A couple of weeks ago I woke up feeling really good. I had a deep sleep, I went for a run and felt on top of the world. Later that afternoon I took my kids swimming. Half way through swimming I was suddenly hit with a very strange sensation in my body. I had a headache, nausea and felt exhausted. For the rest of the day I felt terrible with no desire to eat.
The next day I woke up still feeling nauseas and exhausted. I only felt like eating fruit and water. Without realising it, my body had put me on a spontaneous detox! I quickly got the message that my body wanted to cleanse.
I was feeling drawn towards green smoothies, juices and light veggie meals. I had naturally cut out any wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine, meat or alcohol. Although I don’t have much of these things normally in my diet but my body wanted a complete break.
As I am generally healthy so I was surprised as to how terrible I felt! The headaches and nausea continued for 3 days, but after those first days, I started to feel better. What I find interesting about cleansing or detoxing is what comes up during this time.
I had not done a big cleanse for over 10 years, since having children. Before children I tried many different cleanses and fasts. When I used to cleanse, it was often lead by feeling very negative about my body. I had a history of eating disorders in my teens and early 20’s, then I transferred my eating disorders to an obsession with health food. I would do strict elimination diets, where I cut out all sorts of ‘unhealthy’ food from my diet, but I would find this too hard to maintain and then end up binging on the food that I had denied myself. I would feel terrible about myself and out of control. It was an emotional and physical rollercoaster that took up a huge amount of my mental, physical and emotional energy. Remembering back to that time makes me exhausted just thinking about it!
After having children something changed for me. I stopped obsessing about food and allowed myself to eat what I wanted. I was so relaxed and at peace for the first time since my teenage years. It’s hard to say why this happened exactly, but something just fit back into place. This new relationship with food felt like total freedom.
I generally maintain a health diet now but I do allow myself to have what we judge to be unhealthy food. When I was at my most healthy diet-wise, my mind was not healthy about my diet and therefore my body suffered. I had a hard time digesting anything. Now, my mind is healthy, I am relaxed about food and my body is healthy and thriving. This feels so good.
So when this spontaneous cleanse happened, some concern started to creep up in me. The old memories of my relationship with cleansing started to resurface. I was slightly concerned about feeling amazing on the cleanse and then feeling uncomfortable in my body when I started back to my regular diet.
So I started to ask myself a question. “What would it look and feel like if I cleansed with kindness?” What came to me was that I would not make any big rules for this cleanse, but instead, I would really ask my body what it wants in every moment. If I feel hungry or have a craving I ask “Body, do you want to eat now?” and if it says ‘yes’ I ask “What do you want to eat?” I listen to the message or feeling that comes into my mind and body when I ask this question. I follow my knowing. This is very different from giving into cravings. We eat and drink for all sorts of reasons, not just when we are hungry or thirsty. By asking the body first you get more clear on what is going on.
What if you really listened to your body? What is your body asking for? Food? What food? No food? What would it like to drink? Not drink? Our bodies will tell us if we listen. When we make choices based on what our body is asking for, we tend to feel so much better in the long run. I made a little video blog about this. Learn How to Communicate with your Body
Cleansing gives me an interesting feeling of emptiness or lightness and at first this can feel uncomfortable. We are used to the heavy feeling that foods such as wheat, meat and dairy give us. When I have a craving or feel uncomfortable with this ‘light’ feeling I use the “Expanding Exercise”. I created a video blog about this called Expansion vs Contraction. Watch it here. Give it a go and let me know how you get on!
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