It all started when a couple of new clients came to me, speaking to me of a program called “30 Days to Healthy Living with Arbonne.” They had told me that they had just ended an extremely empowering experience, felt amazing and now understood on a deep dropped in level which foods worked for their body. They were no longer operating from “should” and “should nots” with food, but rather had wisdom around food in a new way. They were no longer experiencing sugar addiction. They no longer needed caffeine. They had dropped weight and inflammation.
Now they were ready to do the real work.
They were now looking for a way to make this feasible and doable in their lives, to keep the momentum going, to move through potential self-sabotage and learn what was going on underneath when they wound up emotionally craving these foods so they could connect more to their core essence and their purpose.
They wanted to learn how to take this information and implement it powerfully and intentionally toward the relationship with food, their body, and the life that they craved.
It peaked my curiosity; this month-long whole foods clean sweep that also contained natural and minimalist top-notch products (like meal replacement shakes, probiotics, digestive enzymes and greens powders) that contained anti-inflammatory ingredients (and are the tastiest I have found) partially because it added a layer of convenience to more traditional whole-food detoxes like the Whole30. I had been a huge fan of the Arbonne skin care and makeup lines for years and had just started to get familiar with their nutritional products.
And….full disclosure. I was looking for convenience.
A former “only eat whole foods” in their original form (aka stay away from bars and shakes) purist, I was highly skeptical of the highly processed ingredients that often lurk in nutritional supplementation products. However, let’s be real, motherhood had thrown me a hell of a loop. I simply did not have the bandwidth to eat in a way that aligned with my values since my second baby was born, and I had to re-assess my position.
During pregnancy, I allowed myself more sugar and carbs because i was listening to my body. It was building a human! But it kept going once I had my little Lola in September because I couldn’t regain my footing. I would go long stretches without eating, get starving and reach for anything easy. I was slipping further into caffeine and sugar addiction, and regularly imbibing to cope with the stress of two young children.
I got sick eight times in the span of three months. No joke.
I felt painfully out of alignment with my values with self-care. Here I was working with other people to help them take care of themselves, and yet, had nothing left to give myself.
I knew the answer was not to “lean in” to healthy habits again. I knew what worked for my body, I could recognize why I was in the patterns I was in. I needed to do something radical to disrupt the new status quo. It was from deep self-love. It wasn’t for weight loss (although that isn’t necessarily wrong). It was to put myself if not on the front burner, on the stove, at least. I needed a big commitment. I needed something big to reach for to make it a priority and I needed accountability.
So, I decided to try it myself and let myself be led by a trusted friend and Arbonne consultant and coach, Ashley Pittman. I invited a few clients to experiment with me and try it as well.
I deemed April #projectselfcare. Alongside my clients and my coach, I gave up booze, sugar, refined food, caffeine, soy, gluten, and dairy. Basically, I gave up all inflammatory food. I prepped more and focused on super nutrition dense food. I actually produced more breast milk (side note) even though I’m sure I took in fewer calories.
Now, as a health coach, most of these practices were not new to me. Re-committing to eating this way was like slipping into a really comfy pair of your favorite jeans that haven’t fit in a while. It felt amazing. I felt empowered, aligned, and proud of myself. I was forced to food prep and plan again or I wouldn’t succeed. I had to figure it out in my current lifestyle. I jumped and sort of built the plane on the way down with the help of my leader, Miss Ashley.
While the return to healthy habits was mostly pretty seamless, I won’t lie. Letting go of wine and sugar was really hard for me.
Just as I expected, engaging and committing to this program taught me a lot more about what was going on beneath the surface of food than “how to eat.”. I didn’t have my usual take the edge off crutch, my 6 pm chill pill when I felt like I was giving all of myself to motherhood and still always falling a little bit short. It required me to just BE. I had to sit with all the irritation, the joy, the transitory nature of the moment, the love, the anger.
I had to just take it in, even when I wanted to unzip from myself when I desperately wanted to bolt.
Around halfway through, there was a little bombshell. I was called into my son’s preschool because he is displaying challenging behavior, and they have had enough of it. I started crying and couldn’t stop. He is like a beautiful wild-fire; super physical, active, headstrong, with endless curiosity and a defiant nature. He pushes boundaries until you are unsure if you can hold back the damn that is Levi. I love him to the ends of the earth so I have to cope and grow. However, the preschool does not have an obligation to adapt. They are having trouble handling him and I’m left with uncertainty about how to support him and if it will all work out because we currently don’t have a lot of options. This was SO triggering for my ego.
