So, J and I are in the middle of a six-week fast, and other than a few mild attempts, we haven’t killed each other yet.
We are doing our own demented version of The Whole 30, along with a few other weird things, which basically means we are fasting from all dairy, sugar, starch and oil.
Yeah. Pretty much everything.
I’m really not a fan of the F-word, so I like to trick my brain and call it a cleanse. But. I have to say, three weeks into it, it’s definitely a FAST. When you’re emotionally distraught, and PMS-ing in the middle of the bread, chips, and chocolate aisle, trust me. You’re fasting.
No amount of trickery is gonna make those cucumbers taste like chocolate covered bananas.
Sorry, my dear precious, sweet tooth.
In all reality, I’m not a huge fan of “the cleanse” (whatever that means!) either. It just sounds better.
I am Ruthie, and I love to eat.
I will probably never know what it’s like to have JUST. ONE. COOKIE.
(Seriously, do these people even exist??? And if they do, I’m pretty sure they have not had my Mom’s chocolate chip cookies. Not possible!)
I don’t believe in depriving myself of anything that I truly want. But here’s the thing. I want to be healthy, to be balanced, and to have a clear mind, more than I want to stuff my face with cookies. I want to be spiritually connected, and to be a happy Mama. MORE THAN ANYTHING.
Sometimes, a cleanse is the ONLY way to bring me back to all of those things. I don’t obsess about it, and I don’t like to do it often, because well, I really, really like cookies.
Just keepin it real, folks.
I’d much rather focus on nurturing and building up my body, not cleansing it of all the dietary evils out there. Nevertheless, one can’t deny that fasting is good for a person, and there are times when I think a cleanse is necessary, such as:
1. When your life is run by when/where/how you’re going to get your next meal. (or cookie!) This is not a sign of true hunger but rather that your food contains addictive substances, and the chemicals in your brain literally “need” that next high.
2. When your spiritual awareness has become dull or non-existent, and you feel disconnected from God, people, or the present.
3. When you find yourself soley dependent on external sources for a sense of calm, or a feeling of happiness.
Perhaps because of my excessive nature, or perhaps just simply because it’s a good thing to do, I feel this overwhelming need to start over. To cleanse my taste buds. To chill out the brain chemicals. To purge. To come back to CENTER.
And so, here I am.
This is my third time doing a major cleanse/fast, and I feel like I’ve gotten so much better at this thing, than I was the first time. Yes, there have been some fits and withdrawals, (um, NO chocolate, hellooo??) but overall, it’s gotten so much easier.
Here’s a few things that have helped me not to freak while I fast, and I believe they will help you, too.
1. Stay away from food establishments. This one may seem a bit obvious, but the first couple times, I didn’t realize how much it would mess with me, when I would meet a friend at Olive Garden, and then proceed to order my two PLAIN cucumbers, while she ate her pasta primavera and crusty bread, dipped in olive oil. Even though I managed to stay true to my “fast” I ended up feeling hopelessly deprived and depressed about my limited food choices. It’s just unnecessary punishment. Don’t do it. Meet at the park instead. (which brings me to my next point, how convenient!)
2. Get out in nature. Nature has such a powerful effect on the senses, much like cooking food does, but it’s not going to tempt you with the smell of fresh cookies coming out of the oven. It will, however be soothing to your soul, and you will feel rejuvenated to continue on your plan. When you get a hankerin’ for your favorite food vices, get out of the kitchen and into nature. Take a walk. Go for a hike. Sit by the lake. Let the sights and smells of the outdoors comfort you, instead of food.
3. Take up a new hobby. For many of us, eating is a mindless habit, and a subconscious hobby, so it’s important when you are fasting, to replace those habits with something more beneficial and less sabotaging to your health goals. Find something else to fill your time with, other than munching. Sign up for a painting class, rally for a 5k, volunteer at a non-profit, take a photography course, or do something creative, instead.
4. Clean out your closet. While you are cleansing your internal environment, take the opportunity to purge the external, as well. De-clutter your house. Sell your junk. Donate your excess. Along with all the sugars and the food additives, let go of the things in your life that don’t serve you! You’ll be so much happier and feel so much “cleaner.”
5. Say “NO” to food-centered events. This kind of goes with no. 1, but it takes a bit more effort, if you’re a socialite, like I am. It is tempting to go to all the summer potlucks and bbq’s you get invited to, and let me assure you, there will be LOTS of them, when you are “fasting.” Remember this phase of your life is temporary and it’s ok to say no, for a time. Skip the social food events, in favor of things like: movies in the park, dancing, music shows, art walks and anything where food is not the main focus.
6. Partner up! Because, let’s face it, it’s just way more fun to eat cucumbers with a friend, than by yourself, and it’s really nice to have someone, when you’re PMS-ing in the chocolate aisle. Also, it’s hard to strangle someone when they are in IT with you! Team up with a husband, a roomie, someone you just met on an airplane, it could be ANYONE, who is willing to do it with you. Find someone who will remind you of what you want, MOST, not what you crave right now. Pick a partner and a plan, and keep each other on track!
You can do it!
I hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me, have a (somewhat) fun and successful fast!
Lord knows, YOU SHOULD HAVE FUN, while cleansing. (I think!)
And you should definitely not strangle anyone.
So, on with the plan! On with the f-ing fun! And on with your new, shiny-clean self.
(If that doesnt work, you can always write a blog post about the miseries of eating cucumbers instead of cookies…
And then dramatically celebrate and congratulate yourself, for making it halfway!
Just a thought.)