Life Lessons from Detoxing
2018 was a pretty roller coaster year for my health, or maybe just a downward slope. I was doing pretty well at the beginning of the year, then it pretty much just jumped off a cliff. During that time, I was actually hospitalized and diagnosed with a condition that came as a result of poor eating, stress, and lack of exercise. Three things that are absolutely controllable and easy to manage. Being a pretty healthy young person (as the doctors always tell me), I was disappointed in my inability to take care of myself. As the year of our Lord 2018 came to a close, I realized that I needed to recommit to putting healthy things in my body and reconnecting spiritually.
So with all that in mind and a strong desire to start the new year putting my best foot forward, I decided to do a cleanse and then transitioned into the Daniel Fast. Now mind you, I had a lot of doubts going into the New Year about my ability to completely give up all my favorite snacks, my favorite foods, and my wine! I didn’t think it was possible to survive for 10 days on nothing but smoothies. It sounded ridiculous and it just didn’t seem possible that I would be able to get all the proper nutrients that I would need. Additionally, what I was I going to do during my 3:00pm sweets craving and how in the world would I destress at the end of a long, draining day without a glass of wine. While everyone was focusing on their New Year’s resolutions and watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, I was focusing on how in the world I was going to survive a cleanse and a detox for the next at least 40 days. But I’m proud to say that nothing deterred me from my goal. There were also a lot of life lessons that I learned along the way...several that really aren’t even about food.
Don’t listen to naysayers.
Both from your own negative self-talk and the negativity of others. On January 1st, there was a little voice of doubt in the back of my mind saying “girl, you are crazy,” “you aren’t going to make it a full day,” “You are going to be so hungry,” and “you’re probably just going to give up half-way through, if not before.” Those pesty little thoughts stayed in the back of my head throughout the entire 10 days of the smoothie cleanse, and started to intensify during the last week of the Daniel Fast. On top of that, I also experienced a bunch of negative commentary from others THROUGHOUT. I don’t think they were intentionally trying to sway me away from my decision, but just holding fast to the mentality that we HAVE to have certain things in our body in order to be nourished. People saying things like well what are you going to EAT, I could never do that, God Bless you, I don’t believe in fad diets, that’s just not healthy, or my favorite, I’m concerned about you. And even though I’m pretty good at ignoring people’s ignorance, it raised a certain level of awareness of people who slide little comments in when I’m discussing my dreams, my goals, and my desires, which on the surface aren’t ill-intentioned, but ultimately come back to I don’t believe I could do this so I’m not confident that you should either. And THAT can be damaging. So I made an executive decision that I would try, very minimally, to educate them, but that I wouldn’t let anyone else’s opinions deter me or instill any doubt in me.
My body is capable of adapting to ANYTHING.
I was so surprised by how quickly my body adjusted to my new eating habits. In those moments that I felt like I was starving, even though I had eaten 10 minutes ago, I just stopped, said a prayer, had some water, and my hunger went away. I realized that so much of my hunger cues had nothing to do with actual hunger, but had more to do with habit and/or emotions. Eventually, the time in between my meals got longer and longer and I relied less on snacks. My cravings eventually reduced significantly and it started to feel normal. I was amazed. It was also one of the main reasons I was able to grow more spiritually. As you can imagine, there are lots of times when the body wants what the body wants, so praying during those times meant I was spending a way more time talking to God than I did when I just responded to my body.
I am in control of my cravings.
Speaking of cravings. I usually just give into them. If I want something sweet, I go down to the vending machine and buy a Reese’s. If I want some wine, I go buy some Jam Jar. If I want something salty, I go get some Salt and Vinegar Chips. To that extent, I didn’t feel like I needed to “control” my cravings. I could just go and satisfy them. But fasting will remind you real quick that you can’t just satisfy your cravings and they start to feel real out of control. There were so many times that I just wanted to give into my cravings and say forget this fast, but I persisted. To the point where 3 weeks into the fast, I could hold a mimosa in my hand, be around free liquor, and not even think twice about partaking. Talk about self-control.
Don’t ever give up on yourself.
It’s so much easier to change your mind in the middle of something when it gets challenging. How many of us stepped into 2019 with certain goals and we already gave up on them? I know I have. I mean, I was being too ambitious anyway. I had like 15 goals for the new year and realistically, they weren’t realistic. But this was one that I refused to quit on. And now that it’s done, It’s a gentle reminder that I really can do all the things through Christ who strengthens me. I just have to keep myself focused on what I set out to do.
Be grateful for the small things.
Something that was so cool about doing the detox and the fast was the I gained such a strong sense of smell. At first it was frustrating because it would make me salivate and kick those cravings into high gear, but after a while, it really just became an amazing sensation. I never knew how good a roll of freshly baked bread could smell. And it reminded me to appreciate those simple things that we often take for granted. Most of the time when we are going through our normal routine, we miss the small details that transpire throughout each day. This fast really caused me to stop and smell the baked goods and appreciate how beautiful it is to the small things in life.
The more you remove distractions, the more space you can make for God.
This was a big one for me. I originally had no intention of doing the Daniel Fast this year, not for any reasons in particular, but I had a plan to move right on into the Whole30 after my smoothie cleanse. But something in my spirit said, you need to draw closer me during this time. Then when hubby said that he would do it with me, I was like Yes confirmation!! So along with the food restrictions, I also removed social media (which y’all know was not a challenge for lol) and games on my phone (including my Harry Potter game, this was actually really difficult for me). I was so surprised by how much more time I was able to spend with God when I wasn’t mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, seeing what challenge I can complete at Hogwarts, or being a little too buzzed to read my Bible. We started a fasting devotional together that caused us to focus on connected with God and each other during this time of sacrificing and making sure that we are fasting for the right reasons. Over this month, I’ve gained so much spiritual and mental clarity. I’ve prayed more about the small things. I’ve seen my prayers answered quickly. I’ve listened more. My patience has increased. But most importantly, I’ve set up habits that I want to carry with me into the rest of 2019. I refuse to let 2019 be any resemblance of 2018 and this detox and fast was just what I needed to set me up right.