I've been working through the cleanse outlined in the book Clean, while also working through the exercises detailed in Stop Eating Your Heart Out, which are designed to break the emotional eating habit.
The book has been really helpful so far. I don't suffer from a huge overeating problem, but there are patterns of emotional eating that I want to change in my life. For example, I don't want to use food to deal with boredom or sadness or stress.
The exercises are really short each day. Some of the most helpful ones have been:
- Reflecting on my food history and thinking about what my patterns of emotional eating are.
- Thinking about the importance of building a support network. I've done this with my mom, aunt, and cousins! We have been e-mailing and texting about this process every day.
- Prioritizing self-care and changing the word "should" to "could" (instead of saying: "I should exercise more" I would say, "I could exercise more," which makes it a suggestions rather than shaming--which my friend already taught me, but I forgot). And using the phrase "choose to" instead of "have to" to reframe how we think about our life ("I choose to pick up the children from school today.").
- Using a journal to facilitate an honest conversation with yourself about what you're thinking and feeling and how your life is going. I love this idea! And I want to make more time for it. Things come up in my journals that I didn't know were there, both in terms of problems I wasn't articulating for myself and even possible solutions. It's really powerful.
I've been following the cleanse religiously since December 26: a smoothie for breakfast, a clean meal for lunch (which for me as a vegetarian is basically a vegan, gluten-free meal), and a soup for dinner. It actually hasn't been as hard as I thought it was going to be. I've been able to resist lots of temptation (we've gone out to a lot of dinners with family), and I've surprisingly not starving all the time. I'm definitely eager to get back to normal eating on January 16th, but I hope I will be more purposeful with the kinds of foods I use to fuel my body and with the ways in which I use food. Looking forward to it!