Tuesday, January 29, 2013

T Minus 3 and Counting . . .

Perhaps you live here in Charlottesville and are planning to take part in the upcoming month-long juice fast being sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church - Unitarian Universalist. (Perhaps you're lucky enough to already count yourself among the members of the TJMC community!)  Maybe you're reading this blog and are planning to join the fast from a distance.  Perhaps you're thinking about watching all of this from a distance, taking your time to really think about the challenge and the changes involved.
No matter who you are, or where you are, there are some tips I'd like to offer.  Today is T minus 3 days until the 1st of February, the official start of the month-long juice fast and the formal launch of TJMC's "Health and Wholeness Initiative."  So here are some thought.
1)  Please do check in with your doctor or other primary health care provider.  I know.  Everybody tells you to check with your doctor before you start an exercise plan, or begin a new diet, or even (according to Cialis) before starting to have sex (if you're of a certain age).  And just as most people respond to the advise to read the manual before building that build-it-yourself furniture by not reading it, most people hear the advise to check in with your doc and then don't do so.  So please, please, check with your doctor.  Make sure that she or he is on board and keeping an eye on you -- especially if you're thinking about doing a month-long fast (or more).  Depending on your current health and dietary habits, your body may be in for quite a shock and while it is probably going to be a good shock . . . well . . . a shock is a shock.  And think about it this way:  even if you don't think it's necessary to get your health care practioner's "permission," you'll have much better bragging rights at the end of this thing if you know what your numbers were at the beginning!  So get some blood work done; go over your meds; make sure to note your weight on a standardized scale.
2)  Take a "before" picture.  Most everyone that I've encountered who has successfully completed a month-long "reboot" finds themselves looking markedly different than when they began.  And I'm not just talking about weight lost here, although that usually does happen.  People find that their skin glows more, those bags under the eyes have vanished, hair is more lusterous -- we look more energized.  Being able to remind ourselves of what we looked like before is a great motivation for keeping healthier after.
3)  Think about what folks in Overeater's Anonymous call "trigger foods."  What is it that you most find yourself eating without thinking about it?  What are you "called" to (or by) when you're feeling upset, or bored, or exhausted?  If possible -- get those things out of your house.  Now.  Give yourselves a couple of days before begining the juice fast to get those temptations out of reach . . . and to begin clearing your body of them as well.  Some people say to stop cold turkey, now, and to begin increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits you're consuming.  Then, if you're like most North Americans, your body won't be as shocked when you suddenly start ingesting nothing but vegetables and fruits!  (Other people suggest that you take one last bowl of Hagen Daas, or order one more McBurger, so as to say "goodbye" to these old friends.)
4)  Go shopping.  Have the produce you'll need already at hand.  If you need recipes, many will be provided at the Friday night kick-off, but you can start by going to Joe Cross' website.  Remember, at least if you're here in Charlottesville, you may well not need to have a juicer before beginning -- the church has purchased ten Breville juicers which we will be loaning on a first-come-first-served basis.  (we're trying to eliminate as many hurdles as possible)
5)  Last, for now, but certainly not least -- remind yourself that you really have no idea how this is going to be for you.  You may have past experiences with fasting, or dieting, but unless you've tried a juice fast, after watching Joe Cross' movie, while being part of the supportive TJMC community . . . well . . . then . . . you don't really know what this will be like.  When I did my first "reboot" back in May, I managed 30 days pretty easily.  A bit of a challenge the first week, but by the end of that week the (re)new(ed) energy was its own motivation.  The second time I tried it, however, I got through about 3 days before giving up on it.  It can be ridiculously easy; it can be impossibly hard.  But one thing that is certain -- none of us will be doing this alone.
I'm going to try to keep these blog posts coming, at least one per day, until the fast actually begins and, then, at least a couple of times weekly through the month of February.  I hope that we can inspire and support one another in our free and responsible search for . . . better health.
In Gassho,
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