27 March 2013

Getting What You Want from a Spring Cleanse

I did my first cleanse in the fall of 2011, not knowing much about what to expect. I didn't have many ideas about what I wanted to get out of it, other than in a general sense (i.e. get healthier). And, I had *no* idea that a cleanse was only partially related to nutrition.

Since I've had more time to explore cleanses, I thought I'd share with you some of my criteria for a "good" one, as well as some thoughts as I prepare for a 7-day spring cleanse I'm starting this coming Sunday.

If you're about to embark on a spring cleanse yourself, hopefully this will give you some useful things to consider about before you begin.

My criteria for a "good" cleanse 
  • I must be able to eat actual, solid food
  • The food must be somewhat simple to prepare, preferably in advance
  • The food must be possible to transport and eat on the run (not ideal I know, but it's reality)
  • I must have enough energy to be able to keep up my exercise program (since it's a primary stress reliever)
  • I should still be able to enjoy eating out with friends
  • Any recommended supplements should be readily available (e.g. at Whole Foods)
I no longer entertain the idea of doing a cleanse that does not meet these criteria, because there's no point.  I've learned to listen to what does and doesn't seem to work for me.
My upcoming spring cleanse
I'm not going to share which cleanse I'm starting on Sunday yet--I promise to blog about it when it's over (and possibly during the week if I feel called to). But, here's what I hope to get out of this one:
  1. Lose 3-5 pounds, to get me back on track to losing all the weight I've put on over the past few years from emotional eating (a reasonable goal)
  2. Get me back off caffeine, which I'd done well with until recently, when it took over my life more than ever due to stress and a busy schedule
  3. Force me to slow down and take more time for self-care (again!)
And here are my answers to the suggested, pre-cleanse journaling questions:
  • My 3 most physically toxic behaviors: binging / overeating, drinking alcohol, caffeine
  • My 3 most toxic habits of mind: self-criticism, pessimism, thinking I need to be busy to feel safe
  • My 3 most toxic relationships: with myself, with my work, with people who are trying to be supportive and help me during a difficult time
  • What my life would look and feel like without these behaviors, habits, and relationships: empty and meaningless. It's therefore necessary not to give them up, but to explore and change how I react to them.
Which is pretty much the story of my life: battling my own internal demons. I've been reading in The Gift of Our Compulsions that fighting one's demons is pretty futile, and that engaging with them in a respectful, forgiving conversation is the key to long-lasting self-acceptance and peace. Perhaps that should be goal #4, or at least part of the self-care I explore in #3.

Comments welcome. Stay tuned....

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