I lost 19 pounds and a bit of my sanity in 20 days. Here’s what I learned from my sugar rehab
Last April I shared here about my sugar addiction and my intent to lose weight with a program called Pura Vida Wellness. The four-step program promises 20 pounds in 40 days by putting you in a strict diet where I could only eat: two proteins, two vegetables and two fruits out of a personalized list of food. I would take some natural supplements to support different organs of my body as well.
I was consistent for 25 days: eating exclusively what I had on my list, drinking only 50 ounces of liquids a day and not letting my skin touch any sort of oil.
Yes, I lost 19 pounds — and a bit of my sanity.
I cried for many days. I had cravings. I was exhausted and frustrated. I had an amazing coach and friend who guided me throughout the entire process. Without him, I wouldn’t have last two weeks.
If you read my previous posts you know that I love a challenge and that I kind of aspire to be a biohacker. I thought this rehab would be challenging but totally doable. The doctor is a keto enthusiastic, intermittent fasting plays a big role in the program plus I had the motivation of losing one or two pounds every day!
I truly thought I could do it.
Well, turned out I didn’t pay enough attention to an important detail in this program: timing.
When I went to my first consultation I filled up a questionnaire that asked me how committed I was to enter the program and if it was the right time to do the program. Well, honestly, I wanted to look good for my birthday (I turned 30 last June 10th).
I didn’t realize that the question referred to the period I was living. If I was under pressure, stress or deadlines, for example. It makes sense: the program requires a lot of will-power and structure. You need to be at the right piece of mind to go through it and succeed.
Then you might ask me: where was your mind, Ana?
Well, my mind was in actually in two places: in the past and in the future.
I’m still in the growth process after the end of my four-year relationship. I’m still coping with death of two good friends last year. And on top of all that, I had assumed a new position at work with more pressure and responsibilities.
At the same time, I got into a car accident that left me car-less for more than a month (living in LBC and working in Beverly Hills, you can imagine the pain).
I’m also getting ready for my graduation this Summer, meaning I’ve been spending most of my “free time” writing my final paper (that’s another reason why I’ve been late to post here. Sorry!).
Oh, did I mentioned my Mom is here in the U.S for the very first time? I also had the pressure of getting ready for her visit.
Yeap. I was really fucked.
My mind was all over the place, but here.
I had to deal with all that and still count calories and select the right type of food I could eat.
I had to be aware of everything would get in touch with my skin: make-up, detergent, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste. Everything. It was really annoying to deal with all that and not have a scape valve.
I saw myself meal-prepping at midnight and day-dreaming about food — all day (and every day). Vegetables were unlimited in this program. So, what I would do was eat A LOT of it. A LOT meaning pounds of veggies with the fear of feeling hungry later in the day, with the anxiety of being fulfilling something I had missing.
I started questioning my capacity to finish the program. The results in the scale were great, but my relationship with food only get worst. I cheated on the diet on day 26 — went to Souplantation and had all the salads, carbs and sweets I was craving. Then, I locked myself in the restroom and puke.
Day 27. Pressed play and repeated.
Day 28. Pressed play and repeated.
Day 29. Pressed play and repeated.
I’m sorry, Mom. I know there are a lot of people hungry in this world and I was here eating and puking like a mother fucker. I’m not proud. On the opposite. I’m pretty embarrassed and worried about my own health. I knew I couldn’t be in this loop longer.
I swallow my pride and asked for help.
Looking back, I would I wasn’t hungry for food. I was trying to replace what I’ve been missing with food — again. This time at least was celery and brussels sprouts instead of chocolate and donuts. Still, it was not making me happy or fulfilled.
I’m hungry for real connections. I’m hungry for love and caring. I’m hungry for compassion and trust. I’m hungry for love.
If on one hand is great to realize all that on the other is painful to realize that there’s no way to grocery shop for these kinds of food.
These are foods that feed the soul and there’s no money that can buy them. You have to grow your own garden. Cultivate your own kind of human greens, child fruits, and pet veggies.
The beauty of it is that I actually harvest some of them. I encounter amazing, juicy and savory friends — in the best sense of the words. I found compassion and partnership.
And I learned something very important about myself. I understood my relationship with food. I like food, and I like it a lot. I don’t eat to feel satisfied. I eat for pleasure too. I eat to learn different cultures, I eat to experience different textures, I eat to celebrate colors and appreciate the taste.
I’ve also been eating to satisfy my soul — which is useless and unfulfilling.
And that’s the kind of habit I want to change. I want to go out with my friends and eat whatever I want with no guilt or shame. I want to appreciate the food I choose to consume. I want to make my meals a time of celebration of my life and health. I want to appreciate my body and feed it with fresh, natural and healthy food. I also want to treat myself with ice-cream if I think I deserve.
Balance. I know. Everybody talks about balance and I’ve been chasing structure and discipline like a dictator. If you analyze it can be very tricky.
When you have a routine and rules about your diet (or anything else in your life) you have a purpose. You wake up every day knowing that you are in control and that you are making the right decisions to achieve your goal (whatever it’s if looking like a model, getting your body ready for motherhood, becoming an elite athlete or living for 100 years).
Routine is good. Discipline is freedom.
I agree with that. I don’t blame the program and its structure. It was bad timing for me to put myself in this position. I was not ready to commit 100% to something that would require so much energy and will-power.
I’m grateful for the program and for everything I learned from it. Even though I have probably gained back 10 pounds. As I mentioned, the program has four stages. And after you loose all the weigh you were suppose to, you do the “lock-up”. A phase where you learn how to maintain your weigh. I didn’t finish phase two, so I didn’t get to this stage this time.
One of the most valuable lessons was that being in control does not mean knowing and predicting every step you take. You are not NSA. You can plan things.
It’s actually great if you do. Again, it gives you structure, purpose, metrics. But you should also be able to notice that being in control also mean being able to change the plan, make a U-turn or just taking another road.
You might even change your destination! Life is this amazing-scary-beautiful and challenge unknown journey. You got to learn how to drive in the hardest way: behind the wheel.
This is also part of being Odara.
Peace & ❤ — always!