SJM Day 6

I’m nearly at the end of my first week of Super Juice Me, and it’s suddenly got much easier. If you’ve been keeping up to date you’ll know I’ve been away on a course for the last couple of days – I was dreading the sandwich lunches, but yesterday I was quite happy to take my juice and sit with everyone as they ate. It’s going to sound weird, but I was still able to enjoy the smell of the food without wanting to eat it!

Yesterday evening was tough though – we finished at 4pm and I then had to drive home, which took four and a half hours. I would normally have a juice around 4pm, so I took it in the car with me and sipped it as I drove (whilst stopped at traffic lights, of course!) but by the time I got home at half eight I was desperate for some comfort, so instead of another juice I had a big bowl of hot soup – heaven! (It did strike me as I was eating it that I wouldn’t normally be so grateful for soup at the end of the day, especially as my husband was eating sausages again!)

Have a good weekend everyone, keep juicing!

Cat x

Advertisements

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

Super Juice Me Day 2

Wow. Day 1 was tough. Naively, I’d expected to be fine on Day 1, and find Day 2 really hard – with the theory that the momentum and excitement of it all would carry me through the first day. NOPE!

Things that made it worse:

– having leftover Christmas sweets lying around the house, which ironically were left over because I didn’t fancy eating them over Christmas, but my brain suddenly went in to ‘diet’ mentality and started craving all the things I’d been completely uninterested in two days ago

– knowing all day that my husband was going to come home from work and cook a massive plate of sausages for dinner. (Funnily enough, it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought when it actually happened..!)

– having a rotten cold, on top of a MASSIVE detox headache

On the up-side, I do feel much better today; still quite tired but I suspect that’s from getting over the cold as much as anything. I put a massive wedge of ginger in to my morning shot this morning – nearly blew my head off(!) but I can at least breathe through both nostrils again.. for the first time this year, in fact!

It’s a bit of a weird feeling, knowing that I’m going to go for the next 27 days without eating. I’ve done it before, but only for 7 days, so the end was pretty much in sight right from the start – but even still, I remember finding it really hard to get all the way through. 28 days seems like such a long time not to eat I don’t think my brain has actually comprehended it yet! Perhaps I’ll have a sudden realisation in a few days time.. or perhaps I’m just pacing myself. (I hope it’s that.)

I’ll keep this short today I think, and leave it there. Day 1 done, only 27 to go…

Super Juice Me

This 28 day health kick all started a couple of days ago when I watched a documentary film called Super Juice Me. It was made by a guy called Jason Vale, who is mad about juicing and has written loads of really great books on the subject. I first met Jason when I was about 21, at a Tony Robbins event in London – he’d just published his first juicing book, which I bought, devoured (not literally), and took instantly to heart. I started juicing every day, exercising in the mornings, and eating far more lettuce than is really normal. When I look back on it, I don’t remember it being ‘difficult’, like being on a diet – in fact I remember looking in the mirror one day and wondering where all my fat rolls had gone. I really wasn’t thinking about it like a diet, or trying to lose weight, it was a genuine lifestyle change, and I really enjoyed feeling healthy.

Thirteen (ouch) years later, life has very much got in the way, and I am unhealthy, unfit, and significantly overweight. I have made half-hearted attempts to get healthy again over the years, which have all worked to some extent, but I’ve never kept them up for long. I need to get in to the mindset that worked for me before, and make a complete lifestyle change; but with an extra 13 years of emotional baggage (don’t your 20s seem brilliant when you’re looking back from your 30s!) it’s not going to be as easy as it was the first time. (And I’ve got a cold. Sniff.)

