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I Hate Being a Quitter

So as I told you yesterday, my fairly lousy race experience (only in terms of how I felt, not my time) resulted in my decision to end my 10-day detox. I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss my feelings about this, but forgive me if this isn’t perfectly organized. Basically, I decided to end the cleanse because of several reasons:

1. I didn’t feel better, worse or different: I will say, my clothes were a bit looser and I had lots of energy on Thursday and Friday. Most likely, this came from eating a much cleaner diet for several consecutive days rather than from eliminating a food I shouldn’t be eating, like wheat or peanuts. In that sense, the cleanse was very successful. While I wasn’t very concerned about identifying food sensitivities or allergies, I was happy to give my body a break and know I was feeding it only revitalizing, energizing meals, not too little and not too much. I also rekindled my love for green tea, which hopefully will be a habit that sticks around for a while instead of my morning coffee.

2. I was using it as an excuse not to exercise at all: I know I wrote about embracing my missing desire for exercise, but I likely should have kept up some kind of cardio schedule in preparation for the race. It also might have helped my body flush toxins out better if I’d broken a sweat other than during a visit to the steam room.

3. It was bringing up lots of old eating tendencies: This was the biggest factor. Yes, the race was tough and all I wanted to do was eat a bagel after. But I didn’t. I waited until I was home, thought things through, and was really honest with myself (which is something my detox guide encouraged us to do all last week). Even though I was enjoying the experience, I realized a part of me was clinging to the rules and guidelines of the cleanse as another form of restriction. I enjoyed saying no to foods just because I wasn’t supposed to have them on the cleanse and I was taking pride in my restriction. I could try to frame this as commitment to a goal, but I’ve been down the restriction road before. Thoughout the week I fantasized about the possibility of sustaining the detox meal plan indefinitely. What if I just kept eating this way? Would I keep losing weight? Would I look thinner without having to exercise? Wouldn’t people be envious of my self control? THOSE words and thoughts were the reason I stopped the cleanse. Sure, I probably could have stuck it out for three or four more days. And of course I’m a little frustrated b/c I feel like I failed. I even tossed around the idea of brushing my decision under the rug and writing posts this week about other topics, just so I wouldn’t have to discuss this. But I had to be honest with myself and my time for introspection couldn’t be done while in the midst of a behavior I’d abused so much not that long ago. The perceived piety of my “self control” and “cleanse-worthy meals” wasn’t lofty, it was destructive.

So instead of restarting my cleanse yesterday, I opted to make meals I wanted, but I also kept the tenets of the cleanse in mind.

While I’d been enjoying the smoothies, I knew my afternoon/evening meals would be heavier and I didn’t want to have such a big breakfast. Instead, I opted for a “Super Charge Me! Cookie” from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan (healthified a bit further). I used spelt flour as suggested, dried blueberries, walnuts and Happy Herbivore‘s peanutty spread. As mentioned above, I wanted to honor my hunger and felt the best way to nip the binge/restrict cycle was to allow myself to have peanut butter without going overboard. Thankfully, I have no peanut allergy or sensitivity so reintroducing them back into my diet wasn’t a problem.

I also had a Cocoa Mole Larabar to have a good mixture of protein, carbs and fat.

For lunch, I tested another Happy Herbivore recipe – Cheater Pad Thai! Again, this dish involved peanut butter, but in the form of the peanutty spread, and I made the dish with lots of fresh vegetables and soba noodles (no wheat).

As a snack, I had two organic carrots and hummus, which held me over until after 7.

I’d sent several recipes to The Huz and asked him to choose – dinner was “grown up grilled cheese sandwiches” with a fresh greens salad and homemade vinaigrette. Even though the recipe called for bacon, I made it separately and only added it to The Huz’s sandwich. Mine was loaded up with sauteed onions (in just a touch of olive oil and Newman’s Own Organics balsamic vinegar), sundried tomatoes and a bit of organic, locally made sharp cheddar cheese. All melted on my panini press and served with a sliced plum:

Dessert was one more cookie and a scoop of Sharon’s chocolate sorbet.

