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How I Cheated and Still Managed to Pull Through

Jun 27, 2017

By now you’re probably expecting some juicy details about a love affair gone wrong but heck, been there, done that. I’m here to share with you my detox gone wrong and the one thing that prevented me from giving up completely.

As with most things in life, starting off with good intentions is key. Every year, I detox twice a year to “reset”. I like doing it because it helps me to get out of my head and back into my body. Most people ask me why I even bother with a detox and think I do it for weight loss. I never do it for that reason. I firmly believe that if you practice clean eating most of the time AND work through your emotional baggage, healthy weight will follow. When I detox, I sink into a level of mental and emotional stability and clarity which I normally don’t have when I laden my meals with gluten, sugar and alcohol.

On to the next most popular question I’m often asked when I’m on a detox. “What kind of a detox are you on?” I don’t follow any particular fad or diets because I do believe in intuitive eating. However, a word of caution here: intuitive eating only works if you’ve done the work to get to know yourself and your body well. Otherwise, intuitive eating can easily become an excuse to eat whatever you feel like which is obviously detrimental to your health. So detox is a means to an end. Getting to know your body better through a detox is the highlight here. I also receive guidance from my Naturopath so that I’m professionally supported through this intense process. My detox simply consists of no caffeine, no gluten, no soy, no sugar, no dairy, no red meats (except organic beef; I am also allowed organic eggs, wild fish, organic chicken and turkey), no alcohol and herbal and homeopathic supplementation.

Starting off my 21 detox journey feels heavy and weighted in the beginning but I also manage to find some joy in prepping and planning for the 3 weeks ahead. For the most part, by the time my prep is complete, I am super charged and ready to go minus the anticipation of caffeine withdrawal, which I always dread.  Reminding myself to keep my schedule fairly light during the first week is something I often forget to do and regret it later. Building in some nap or down time in the afternoons is important as your body redirects its energy towards dealing with withdrawal symptoms.

So. It’s no secret that I’m a seasoned “detoxer”. I usually chronicle my journey on social media, in part to keep myself accountable and also to share exciting recipes and products that I’ve tried. I’ve managed to pull off my detoxes without glitches in the past and this year, I was expecting it to be no different. In fact, I considered myself a pro by now.

10 days into my detox, I started to feel sick and developed flu like symptoms. At first I thought to myself “no biggie. It’s probably a healing crisis”. A what?? Very simply put, sometimes people experience a phenomenon in the midst of a detox called a healing crisis, which occurs when eliminating chronic toxins from your body. A healing crisis can show up as cold/flu symptoms, headaches, bowel issues, etc. But I’ve been through a healing crisis in the past and typically mine lasts no more than 24 hours and this was going on for a couple of days so I gathered I caught a cold from my teenagers.

Well! That was a curve ball in my perfectly orchestrated plan. I had a major deadline to meet for work and I had a decision to make. Of course I gravitated towards coffee as my only hope in being able to plough through the day ahead – uugghhh. The thought of failing did not appeal to me one bit and I agonized over it. What’s worse is that while I succumbed to drinking coffee that day, I did not forgive myself for days later. I felt like a complete failure even though I was still adhering to all of the other detox rules. The end result? I managed to meet my deadline but the guilt consumed me.

Do you ever do that? Take one small setback and catastrophize it? What I’ve come to realize is that I do fall into that trap once in a while and the last time that happened to me was when I couldn’t nurse my youngest. Oh how much I struggled with that! I tried really hard but at the end, after beating myself over it for months, I finally surrendered. In doing so, I needed a lot of validation from others first that it was totally okaaayyy to give in.

In such moments what I often forget to do is exercise self compassion. The good news though is that with each failing moment, I’m quicker to recognize the need for self compassion as I continue to build awareness around it. While I can get into the whole debate about self compassion versus self criticism and why shame does not lead to change based on Dr. Kristin Neff’s work, I will spare you the details because that would take me forever. For now, just trust that self compassion trumps self criticism any day and actually leads to progress.

Once I forgave myself for cheating on my detox with coffee and got over that hump, I became more mindful of what I was putting into my body partially due to guilt and partially due to increased awareness. The thing with failure is that if done right, you grow from it. We often lose sight of that big picture. Failure can lead to success.

Today is my last day of detox and while I can say it wasn’t successful compared to my past ones, I won’t. Instead, I will say that I persevered and didn’t give up. Following through with a detox with mistakes is better than not having done one at all in my books. Plus, I’m walking away with lasting practices that will elevate me one step closer to a better me-coffee or not!

Your turn! Why not challenge yourself a bit more? You can’t really go wrong with a detox. The end result is worth every single coffee I’ve missed in the past 10 days and the glasses of red wine I’ve declined in the past 21 days. Message me here! And I’m happy to walk you through it so that you’re summer ready!

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