Ditch the Diet

You might find it strange that someone in the midst of a 28 day juice cleanse would be advising you to stop dieting, but let me explain…

In Jason Vale’s first book ‘Slim for Life’, he talks at length about diet mentality – the idea that you are depriving yourself of things that you want in order to get slim and feel healthy. The diet mentality is the reason that most people pile weight on when they come ‘off’ their diet – yes it is quite possible to lose weight by restricting your intake of certain foods for a period of time, but if during that time you feel so deprived of all this food you ‘can’t’ have that you then go back to eating those same foods (the ones that caused you to put on weight in the first place).. well, what do you think is going to happen?!

If you’re going to look at long-term, sustainable weight loss and better health, you need to get your mindset right, otherwise you will set yourself up to fail (as I have, many times in that past!). A friend of mine once said to me that she thinks of it as making a choice every time you go to eat something, and I think that’s a beautifully simple way of looking at it. I’m eating (drinking) healthily at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped liking chocolate biscuits or cake; the difference between choosing to eat healthily and being on a diet is that I’m allowed to eat as much cake as I want – I’m just choosing not to!

If that sounds a bit over-simplistic to you, then have a look at the post I wrote when I started this, which will give you some of the background, and an idea of how mentally prepared I was before starting. I can’t emphasise enough how important the mental preparation is – you need to be really ready to do this.

I’m on Day 12 of my juicing plan, and I feel like I’m settling in to a new routine. I had a few difficult days around days 7-9 where I was feeling really hungry in the evenings, even after having my juice, and was feeling quite ill, so I experimented with replacing one of my juices with a salad or bowl of soup and I feel so much better for doing that. If I was in the ‘diet’ mindset, I would probably be telling myself that I’ve failed, as I had originally intended to go juice-only for 28 days – but luckily I’m not on a diet 😉 I did eight days on juice (bar the odd Hunger SOS and a bowl of soup on Day 6) which is more than I’ve ever done before, so I’m delighted with that! I’m also continuing on the plan, and doing three juices during the day and having a salad, soup, or some roasted veg in the evening.

The best thing about this is it feels sustainable; I can see myself continuing this long after the initial 28 days is over, and have no problem with the thought of doing it until I reach a weight that feels good for me. I expect that I’ll end up becoming a bit less strict with myself as time goes on, but that’s the great thing about it being *my* choice. Yesterday I was planning an afternoon tea with my best friend – she lives a couple of hours away so we don’t see each other that often, and when we do we like to treat ourselves to something fancy! With my old mindset I probably would have said either I *can’t* go because I *can’t* have cake (and therefore depriving myself not only of cake but of a lovely afternoon out with my friend), or I would just have given up the diet so I could go and do it. However as we were discussing it yesterday I found myself mentally working out what I could do to work around it – making sure I juice fresh for the rest of the day, for example.

The thing that sums it all up for me, is that this is not about dieting, or depriving yourself of the things you secretly want; it’s a lifestyle change, and it’s about putting yourself and your health above everything else – even chocolate biscuits 😉

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Flexible juicing

I’ve had a really big challenge today; I’m away on a work course for a couple of days, staying overnight in a hotel, and not able to bring my juicer! I had considered postponing the start of the detox (especially considering that the rest of my fellow delegates are currently out enjoying a complementary curry!) but I was so pumped up to get started I just wanted to get on with it – plus I knew that if this was going to be a lifestyle change there would always be *something* that would make things difficult. The key question then became *how* to cope with the difficult situation, rather than just trying to avoid it.

I’m feeling quite pleased with myself right now – normally I would have made an excuse and put off the detox, or taken the day off, but I have actually got through a whole day of course, avoided the sandwich buffet and biscuits (not to mention the curry) – AND doing all of my juices without actually having my juicer. Big pat on the back for me.

So that I’m not just showing off, I’d better tell you what I did..!

Preparation and flexibility were my best friends here. I ended up adapting the recipes for the two days to versions that I could blend with some (good quality) shop bought apple juice. I made a flask of juice at home before I left which was mixed greens – that didn’t work terribly well if I’m honest, as it was quite bitter by the time I got to use it this morning. However, the blending worked well – and I discovered that beetroot actually blends quite well (but ginger really doesn’t!). I also used banana, avocado, pear, cucumber, mixed berries, and spinach – in various combinations.

Although the juice plan is very prescriptive, it’s also vital to keep the big picture in mind – the most important thing is doing my 28 days, and if that means compromising slightly for a couple of days it’s not actually a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I did the best I could do under the circumstances – it wasn’t the perfect version, but it was ok. Sometimes OK has to be good enough!

So that’s my tip for today – flexibility is your friend, and accept that your best effort is good enough. On to Day 5…

Cat x

Maintaining motivation

I’m now on to Day 3 of the World’s Biggest Juice Detox and it’s tough going at the moment! For anyone just joining, this is a 28 day juice challenge – the idea is to drink my food for the next four weeks, leading to a healthier, slimmer me, and kickstarting a new lifestyle.

On days like this, I need a bit of extra motivation, so I thought I’d look at some of the things that are keeping me going.

1) Holding on to the facts. I know from what other people have said, and from my own past experience, that the first few days are likely to be the worst. At some point it will get better. For some people, this may be all they need to keep pushing on, but I will admit that for me, it isn’t quite enough, and I need to dig a bit deeper.

2) Remembering why I’m doing it. I want to feel healthier, and slimmer is a bit of a bonus, but to be honest it’s not the driving force for me. In fact, when I really think about it, the main reason I want this is because I want to do something for myself that is positive, nourishing, and good for me. I live the sort of lifestyle (as I’m sure many of you do) where a lot of people are asking a lot of things of me; I do genuinely like to do it, but I have realised lately that it’s wearing me down, because I’m not leaving time to do things for *myself* as well. In some ways, I feel like my Boxing Day purge has let out all of the stress and guilt that I was holding on to, and I finally feel like I deserve it.

I’m going to give this a new paragraph all to itself because I think it’s really important. It may sound silly, it may sound fake, or it may be too hard to hear at times, but we all deserve to feel well, healthy, attractive, and confident. I deserve to take some time for myself to do this juice programme, and I deserve to feel healthier at the end of it. Regardless of what has gone in the past, how I have treated my body, I deserve the right to make a change, and I AM WORTH THE EFFORT that it will take. It’s something that I would say without a second thought to a friend who was struggling, but until I really faced up to myself I honestly think that deep down I didn’t feel I deserved to be slim and healthy. (If you’re reading this and it’s resonating with you, I’d just like to categorically say that YOU ARE WORTH IT TOO.)

3) Being kind to myself. This programme has a great little safety net, called ‘Hunger SOS’. It basically means that if you’re really struggling one day, you can just go and eat something. Something healthy, obviously, and not in great quantities, but just because you’ve had half a banana it doesn’t mean that you have to throw the whole thing out of the window. It’s not about being on a diet, or ‘cheating’, it’s just about making a choice. Yesterday afternoon and this morning I’ve felt genuinely hungry, and so I’ve had a few of the leftover vegetables from my husbands tea (roast parsnips – yum!). This morning I found that – even though I felt like I was ravenous – after a couple of bites I’d had enough. (As an aside, it turned out that I was more thirsty than hungry, but they feel surprisingly similar!)

So those are my top tips, and what I’ll be hanging on to for the rest of this week. If you’ve got any more suggestions then let me know! If you’re on the detox as well – go for it! Hang in there, and comment below to let me know how you’re doing 🙂

Cat x