At the end of January, I decided to try a nutritional cleansing program that a friend of mine kept posting about on Facebook. I decided the first month of the program, called Strict 30, would be my February 30 day challenge. I knew that, as the name suggests, Strict 30 would be pretty – well, strict – with what I would / wouldn’t be able to eat. No bread? No bananas? NO COFFEE?! I thought maybe I should push it to March. I already had a Super Bowl party planned, family coming to visit 2 weekends in a row, and an out of town trip for my husband’s birthday the last weekend of the month. What was I supposed to do? Have a Super Bowl party (with my home team playing, no less!) and eat veggies and sip water while everyone else was munching on pulled pork sammies, cornbread, brownies, and beer? Take family out to eat when they came to visit and not get anything? Or at the very least, be incredibly limited with my options? But I decided to go for it and just do the best I could for those 30 days. And who was I kidding? It probably wouldn’t work anyway – I’d tried stuff like this before and gave up halfway through because it was too hard.
A day or so after I decided to start this nutritional cleansing program, I had my biweekly call with my life coach. I told her my plan to try this program and just see how it went. I told her I felt committed to it, but I just knew how incredibly hard it was going to be with all the fun weekend activities and everyday life (did I mention the no coffee thing…). I said I was excited about it but nervous because, you know, hard. She listened, and then told me it sounds like I get something out of paddling upstream. Imagine you’re in a kayak, she said. You put your boat in the river and have the choice of going downstream or paddling against the current and fighting to go upstream. You’re doing it with your mindset about this cleanse and probably elsewhere in your life. Why? How does that serve you? Is it that you think no pain, no gain?
I realized just how right she was. I was making it so difficult in my head because a) if I failed, it was because it was just so hard, and b) if I made it, then I really earned it because it was a challenge. I realized didn’t need to keep paddling upstream: I could choose to change my mindset. Approaching the 30 day nutritional cleansing challenge as totally doable and – dare I say it – even easy, felt empowering. Instead of thinking about the Super Bowl party as a giant challenge, I could paddle downstream and think to myself, hey, you got this girl! With that realization my entire mindset about the program shifted. No longer was it something to try to get through, it was something I was going to breeze through because I SAID SO.
I’m into week 4 of the Strict 30 and I feel amazing. I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, and I can only assume I’ve lost weight, but since I made my husband hide the scale until the end of the month, I can’t be sure. But most importantly is that I feel so strong and in control. Did I want the delicious meats and treats at the party? Hell yeah I did. Did I want the brunch buffet and extra spicy Bloody Mary this past weekend when we went out with our family? You better believe it. But in saying no, and in making that choice EASY, I felt SO POWERFUL. I’m going to keep on padding downstream and approaching challenges as easy; not just with this nutritional cleansing program (which I plan to keep doing after the 30 days are up), but with everything in my life that scares me or seems challenging. I’m going to learn that even paddling downstream has its challenges but you’re more in control and it’s more fun, so why not lean back and enjoy the ride?
Aly Brookland is an ontologically trained life coach through Accomplishment Coaching, a coach and leadership training program through the International Coach Federation (ICF). To subscribe to her blog, learn more about coaching, or request a sample session, visit www.alybrooklandcoaching.com.