Not your ordinary start to 2019…
Typically, I start each new year with a head ache, foggy brain and dry mouth. The routine mindset - today I’m going to feel average (to poor!) and I just have to get through it. I busy myself filling in any blanks from the night prior. As the day progresses, I indulge in comfort eating, pain killers, and swear off binge drinking. Then as the sun sets, I’m reminded that a little glass of wine will certainly take the edge off and help me sleep better. Preferably red wine.
The second of January? Well that’s a better day, that’s a day when I can get my head around a few New Years resolutions and maybe even take myself for a swim. Nothing too strenuous mind you, I’ve still got recovery to be doing. That being said, January in Australia (or on the Nth American snow fields) is most often a month of play. That holiday feeling lingers, so we don’t want to go starting anything too healthy. Not just yet. Maybe, we think, just maybe, Febfast is a good idea?
Given all of the above, you can imagine my resistance when I was asked to co-lead a cleanse program starting on January 1st this year. I could think of all sorts of reasons why this was NOT a good idea. I mean not only is starting a cleanse with a hangover terrible news, BUT, I also had a Byron Bay holiday adventure planned. If you ask me, cleansing and holidaying absolutely do not go together. How could they? Holidays are for throwing caution to the wind, replacing the amber light (and the red light) with green, on all fronts and thoroughly going for it. All the booze, all the food, all the care free, act now, worry later stuff
That being said, January 1st, 2019 fell 11 days post my walking out of my Corporate career to focus on the health and wellness field. Which had me thinking, isn’t this the ultimate test of my commitment to my new chapter? My head screamed yes, you have to do this. My heart and my gut, well they had other ideas. Stomach churning, fear, trepidation and as I said above…… so much resistance. I ignored it all and quite firmly said yes, I can do that. I felt compelled to. Then I got busy thoroughly prepping, inclusive of co-writing a 50 page ebook. Yes it seems, once I’m in, I’m all in.
I’ve only said the word cleanse so far. It sounds harmless enough. It even can be. doTERRA have created a complete health reset cleanse program, via a supplement protocol that does most of the heavy lifting. In three phases, this cleanse and restore program activates, restores and renews our internal systems. You can simply combine the supplements with a focus on healthy eating and have incredible results. Whilst this was an option, I decided if I was going to do it, I would do it properly. That as a leader of the cleanse, I would most certainly set a bright, shiny example of the full embodiment of health. So here’s what that meant: the doTERRA cleanse and restore supplement protocol + vegan diet, no preservatives, no refined sugar, gluten free, alcohol free, caffeine free. PLUS! Let’s weave in an array of supportive cleansing protocols using essential oils and holistic detox practices. Marie Kondo, landed in our lives right on cue.
As New Years Eve approached, I was feeling all sorts of awful. Let’s just say there was quite a lot of celebrating on the way out of said Corporate Career. Plus Xmas obvs. As I limped toward the cleanse, I even found myself looking forward to it. So much so that I decided to start a day early on January 31st. At least on the alcohol front. Way to start a cleanse? Bright eyed and bushy tailed! For me that meant staying home on NYE. I mean I’m strong but I’m not that strong. This was a first, a never have I ever moment. Home alone on NYE, drinking Kombucha and embracing all sorts of spiritual New Years (hippy style) endeavours. I wrote in my journal, dealt out my Oracle cards, used oils, crystals sage and more. It was really quite a busy night. Oh and then I even managed to watch the midnight fireworks.
New Years day saw me jump out of bed and grab my pooch for sunrise. On reflection, Bondi beach is not a great location for sober sunrise viewers on NYD. Just me and all the kids who hadn’t been to bed yet. I smugly considered how they would be feeling in a few hours time, as I held my nose to avoid the putrid smells coming my way. It wasn’t the best sunrise I’ve ever witnessed, but my pride made it an enjoyable endeavour just the same.
The first few days of the new year continued on kinda breezily. Although I didn’t do a whole lot of seeing other people. I ran, I swam, I did yoga. Then on the 3rd of Jan, I got in the car and started the long drive North. I had a night in Belingen at a Meditation centre - perfect. When I arrived in Bryon Bay the following day I checked into my airbnb and stocked up on lots of healthy eats. And Kombucha. Is it just me, or is Kombucha the best invention ever as an alternative to other fermented substances?! When my friends joined me a couple of days later, I was in a routine of sorts. Gratefully, these friends are health lovers & not big drinkers, so they were exactly the right kind of company. The one night we dined out and they partook in boozing, I indulged in a mocktail. I felt very guilty though. I mean sugar!
