2013 Wellness Challenge Week 6 Recap:
Cleanse Make healthy choices
Cleanses are popular in the beginning of the New Year as people make resolutions to lose weight and look great by forming new healthy habits. Plus, most people are feeling exhausted and bloated after the heaviness of holiday foods; the prospect of cleansing sounds appealing.
Cleansing is also popular as a seasonal activity as a way to give your organs a rest and reset your internal system so that it can sync with the changing external conditions. Cleanse enthusiasts will cleanse four times a year near the beginning of each change of season as defined by the equinox or solstice.
There are many reasons to cleanse, and honestly, sometimes you just feel like you need the detox after a bout of particularly poor eating.
The types of cleanses abound, but I really only believe in the type that will help you establish new healthy patterns even after the cleanse is over. This type promotes whole, fresh foods, nothing processed – fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some lean meat.
I’ve cleansed once for 14 days on this program and although the benefits of the cleanse itself were questionable, the long-term effect it had on my eating habits changed my life forever.
When I cleansed the first time, I paid around $350 to be part of the program and completed it with a group of around 25 people. We had weekly meetings, a forum online to connect and ask questions and a manual to help guide us in our new food decision making.
After finishing this program, I was confident I could repeat the process again on my own. I was forgetting one tiny component that I could not replicate: the power of the group.
I’ve tried in earnest two times since my first cleanse program to repeat the process to no avail. This last week was no different. What I’ve learned is money (for me) is motivation. And I need a group of people who will go along for the ride.
I started the week off on the right foot, preparing by heading to the grocery store with a list and a plan. I bought all the nutritious, delicious food and prepared some meals in advance so I could take them with me on the go. I let everyone know I was cleansing. And then NOTHING sounded good. Except cheese.
My willpower was weak. It’s hard to cleanse when the people around you aren’t in alignment. The leftovers from the Super Bowl party we had lying around didn’t help either, despite the fact I gave half of them away. Then there was the free chocolate event I was invited to and two dinners with friends at a cupcake lounge and a barbecue joint. Every part of my life was going to derail me from my cleansing intentions!
I decided to modify my wellness challenge instead and reframed my cleanse into a make healthy food choices challenge. I chucked the cleanse idea out the window while still preparing some of the healthy recipes when I felt like it. But I also gave in to cheese and chocolate. I love food too much to not indulge and I didn’t have a big enough reason to cleanse in the first place (like necessary weight loss) other than I felt like it. Which is a good reason, but not motivation enough apparently.
Interestingly, I did start to act on strong urges to clean, which haven’t been present in my life for a long time. I was cleaning out closets, cleaning up surfaces and keeping things clean. My cleanse intention was alive and well in an external capacity. I was scraping away at the excess present in my outside environment while consciously choosing to ignore my internal map. Unfortunately, the mirroring phenomenon works the other way around. I can try and make the outside spiffy and shiny, but if the inside doesn’t match, it will all be in vain.
That is not to say that I’m unhappy with my new cleaning ways. I much prefer to live in a tidy house and the space feels so much more inviting and free. But the 2013 Wellness Challenge has finally provided it’s first real challenge to me and revealed a big step to overcome. I must find a way to connect with my internal compass, keep it clean and follow my heart. I’ve been influenced by external forces for far too long. So next week, it’s back to the meditation cushion.
My struggles to maintain the cleanse and the subsequent compensating with physical cleaning has influenced me to reimagine what a cleanse really means, it’s purpose in my life and how I can create a customized program that encompasses all aspects of mind, body and soul. Stay tuned.
As for my progress with making healthy choices, sometimes only eating half the cupcake, adding greens to your nachos and choosing an apple and almond butter over a peanut butter sandwich are big wins when you’re feeling beat. Celebrate the small steps and you’ll be on your way toward lasting change.
Here’s the link to the cleansing program I was going to follow this time: Whole Living 2013 Action Plan.
Have you ever cleansed before? What did your cleanse look like – internal, external or a combination of both?
Image credit: http://www.afrobella.com
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