Fresh Start

I refuse to recommend anything to my clients that I wouldn’t use myself – that’s not something to brag about (or it shouldn’t be); it’s just basic professional responsibility (or it should be). And that is why next week I’m going to be test driving a program that some of my amazing colleagues and I are running later on in the spring and I’m documenting it here for all to witness.

The program is called Fresh Start, a health-building program to help you get back on track dietarily. It’s a 5-week program with the first week being a nutritive cleanse to help eliminate those cravings that often get in the way of getting into a new healthy eating regimen and to help your body systems function more optimally in eliminating toxins from your body . The cleanse week is followed by 4 weeks of “health-building” – being coached through healthy eating habits with a different set of dietary supplements for nutritive support. After the 5 weeks, your body is functioning more optimally than before and you are in a much stronger position for pushing forward with a healthy lifestyle.

So, next week I start my cleanse week. That means no coffee, no dairy (no cheese!), no grains, no meat, no sugar, and no alcohol. I’m not gonna lie – I’m not looking forward to it! That’s not really true – I’m looking forward to what a difference I will feel during and afterwards as I heal my body with food. I’m also looking forward to being able to tell YOU about the experience and its impact firsthand.

So let’s be real: as someone with no food intolerances who firmly believes in the importance of eating a variety of foods, that’s a lot of stuff for me to cut out of my diet all at once, so I’m actually easing into it this week by cutting a little out at a time beforehand. Don’t judge.

The coffee  was a particular point of concern for me so I decided to cut that out this week to make next week less of a shock all at once. I’ve been drinking coffee since high school. I drink it black – no milk or sugar, just pure, unadulterated coffee goodness – and I have a three-cup-a-day habit. I tend to get headaches if I don’t get my coffee so I’m not expecting that I will be a pleasant person for the first part of this week. Don’t. Judge.

This is Day 2 of no coffee and I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by how easy it has been. I was positive that I was going to be wearing my cranky pants and guzzling Advil but I haven’t had a headache and I haven’t been an intolerable jerk to be around – at least not that anyone has told me. I also haven’t really been craving it at all, which really surprises me. I never would have thought that starting the day with a cup of herbal tea instead of coffee would do it for me, but it’s really just the habit, not so much the substance.

I’m also starting to cut back on dairy and grains this week in preparation for next. Like a step-down approach. I think it will also help me start thinking of meal ideas and recipes for next week.

One thing I want to point out that I’m NOT doing this week is going all out and overindulging before starting this program. A lot of people will do this before they start a diet or program and I don’t see the point. First of all, I don’t feel well when I consume a bunch of junk and sit around so it’s not worth feeling like crap to me to get in all the foods I won’t be eating next week. I have my whole life ahead of me to eat those foods if I choose to so I don’t need to eat them like there’s no tomorrow.

I also think that this approach gets you in the completely wrong mindset. Before you even start you are looking at it from the angle of deprivation. Guess what? Shockingly, human beings don’t respond well to deprivation. Essentially, you’re setting yourself up for failure at worst and an incredibly unpleasant experience at best. Instead, I recommend looking at things like this as an opportunity or a new beginning. It’s exciting! You get to see your body functioning better and you get to pat yourself on the back for getting through it.

This is also the mindset that gets you into diet mode rather than lasting lifestyle change. You’re setting up the cycle of overindulgence –> deprivation –> overindulgence –> deprivation which is at the core of all crash diets.

Finally, if you’re going to run a race, why would you take 10 steps back from the starting line first? To me, that is what you’re doing when you have a crazy blow-out week eating all the things before you start a healthy eating program. By doing that, you are guaranteeing that you start off feeling like crap, you feel more deprived, and you may even be starting off heavier than you would have otherwise (if your goal is weight loss).

So that’s what I will be doing for the next month+. Be sure to check back here for updates on my progress – I’m sure it will be comical and may involve me sitting on the floor in a closet savoring a contraband piece of cheese.