There Is No "Try"
For the past four weeks-28 full days- I've been on a Juice Fast. I've felt better than I have in a long time. I have gone through the proverbial "cleanse and detoxification" process- pretty much with ease. Oh, I won't say it was all easy, but in hindsight, I can see it was probably easier than I would have ever thought possible. Admittedly, the first few days were the toughest, as I was convinced I would never survive without solid food in my stomach. The truth is, my tummy stayed pretty full, between the juices and the water I had to drink. But I was solidly convinced I would never survive not enjoying the taste and texture of my favorite foods. And I was sure I'd feel horribly slighted when I opted to miss several dinner invitations, one cook-out and our family reunion, all of which were centered, of course, around food. I've always known, but it was confirmed, that I eat when I'm not even hungry. I eat just to please my mouth. But during this past month, I realized that just about- well, let's not exaggerate here- about a hundred times a day, my thoughts had turned to food...again. Normally, during those times, I would go to the kitchen, find a bite or two of whatever was available in the fridge, and walk away. I was satisfied. That is, I was satisfied until the next thought of food entered my head, which would sometimes be just an hour or two.
My doctor has a sign posted in his office which reads,
"Just because you are hungry, doesn't mean you have to eat.
And when you aren't hungry, you don't have to eat, either!"
How appropriate for me. How appropriate for maybe you, too?
The truth is, this juice fast has made me realize my life is consumed with thoughts of food. There's another saying I've latched onto:
"Do you eat to live?? Or....do you live to eat?!" (My eyes shift back and forth, sideways, when I hear that one, as I'm sure everyone's looking directly at me.) There's no doubt I have lived to eat. I just absolutely love, love, love eating. And let me add, the pleasure of being able to eat at a restaurant- where someone else can cook for me, serve it to me, and clean up the mess afterward, is my idea of a "hot" date!
Ah...but I digress.
I had originally committed to a ten-day fast. The truth is, I wasn't sure I could last the whole ten days. But I went out on a limb and told several people I was going to begin on May 1st. I was so uncertain of my own tenacity that I didn't tell them I would strive to last ten days. That way, I could save face- not if, but- when I quit. As I began the first few days, I was even angry with myself for having told anyone at all. In retrospect, though, it was definitely the smartest thing I could've done, as it held me accountable to someone other than myself. I know me well enough to know: I would have taken the disappointment in stride if it was just me affected. But, the bigger reasons I hung in there were for my children and my husband. I love them all so much and wanted them all to be proud of me. I, in no way, wanted to disappoint any of them. And I know that each of them quietly wished I would take better control of my eating habits and live healthier and longer.
During the first few days, I ignored my bathroom scale. I knew if I deprived myself of solid food, and visited the scale daily only to find 1/2 pound or so gone, it wouldn't be enough of an accomplishment to keep me motivated. Instead, I had promised myself I would visit the scale only if I made a full 7 days. So I continued, and as each day came to a close, I'd rush into bed, to "put myself out of my (imagined) misery," because when I awakened the following morning, I would be able to say, "I made another day." And that was a great strategy, as it turned out. Because on rising each morning, that's exactly what I told myself. And the momentum had begun. Make it through another day and in the morning, it's a new day. Make it through that day, go to bed, and in the morning, it's a new day. And so on.
Once I got to day five or six, I had told myself I just had to hang in there then and that I could certainly get to day seven, at which point I could weigh myself. So I did. When I stepped on the scale the 8th morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see I had dropped ten pounds! Wow...I was pumped! Then, I told myself, "You can make it to the 10 days you originally committed to now!" And I went for it. In retrospect, I can see now, I had begun to feel better and better, as the cleansing and healing was taking place in my body. When I made it to day 10, I ignored the scale. And I told myself, "Well, you can make it to day 14 now, and get to weigh again!" So I did. And then when I got to day 14, I said, "Well, now you can make it to 21, so you can weigh again." And then, of course, "Well, you can now do the entire month of May!"
Last night, the 29th of May, I was still juice fasting. Unfortunately, I allowed thoughts of one of my favorite foods to get the better of me. Normally, I would push the thoughts away as they entered my head. But this time, I didn't. I will admit that I, in part, consciously chose to eat. I began a debate within my own mind and convinced myself that I had done so well, juice fasting for four whole weeks. (Which I have) I convinced myself that I could eat. (which I did) And I convinced myself that I can start juice fasting again on June 1st- just 2 days away- in order to continue with the healing of my body. (Which I will) For a while, I felt a little disappointed in myself for buckling. Especially since the pleasure from eating was so short-lived. But I'm past all that now. The truth is, any disappointment I initially felt is totally negated by my sense of accomplishment. I've lost 22 pounds of ugly weight, slimmed my waistline, arms, back, shoulders, hips, lessened the tremendous burden I had placed on my heart, lungs and other vital organs, and gained a whole new sense of how to eat more healthily in the future in order to maintain a healthier, more productive lifestyle. And just as importantly, I've reminded myself that I can, now, finish up what I orginally started.
My advice to anyone reading this who is considering a juice fast to cleanse and heal their body (of which, the wonderful by-product is weight loss!):
Do it!!! You'll never regret it. And don't believe you can't. For you might not know it yet, but I know....you can. You can! Whether you will or not, is up to only you.
You will...or you won't. There is no "try."