Today, as I was driving to my doctor’s office, I had the strangest feeling wash over me. While I have never had the actual experience, all I could think was that my life is like I am in rehab. My recent experience is, in my mind, akin to recovering from a long narcotic bender. It’s like Day 10 of my 21-day stint at the facility. Total abstinence from my drug of choice along with heavy evaluation of the root causes of the problem. I’m cut off from my friends, my emotions are raw and my nerves are frayed. I’ve resisted the chain smoking and am passing up the biblical verses and, instead, am digging deep into my core to help understand what ignites my behavior. And, now, I am beginning to be preoccupied with finding strategies to help me cope when it is time to depart the program. For me, there will be no halfway house or sober living residence. It will be full immersion and back to reality. Unlike alcohol or drugs, you cannot prohibit food consumption. I will have to eat. And I will have to do so in a safe and controlled manner. It’s freaking me out just a little bit because I feel really good right now and don’t yet have confidence that I can maintain the willpower to eat clean and nurture my body.

What I consumed:

  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries, pineapple and banana
  • Lentil soup
  • Grilled eggplant with fresh tomato sauce and basil
  • Cauliflower with fresh tomato sauce
  • Sauteed spinach
  • Fresh pineapple (so sweet it tastes like candy!)
  • 6 dates
  • 19 gigantic supplement capsules
  • 64 oz water

I no longer actually want to eat. My appetite is small and I fill up VERY quickly. Tonight I had a plate of about six or seven slices of eggplant and I was only able to eat three along with half the cauliflower before I was feeling really full. Tomorrow I get to re-introduce protein and I am so excited about having some chicken and fish! (Yes, this is what excites me these days…)

How I felt:

I felt great today. I got to the gym at 7:30am and started my day off strong. By the time I got home and got to work, I felt energized and pumped up for my day. I had a crazy busy schedule today, which probably accounted for part of my lack of appetite.  Even on an ordinary day, I sometimes have to remember to eat when I am working intensely all day. Now, because my hunger becomes very acute, I have to stop what I am doing and feed myself. I think that is probably a much healthier approach.

I’m far less tired now that the actual cleansing portion of the program is over but once I am ready for bed, I have to shut myself down. Unfortunately, that is usually around 8pm now!

Physical Activity:

All I had time for this morning was 60 minutes on the elliptical.  I was in a rush to get back home to start my workday so I didn’t have time for weights or floor exercises. My morning tomorrow is a bit less hectic so I am hoping to put in a little bit more time at the gym.

Along with my thoughts about rehab today, I was really focused on thinking through specific behaviors that I am hoping to change as a result of this process. I kept thinking about the impact of some of the small discoveries I have had over the past 10 days. In what appears to be such a small amount of time, I have been able to assess myself with a level of intensity that has produced a remarkable level of enlightenment. What rings most loudly in my head is my need to stop doing things for others without focusing more on myself. This has become one of the biggest struggles in my life and a behavior that tends to create the most unrest and unhappiness for me. I am conflicted because it seems so selfish to focus on myself but I am reminded of the instructions of the flight attendants about putting on your oxygen mask before helping others. You must first be able to breathe on your own before you can be of use to anyone else. If you die from hypoxia, it’s game over. I walk the very fine line of selfishness versus self-preservation. But that bell has rung in my head and, like other times in my life when I have heard the cry for change, I cannot unring it.

Prior to starting this program, I was bottoming out. Exhaustion and overwork had become a way of life for me and, as a result, I was abusing myself in a myriad of ways. My focus was directed at those around me, making sure to help them advance their own lives, without prioritizing my own needs or setting expectations for what I needed in return. Every day I was giving up little pieces of myself to those around me and not much of me left for me. And, in turn, my resentment grew. Quietly. Continuously. Consistently. The anger that I expressed on Day One was a result of that pattern of behavior. While it seems so ancient now, as I have traveled light years in these 10 days, the feeling still lies open like a fresh wound. What I know to be true is that as much as I need to be concerned about what I put into my body, I need to focus, with equal attention, on what I put out. My recovery process, if I am to truly try to change my behavior and offer myself a different outcome, requires me to stop consuming foods in order to stuff down my needs and feelings. I have to develop different relationships with those around me and set new boundaries and expectations. Admittedly, I have no idea what these look like but I have 11 more days to sketch that out. That feels exciting and liberating. And scary and overwhelming. I am up for the task.

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