my long awaited appointment to see a doctor of functional medicine. I was really beyond excited because I'd been toying with this idea for a couple of years, but couldn't find someone that was close enough to make it doable. Then, on my Facebook feed, I saw an ad for a free seminar at a place really close to my house all about adrenal fatigue. I went, was impressed, and ending up making an appointment that night.
The doctor was amazing- super supportive of my frustration. When I said that I was scared that I would go through all of these tests and find out nothing is wrong, she reassured me that this is a common fear and always unfounded. She told me it would take about 4-5 months, would involve education and support and supplements, but all in support of healing my body so that I felt good again. Then she showed me the price tag. I almost shit myself.
My husband has been out of work for the past 8 months and I'm a teacher, so this was definitely not something I could afford. I was crushed. And embarrassed. And depressed. I'd wanted so badly to do this... so tired of trying everything on my own, experimenting, and trying to find my own solutions. I wanted to be told what to do, when to do it, and have someone there to hold my hand for once. I was ready to give up and admit defeat. I would forever feel tired at the end of the day, not be able to lose weight no matter what I ate or how hard I worked out, and I was stuck just feeling off, forever. I pretty much threw myself a pity party.
I've had a lot of time to think on this since the appointment, and I realized something. Fuck that. I'm not giving up. I'm more resourceful than that. I haven't tried everything. I haven't been as strict as I know I can be. I've not given enough respect to positive thinking and visualization (I always tell myself whatever I'm about to try won't really work.) So I'm done feeling hopeless and I'm ready to try something I've heard about but haven't ever ventured into: an elimination diet. Specifically, the Whole30 diet.
I'm starting tomorrow. And this time? It's going to work. I'm going to feel better than I've felt in years. I'm gonna sleep like a rock, lose some stubborn fat, feel fewer aches and pains, and love every minute of it. See? The positive thinking is working already because I'm now excited and ready to crush this challenge.
In the end, we can spend lots of money on tests and doctors and have the support necessary to make changes for the better. And if that's you're situation, then good on you! But for those of us that feel alone and confused and unable to afford the help we need? Well, we need to be more resourceful. We need to stop telling ourselves we need the help, stop making the excuses that we keep making, and just keep fighting to find answers. Because anything else means we've given up on ourselves, that we don't think we're worth it. And I'm here to tell you that you are. <3
Don't get me wrong. I respect science. Totally. Completely. I mean, I'm a math teacher. I majored in math in college. I was married to a math Phd for a long time. The skeptic is strong in this one. And... not but, mind you. Because the word "but" is a negation of everything I just wrote. And I'm not trying to negate, just expand upon. So I prefer to say "and." And... there's more to the story.
People often throw around science as an end to an argument. "There's no research to support that." End of story. "The research proves that what you just said isn't true." End of discussion. Here's why you don't get to do that. Let's change up the phrasing a bit...
"There's no research to support that... yet."
"The current research proves that what you said isn't true."
To me, science is about trying to find out why. And it doesn't exist in a vacuum. People bring their bias to science, whether they want to admit it or not. Studies are often funded by groups that have a vested interest in what the results bear out. Technology changes and let's us do better, more detailed, studies and we learn that we were wrong. And sometimes it's not ethically possible to conduct a study on what you're looking to prove.
In other words, we should look to science for guidance, but science isn't perfect.
Should we be skeptical? Yes. Should we be cautious? Absolutely. But we should also believe in the unbelievable. Because there are things that we just can't explain with science, that we know works for us, or worked for a friend. Things that science is just starting to study. We shouldn't have to wait for the science to catch up before we try something and find out for ourselves.
What's the deal, Colleen? Why are you even talking about this? Good question. :)
I'm what you call an "overanalyzer." I second guess myself all the time. I research and research, scouring the internet for answers to my "problem." And I often find people using scienctific research to shut down discussions. In the past, those arguments punched me in the gut and made me sit up and take notice. After all, it's everything I knew and how I was trained to respond. I ended up eating a plant-based diet for over a decade because I believed that the science made it clear that this was the only way to eat in order to thrive. Until I wasn't thriving anymore. And still, I continued to eat this way for years, thinking I was at fault. I just wasn't doing it "right." I wasn't getting enough micronutrients. I wasn't strict enough. I was blinded to any other way of eating because I was so convinced that the plant-based group was right.
