I said before that I would write when something was significant. The last couple weeks have been full of significance, and today isn’t particularly significant in any way… other than I have enough free time to sit down and put finger to keyboard. The weeks’ significance hasn’t had a lot to do with food and has come more in the form of needing to move (because the owner of our rental house is selling), exploring shame, safety, and commonalities between my attitude about food and the issue of money (because I managed to accumulate credit card debt again), and having a much smaller (in fact some might argue, none at all) muffin top when wearing jeans.
What’s possibly most significant about where I am here on day 29 is how insignificant my “new” routine feels. I wake up, I juice, I pack food, I feel hunger, I eat, I taste, I delight in flavors that seem new, sometimes I poop (still not enough!), I sleep, and I repeat. It isn’t hard, or laborious, or challenging. I don’t find myself wanting or feeling any lack. I have enough and I am satisfied.
With just two weeks until this “detox” is over and I see some of my peers counting down the days until they can have a piece of bread or scoop of ice cream, I sometimes wonder if I miss sugar (I tend to lump all of the things I’m not eating into the “sugar” category in a grand generalization) and the answer comes quickly… Yes, there is something I’m missing. A nostalgia for carelessness, or the belief that a discomfort could be easily erased with a snack cake–if only temporarily. The recovered heroin addict or alcoholic misses the high on some level, and I am the same. But the truth is If I were to miss sugar I would really be missing:
- Feeling prisoner to cravings
- One night a few weeks ago the image of a bean & cheese burrito popped into my head at bedtime. Oh crap, I thought. This is it… this is a craving… my first big one. What am I going to do? In the past a craving lead to a binge. I would obsess about a certain food until there was nothing to do but have it. Often in mass quantities. AND because the fulfilling of the craving was never all that satisfying it would lead to mass consumption of other things that should have made me feel good. This time. I closed my eyes, went to sleep, and was not thinking about burritos again when I woke up. It’s a miracle.
- Intense anxiety about hunger
- What if I get hungry and have to wait to eat?!?!?! I might DIE!!! Hunger, when it is simply a request for nourishment from the body instead of a desperate fix to fulfill an addictive pattern, feels SO much different. I can be hungry for a couple hours before hAngry sets in. And I don’t have to eat past the point of full to feel confident I’ll be satiated for long enough.
- I lived with it so much I didn’t notice it, but now that it’s gone I can feel what it is like to walk around with joints that work as intended. I ate Korean BBQ last week for lunch and I’m guessing the meat had some sugar in the marinade… Not only was I suddenly hungry for most of the rest of the day, but I ached. Like my bones were made of glass and someone had come through each joint to shatter it with a hammer.
- Eating in my car what I didn’t want to let others see me eat. Bingeing before meeting a friend so I could eat minimally and still be full (although I never did, I still overate in front of them). Looking over my shoulder while shoveling things into my mouth at the kitchen counter hoping not to be caught by a family member.
- Ignorance, denial, and blindness
- It felt blissful in the moment, but on the other side I realize I was living without access to my power. I was a victim of everything, most of all myself. Everything was “just a little” or “no big deal.” And because I never bothered to count how many times I said that all those little bits added up to more than a hundred pounds gained and several thousand dollars lost.
Never before in my 35 years have I understood the value of sacrifice. I lived with the idea that I deserved to have everything I wanted, and as long as I could make that happen without hurting anyone else (too badly), then I should have it. What refusing to live without drove me towards, however, was an absence of discretion. I took, consumed, and accumulated all without considering whether I wanted it, it served me, or if it would better serve someone else. Now, after a simple shift I do not miss having what I want… I get to relish in receiving the things I need:
- I wake up in the morning ready to be awake and alive. I breathe easily. My body moves and bends and twists. I make it past 3pm without feeling like I need a nap under my desk. My creative juices flow and flow and flow and flow. I can turn them on and off at will.
- Abundant Resources
- Guess what. When you do not spend your money carelessly… you may actually have money. It’s amazing! I thought that being rich would mean I could buy anything I wanted. Turns out buying everything I wanted made my poor. I feel richer having less.
- Available emotions
- I feel alive. When I’m sad I cry, angry I rage (within reason), frustrated I grumble, joyful I sing, grateful my heart swells. The first few weeks were horribly uncomfortable. I had been pushing the feelings away for a long time for a lot of reasons. But they’re really quite amazing. With enough breath, having these feelings is like laying in a grassy field watching clouds go by in a soft breeze (if every couple of clouds is a total asshole).
- A heightened connection
- I am plugged in. I have found that when in conversation if the other person is trying to think of what to say or how to answer I hear their answer in my head before they say it (super fun!). I notice smells, sounds, shapes, colors. I am here, on earth, by choice, and it’s really quite beautiful.
Totally worth it.
What I ate today:
- Green drink: kale, ponderosa lemon, cucumber, broccoli stalk, celery
- Over medium eggs and broccoli
- 12 multi “grain” crackers with 1/4 wheel of goat brie & 1 TB of peanut butter
- Green salad with broccoli, over easy egg, avocado, & tzatziki (made with goat yogurt)
- Super Bowl Snack Dinner: crispy baked chicken wings, goat yogurt ranch, hummus, celery & cucumber sticks, a few more of those crackers!