Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about mindfulness, being aware, or being present. Add to that, we are constantly surrounded by ads or messages with tips about losing weight and eating healthy. I’ve always considered myself to be healthy; although, after a few months of winter inactivity, I did want to lose a few pounds before going on vacation.
I decided to try a seven-day cleanse through our local FitFresh restaurant. The intent of this cleanse was to jump start a weight loss program and to cleanse the body of all the “processed” foods and chemicals we consume. So every day for seven days, FitFresh provided the day's prepared meals, which were all natural and low in caloric intake. As part of the program, I was not allowed to add any salt, sugars, or sweeteners, nor was I to have any carbonated drinks or alcohol.
Admittedly, I didn’t realize how many things I consume that were on the “not approved” list. I knew I would be giving up deserts, but I had not considered all the liquids or additives (such as salt and sweetener) I consume.
What really became apparent to me was that many of the things I do eat and drink are out of habit. Going a week without adding sugar to berries, or not reaching for the salt shaker really had no effect on how much I liked the flavor of these foods. They were just as good without the additives.
I thought I would miss diet sodas in the afternoon, my morning Starbucks, and having that wine or desert at night. But as I went through this cleanse, I realized that many of the things I did (consumed) were out of routine or habit. Once I went a week without them, I felt so much better and healthier!
Initially, I thought changing my eating and drinking regime for a week would be difficult. However, it really caused me to be mindful of my actions, how much I eat and drink, and more importantly why I consume the things I do. Is it out of habit? For me, some things are.
I was successful in losing weight before my vacation, but more importantly I felt fantastic; I felt more rested and healthier than I had in a long time. And the most important thing I learned from this experience was that being mindful of what you are doing and why, and making good (perhaps different) choices is incredibly powerful.
Michelle Braddock, Executive Vice President