In the past year, I've questioned everything I knew to be true and changed my diet dramatically. And guess what? I'm thriving. And yet I still scoured the internet searching for the research to support my new diet! Never mind that I feel amazing, that I have more energy and zest for life than I've had in the past 3 years. But, science!
Here's another example: essential oils. There are believers and there are people who think that essential oils are snake oils. When my sister got into them, I went looking for the research. Is there really "an oil for that?" But I tried them, too. Because I had learned a big lesson about my blind reliance on science with my diet. So maybe I should just give these oils a shot and not worry about the science right now. Thus, I used a Flu Bomb when I was sick. And guess what? It fucking worked. I felt a thousand times better the next morning, when the night before I had had a full blown sinus infection that usually takes a week or more of neti potting to work through.
Sometimes we need to stop overanalyzing and just try something out. Even if all the science shows that it's not gonna work. Because we're learning a lot about belief and how the way we think about something effects our reality, so even if something doesn't scientifically work, the placebo effect is real. We need to trust in ourselves again. Trust that we don't always need to know why something works, but just that it does.
Yes, science illuminates much to us. But we also have a lot to learn about the things science can't explain... yet.
Our whole lives we are told that we need to jump through hoops and complete certain tasks to "measure up." To be "good enough." And we listen, whether we know it or not. We absorb the messages every single day. (Note: I'm speaking as a woman in this post... I'm sure the message to men is also out there and just as insidious, but I don't pretend I know what those messages are, or what it feels like to be on the receiving end of them.) The messages are simple and clear: Be beautiful. Be charming. Be nice. Be agreeable. Be supportive. Be skinny, but not too skinny. Be strong, but not too strong. Don't be crass or immature. Be responsible and don't complain. Lean in, but also be the room parent. Get along with everyone. Play nice. I'm sure I'm missing a zillion (feel free to add them in the comments) but you get the idea.
Well, guess what? Fuck. That. Noise. You know what you need to do to be "good enough?" Be you. Unapologetically you. You don't need a trophy or a merit badge or some other kind of award/reward to have self-esteem in this world because self-esteem only comes from one place: inside you. It comes from knowing that you are doing your absolute best every single day. It comes from trying every day to be better than you were the day before. For me, this means being kinder, more compassionate, more informed, more loving, braver, stronger, more resilient, more accepting, more patient than I was yesterday. For you, better may mean something entirely different. And that's okay. As long as you're the one defining it. Because you need to know that you are amazing just the way you are and you don't need me, or anyone else, to tell you this. You need to tell yourself.
So, instead of blocking that "crazy" friend on Facebook that posts all those horrifying political posts, block these messages instead. These messages that fly at us from all directions these days. These messages that make us feel like we don't measure up. That we're not smart enough, sexy enough, whatever enough. A renegade is defined as a person that deserts and betrays an organization. In my mind, the organization is this world that tries to impose on us some definition of what it means to be a woman. And that is worth deserting. My message to you is this: be a renegade. Block the messages. Desert the organization. Life your life on your terms and knock it outta the park.
I've been thinking a lot lately about posers: people that say they are one thing, but do another, that look the part but don't play it, people that, judging from their social media posts, seem to have it all figured out. People like me.
Yes, I'm guilty. Guilty of posing. Why? Because no one wants to follow someone on social media that isn't inspiring and inspiration comes from showing and talking about your successes, right? Here's how I grew my team and became a million dollar earner! Here's how I remained dedicated each and every day and ended up in a fitness competition. Here's how I look when I wake up, excited to face another glorious day!
This? Isn't real. It's the highlight reel. There's no behind the scenes. And I am as guilty as the next person for doing it.
My husband took this photo of me yesterday when I was having a breakdown: second guessing myself, having a crisis of confidence, feeling like I will never achieve my dream life because I'm the biggest loser that exists. And I have these moments pretty regularly. I sob for awhile. I talk it out. I sleep it off. And usually, by the next day, I feel better.