It mirrored back to me who I thought he should be, and how the blueprint of Levi wasn’t matching up. It reflected my own fear of failure back, my own fear of rejection, of “looking bad” to others, my own stuff and it wasn’t pretty. I was swirling in stories….and I had no wine or sugar to quiet the storm.
I had to sit with myself. I had to cry it out. I had to try to find a deeper understanding and higher truth. I had to just BE there for myself and for him. It’s what I talk about with my clients every day–decoding the messages beneath the numbing behavior.
I am still figuring this out, but I know that my easy buttons make it harder for me to find peace in the long run, to find aligned solutions, to grow as I am meant to grow. Wine and sugar are my easy buttons, as they are for many.
The clients who participated alongside me have lost weight, lost inches, are experienced more empowerment, are planning and food prepping much more efficiently, are taking more self-responsibility. They reported understanding their sensitivities more clearly to things like dairy, caffeine soy and gluten. They said they loved the convenience of it. They loved the rituals of the program and plan on continuing many of them. Together, we created a plan for the next phase in their relationship with food coming out of the program. Some of them are even doing it again for another round.
I truly enjoyed the experience and I thought the program was an amazing value. For all of the support, meal replacement nutritional shakes, probiotics, greens powders, fiber supplements, teas, cleansing materials, it was around $275.
I lost five pounds and around seven inches. I fit into all my pre-baby stuff beautifully. That’s all great but not why I did it and not the most important part of what came out of it.
I believe this was pivotal for how I am learning to love my son.
When I am purer, so is my love. It is less attached, less egoic and operates from a higher plane. That is a motivation that I get behind when I am tempted to numb out and enter into a fog when I’m slipping into disempowerment around booze and sugar.
Radical levels of self-care make me a better mom.
This experience isn’t for everyone, because if you are in a fractured or painful relationship with food or your body, it is possible this can lead to more obsession and control, rather than ease and wisdom. If you are in a place of disordered eating or experience a lot of stress in your relationship with food, I highly recommend speaking to a therapist or a coach before embarking on this sort of a journey. If you aren’t sure, feel free to email me and we can chat about if it is the right time for this sort of experience in your self-care journey.
Assuming it feels exciting and aligned and coming from a place of supporting yourself and your body rather than just changing it (so you can feel enough again), here are some tips:
So, how does one make the most out of an experience like this?
How do you want your relationship with food to feel? Get clear on the relationship with food you are actually wanting and how this experience will support that. For example, if you are wanting a relationship with food where you naturally gravitate toward healthy food but still allow yourself indulgent food from a conscious place (aka you choose the food, it doesn’t choose you), then investigate how engaging with a program like this will eventually lead to that for you.
Identify your BIG WHY. This partially relates to question number one. Obviously, you are detoxing your body and giving it highly nutritious food, and that is a really great thing to do for yourself, but also look at HOW taking this step could start to positively affect other areas of your life. My big why was related to how I wanted to currently feel in my life (grounded, aligned, authentic, honest, clean, bad-ass). For someone else, it could be that it will help them enter into the arena of their business with less apology because they feel better about being seen.
Create a plan for how to move forward after. Toward the end of the experience, assess what worked, what didn’t, what you loved, what you didn’t, what you want to keep a part of your health rituals, what you can let go of. You can get intentional about how you want to approach the next month based on the awareness and wisdom you gained, and create agreements with yourself about how to proceed. These agreements should be helping you move toward the relationship with food that I alluded to in the first tip.
Commit fully to the program while also committing to listening to your intuition about what is right for you. I’m all about full commitment because that can feel DAMN empowering and remind us of how much we are capable of when we DECIDE to succeed. It’s kind of amazing. However, we are also human, and there will likely be slip-ups. If that happens, get curious and compassionate. Then get intentional about how you want to move forward. Also, there may be a moment when it feels empowering to actually break the rules (revolutionary, right?) For instance, I had three glasses of wine during the experience. However, it wasn’t my usual 6 pm chill pill numbing. We had friends in town and it was my first time out to dinner (where I could drink) in a year or so. I wore a dress and makeup, and wine felt aligned that night. I felt great about it. It didn’t mean I had to get drunk or eat a bunch of gluten and dairy. I just got right back on the next morning. I chose that wine, it didn’t choose me. I loved that.
This sort of a program can serve as an introduction to healthy eating, an exercise in empowerment and responsibility when you have already built the foundation or a reset for someone like me who had spent a lot of time on their relationship with food and has awareness of what works for them. If you are in the first two categories, however, I highly encourage you to seek support in transitioning into or out of the program with a coach.
Rock On & Be Well,