You're ready to get healthy, to feel more energized and to start taking better care of yourself. You've researched the different types of cleanses and detoxes, sorted out the bad from the good, and decided on the perfect plan. You plan out your meals, shop for your groceries and eat according to your plan. You wake up early and workout, exercising with the videos, words, or pictures that come with your plan.
You continue this for the set amount of time.
You feel better, you sleep better and your skin glows.
You eat well, exercise, and feel healthy. You finally feel as if your body is on track and you have finally figured out this whole "health" thing.
Then you plan ends. Your life begins again. Your old habits creep in. Months pass and you find yourself right back where you were before you started the program.
You start to wonder why?
Is it lack of willpower? An overbooked schedule? Not enough food options? No one to workout with?
These may be factors, but they aren't the cause. The real issue is the program itself. While most programs follow a strict or preset meal and workout plan, they often forget the most important piece, the piece that would make all your hard work, your determination and your health stay for the long haul.
The thing that is missing from your detox, cleanse, or lifestyle overhaul is this: Connection. To your spirit, your soul, your inner you. Without this connection, this deeper purpose and guidance, you are automatically set up to fail at your efforts. Each and every time.
Connecting to yourself and listening to your personal needs, cravings, and desires are the key to staying healthy for the long haul. If your healthy changes are based solely on what you eat and how you move, you will only be motivated for a certain amount of time. Once the program ends and life goes back to normal, your former habits will start to fall back into place. Focusing on food and fitness keeps your progress on the surface, without addressing how your habits got you there in the first place. This lack of connection leaves you without a deeper reason to keep going. Connecting a little deeper when you detox will help you stay healthier for good by getting to the root of your unhealthy habits.
So how is it done?
Despite being left off of most programs, it isn't as complicated as it seems. Connecting to your soul, spirit, self, or whatever you want to call it is simple. It's what you discover that can be more complex.
Start connecting by creating some sort of daily reflection practice, such as meditation, writing in a journal, or even going for a walk alone. Whatever you choose to do, let it be a time that you can settle into your thoughts, your body, and your feelings. You may discover that you've lost weight, but you feel depleted or tired, or that you are starving. You may notice that you are suddenly excited to wake up early every day, when you usually crave sleep. You might realize your body feels tired, or perhaps it feels stronger, from the workout you are doing each day. You might realize you are nervous that the results won't last, that you aren't worthy of this new life, and that you are anxious about what might happen next. You could even realize that your body is already healthy, but you are trying oto live up to someone else's ideal.
Connecting will give you a chance to sort all of this out and reflect on where you are now, where you want to go, and why you got there to begin with.
The next time you decide to try a cleanse or detox, try this simple exercise with it:
Each morning, take five minutes to sit quietly, with your eyes closed. Bring your hands to rest abdomen and take a few deep breaths. Notice how you feel today. Are there any physical symptoms, such as a stomach ache, tightness, soreness, that you feel? Are there any emotional or mental feelings, like happiness, anxiety, frustration or joy. Don;t do anything more, just notice and observe.
At the end of your day, take five minutes to write about your day. Write down the 3 biggest challenges you faced and the three biggest triumphs you had. What did you do in these situations? What did you learn about your needs from them? How can you make that happen again, or make it not happen tomorrow ?
These simple practices will change your health for the better, allowing you to stay connected to your needs long after the meal plans and fitness routines end.