I was annoyed when he took it, but one of the reasons I was upset was because of my poserdom. I was feeling like a fraud, like I wasn't being completely real with people. Because what if people don't really want real? What if they just want the fantasy? They want the rags to riches story, in short. They don't want to hear about how difficult it is to go outside the mainstream and try something new. And fail over and over. And how hard it is to just keep going, believing in what's possible but knowing it might not ever happen.
But this morning I decided that I'm done pretending. From now on, what you see on my social media is what you get. Warts and all. So yeah, sometimes I'm immobilized by my fears and insecurities. Sometimes I don't wanna adult. Sometimes I want to just curl in a ball, covers over my head, and forget the world. Sometimes I want to give up. And right now, if I was being a poser, I'd tell you "but then I do __________ , go forth and conquer." Because I'd want to offer a solution that could help you crawl out of your own insecurities and face the day. Because that's what you'd want.
But I don't have a solution to this one. I honestly feel like it's just part of the process.
So here's how I really feel today: mildly better. I feel like I can get through today without too much difficulty. But I'm still debating quitting this whole Stray Dog thing. I feel like I'm not helping anyone, not making a difference in anyone's life, not helping people lead healthier lives, I don't even know what it really means to do that, and that I'm failing in my business because I just don't know how to speak in a way that inspires people and I don't know how to broadcast the awesome vision I have for my future team. I've done all the things I'm "supposed" to do, and yet I have made little progress.
I probably won't quit, because I'm stubborn. And I still like the discount. But I have no answers. And this? Is me being real.
I've had two specific experiences this summer that have me thinking about my own expectations: one was when my expectations were so low that I came away feeling psyched, and the other was when my expectations were so high that I went away feeling dejected. So this morning on my run, it got me thinking- what if I had no expectations?
I've been exploring this idea that we create our own suffering by choosing what to focus on and our reactions to situations. If I'm annoyed and furious about something at work, I can spend the evening griping about this thing I have no control over, or I can choose to enjoy my evening with family and let it go. If I'm feeling anxious and upset, I can dwell in those emotions and rehash things in my mind until I'm a sobbing mess on the floor, or I can go for a jog in the cool morning air and leave those thoughts behind. It's a choice. A difficult one, but still a choice.
Expectations also often lead me down the path of negative emotion. Especially when I have expectations of myself, which I always do. I pretty much expect nothing but the very best from myself at all times. 150%. Regardless of what I'm doing: my work, my fitness, my parenting, my wife-ing... You name it. And then, when I don't measure up, which I hardly ever do, I beat myself up a bit. Not as much anymore as I used to, but still more than I probably should.
So what's better? To have low expectations and remain in a pleasantly surprised state at the littlest of things or have high expectations that always leave me feeling let down? Or is there another option? What if I have no expectation?
At the beginning of my career a wise friend gave me a mantra that I've pretty much lived by in the classroom. It goes: Show up, be honest, remain unattached to the outcome. It's dawning on me that remaining unattached to the outcome is exactly the same as having no expectations. Clearly, I've known this all along, but didn't really understand until today.
I'm think I'm gonna with Shakespeare on this one.
For the past year, I've been experimenting with my diet. In 2005, I began my plant-based journey initially to lose some weight after the birth of my son, but the more I read, the more eating a plant-based diet made sense to me. And the results? Well, they speak for themselves.
This before was taken while very pregnant and at my heaviest (210 pounds!) while the after was taken 8 months later, when I had changed to eating a plant-based diet. (150 pounds- I had gotten down to 175 after his birth, but hit a plateau. That's when I found the book Eat to Live.) I felt great, the pounds melted away, and I was convinced this was the best, healthiest way for everyone to eat. I tried not to be preachy about it, but I definitely felt holier than thou, especially when people complained to me about the extra weight they couldn't lose. Eliminate animal products. End of story. Duh.
That was then, though. Fast forward to my early 40s and something changed. All through my 30s, I would occasionally go off plan for a stretch and gain some extra weight, but all I needed to do to correct it was eat plant-based for a week. Boom. Weight lost. It was so easy, I took it for granted. I didn't realize that at some point maybe my body wouldn't respond the way it had when it was younger.
