It's January and it seems as if everyone is on a juice detox or a sugar busting plan. I get the need to feel like we're starting fresh, cleaning house so to speak... I think that a reset is a good thing, however going to crazy extremes is almost never the way to create lasting success. Nothing but Green juices, no dairy, no fruit, no carbs, no gluten, no caffeine, no alcohol...it all sounds to me like no fun at all, how long can one go? Oh, and no I'm NOT by any means saying that green juices are bad or sugar is good, it's just that I honestly believe that we need to begin as we plan to go on.
So let's look at WHY detoxes, cleanses and meal plans are so sexy and appealing to people:
- We can go all in and there is an end date - we CAN do this. There is a light at the end of the hole in your belly just waiting to envelop plates full of pasta. Don't we all just love all or nothing?
- They're easy to follow. We just FOLLOW, we don't have to think, learn, practice or do any of those HARD things. It's mindless and we can make one massive blender full of green juice and be good for the day with very little prep and cleanup.
- We believe that we're doing our bodies good. Real food, lots of nutrients - all good and none of the BAD, right!?
PS - we're uber fortunate that our colons and liver cleanse for us daily!
Now let's look at the reality
- We Binge - at the end of the plan/cleanse/detox or whatever we often end up face down in a plate of pasta chasing it back with a bottle of red wine.
- We're back where we started and then some - any weight lost - GAINED. Any sense of confidence or accomplishment gained from the completion of said program - long since forgotten and replaced with a feeling of FAILURE.
- We no smarter - we don't have any more knowledge or tools in our arsenals and we haven't created any healthy habits, we're back to square one.
- We're hungry - enough said
- We're deprived - we are feeling restricted and are dying to have what was OFF LIMITS
- We feel fuzzy and crappy - We may have eliminated food groups and could be missing out on valuable nutrients. We may have reduced calories so drastically that our bodies are saying WTF - I have no energy! If we were feeling super restricted, we may end up in post-cleanse binge and we're likely stuffed and feeling guilty.. That sucks.
So where do we go from here?
FACT - we can't live on processed, heavy food, guzzle bottomless cups of coffee and knock cocktails back at Happy Hour daily and feel or look healthy either! So what is the answer? Well it's not super slick or sexy and it takes good old fashioned education, work, and practice.
- Eat well most of the time (and no, I do not mean Tupperware packaged cold boiled chicken and steamed broccoli) by choosing foods that nourish us that we ENJOY eating, that satisfy us, and that we can see ourselves eating for the long haul, we are building a healthy life, not following a plan that's going to come to an end. If we are always on 'plans' that get too boring to follow or come to an end then we are perpetually on the diet hamster wheel.
- Learn to cook - knowing the way around a kitchen and how to use whole food to create delicious meals that we love will not only keep us excited about creating and enjoying meals, it also takes the reliance off others to keep us healthy and in our happy place.
- Indulge - Have something that we love to eat daily or often and practice doing it in small portions, in doing so, we take away the scarcity mentality around it. Incorporating foods that we love into our lives shouldn't be BAD, it should feel good, no guilt attached. Having what we love takes away the longing to have it, makes us mentally stronger, and more confident in knowing that we hold the power to have a little and STOP. This takes work and practice but is SO worth the effort.
- Be mindful - Learning to really listen to the body's cues is powerful. If we can slow down and take the time to understand our emotions, we realize that we have the power to make the choices that serve our goals. Recognizing when we are bored, hungry, full, anxious, stressed, angry, sad, or happy is so key to knowing ourselves and what we are really looking for. Once we realize that we truly can't stuff or starve our emotions we can set ourselves free of guilt and shame.
- Love yourself in the process. We aren't always going to master our minds, or do it overnight. Sometimes we won't get it, sometimes we'll go overboard, we all do, we're human. Hating on ourselves just lowers our confidence and enables limiting thoughts about ourselves and our abilities. We must move on, and take each bite one at a time. Each successful moderate decision is a win and we continue to build the mental muscle and a healthy relationship with food.
I'd sure love to hear your moderation victories! Please share your wins so that you can inspire others to keep working towards living a maintainable healthy and happy life.
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