Do you know the voice?
The one that often berates you “for your own good.” The one that sees only your problem area when you look at yourself in the mirror, the one that shames you for indulging in something you really really wanted. Yes, my version of that very voice, made herself known loud and clear the other day.
I used to be overweight. I was a rolly polly kid. I was a pudgy teenager. I became an overweight adult until the day that the nurse weighing me in for my physical remarked “You don’t look like you weigh that much!” From that day forward, I purposely worked to lose 40 pounds and for the most part it has remained off for five years. In a way, the losing was the easy part. The thing that the diet books and Weight Watchers doesn’t tell you is how do you change on the inside to maintain the way you look on the outside.
So I set about to develop a relationship with this new version of myself. I read, I studied, I listened, and I eventually created a health counseling practice that reflects what I most needed to find. I did battle with the Voice and thought that I had won her over. That is until the other day…
My favorite restaurant Cafe Gratitude began offering a free Juice Club at the beginning of 2010. The idea is that for the first week of every month you do a juice cleanse only consuming liquids like juices, smoothies, puree soups, herbal teas, and nut milks. Now, I am not a cleansing virgin. I have done the 21 day Quantum Wellness cleanse several times (the one that got Oprah to be vegan for 21 days) but the last time around it felt a bit old hat, it was a bit easy. No gluten, no animal products, no caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no problem. When I read about the idea of a juice cleanse I was interested. So I did my research, found recipes for smoothies and soups that offered protein and tons of nutrients, I shopped for fresh fruits and veggies over the weekend and I began on April 1. I felt completely prepared for seven days or so I thought.
On day one, the voice appeared. She stomped her feet. She pushed. She shoved. She yelled at the top of her lungs. She made it clear that she would not be ignored. She wanted food. It did not matter that she wasn’t really hungry. It did not matter that she had plenty of choice. She just wanted what she wanted and she just would not shut up. What was I to do? I couldn’t quit after, I kid you not, only 2 hours.
So what I decided to do was just sit with her as she threw what could only be described as a temper tantrum. I let her rage, I let her scream and yell and throw herself on the floor and I just sat with her, I held her, I made sure her physical needs were being met but more importantly, I listened for what was beneath the angry emotions. Surprisingly, what I discovered beneath the tantrum was fear.
“I am afraid of being hungry! I will starve!”
The moment you feel hungry then I will feed you delicious, hearty smoothies and warm yummy soups that will fill you up. Remember you like soup!
” This is too hard! I am afraid that I will fail so why even try???”
This is just temporary, just seven days but if it is more than you can handle than we will stop. In my eyes you will not be a failure. The success is in the trying, the rest is only feedback.
“I am afraid that I won’t be nourished!”
We did the research, we planned carefully, we stocked the refrigerator full of healthy food. We can always get more, there will always be plenty.
Little by little she settled. I can’t say that it has been easy but today is day four and the voice has calmed. She shouts every once in awhile, just to make sure that I am listening but when she discovers that I am still here, she is good. I am only half way done but have discovered an unexpected bonus of doing this cleanse. The thing I couldn’t have anticipated is that I can trust myself completely. That learning alone is worth the giving up solid food for a week.
(Though to be completely honest, I am totally looking forward to a scarfing down a huge burrito next week. Oh or maybe just some peanut butter and jelly on toasted Mariposa Bakery bread. No, no a bowl of oatmeal with toasted walnuts and fruit.)