After divorce and remarriage, my weight eventually crept back up from 135 (the lowest I ever got in adulthood) to 175. Needless to say, I was frustrated. Too much eating out and alcohol had taken it's toll and I needed to get back on track. So I did. I began again with Dr. Fuhrman's 6-week plan, the plan that took me to success the first time. But this time? I gained weight. It was so frustrating. So I tried juicing and raw and other "quick fix" ideas, all to varying degrees of success. But nothing ever stuck because it wasn't a sustainable way to live.
Plus, there was the hair loss. And the lack of energy. I mean, I was exhausted. In bed at 7:30 most nights. I was also depressed and feeling hopeless. I was working out regularly with programs like P90X3 and Chalean Extreme, running, weight lifting... not easy stuff. And still nothing worked. So I ventured out (with shame and embarrassment, I might add) and started exploring Paleo. And I haven't looked back.
I'm still tweaking and experimenting to find what works for me, but I'm no longer close-minded to other ways of achieving optimal health. I no longer assume that everybody is the same or that every stage of life is the same. I still firmly believe that the more plants in your diet, the better. But I'm no longer shunning meats. Or carbs. Or anything. (Well, maybe sugar.) I'm playing with what feels good. Eating to fuel my workouts, satisfy my cravings, and keep me feeling emotionally stable and physically great. I'm learning a lot in the process, and see it more as an exploration than any set of rules to follow. Mentally, I feel better than I have in years. I used to stress so much about what I ate. Now? I just eat.
But we need a new word. And I have one... plant-centric. That is what I am. I eat mostly plants. But I still eat some animal products. I'm not dogmatic and my eating habits aren't set in stone. I'm open to new theories, new ideas, new research. I don't eat the Standard American Diet. I'm picky about where my meat comes from because I care about the lives of animals and abhor factory farming. I try to view food as fuel as often as possible, but I also appreciate a good treat meal. I'm interested in how food makes me feel after I eat it and I use that to guide me to make better choices in the future. And sometimes, I down a pint of Ben & Jerry's because it's just yummy. But overall, I care about the food I put into my body. And I refuse to feel guilt and shame around what I choose to eat. I love myself. I love my body. And I do my best to help it thrive, even if that means going outside my comfort zone and trying something new. This is what plant-centric means to me. And this is what I'll be calling myself. For now. :)
I've been a plant-based eater for over a decade now and could often be heard espousing the benefits of eating a whole-foods, plant-strong diet. "It's not only better for the environment, it's the only way to better health!" You see, when I started in 2005 after reading Eat to Live, I was at the heaviest I'd ever been in my life. I had a new son and still couldn't seem to crack those last 30 pounds, regardless of all my low-fat eating. I was on the verge of trying something drastic, like pills or starvation. But I knew deep down that even if these things worked, it wasn't the right way, the healthy way, to go about it. That's when I found Dr. Fuhrman.
And what I read in that book made sense. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, while limiting nuts and avocado. Avoid dairy like the plague. Same for meat, of any kind... not even chicken, which I always thought was healthy. This book touted itself as quick weight loss, but it was about so much more. And? It worked. I dropped the weight. All of it. And then some. All in only about 6 months and without any real exercise regime.
And I kept it off. For years. But then life happened. I had another child, ended up getting divorced, and starting my life over. As a single mom working as a full-time high school teacher, it was tough to cook like I did when I was a stay-at-home mom. I relied too much on the food that was ever-present in our faculty lounge. I relied too much on the convenience and fun of going out to eat. I drank way too much alcohol while I was enjoying a new freedom that I hadn't had in a long, long time. Right at the edge of my divorce, in the fall of 2009, I weighed the least I'd ever weighed since high school: 136.
Fast forward several years... I still ate plant-based, but didn't cook as much as I should. Ate out way more than was healthy, for my wallet and waistline. And I put weight back on. Back up it crept, until one day I looked in the mirror and didn't know who it was staring back at me. I hesitantly got on the scale. 170. I hadn't been this heavy since I picked up Eat to Live the first time. So I picked it up again, and started all over with the 6-week plan. And that's when something weird happened. It didn't work.
In fact, I didn't feel great. I felt tired and sad much of the time. And 3 weeks in, I weighed myself again, just to see. 175. I was so confused. Why wasn't it working??? I kept at it though, because I'm no quitter. My husband was seeing amazing results, and he was cheating a bit. I just kept gaining, even though I was also doing P90X3. And it wasn't muscle. I looked and felt worse than I'd ever felt.
