For the past 10 days, I have been whining my way through Dr. John Douillard's Colorado Cleanse. This cleanse is amazing and meant to spark your digestive fire, reinvigorate your lymphatic system, bring your intestinal villi back to life and flush toxins out of your body. I need all of this to happen. By getting my digestion back on track and healing my leaky gut, my food allergies should go away. And that’s why I’m putting myself through 14 days of hell....er, I mean a highly restrictive diet. In the end, I should be able to eat all the cheese I want – that’s what I'm telling myself at least!
Anyway, after reading Dr. Douillard's Colorado Cleanse guidelines, I realized I was going to need some support. I was going to need someone to make sure I stayed on the virtuous path. You see, I’m addicted to food. I LOVE food and out here in L.A., we have loads and loads of flavor-packed options. I can get almost anything from American to Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican – you name it, we’ve got it out here and it’s good. Real good. Oh man, my mouth is watering just thinking of all the spicy goodness and culinary pleasures I will be able to consume in five days. OK, must stay focused ...
So yeah, I needed some support. I needed a health buddy or accountability partner (as is the current buzzword). I needed someone to encourage and inspire me and remind me of the end goal. I needed someone who would get in my face if I tried to make a run to one of my favorite local restaurants for a burrito, some curry, a juicy burger or some crazy good Italian food.
I described in detail the benefits of this cleanse and enlisted my husband as my health buddy. I told him there was no way I could do this without him because when it comes to food, I can easily falter if I’m not being watched. Much like my toddler with the cookie jar, an eye would have to be on me at all times.
I was right. After the first day, I was having my doubts. In fact, I think I said, “We can’t do this. Let’s go get some chicken tikka masala.” But my health buddy was there. He reminded me of the deep healing I would receive by sticking to the cleanse. He reminded me of the added benefit that he and I would shed some of the baby weight we’ve both been carrying for three years. He reminded me that it was for the greater good, plus he was eating the same limited diet I was so, together, we could do this.
Day 3 and 4 – now, I’m starting to get angry. I snapped at my Pilates instructor. My blood sugar seems up and down. I’m really hungry ... although I’m not. I’m not actually feeling hunger pangs. I’m not physically hungry. I’m just feeling strange as my body tries to readjust itself from years of bad programming. In fact, I've been full of energy the last few days. My body isn't bogged down by heavy digestive processing. I’m using my fuel efficiently and burning the calories. My eyes are bright and my skin clear. My body is actually working. BUT, my mind still thinks it’s hungry. We’re so used to eating out of boredom, celebration, exhaustion or just habit that we forget to observe the body’s cues to see if we’re actually hungry.
A great thing about this cleanse is that it also provides instructions for observing your hunger; for understanding it on a deep level. I’ve learned a great deal in these past 10 days about how I obsess over food. Yes, my obsession is for organic, pasture-fed, whole foods but it’s still an obsession. As soon as I’ve finished one meal, I'm thinking about what to make for the next. I live and breathe food. Most of the programs I watch on TV are food-centric shows. I have an eating disorder – I love food too much.
Back to day 4, after having snapped at my trainer. I tell her I think I can’t do it. I explain what completing the cleanse could mean for my body. She looks me square in the eyes and tells me that I can do this. Her gaze makes it clear that she’s expecting me to complete the cleanse. She knows I can do this. In fact, we laugh about how I am usually the one encouraging my clients with their health, fitness and lifestyle challenges through health coaching and yet, I’m saying I can’t do this. No, she won't allow that from me and I know I can’t let her down … or myself for that matter. I march on. I now have a second health buddy to keep me on track.
Day 7 – at my best friend’s house. It’s almost lunchtime and she’s asking me how the cleanse is going. I tell her that each day is getting easier and easier, but that I want food. Just real food, meaning the food I want to eat and not the food I have to eat. I’m listing off all of the things I've been craving since the cleanse. Strangely, they are things I have never eaten or would never eat given how truly gross and bad they are for my body. I tell her that I’ve thought about throwing in the towel. I’m halfway through and don’t know if I can stick it out. She asks again what this cleanse is supposed to be doing for me. After saying the words aloud, I realize, this cleanse has the potential to heal my illness or, at a minimum, set the stage for optimal healing. Just discussing the benefits is a powerful wake-up call that invigorates my resolve to continue. Having the added bonus of my friend directly tell me I can do this, reminding me that I’m halfway home, seals the deal. And now I have a third healthy ally - someone who holds me to a high standard, knowing I can reach this goal.
So, we’re back to Day 10. As with the past few days, I woke up with loads of energy and no blood sugar roller coasters. In fact, I forgot to eat breakfast until 10:30 this morning. In the past, I would have eaten two meals and a snack by 10:30; always feeling sluggish, mentally foggy and just plain tired. I made it through the first few days, through the toughest part of the cleanse and am almost across the finish line. I don’t have cravings. My day isn't spent thinking about food. My body and mind feel clean and clear. I AM going to make it to the end ... all with a little help from my health buddies to whom I am eternally grateful.
Learn more about why you should enlist health/diet buddies or fitness partners.
What do you think? Would you recruit a health buddy? Do you have someone who keeps you on track already? Share your story below. I’d love to hear it.