Well, I actually (miraculously) made it through the entire 30 days without one cheat. I started drinking coffee on day 24, but that was the only cheat:) I may have chosen one of the most difficult months to take this on with my Dad in the hospital, business picking up, Thanksgiving dinners, and several family functions with food... like I said, it was a miracle.
It wasn't always easy. But it was far from difficult. It actually wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. And I believe that is due to my mindset and methods of getting through. Here are some of my insights that may help you if you decide to give this a try:
- Get assessed. Don't assume you need a cleanse off the shelf because it worked for your friend. Our bodies are unique to us and a professional can help you identify the right cleanse for you and then guide us through the process. Can you imagine if you completed a cleanse only to find out you needed to do a different one?! Sweet lord, I'd cry for sure. I recommend meeting with a Naturotherapist or Naturopath for an assessment. Some great ones in St. John's, NL are Deanne Dietz of The Healthy Root, Dr. Laura Nurse, Dr. Tanya O'Brien, or Dr. Eddi Boyd. All of these wonderful women are amazing at what they do. Find the one that suits you.
- Decide on a few 'go to' foods. My biggest go to foods were brown rice cakes with almond butter, roasted veggies, boiled eggs, and bananas. I roasted a pot of root veggies every Sunday and ate them for snacks or a quick lunch throughout the week. I brought brown rice cakes with almond butter everywhere I went. I boiled 4-6 eggs at some point throughout the week so they were there to grab and eat. It's true, I wanted a little more variety, but when I had these easy 'go to' snacks and lunches, I wasn't forced to have to eat for convenience.
- Eat lots. I wasn't hungry. The point of a cleanse is not to be hungry. It is to clean out toxins in your body. My cleanse allowed for almost all 'clean' foods. I admit that it was easier for me since I had already been practicing eating clean. However, there is no need to do anything fancy or have any fancy ingredients. If I am hungry, I cannot think. I find it difficult to make healthy decisions. So I was careful to eat my meals and eat lots... and I did not skip a snack if I felt like having it. I ate a healthy snack if I even had a thought that I might crave chocolate later. And if I was still craving, I ate another allowable snack.
- Understand your 'why'. Like anything, if you don't know the reason you are doing something, it is pretty hard to stick to it. My reasons were firm. I want my life back. I want to be able to be physically active again. I want to have the energy to build my business. I want to be actively involved in my young daughter's life and not watch it from the sidelines. I want my passion back (it was there but when you are too tired and not feeling well, it wanes). I want to have the energy and wellness to be involved in giving back to my community. These things aren't happening when I'm not well. And I really want this life because it's what drives my happiness.
- Don't try to change all habits at once. I am a night-time snacker. So instead of trying to not snack at night, I replaced my snack with an allowable food. I learned this one from my good friend and colleague, Christa Steeves of Well Being Coaching. At first, I ate brown rice cakes with almond butter every night. Then I ate a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries each night. And the last week or so, I ate a fruit smoothie with strawberries, mango, and banana or a beet, pear, and ginger smoothie. The smoothies were great because they took some time to finish... almost as long as eating a bag of chips.
- Experiment. Well.... if you are following me on Facebook, you probably know that I burnt supper five times over the past month! And I ruined a few recipes in other ways too. But it was all fun and I now have more knowledge about using ingredients, such as almond flour, that I hadn't used before. I didn't try something new every day... but knowing that I could have a muffin if it had the right ingredients in it motivated me to bake them!
- Choose to be that person. My wonderful husband reminds me of this. I am that person who eats healthy. It's a choice. Remembering that helps.
- Treat yourself. A treat when you are on a cleanse is not the same as a treat when you are not on a cleanse. Typically, a piece of dark chocolate every day is my treat. However, that was a no-no on the cleanse. My food treats throughout the cleanse were really the new muffin recipes with allowable ingredients. Yesterday, though, on my final day of my cleanse, I went to one of the healthiest restaurants in town, Eat Clean Restaurant and Grill. I had a wonderful conversation with Megan, who was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about a cleanse. She helped me choose a meal that was allowable! And it was delicious. Eating out is pretty much not an option when you're on a cleanse, but if you can find a restaurant that has even one item on its menu, you can go there and eat that while on your 30 day cleanse and still socialize.
- Don't feel bad about feeling bad. I talk about this in a lot of my training and coaching. I was able to get through the 30 days without cheating. Had I cheated, I would have had to begin from the first day. That was a motivator for me. However, this time last year, I'm not sure I would have succeeded the first time around. And that's OK. Feeling bad about messing up doesn't get us anywhere. If you don't pull up your socks and start over, you will be that far behind again. So mess up if you must. And then get back on the train. Every day is an opportunity to begin new.
- Share. When you share what you're up to, you create a bit of accountability for yourself. You also can celebrate with others when it's over. And usually support comes along with your sharing. I didn't do this with anyone, but I didn't keep it a secret. And I shared many of my mishaps (burnt suppers) with Facebook friends. It helped to keep it real.
I am totally happy I finished the cleanse. For me, it got me back on track with my eating habits... but more than that, my headaches have decreased, my digestion has improved, and I have higher levels of energy and more focus to live my life and do my work.
And my journey continues...