Would I do the cleanse again? Possibly. I think I have some more work to do on my relationship with food before I can embark on any kind of “cleanse” because I still don’t know how to use the restrictive nature in a positive way. Would I like to be able to do it again someday? Sure. My interest in giving my body a break from traditionally clogging and heavy foods remains. And it didn’t hurt that I really did enjoy the food I was eating. Also, I so appreciated the support I had from Andrea, the Spark! Wellness counselor who lead our group, and from the other participants. Andrea, the other women at Spark!, and Gena, do great work for many people and I have every intention of asking them for support as I continue to mend my relationship with food.

How do you deal with disappointment/failure?

Do you have any questions for me about the cleanse/detox?

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26 Responses

  1. Well, I think your decision shows a lot about the kind of person you are and how well you know yourself and your needs. I think you definitely did what’s best for you and I certainly do not consider you a quitter. In this instance it was tougher to give it up than it was to continue.

  2. I agree – I think recognizing what’s best for you is the most important part of living a healthy life. You made a decision based on your personal needs and knowing yourself and your body and that sounds like a good decision in my book. And of course, you can always try it again someday if you decide it’s the right time and the right thing for you.

  3. You’re not a quitter. I applaud both your self-awareness and you’re sharing your private struggles, which many young women struggle with. For whatever it might be worth, I am personally very proud of you.

  4. I think you should be really proud of yourself for making that decision! You have obviously made it to a point where you know yourself and your body so well that you were able to realize how the cleanse was affecting you mentally. If that isn’t progress in mending your relationship with food, I don’t know what it 🙂 The only way you can go from here is up!

  5. It might have been easier for you to continue on the cleanse and perpetuate the restriction cycle, but you DIDN’T!! I think that shows tremendous self-awareness, responsibility, and you set a very good example 🙂

    Kudos to you! Also, when you feel like running again, let me know! I need a Central Park buddy 🙂

  6. Hi Kate – I recently stumbled across your blog and grasped that you were doing a SparkPeople cleanse…I think that instead of thinking of yourself as a quitter, you can take this as a huge win for yourself! Being able to think that intuitively about food/exercise/and your health is so amazing!

  7. You are NOT a quitter! I am so proud of you for ending a detox that you know wasn’t right for you. That in my mind takes a stronger person. Realizing that it was envoking feelings that were not health-promoting is HUGE and admirable that you recognized it and ended the behavior!

  8. No way are you a quitter. You were just being 100% honest with yourself, and it really sounds like you made such good judgement and decided what was best for YOU. That third reason is a biggie, and those thoughts are pretty scary!
    It’s actually pretty inspirational 😀

  9. No way are you a quitter. I commend you for resisting those thoughts to keep the cleanse up and restrict yourself after it was over. I’ve wanted to do a cleanse, but I like food too much and I know for a fact that if I was successful at it, I wouldn’t want to stop. Great post!
    Hope your feeling better from the race 🙂

  10. Sounds like you made a carefully thought-out decision, I wouldn’t call that quitting at all!

    Also, your grown up grilled cheese looks awesome….jealous!

  11. really interesting. I loved reading all your thoughts on the whole cleanse. Honestly I haven’t ever done one and I dont know alot about it, but I think that its absolutely awesome that you researched and really gave it a try and wrote your honest opinions and feelings about it. I think thats the only way to find what works for our bodies is just to try out new things. I dont think you are a quitter at all!! In fact I think just the opposite. I think its awesome that you really gave it a go. and you did a great job at that.

    On a foodie note though, your pad thai looks absolutely delish! Love it.

    Have a great day girl!!

  12. I don’t think you should think of this as something you quit or failed at. You tried it, it didn’t work for you and you stopped. That’s great because you were able to listen to your body and realize that this cleanse just wasn’t going to work for you at this time in your life.

    That grilled cheese looks fab.

  13. Delurking to say that I went off-grid for the cleanse too. I managed about four days before I realized that I simply wasn’t providing myself with enough energy – that might not have been the fault of the program, but rather how I was executing it. The plan also stressed me out in a way that I’ve never experienced with food. It just wasn’t working and, like you, I didn’t feel better or different. I don’t see it as quitting, though – 10 days is such an arbitrary number anyway. You tried something, you learned from it, and I think a major point of the cleanse was to take away a new attitude towards eating whole foods.

