January 2018 was a wild ride for me. I began the year on a twelve day cleanse with my best friend. We literally did not eat any food and sustained ourselves with a concoction of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Both of us really needed to clean out our systems and doing the cleanse together made it a lot easier. The first challenging day was Friday, January 5th. We had made plans to go to a Vision Board party and when we first walked in all I could think about was the delicious spread of food and red wine in front of me. We both prevailed and had a lovely evening creating vision boards with a group of inspiring women.
Near the end of the cleanse, it started to get more difficult. We began fantasizing about all the healthy food that we wanted to eat after the cleanse. Since we both didn’t work out (per the cleanse rules), we felt very clean by the end but also a little weak. Just a few short days after the cleanse, we embarked on a 4 day, 50 mile hiking retreat in the mountains of Malibu. It was challenging to say the least. Blisters covered my feet and my whole body ached, but we pushed through. Interestingly, the best part of the retreat was connecting with the other participants. I made fast friends with all the other hikers and hearing their stories not only inspired me, but gave me the strength to keep pushing through the physical pain and the ten hours of daily exercise.
On the last evening of the retreat, I got some news from home that shook me. It left me feeling confused, shocked and unsettled. It wasn’t that it was bad news, it was more that I wasn’t expecting it and wasn’t prepared for all the emotions that flooded through me. All I wanted to do was order a bottle of wine and some junk food from the hotel, but instead I pulled myself together and set off for the retreat’s final dinner with my new friends. I was so glad I sucked it up and went. As we all feasted on delicious vegan food, we went around the table and spoke about how the retreat impacted us. There was so much Love and gratitude in the room that night. I was literally moved to tears.
Going home things got harder. I find it interesting that I could go twelve days without food and hike 50 miles without too much hardship, but returning to the reality of everyday life was by far the most difficult part of my January. My body was hurting so badly after the retreat I couldn’t exercise for a few days. The lack of movement affected my mood and I found myself reaching for vegan comfort food to self soothe. I have always been an emotional eater and my inner critic was screaming at me for so easily slipping back into old habits. I learned that I am way too hard on myself. I felt a few days of gluttony had ruined all the hard work I had put in over the past few weeks. I had to remind myself that I will always be a work in progress. I am not always going to eat perfectly, and I am working on being okay with that. I think it is so important to be kind to ourselves when we veer off path a little, because it is only through being kind to ourselves that we will find the strength to get back on track to becoming the very best versions of ourselves.