5 MONTHS, 5 TIPS
Kiana Ng Yoga
At the beginning of February, I chose to eliminate sugar, gluten, dairy, hot/spicy foods and red meat from my diet.
Why would I do this? To heal my body! I had a lot of inflammation in my body that I needed to clear out. With my body being as sensitive as it is, it tends to react pretty strongly towards any foods that aren’t completely natural. The most common ways these reactions show up in my body is through irritability, loss of energy, cramps, acne & skin irritation (results of inflammation). There was always a little voice in the back my head (that sounded a lot like my mother and a couple of other outside sources) telling me to change my diet, but I wouldn’t listen because I didn’t want to give up what tasted SO good! Later on, I found out these things that tasted SO good were just unhealthy addictions. After trying so many things to try and fix these problems and not having them work, I opted to change my diet.
I jumped right into my diet and it was HARD, especially due to the fact that I had serious sugar cravings at the time. I couldn’t go out and eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It felt very limiting, like my freedom was taken away from me (which doesn’t fly with me whatsoever). On top of that, my mood shifted to an extremely irritable state for the first 2 weeks. The food was also very bland that I was eating so I was constantly craving more.
So what kept me going? Some serious will power and dedication. The first 1-2 weeks of starting anything new is the hardest because you have to retrain your body, mind and everyday schedule. So once you hit that 7-14 day mark, it will likely get easier. As well, taste buds change to adapt to the food you eat so, eventually, I didn’t mind what I was eating and my cravings shifted to stir fried vegetables over cheesecake (mind you, I always want cheesecake and it’s probably my weakness).
After a couple of months, I noticed that I didn’t experience cramps as often anymore and my acne and skin irritation started going down. As good as that was, I was looking for more. At this point in time, I had only planned to do this cleanse for 3 months. But after not having seen the results I wanted, about 2.5 months in and after speaking to someone who has helped me through this cleansing process, I chose to take out fruits and grains as well for 6 weeks and continue on with this diet for another 2.5 months. It felt like I was starting all over again. I had the same symptoms come up in the first 2 weeks as when I first started in February. I did not want to continue this diet and I was starting to lose faith in it. Slowly but surely, my skin continued to clear up, any negativity or irritation started to dissipate, I didn’t experience cramps anymore, my energy went up and I didn’t need as much sleep to keep me going (giving me more time in my day!). Sometimes, things get worse before they get better.
Even though losing weight wasn’t my main goal here – my weight did go down as long as I honourably and mindfully managed how much food I was ingesting. No, that doesn’t mean I starved myself. It means that there’s a difference between eating because you’re hungry or eating because you’re thirsty or trying to fulfill your cravings.
Now that these 5 months are passed and I’ve experienced the changes I wanted to see, I know what’s good for me and what’s not. I slowly added in fruits and gluten-free grains again (if you’re off something for a while, don’t over indulge in it right away – it’ll shock your system!). Currently, I limit my intake of sugar and try not to have dairy or red meats at all. Even though I do my best to live on a clean, healthy diet, I still get cravings & that’s totally normal! Human beings get cravings. It’s natural and it’s completely fine to let yourself indulge in these cravings every now and again. I let myself indulge about once a month (I don’t think I could live without cheesecake for the rest of my life!). Cravings are only unhealthy when you let them control you. I think that allowing yourself to enjoy the little things in life, such as a piece of chocolate every now & then, is very cleansing in it’s own way.
If you’re thinking about embarking on a cleanse, here are a few other tips to help you stick with it:
- Stick to it – The best results come from hard work and dedication. Think of it this way: if you wander slightly off path, even if it’s just for a little while, it’s like taking two steps forward, one step back. Results will come faster the less you wander, and fast is good! Change comes from consistent hard work, perseverance, and dedication. Think of that long-term goal!
- Affirmations – Think of an affirmation that has meaning to you and will lend you strength when you feel like caving in (“I am strong” or “I can do this” are good ones!). Repeat this affirmation 5x in the morning and 5x at night and whenever you need it throughout your day.
- Time flies – I thought 5 months was going to take forever to pass by, but if you keep up with it and take it week by week, you’ll look back and realize just how much you’ve accomplished. It takes approximately 20-30 days to form a habit so after that, it becomes a part of your routine and you don’t need to think about it as much.
- Make a meal plan – This is probably one of the most useful things I found that helped me through this cleanse. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and having no food in the house that you can eat, leaving you annoyed and frustrated. So plan your meals and leave leftovers!
- Drink plenty of water – More water = less likely to experience false hunger. Warm water is even better because it leaves you with a sense of fullness for longer.
Remember to always love your body and yourself, keeping with positive intentions and goals through any cleanse or lifestyle change you choose to embark on.