Health

Why I Quit My Cleanse (hint — a cleanse is a diet) – Molly Niles Renshaw – Medium

There are so many things I want to accomplish in my life and I can’t come close to getting it all done if I don’t have ENERGY! That’s why I keep doing these damn cleanses. I was feeling tired and rundown. I needed a reset. I think we can all agree that too much sugar, gluten, dairy and alcohol aren’t great for your energy level. So I started the Whole 30 last week, which means you do thirty days of whole foods and none of the inflammatory stuff mentioned above. I did five strong days motivated by my Pilatesology shoot coming up that weekend and wanting to look good in a unitard!

After working so hard and eating perfectly for a week, I felt like letting loose a little. I went to a casual party at a friend’s house with the kids with the usual pizza, salads, cookies and ice cream. My normal, non-cleansing self would’ve been more interested in catching up with friends over a couple glasses of wine. I’d probably have a slice of pizza, maybe a cookie or two — but since none of the food was Whole 30 approved I ate in a disgruntled way from the crudité platter not even adding hummus. Not a drop of booze. It sucked eggs.

I tried to prepare by eating a “turkey sandwich” — sliced turkey between two lettuce leaves. I was so hungry! Towards the end of the party I could take it no more and frantically finished Shepard’s slice of pepperoni pizza and shoved two cookies in my mouth. I was behaving like a dieter, retreating home full of shame.

The next day, Sunday, I resolved to get back on track. Black coffee and a plate of eggs — no toast- for breakfast. I was cranky as my family enjoyed pancakes and scrambled eggs — which the previous weekend I partook in moderately.

Then came THE CAKE. My mother-in-law came to visit bearing a gift of a quadruple flavor birthday cake for Alan- chocolate, carrot, caramel and pumpkin spice cake. I was obsessing about this cake like a crazy person watching my kids devour their pieces with delight. Monday, after my black coffee, fried egg breakfast I tore into the rest of the cake with the fervor of an addict. I quit my damn cleanse right then and there. This is ridiculous! I was falling back into behavior I’d long moved away from. The deprivation/binge/shame cycle — my worst nightmare.

This is exactly how people become and stay overweight. I’m done!

Even before I started the Whole 30 I was behaving like a dieter. We were at Disneyland and I knew I couldn’t have any sugar for a month so I was eating way more cotton candy, ice cream and junky snacks than I ever normally would because I knew the deprivation would commence the next day. This is exactly what enslaves people in the diet/cheat/guilt cycle. Food should not be shameful! I’ve easily stayed at 120 lbs or less for six years because I don’t get on this diet hamster wheel. I don’t cheat on my diet because I’m not on a diet. I don’t need to covet ice cream and cotton candy and pizza. If I really want that junk I can have it. Food holds no power over me UNTIL I start a diet/cleanse. Then it holds ALL the power over me.

A cleanse is just another way to say diet and my sanity is more important than waking up with boundless energy. I know that omitting all those inflammatory foods will give me more energy but I don’t care. It’s not worth it to me.

I’m not saying that taking a break from sugar, alcohol and other inflammatory substances is a bad thing. Not at all! It’s a great thing to do for your body. But for me, dieting or cleansing is not the solution. Here in LA so many people live in a state of constant deprivation under the guise of healthy eating but many have eating disorders or are so terrified of gaining weight that they’re okay to live unhappily. They’re skinny but never follow their palate or natural food instincts. That’s no way to live! Eating is the most amazing thing we get to do everyday!

I did a 21 Day cleanse last year and wrote this post about it. I almost didn’t share it because I think I was kind of lying in it. I did feel better and was briefly in a balanced state but quickly slid back into my old tricks and rebounded. I felt more energetic but was totally food obsessed during the cleanse that I went through a bingey period of eating all the foods I wasn’t allowed even after the cleanse. When I finally went back to normal I actually ended up gaining a few pounds from the ordeal. I didn’t write all that. In fact, I wrote that I had relegated drinking alcohol and eating desserts to special occasions. That’s BS. I went back to all of it within a week. Was it worth it?

Yes and no. Mostly no.

Sometimes I do need a reset. Sometimes I fall too far out of balance. Sometimes I have really low energy. What I realized from this round of cleansing is I’m willing to sacrifice that “buzzy” energy to retain my sanity, pleasure in eating and frankly, my waistline. I can cut out alcohol for a period. I can reduce sugar intake. I actually like to eat clean and healthy most of the time. But when I restrict all of it — NO CARBS, NO GLUTEN, NO DAIRY, NO SOY, NO BEANS — no nuthin’ I want to eat — I can’t eat naturally! I just want my damn fried egg on a piece of buttered freaking toast and when that is forbidden I start obsessing about toast! That is insane. And I’m not interested in driving myself crazy over toast.

Now, if I can go away to Canyon Ranch without kids and work and have my cleansey food beautifully prepared for me and just journal, hike, meditate and do yoga all day. Great. Sign me up. I will happily do a cleanse in that setting. In normal life though, count me out. I’ll be here with my toast, turkey sandwich and glass of wine with dinner.

Free from the chains of dieting!

By: Molly Niles Renshaw


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