I’ll say up-front I don’t believe in cleanses. I know people swear by them but if you really want to detox yourself of chemicals and sugar and salt, just eat like our ancestors did … clean eating, nothing that comes in a package, fruits, veggies, legumes, lean protein, whole grains, dairy, etc … food that gives us energy instead of a quick fix. And those that lose weight during a cleanse end up gaining it all right back when they begin eating regular food… so in my mind, what’s the point?
That said, I do see merit in the ACT of cleansing. I feel SO happy when my dresser drawers and closet are organized, or when I’ve bagged those old jeans and pants [that will never fit again] for Goodwill. When the kitchen is neat and tidy and we’ve cleaned the fridge top to bottom and inventoried the freezer. When there are fresh linens on our bed and soft, fluffy towels in the bathroom. These gestures make me happy.
For longer than I care to admit, I’ve been relying on crap and impulse buys and I think something snapped in me the other day; I was just sick of it. Many of my Christian friends give up candy or soda or chocolate or alcohol for Lent, but as a Jew, there is no holiday that dictates we give up something for a religious reason for an extended period of time (Yom Kippur comes close, as it’s a full 24 hours in which we abstain from food, water, sex, etc., but it isn’t the 40 days of Lent).
So, in light of my Money, Miles and Mass mantra, I decided to go on a Candy Cleanse. I have no timeline here; I just want to see how I function without the impulse buys, without a visit to my friend’s candy bucket at work. I’m not cutting out all sugar forever or anything crazy … just literally breaking up with candy for the time being.
Though it shames me to admit it, I usually find a way to get in some piece of candy each day (be it a Hershey kiss(or kisses), a Dove Promise or a snack-size Snickers) and it has been completely working against my goal of weight loss. Sugar is, as nutritionists and fitness gurus spout, pretty much evil. And while I’d never give up fruit and don’t plan to give up desserts entirely (hell no!) I need to get a grip on my solo impulse buys.
Well I’m here to report, today marks two days I’ve been cleansed from candy/junk food of any kind. I was so proud of myself for walking past the Easter candy at Walgreen’s yesterday and not getting a Reese’s peanut butter cup egg. I used to easily walk by the candy aisle but lately have been drawn there. But my rationale for not getting one was I KNOW what they taste like (delicious!), and I also know that while a Reese’s PB cup egg won’t kill me, I’ve had enough of them lately that it was time to take a break.
I didn’t need it.
Instead, to satisfy my PB fix, I bought a jar of extra-crunchy JIF to keep at my desk at work to eat with sliced apples. And I felt EMPOWERED by my inaction (i.e., not buying the candy) which reminded me of YumYucky’s Reverse Food Journaling experiment in which, instead of just logging what she DOES eat, she also logs what she passes up.
This idea might have bothered me a long time ago — I might have felt resentful for things I want but “couldn’t” have but now I see things differently. I can have anything, in moderation. And if tomorrow I decide I want the Reese’s egg, so be it. But today, right now, that egg is one step further from my goal and when I look at it through that lens, it makes saying “Not today” much easier. I’m not the old Melissa saying “not ever” or issuing any black or white statements. Just saying, “Not today.”
Somehow, that makes the idea of a candy/junk cleanse palatable and tangible.
I’m not actually keeping a reverse food journal a la Yum Yucky/Josie, but I do like the empowerment that can come from such an exercise. Because though I hate the thought of tying food to an emotion, it really feels like “choosing pride over guilt,” which helped me recover from my ugly disordered eating past three years ago this month!
I don’t know how long I’ll keep up this Candy (and junk) Cleanse, but for now, it feels good. I’ve also been eating much more balanced the past two days and planning out meals, eating more veggies and fruits.
Sometimes we are, truly, our own worst enemy. I want to be my own friend, and that means treating my body a little better each day. I might not lose any weight, but at least I can feel better about how I’m treating my body in the process.
How about you? Did you ever do a sugar cleanse? Was it hard for you to cut out sugar?