Sometimes life demands that we push ourselves way beyond our comfort zone. We can accomplish incredible things or even fail miserably but learn the lesson of a lifetime in a relatively short amount of focused time.
In the fitness world we call this “burst training” or Tabata training. Tabata training involves going all out for cycles of 20 seconds of intense activity followed by 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes. It’s proving to be more effective than the traditional thinking that would have us spending hours at the gym or on the treadmill.
My personal version of “burst training” during the last month included a 21 Day Dietary Detox, creating an e-book, starting a coaching program, and holding down my day job. While we all juggle projects, family, and jobs, when I mentioned detox to anyone their immediate reaction was, “I could never do that!”
I get it. I had the same sentiment six months ago when my functional medicine doctor told me I needed to give up sugar, flour, wheat, pasta, and essentially everything I relied on to get me through the day.
Admittedly, I went kicking and screaming into this new world order. But as I started to experience the benefits of adopting these guidelines and read the science behind it, I became convinced this was a better strategy than continuing on my current course, which left me feeling fat and fuzzy.
In my effort to sustain this new way of eating, I initially allowed myself some leeway to eat a few of the “forbidden foods ” without guilt or judgment. My results were good but I was not making the great strides in svelteness I had been lead to believe I could achieve.
In their fabulous book, It Starts With Food, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig explain it like this. Imagine you are allergic to cats and have 9 of them in your house. If you find a new, loving home for 7 of them but still keep 2, you’ll still experience an allergic reaction to cats.
When our bodies are unable to tolerate certain foods, we have to remove the usual suspects completely in order for the body to heal. They can be gradually re-introduced one at a time. But at the beginning, we have to eliminate all of them to pinpoint the culprits.
Usually when we think of food allergies we think of someone who can’t eat peanuts or shellfish or consume dairy products without causing immediate distress. But many of us have reactions to foods we aren’t even aware of. The top allergy producing foods are gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, and citrus. Who knew?
Consuming these foods once in a while will probably not kill us. But consuming them on a daily basis and often times at every meal can keep us in a constant state of inflammation. We may think feeling bloated, experiencing indigestion, or feeling gassy, just comes with the territory. Or better yet, age.
I’m here to tell you it’s not normal. You can and deserve to feel great at any age.
Am I suggesting you run out and get tested for food allergies? No. But if you are curious, you can become your own detective.
This is where detox comes in. Now I am not suggesting you detox immediately. In fact I wouldn’t suggest detoxing until you are completely prepared to do so and have medical or nutritional support people to oversee the process.
I had been working with my doctor for three months before I had the guts to detox. I also have a peer coach in my Dynamic Eating Psychology program who is a certified nutritionist and she cautioned me about the downside of detoxing if I was not prepared.
For 21 days I basically ate vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and poultry. Days 8-15 all animal products were eliminated. This forced me to discover all kinds of new veggies, hummus, and other exquisite foods that I had never acknowledged before. I also ate really interesting things for breakfast. (Peas, poultry, and pears, anyone?)
The result was I felt better, lighter, leaner, or more in tune with my body than I had in decades. Admittedly, a couple of days, I also felt hungrier than I’d felt in decades.
Bob’s perspective may have been different. Like the 30-day 500 Words a Day Blog-a-Thon in January, he’d probably say results varied depending on the degree of difficulty and amount of deprivation I was experiencing sticking to the plan. For the record, my meltdown happened on Day 9.
In the next series of posts I’ll share with you one of the following Top 10 Take Aways from 21 Days of Detox. Because they each deserve their own blog post, I’ll be serving them to you in bite-sized, digestible portions over the next couple of weeks. For now, I’ll leave you with a sneak peek:
1. Freedom through discipline
2. Eat high quality foods.
3. Less is more.
4. Trust the process.
5. The way out is through.
6. Your body talks. Your job is to listen.
7. Hunger happens.
8. Sleep solves most problems.
9. Invoke the sacred. Accept grace. Give gratitude.
10. You are what you eat. (All we are saying is give peas a chance.)