At this point, I decided a doctor visit was in order. She told me I was old. ~shrug~ That's what happens. I pushed her to run some tests, and she did. Everything appeared normal. I pushed for a vitamin D test, and a B12 test. Both were dangerously low, so I started supplementing. It helped a bit, but only with mood. My weight would still not budge.
But I wasn't going to quit. As frustrating as this journey was, I was certain there were answers, just maybe not where I was looking. And I decided, against my better judgement, and against everything I'd been led to believe over the years, to try paleo.
I felt ashamed. When your identity is wrapped up in the plant-based community, it's hard to unravel it, even when it's not working for you anymore. I was never vegan by any stretch of the imagination, but I stuck to my diet 90% of the time. So I quietly started adding in more animal products: sardines in my salad, chicken with veggies for dinner, bison on top of steamed leafy greens, eggs and greens and avocado for breakfast. And I felt good. I wasn't losing weight, but I had more energy than I'd had in a long time.
I wasn't sold, though. The weight loss still didn't come... I mean, I lost a little, but nothing to write home about. So after a couple of months, I decided I needed a new workout program and I needed something to help me stay motivated to do it, regardless of the results. So I signed up to become a Beachbody coach, got a challenge pack called 21 Day Fix, and decided to follow it to the letter, meal plan and all. I mean, I already had basically all the Beachbody workouts (another obsession of mine over the years) but whenever I'd considered coaching in the past, I'd decided it was a scam and not my thing. I was too afraid of what people would think of me. At this point in my life, I don't give two fucks what anyone thinks of me anymore. Well, that's not entirely true. A lifetime of being a pleaser has left scar tissue. But I figure if I keep telling myself I don't give a fuck, at some point I won't actually give a fuck. Fake it until you make it, right?
(If you're reading this, please don't wait until you're in your 40s to realize this... I wasted so many years being afraid to be who I was for fear of judgment... the only person you need to impress is you.)
So I did it. And? I've been making progress. Slow and steady progress. My weight has dropped to 160 and I feel good, but I still would like to lose about 15-20 more pounds. Or? Have my body be lean and muscular without a lot of extra fat and stay 160. I'm not married to a number or anything. And I actually did Fuhrman's 6-week plan again with portion control and saw some results, but felt the lethargy coming back with a vengeance.
So, why did I call this post On Belief and Dogma? Because for too long I stuck to my belief and dogma around what the best diet is for everyone: plant-based. Period. End of story. I was dismissive of other schools of thought. They weren't science based. I was stubborn in my beliefs and despite my own evidence to the contrary, was a believer. I thought I just wasn't doing it right, I wasn't strict enough, or pure enough in my eating. I blamed myself and felt like a failure. And a fraud. I mean, I clearly didn't have the body of an athlete- I wasn't even lean. But here I was telling people that this way of eating would get them there.
The truth is it probably will. I mean, at one time it did for me. If you're coming off of eating the Standard American Diet, any shift towards less processed crap and more real food is going to work wonders. But it didn't last for me. I wish it had. I like believing in something with all my being. It's why I love math so much- the truth is out there and the answer can be proved. But our bodies don't work like that.
And this? Is terrifying. Letting go of belief and structure and that feeling that you know what's right is like hanging by your fingertips on a ledge and trusting that if you let go, something will be there to catch you. I'm choosing to consider other ideas without judgment, without pre-conceived notions, and without assumptions. I'm trying to quiet the fear that's deep down inside of everyone when we decide to pick a new direction, to follow a different path. Will this lead to where I'm trying to go? I don't know. That question cannot be answered without first making the decision to let go of the ledge.
So now I'm on a new journey. I've watched documentaries like Fed Up, Sugarcoated, and That Sugar Film and am exploring the link between sugar and obesity. I'm a total sugar addict, so this speaks to me: sugar was definitely the one constant that always remained in my life. So I'm exploring that and what happens if I eliminate sugar from my diet. I've also ordered Eat Fat, Get Thin and will be trying the 21-Day Challenge to see what kind of results I get.
