I stopped dieting and calorie-counting a few years ago. I realized that my attempts to slim down were rooted in self-loathing rather than self-love. I knew that the only way to combat that was to truly love myself — as soon as I did, I learned that my size was perfect for me.
One thing I never shied away from, though, was healthy living. Instead of fad-dieting — like I had done so many times in the past — I was simply eating better, consistently. Not for weight loss, but for health purposes. A few years into my (relatively) new healthy lifestyle, my brother started raving about a green smoothie cleanse he'd been doing. He wanted me to get on board and spoke highly of the benefits, but since I had already given up fad diets, I rebuked his idea. I didn't want to lose weight, so this challenge wasn't for me. That was until December 2018 reared its ugly head and I realized I needed a reset for my body.
This coincidentally was the perfect time; ending the year with fresh insides seemed like the best way to end a crappy year (no pun intended). After months of coaxing, my brother won: I agreed to do this cleanse. As soon as I received the information and reviewed the recipes, I trekked to the grocery store to buy what I needed.
The cleanse was straightforward. Each day had its own 72-ounce smoothie recipe. Each recipe included fruits and vegetables, along with ground flaxseeds, protein, and any other health food additives you wanted to throw in the blender. This was coupled with drinking daily detox teas (I opted for the Yogi brand). I reviewed the 40-page packet thoroughly so I knew what to expect.
Though hesitant, I was ready; I started bright-and-early on Monday morning.
The information packet suggested that these would be the hardest days of the cleanse. Participants were instructed to start slow if necessary, weaning ourselves off food one meal at a time. On the first day, we were to replace our breakfast with a smoothie; the second day, our breakfast and lunch; and the third day, our breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was ready to jump in, so I started Day 1 strong — having a smoothie for breakfast and lunch and grilled chicken for dinner. By the second day, I was totally on smoothies, with the exception of approved snacks (unsalted nuts, fruit, tuna, grilled salmon, and boiled eggs). I was off to a great start.
After my initial high of mastering the first three days, my doubt began to kick in. Though the recipes were good, I was growing bored with them and tired of the mess smoothie-making was causing each morning. Despite all this, I pushed on. Still following the recipes, managing my snacks, and experiencing how my body was ridding itself of the toxins I had consumed all year. I began feeling a noticeable change in how I felt physically, and once I got over being grumpy, there was a change in how I felt emotionally too.
There was no turning back as day seven approached. I was too close to the finish line to turn back now, though I really wanted to. Days one through three garnered no cravings, but these last three days I wanted any and everything. I was in the thick of holiday party season, and hearing food menus took me over the edge. I sent a few "I'm going to cheat" texts to my friends who quickly got me together and reminded me of my own strength. My body had begun visibly transforming by this point; I refused to mess it up this close to the end. (Honesty moment: I did cheat on Day 8, and boy was it worth it!)
By the end of the cleanse, I felt less bloated, had loads more energy, and was down 2.5 inches around my waist (without exercising). I was also — surprisingly — happier. I felt much lighter, physically and emotionally, and knew that completing this cleanse was the best way to end the year. However, the cleanse didn't just recharge me physically and emotionally, it provided a life lesson I didn't realize I needed.
Participating in this 10-day detox taught me how to win at life (and everything else I choose to conquer).
When I first considered doing the challenge, I read the lengthy packet and became immediately discouraged. Not because the content was discouraging — I'm sure it was meant to be exciting and uplifting — but because the cleanse itself seemed like too much. I wasn't disciplined enough to complete something like this. I wasn't focused enough to really stick with it. As I read the instructions "I can't do this!" echoed in my head. I had never tried anything like this, but for some reason, I just knew I couldn't do it.
I considered all the factors that would prohibit me from completing this cleanse: "It's the holiday season," "I received too many party invites," "I have a fridge full of food that needs to be eaten," "I can't not chew anything for 10 days," "I just ordered coquito." Any excuse I could conjure up, I used to talk myself out of the cleanse before I failed at it. Before I even tasted the first smoothie, I was discounting my ability to complete the task at hand. I was excusing myself for my shortcomings before I even fell short.
I was prematurely counting myself out.
I realized that in order for me to actually do this, I couldn't do that. I couldn't tear myself down before I began. I had to trust myself enough to stand firm in my commitment. Too often we sell ourselves short before we have the opportunity to prove ourselves…to ourselves. We get a new job and are instantly worried that we won't measure up. We explore school options but become immediately anxious that we won't be able to handle the workload. We get engaged then become fearful that our marriage may end in divorce. We start new friendships and worry that those new friends will betray us. We draft an email and figure that no one will even respond. We experience any level of growth, and become concerned that we won't be able to sustain it.
These thoughts creep into our minds and stop us dead in our tracks. We think we've done ourselves a favor by preventing failure, before we actually fail.
That's not a favor, though — that, in itself, is failure. Not trying. Giving up on ourselves. Cancelling our journey before we even start it. We're not helping ourselves by trying to stop the pain before it starts, we're simply selling ourselves short.
Once I realized how my premature excuses were setting me up for failure, I immediately stopped those thoughts. I committed myself to the detox (and whatever journey it took me on), and I owned it. I vowed to handle any shortcomings when they happened, and not a moment before. I refused to sit in anticipation of failure, and instead, decided to give my all to this process and pray for the best. This strategy was much better than the one I utilized during my initial review. This one told me I could do this — and do it I did.
In order to soar in the ways you're called to, we must commit ourselves to the cause, and count ourselves in — not out. We must stop revoking our ability to conquer.
The only way to experience winning, is to give ourselves the opportunity to win. Not by crafting excuses to lighten the blow if we don't, but by trusting ourselves enough to know that we can.
10 days of smoothies taught me that.
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