In order to succeed in this I need to be really clear on why I’m doing it, and where my motivation comes from, and in order to do THAT, I’ve decided that the first thing I need to do is face up to all the **** from the last thirteen years. It’s not that the **** is the reason I’ve not been fit and healthy – obviously it’s perfectly possible to go through tough times in life and still eat apples and exercise. However coping with stress has never been a strong point of mine, and emotional eating has been a huge part of my problem, as it is for so many people. If I’m not going to feed the emotions with chocolate, then I need to find some other way of dealing with them – and that means I have to get them out in the open. I’m going to try not to do this like a list of excuses, or a sob story, and many apologies if you find the lifestory stuff boring (feel free to skip to the end) but if I can be honest and face up to my **** and in doing so inspire someone else to face up to theirs, then it will have all been worth it!

Rewind thirteen years: I found my final year at university really hard. Looking back, I was suffering from depression, although I didn’t realise it at the time. I do remember going to see the doctor once, and finding it impossible to ask for help – breaking down in tears as soon as I left the surgery. I used junk food to get me through my coursework, sugar to keep me awake long enough to get essays finished, and then more chocolate as a reward when they were written.

After leaving uni I entered a relationship with a guy who I ended up marrying. He was an avid meat-eater and vegetable-avoider, and one of those types who can eat what they like without putting on weight, so that’s what we pretty much did. After a couple of years his dad fell ill with cancer, and died just before we got married; and shortly after the wedding we found out that his mum also had cancer. As it turned out, the relationship wasn’t a particularly good one and we probably shouldn’t have got married in the first place – but when you are dealing with something like terminal illness everything else goes out of the window, and you cling to whatever to need to get you through.

We decided to start a family straight away, and I fell pregnant with our daughter about a month after we were married. Six weeks in, I started throwing up, and got so ill that I stopped work from about 9 weeks pregnant. I lost over a stone during my first trimester (throwing up ten times a day will do that to you, but I don’t recommend it as a weight loss strategy) and by half way through my second trimester my midwife was urging me to eat whatever I liked just so that I had something inside me. It did eventually subside, by which time my pelvis had decided that it wasn’t going to play ball any more, and I developed what was then called SPD. I had such severe pain in my pelvis and back that I was on crutches for over six months, and could barely move without being in agony. This has been a big thing for me in terms of exercising – it’s not like I was superfit before, but during that six month period I entirely retrained my body to move as little as possible in order to avoid intense pain, and breaking down that programming has been (and still is) a real challenge. It’s nearly eight years since my SPD started and in that time I’m yet to have a whole day where I don’t experience any pain at all. My birth experience was awful and left me with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, for which I had counselling, and eventually hypnotherapy. After that came the post-natal depression (naturally); I struggled to go back to work as a teacher and had to leave my job and find another one. My marriage unravelled, and I was a single working mum with an 18 month old daughter, fighting depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Looking back over all of this, I think it wasn’t so much the stuff that happened (although obviously it wasn’t that nice), but the way I was dealing with it that was the biggest problem. I was in complete denial about my depression, and even when I was actually taking antidepressants I was secretly resenting every second of it, and eventually just stopped taking them, against my doctor’s recommendation.

So far this has taken us up to about six years ago; fast forward through another disastrous relationship with an extremely controlling man (who incidentally was a very fussy eater.. I ate a lot of pizza and KFC during that year), leaving my job to go fully self-employed, and post-birth problems which led me to have an operation to remove the lining of my womb. I was suffering from severe anxiety and depression at the time (and as usual refusing to take medication for it), and was not in any state to deal with the emotional repercussions of this decision, which effectively meant I wasn’t going to be able to have any more biological children. Cognitively, I was fine with it – after going through what I did in pregnancy I knew I didn’t want to do that again! – but every month when my hormones woke up I would re-live the loss, and the guilt.

