Give Up Everything? How hard can it be?

Give Up Everything? How hard can it be?

As the husband of a Nutritionist, you would think I must be eating fairly healthy, right?

Well, not exactly. We eat healthy at home but I’m always trying to subvert at least once a week by cooking Butter Chicken or similar on a Saturday night! And I’m partial to the odd Beer or Wine or Whisky (we used to live in Scotland is my excuse ). Especially NOW, during COVID-19 lockdown, it’s tempting to go into full comfort mode where diet and abstinence are put on the back burner.

But what happens when lockdown finishes and / or a mitigation appears (e.g. vaccine or similar)? We’re going to emerge back into some kind of normality but feel exhausted just thinking about getting out and about?

I was just contemplating this when my wife Sal the Nutritionist said: –

“Have you ever thought of doing a detox?”

“Errrr, No” I thought – why do I need to detox? I feel fine. But then I was intrigued, “How would I feel after a detox?”. “Could I manage it?” I think there are many people who tell themselves they will improve their diet and start exercising etc. but give up pretty quickly. “How long would I manage to last?”.

Details were discussed. The full detox lasts 4 weeks, split into 2 weeks of improving gut health, followed by 2 weeks of improving the health of other internals. I’m not going to go into the details too much but it does involve taking quite a few supplements. But you soon get into a rhythm of what works for you. I found that I preferred to consume those earlier in the day to get it out of the way.

As well as the supplements, there would be no bad stuff. Nothing containing refined sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol or gluten !!! Yikes. Well I don’t really consume anything with refined sugars so that part was going to be easy. Or so I thought. What, yoghurt has sugar in it? No maple syrup on porridge? OMG!

Some small allowances were made. Really caffeine is out but we opted to drink decaffeinated coffee and tea, which is cheating a bit. Dairy could be replaced by oat milk. I can’t drink herbal tea, just can’t.

No alcohol at all – I didn’t mind too much as I wanted to treat it like a dry July – my first ever.

And of course, it helped that Sal was joining me on this escapade.

So enough preamble – what was it like?

The first three days (Mon-Weds) without caffeine were weird – each day at 5pm I crashed so hard I had to go and lie down, but that feeling passed after the third day. Actually, I was surprised that no caffeine hadn’t affected me worse than that. I was expecting really bad headaches and all sorts.

Generally, I also find it hard to drink loads of water and taking supplements was tricky for me, so I didn’t enjoy that part too much.

No alcohol on Friday night was tough but I pretended it was a normal weeknight when I don’t drink anyway and took my mind off it by watching the TV – only ‘dry’ shows please, 😉

Saturday and Sunday mornings felt fresh as and I bounced out of bed and felt great – that part I really enjoyed. Sunday night BBQ was accompanied by a big glass of water with ice and I just pretended it was ‘beer’.

Dairy was swapped for Bonsoy, but I later found ‘Oatly Barista Edition‘ which I love and continue to use even now. Being gluten free became easier once we discovered ‘Abbott’s GF Mixed Seeds‘ bread. Again, that has become a permanent change to my diet.

After 2 weeks, however, I’d had enough of the pill taking. But I was encouraged to keep going, knowing that the next stage was where things really start to happen.

I noticed that it wasn’t so much the fact that I felt better but that all those times I had felt bad in the past were gone. I had become ‘regular’ as clockwork. Cravings had gone. I wasn’t reaching for unhealthy stuff. But I did need to top up with something nutritious in the middle of the afternoon, which surprised me.

After 3 weeks, I did pull the plug, however. I felt that I had achieved what I had set out to do and got the benefit. Doing another week wasn’t going to change much for me personally.

The ‘big’ Takeaway!

Just taking part in this endeavour has changed me and my relationship with food. Although, it seems like everything has gone back to normal, there are some ‘permanent’ changes:-

  1. I didn’t realise how ‘closed-minded’ I was about trying new types of ‘healthy’ food. Now I’m prepared to give everything a go.
  2. I’m a lot more aware of my emotions and moods and the effect they have on food choices. Instead of beating myself up about this, I’m rolling with the punches. In other words, I accept that I won’t always eat healthy but I try to balance those times with other times when I do manage to stick to healthier choices. I hate putting figures on it but the 80/20 rule is a good one to aim for.
  3. I’m a lot more calm and take my time to consider what I can cook / make that is going to be the most nutritious given the ingredients I have available.
  4. I was over indulging in alcohol sometimes but I’ve decided that everything in moderation is fine and with this knowledge I found that now I can easily say ‘No’ to that 2nd glass. After all, I didn’t need it before.

Slowly, I’m getting back into exercising and am starting to crave pushing my body again. But change takes time. However, I really want to be slim again.