The point is, I'm no longer tied to a system of belief that doesn't serve me anymore. I'm willing to go outside my comfort zone and try new things. I'm experimenting and honoring my body and how it's changed over the years. Because when you're a prisoner to a belief system, you no longer see the complete picture. You have blinders on. You are seeing the world through a lens and when you do this for too long, it becomes harder and harder to accept that there could be other ways.
In your search for answers, I hope that you will be willing to think outside the box and try things. I hope that you will not judge yourself too harshly or automatically blame yourself if something doesn't work they way you think it should. And most of all, I hope that you never give up searching for answers. Because your truth is out there. It just might not be what you expected.
This picture is not my results due to the reset. Rather it's the result of two rounds of 21 Day Fix, Dr. Fuhrman's 6-week eating plan, and the reset. I only lost a couple of pounds on the reset, but that's ok. I wasn't doing it for that.
I didn't make it 21 days. I went 19, and that evening got drunk as a skunk. I figured it would happen. Big going away party that involved getting messy with friends old and new. As you can imagine, the rest of the weekend was shot. I was tired of the meals, tired of timing all the damn supplements, tired of being bone tired.
But I did learn from the experience. I figured out how much I eat to relieve boredom, anxiety, and stress. I learned that exercise is a non-negotiable for me. I mean, I'm fine with a rest day, or even a rest week, but when I go longer than that I want to kill someone. There's no way I could have exercised during this program; just not taking in enough calories.
I also learned that this kind of program, where I'm so focused on food prep and planning, makes me crazy. Like eating disorder crazy. I start to get way too perfectionist about it because I want to "do it right." I mean, I don't mind 21 Day Fix and its adorable containers because I'm never hungry and I'm eating super healthy. But this? Was just triggering me a bit.
Pros: Hubbie did it and lost a ton of weight. (I didn't, but I'm pretty sure my hormones are messed up- if you're under 40, it will probably work fine in this department.) The plant-based nature of it gets my approval and it really forced me to face my demons, rather than drowning them in ice-cream.
Cons: Hard. Fucking hard. And I've done a juice challenge! This felt harder. Expensive. The program and supplements were the least of my worries: the grocery bill was huge, and I already had many of the staples.
If you do want to give it a go, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll help you do it better than I did. I think it can definitely be worthwhile, especially if you're not the healthiest of eaters.
Release. Ah, yes. That is exactly what happened. Not to be gross, but I was a little, shall we say, backed up the first week. No idea why. That's not my normal state of existence. But that first day of phase 2? Let's just say the dam broke. And it wasn't just me. Hubbie reported massive deposits in that realm: two flushes!!! But enough about that.
Week two is no joke. It's tough. Not physically. I still feel great. Emotionally, however, I'm going through some shit. I've realized how much I rely on food to destress, to cure my boredom, to make me happy. And when food is strictly fuel, things start to happen. Dark whispers that are usually drowned out by ice-cream or cookies or sushi get louder and louder until you, wait for it... face them. I think hubbie would agree. He's in the corner as we speak whispering, "Shoot me."
Oh, and the dizziness. No bueno. Alot of the time when I stand up, I feel dizzy. Apparently, this is because during this reset, your blood pools in your organs to get down to work, which leaves you lightheaded. Hubbie has been experiencing this much more intensely than I have, which I'm thinking means his blood is working hard to scrub away the years of Whataburger and Reese's abuse. He reports he gets dizzy even thinking about standing up. :)
So all this led to feeling like quitting on Day 12. I mean, we both seriously considered it. But two things happened that made me decide I'm sticking with this:
1. I need to prove to myself that I have control over what goes in my big mouth. I do not need to eat crap every single time my mind wants it. I won't be ruled by that little dopamine whore in my brain that wants me to eat all the things.
2. I found out we can have vegan Shakeology as either breakfast or snack!!!!!!!!!!! Lifesaver yesterday. Chocolate/Avocado/Coconut Milk shake and I'm a new woman!!!!! And I'm really looking forward to my breakfast shake with blueberries and chia seed. Mmmmmmm.....
So one more week to go... I've got this.
I've been studying nutrition and healthy eating for over a decade. As the saying goes, food can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
Stray Dog Revolution