Before I knew it my 10 day trip was over and I had survived just fine. Not only that, but instead of coming home feeling a little heavier, I had a sneaking suspicion I may have lost a little bit of weight. Plus, I did so much yoga I could see new definition in my arms. Dare I say it, I was beginning to feel like this cleanse thing was a good idea. Sure I didn’t feel like going out to alcohol infused dinners or parties. But the cravings and the resistance were no longer so present. In their place was a decluttering wizard with high concentration and a boatload of energy. Thanks to all the nourishment I’d been feeding my mind, body and soul, I had indeed started 2019 with a bang.
Of course February had to roll around eventually. On January 31st, I took my measurements and my after photo. I was honestly shocked at the change in me after just 30 days. It was like my body was still mine, but it had been shrunk. This, despite absolutely no limits enforced when it came to quantity of food (which frankly made this process much easier than a diet - yes I’ve done plenty of those in my time). Also, gone was my desire to return to ‘normal’ eating/drinking.
As a breast cancer survivor, I’ve long known that inflammation in the body is a bad idea. It’s a known factor in so many diseases and the best way to reduce it, is to stick to an anti inflammatory diet and reduce the toxic load in your life. Which as it turns out, is exactly what I’d achieved during the cleanse. A diet high in leafy greens, fresh fruits and veg, plant based protein, legumes, nuts and the elimination of many highly inflammatory vices. Alcohol and coffee, my good friends, you are no good for me. Maybe I should take this way of living more seriously and consider aspects of it longer term?
On February first, I had my first real test. My brother in laws 50th birthday party. I could have easily chosen this day to celebrate the end of the cleanse. Something in me wasn’t having it though. Instead I decided to test myself. To use the opportunity to discover how it would feel to fully embrace the celebration, to focus on having fun and resist the cake and champagne. I didn’t go along thinking there is NO WAY I will be strict tonight. I chose instead to just be in discovery mode. What happened? At 1am, I said goodbye to the birthday boy, who assumed I had been drinking and would stay at mums up the road. I felt like a true champion when I revealed that I was actually driving home, having not had any alcohol. Boom!
As I write this it’s February 25th and I have no end date for doing any sort of ’finishing’ what I’ve come to think of as a lifestyle. I really appreciate how much more clear headed I feel. My moods are better. I feel slimmer and healthier. My inner critic has retreated too, which is huge for me, as I’m used to living with that dreaded voice I term ‘Debbie Downer’. Debbie’s had a break before mind you, and I know from experience she could return in a hot minute. Which I guess is why I’m determined to take a lot more time out from her this time. To really work on observing my actions and their consequences. Which have a super positive correlation right now.
Will this all come crashing to an abrupt end? It’s possible, I can’t predict the future. But, I do now know, It’s interesting and even fun on the other side of numbing with food and alcohol. I wouldn’t call it easy though. Even as I’m writing this I’m filled with doubt about publishing it. I worry about being considered boring. Maybe you’re even thinking that about me right now.? Truth - I’ve always had a strong desire to be liked, to be popular, to be in the in crowd. And sometimes numbing is still be the most appealing thing I can think of. So let’s agree that this is just a post about my life at a moment in time. February, 2019.
For the record, here’s my current status: Today, I’m taking a break from drinking and I’m focusing on a largely whole food, plant based way of eating. Probably tomorrow too. This way, I get to choose every day, whether or not this is true for me, or if I want to evolve it. Which feels liberating and empowering, rather than restrictive.
If you like what you’ve heard and want to start a cleanse (or even try a lifestyle change), let me know. I have all the tips and resources to support you along the way. If it’s drinking you want to take a break from, there’s a podcast I’ve found incredibly valuable. Get your hands on ‘Take a Break’ by Rachel Hart, she is full of wisdom and deep thoughts. I honestly think listening to her on my long drive North and South is a big part of why I’ve felt so strong and sure embracing this endeavour. So big thanks Rach, and big thanks Yvette Luciano for the recommendation.