  14. katherine – i know we don’t know each other that well, but this post spoke to me, so i thought i’d comment.

    i used to be extremely restrictive in my diet [i followed a strict vegan diet for 5 years] – instilling “rules” that allowed me to refuse foods and hold on to a control that felt very powerful. however, eating was stressful. while i exercised daily, it was a chore, and because of my lack of adequate nutrition, it was not fun. i think this sort of stress will bleed into all aspects of one’s life. i was also entirely too thin, although i incorrectly thought it was ideal.

    over the past year, i’ve completely reversed that anxiety, much of it similar to what you describe in your post. i eat absolutely everything, and while i still subscribe to vegan “tenants” [e.g. local, organic whenever possible], i simply listen to my body. if i want a steak, i’ll have one. dessert, too. eating should be fun, not stressful, and i’ve found that the less i think about it, the more naturally and intuitively i eat. since overcoming my vegan days, i’ve never felt healthier or looked better. exercising [especially running!] is a joy now that i have true energy.

    i admire your openness in writing about your relationship with food. it sounds like you’ve had quite a journey. approaching food as one of life’s greatest pleasures, not greatest stressors, has positively affected every other aspect of my life. i wish you the best with your continued adventures in food and running!

  15. You have to do what’s right for you! I admire your decision.

  16. Thanks for being so honest with this! I feel like a cleanse would bring out the same tendencies in me, so I understand your reasoning.

    I’ve made the Super Charge Me Cookies a few times and they’re delicious. You can never go wrong with ED&BV!

  17. I’m proud of you!

  18. All I have to say is way to go for listening to your body and realizing that what’s good for someone else may not be good for you. Being able to do that means that you’ve come a long way. Congrats. 🙂

  19. There are lots of times you will hit your goals and there will be lots that you don’t. I believe we are the sum of our experiences, so the times that we feel we don’t measure up can actually provide us with motivation as well.

    Great post.

  20. Thinking in terms of success/failure can be dangerous at times. Quitting can actually be a good thing…depending on what you’re quitting. If it’s a job you hate, toxic relationship, horrible lifestyle habit (drinking too much/abusing drugs, eating crap, being too sedentary)…something in those veins- then quitting can be liberating and help you attain a higher level of happiness.

    In your case, you were feeling run down and crappy due to a detox that was purported to do wonders for you. When it wasn’t doing wonders for you, you quit it in order to feel better. I think you made an excellent choice. Really listening to yourself is the ultimate success.

    Having spouted off all of that, I deal with disappointment by trying to find a silver lining in the situation that’s disappointing. There usually is one in a lot of cases.

  21. Oh my word, I feel like we are the same person! I have tried a cleanse before, and I “had” to stop for very similar reasons. I also felt like an utter failure…which I hated. I have been down the restriction road, too – and it didn’t make me happy, at all. It made me awful…so I totally know where you are coming from. Especially when you said you prided yourself on your willpower…gooooodness, I have been there (and am still kind of there, sometimes). You are NOT a failure…you are just honoring your body and what it needs. I admire you for being so honest!

  22. Grrrrl, I am so proud of you. Honestly, I could not have been more thrilled to read this. The REAL goal of any healthy eating experience, cleanse included, is to get in touch with one’s authentic and natural food impulses. If stopping the detox has helped you to reconnect with what is natural for you, then you met your real goal!

  23. On the contrary, you are far less a quitter than a ball-buster! I SO admire the maturity and self-awareness it took for you to make that decision and honor your healing relationship with food. I think that trumps all, and if it means kicking the cleanse to the curb. It’s not very cleansing if it leaves you thinking rotten thoughts about your rockin bod!

    And how funny that you made “grown up” grilled cheeses this weekend, because I did the same. With BUTTER, even. Gasp, shock, I know. Sometimes I just have to let go of my meals being science experiments, though!

  24. […] went to Angelica for the first time I ran a half marathon I quit the Spark! cleanse I photographed more tasty treatsMy lips blew up I’ve had dinner with another blogger and made […]

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