Avoiding the Quick Fix for Weight Loss

Estimated read time... 5 minutes

I’ve been lacksadaisacle with writing blog posts lately, for a couple of reasons.  One being that I started a new full-time job a few months ago, the other being that I haven’t felt “up” to sending out newsletters about feeling great when I myself haven’t been feeling great. I hurt my leg, I had made some serious changes, and then I had a health and well-being epiphany…

Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated a bit of weight.  I don’t think that I’ve mentioned that this weight gain began around 2008 when I started taking antidepressants. I lost part of that weight, but soon regained it and then some thanks to massive amounts of stress in my life. It has been embarrassing and shameful for me because I always thought of myself as someone who didn’t have to worry about my weight or care of my body.

Then something happened, I realized I was complaining that I was tired all the time, my clothes weren’t fitting right, I was feeling bloated and not myself, and I generally felt unwell and fatigued.  Then I looked in the mirror, stepped on the scale, and said, “I HAVE to do something about this.  I cannot allow myself to look and feel like this any longer.  This is not how I want to be living, I want to feel good in my body.  I want to love my body, and feel like I am taking great care of it.”

Who wants to beat up on themselves on a daily basis, or complain to their loved ones and themselves about how crappy they feel?  That is not living in an open, loving, accepting, nurturing manner as far as I’m concerned – and it is certainly not healthy!  This was my epiphany.

At this point I said, “enough is enough.  I am doing something about this beyond taking long walks and watching what I eat!  What I am doing is not enough – it is not care, and love, and nurturing.”

How could I be telling other people to love, nuture and take care of their hearts, souls, and bodies when I’m clearly not practicing what I’m preaching?

Around this time, I received a modified version of the “Cabbage Soup Diet”.  The news I had heard about it was that the weight loss was not to be scoffed at. To be frank, I know someone who is doing this who has lost an incredible amount of weight and at this point I was desperate to jump-start my weight loss.  In spite of my desperation, I was skeptical of this near-miraculous weight loss that was associated with eating nothing but cabbage soup, and a rotation of vegetables, fruits, and meat for a whole week.  It did not seem healthy to me – because it isn’t!

Shunting my gut’s response to this aside (it was saying, “oh heck no, you are not doing that to me”) and wanting to see for myself what this was like, I decided to rope my husband into doing this “diet” program with me.

There are countless stories on the web about how this cleanse, fast, detox (aka: diet) reduces weight, makes you feel lighter, and so on, and so forth.  There are also many stories out there about how they make certain people feel – both the positive and negative.

As you may know, I am avidly against juice cleanses, detoxes, fasts and the like and now I know why without a shadow of a doubt.  I also know why it these methods provide solutions to long-term problems: they are quick, easier than the discipline of changing eating and exercise habits, and have a lot of claims associated with them.

Shunting my intuition’s response aside, I said to myself, “Pam, don’t be so cynical and skeptical.  It’s working for several people, including one you know, and you’ve been told there are no cravings.  You’ll feel great. You could use this as a springboard into taking better care of yourself.  Suspend your judgement you judge-y person, and give it a go.”

In attempting extreme measures such as these diets, detoxes, cleanses, etc., the innate intuition of our soul, our body, is squashed in an attempt to feel that we can finally be at the point where we are successful with our health.

Following unhealthy habits in an attempt to glean health, is not healthy.  Plain and simple.

It doesn’t matter if it is the Master Cleanse, the Cabbage Soup diet (or a variation thereof), a juice cleanse, or some other newfangled detox, diet or cleanse. It is not healthy, it is not the way to love your body and soul.  It is torture.

When I announced on Facebook that I was going to undertake this cleanse/diet/thing, it was met with a modicum of enthusiasm (aka: likes and comments).

A huge concern that I had with this was: what happens to people who suffer from migraine headaches?  What happens to people who have to function at work, at a high level?  What will my body feel like?

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I quit after one day on this diet.

Yes, I failed a seven day diet after the first day.

What happened during this day?

  • I woke up insanely hungry, and couldn’t have my usual tea or coffee with soy milk.  I could have black tea or black coffee, or green tea.
  • I ate a bowl of cabbage soup for breakfast, then was starving and dizzy by 9.30am.  I then had a full plate of mixed fruit (melon, berries, pineapple).
  • I had another bowl of cabbage soup near lunchtime, then another one an hour later, along with seltzer, tea and water.
  • I had another giant plate of fruit, and tea early afternoon, and more soup late afternoon.
  • When I got home from work, I had another bowl of melon.
  • I had two bowls of the cabbage soup for dinner, and yet another bowl of melon later on that night.
  • I drank about 8 glasses of water, and 3 cups of tea that day (black, and herbal).
  • Late afternoon I started going to the bathroom – very messy, very gooey (like pudding), and suddenly after dinner I started using the loo every hour!!!  I got up twice in the middle of the night to pee, and not just pee came out!  It was horrible.  During all of this, I had sharp stabbing aching pains in my abdomen and lower abdomen.  It was awful.
  • I went to bed feeling lightheaded, dizzy, amped up/restless, I couldn’t fall asleep and when I did I dreamed of fried food and wanting to eat all of it.  (Fried food is a special treat for me and for me to be dreaming of eating deep fried burritos, it’s a bad sign.)
  • When I woke up, I went to the bathroom some more.  There’s a theme here isn’t there?  No wonder one can lose all that weight in such a short period of time.  I felt like I was developing a hemorrhoid, was shakey, and weak.  At this point, I called it quits.

Things that I took away from this: I know my body, and no amount of enthusiasm over a particular diet, fad, detox, cleanse, etc. will sway me from my deep knowing of my body.  Period.

I can take care of myself in a loving and nurturing manner.  Resorting to extreme calorie restrictions, food restrictions, and the like, is NOT loving and nurturing myself.  I knew in my bones that this “diet” was not going to work for me.  Learn from what I did: take care of yourself now, don’t do things in acts of desperation, or hopes for a better future or loving yourself more.

Eat real food, plenty of plants, some protein, some complex carbohydrates, exercise, move, laugh, love.  A week of starvation is not going to provide what a lifetime of taking care of your body will.  A week of a juice fast, cleanse, detox, whatnot, will not erase weeks of treating yourself badly.  A week of choosing to love yourself, to nurture and feed yourself great foods, will do more for you than any fast will most of the time.

Join me in the coming weeks and months where I’ll be sharing some self-love practices that are feasible for even the busiest of us.

Do you have self-love and self-care practices that changed and rocked your world? Comment on this post, send me an email, tell me on Facebook via the FB icon below, whatever floats your communication boat!  I may just include your personal practice in a blog post or newsletter!