Today I am beginning the Medical Medium 28 Day Healing Cleanse. Feel free to keep me in your #thoughtsandprayers (I’m only half joking).
Cleanses are not a normal practice for me. I typically avoid anything that slaps the ultra-enticing label of detox, diet, and/or cleanse. In my opinion these are often a profit-driven false promise that results in frustration, a defeatist attitude, and a reinforced victim mentality.
I'll take a short trip down memory lane. Every time I hopped on the latest diet trend in my 20s, amidst a difficult battle with low self-esteem and an eating disorder, the following would occur:
Step 1) Purchase cleanse/diet/detox book (including but not limited to the cabbage soup diet, Atkins diet, Zone diet, …)
Step 2) Spend a small fortune on the food and supplements required (I'm looking at you, NutriSystem)
Step 3) Cheat within 24-48 hours (This likely happened while pushing my then non-existent will power past its limits by eating out or grabbing drinks with friends. Happy hour margs and queso, anyone?!)
Step 4) Begin berating myself with one or more of the following thoughts:
This isn’t working. Nothing ever works!
Why can’t I ever stick to anything?
This sucks. No, I suck.
All I want is some pizza, ice cream, and a Law & Order marathon on TNT
Step 5) Replace the barrage of insults with excuses that provided a flimsy bandage for my battered ego. Some favorites:
NO ONE can survive without cheese, especially me. I mean, I am 1/16 Swiss for God's sake (this is now debatable per my 23andMe results, oops).
I love vanilla lattes. They are my ONLY vice (bold lie). I make enough sacrifices. *insert Scarlett O'Hara esque sigh.
I don’t have time to get to the gym multiple times per week or take long walks (my 3 hour Netflix binges did not count as free time, obvi)
After confirming that the world was against me, I would retreat back to the comfort of my victim fort. It had the structural stability of the couch cushion fortresses I built as a kid – complete with a foreboding construction paper sign warning my loved ones not to enter (only this time around the sign was implicit). My fluffy forts provided an illusion of safety, but if I so much as sneezed the entire structure would topple upon me. It’s a wonder I didn’t go into architecture or structural engineering with those impressive skills.
What I learned the hard way – I am talking the painful, socially mortifying, sea of mascara running down your face while I cried “why me?” level of difficulty – is that you can’t turn to a superficial solution to solve a problem that runs DEEP. I had to care about myself enough to make the necessary changes, not just to my diet but to my entire perspective on life. It was not until I learned to love, honor, and respect myself that I stood any chance of conjuring up the will power to make healthy choices. To be clear, not every fad diet falls under what I consider a healthy diet, not by a long shot. But I will at least hand it to them that their guidelines make you pause to consider what choices you're currently making. The choices I make now are intuitive. Trusting my gut instinct/inner voice/whatever term resonates with you keeps me from getting distracted by the noise (e.g. social media ads for the latest shake, tea, or piece of at home exercise equipment promising to give you the abs of an Olympic gymnast while maintaining the curves of a Kardashian).
Why am I embarking on this cleanse then?
I have my own back now. I am not lured in by false promises anymore because I turn to my intuition for guidance. My motivation is not aesthetic so body shaming and a restrictive mindset will not come into play. The information put out there by the Medical Medium came into my life when I was on the verge of giving up any hope of healing from my autoimmune diseases. Once I confirmed with lab work ordered by a functional doctor that Epstein-Barr was the root of my health issues, I started paying attention to that feeling in the pit of my stomach – the same one that gave me a friendly nudge to finally order Anthony William's books. I devoured his first book in a few days, and I decided to embark on the 28 Day Healing Cleanse. I am drawn to do this NOT because it’s trendy, NOT because an Instagram model told me to, and NOT because it gives me an excuse to avoid emotional discomfort (the latter being what I desperately reached for with every diet/cleanse/detox in my 20s). I am doing this because I trust myself to make decisions that honor my body and my wellbeing as a whole.
Also, the calming factor for my logically driven ego that loves to make excuses is that I can’t conceive of any harm that could come from eating a super clean, whole foods diet for 4 weeks.
I am making choice to see what this cleanse does for my autoimmune symptoms and quality of life as a whole. I have made the decision to not weigh myself, measure my waist, or take before and after photos. I will simply be keeping a journal of my experience each day, and I look forward to sharing what I've written once I am off the rollercoaster ride that I am quite certain will ensue. I know some days will be rough, my cravings will put up a fight, and I will consider quitting. The difference between today and 5 years ago is that I know I have the resilience to push through those days unscathed. I don’t expect to wake up on Day 29 as a completely transformed person, but I am hopeful this will be another challenging yet rewarding step on my healing journey.
I think we can all stand to believe in ourselves a little more. I hope that my story helps others out there begin to believe in themselves and their power to heal.