Three years ago, I met the wonderful man who is now my husband (hurrah!). One morning a couple of months before we got married I woke up covered in blood, and we discovered that the lining of my womb had grown back enough that I’d got pregnant, and then miscarried. (Funnily enough, during that time I’d also done a juice detox but felt so awful the whole time that I gave up.) Cue depression, stress, grief, counselling, antidepressants (I actually took them this time), deciding that we weren’t going to try for a baby as it was too risky and the chances are I would miscarry again… and then I got pregnant again… and miscarried again. Christmas morning 2013 I had the phone call from the hospital to say my blood tests confirmed the pregnancy had failed; Boxing Day we went out with some friends as usual, and the day after that I went in to hospital for the surgery to remove the failed pregnancy. We then decided (us and my doctor) that the safest thing for me was to have a sterilisation, and avoid the whole pregnancy thing altogether – that was in Feb 2014. I’d just got back in to going to the gym, and had thought (naively) that I’d just bounce back and it would all be fine, but it then took me 6 months to properly get over the surgery.

Boxing Day 2014 I spent crying like I have never cried before.

I don’t quite know why it all hit me then, but it was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Everything that I had been pushing down, refusing to acknowledge, ignoring, it just all came flooding out in one go. I was afraid it wasn’t going to stop – and I was afraid that it would stop before it was finished, and all of that would go back inside me and I’d never be able to get it out again.

Anyway… (slightly embarrassed now). That brings us up to date. I know I’ve skipped over a lot of heavy stuff very quickly, and maybe I’ll post about the miscarriages and depression in more detail another time – today I just want to bring you up to speed, and talk about moving forward. It’s not been easy to sit and go over all of that again, but one thing it has done is made me realise I shouldn’t beat myself up too much for being overweight – just getting myself (and my daughter) through all of that in one piece is quite an achievement!

So where does my juicing motivation come in to all of this? I think after my big Boxing Day cry I just feel ready to start caring for myself again. I have spent too long just doing whatever I need in order to get through, and to a certain extent perhaps even feeling like I didn’t deserve to be cared for, loved, and nourished. I can’t believe I’m about to write this as it sounds unbelievably corny, but this 28 days is genuinely a gift that I can give to myself – of proper nourishment, health, and a kick-start to a lifestyle change. I’m starting to feel like I probably deserve it.

Cat x

New Year, new you, and all that…

I don’t know who came up with the idea of starting afresh in January, as it seems like a crazy idea to me. It’s so cold and miserable, and heaving yourself back in to normal life after the Christmas break is hard enough already without trying to keep up a dozen New Year’s Resolutions as well. Bah humbug (if that’s still a thing once Christmas is over).

The trouble with a lot of goal setting (whether it’s New Year related or just a mini resolution all for yourself) is that it’s not specific enough. You can say something like “This year I’m going to eat more healthily” but what does that actually MEAN? If you normally get through twelve bars of chocolate a week and cut down to eleven, you are technically keeping to your resolution even though you are not eating healthily by any stretch of the imagination.

Some people might set a goal of eating more healthily, cut out one chocolate bar a week and feel that they have achieved what they wanted, or at least made a start. Others might make exactly the same resolution, reach exactly the same point, and feel like they’ve failed. If you’re not specific enough with what you’re aiming for not only will the goal be harder to achieve (if you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how will you know when you get there?) but it may stop you from noticing and celebrating the small steps along the way. Cutting out that one bar of chocolate may be a fairly small thing but it’s a step in the right direction, and deserves to be acknowledged as such.

After all my griping about resolutions, it may surprise you to learn that I’m doing a *thing* this January (the timing is merely coincidental, I can assure you!). I’m joining in the World’s Biggest Juice Detox and going completely juicy for 28 days. Yes, that’s right – for the next 28 days I will be living entirely off freshly made juices and smoothies. It’s going to be a challenge (I’ve done 7 days before and that was bad enough) and I’m going to be recording my progress on this blog.

For me, one of the most important things heading in to a challenge like this is being really clear on WHY I’m doing it, why it’s important, and why I’m not going to give up – there are going to be tough moments over the next four weeks and I’m going to need to revisit this over and over again to keep myself focused. I’ve already waffled enough in this post, but if you’re interested I’ll share my story in the next post, and my motivations for doing this, and doing it right now.

If you’re reading this and you’re also on the detox – good luck! Comment below to let me know how you’re getting on 🙂

Cat x