Reflections: End of the Detox 2014

fresh

“…things always get worse before they get better…”

That’s the quote that best describes what happens during my detoxes.

Oh, most “detox survivors” (hehe) will happily tell you the euphoric experience that is THE END of the detox. The end almost makes up for the shizznit that they just subjected themselves to. Almost. 

By day three, I find myself asking, “Why do I do this to myself? Why?!” Still, I press on – reminding myself of what I know is waiting for me — in the end. But this year, it didn’t get better after Day 3 – “THE worst day” supposedly. No, it most definitely got worse.

Abstinence from food gives you time. Time that gives you sensitivity to the other things that clog and clutter up your life. This year, I threw out a lot of things, arranged a few more, bought some (okay, a lot more) and brainstorming ideas for storage. Its even carried on to the rest of the house. Such fun!

After so many days spent on the porcelain throne (brown gunk coming out of you), you begin to think on other things in your life that might as well be categorised as faecal (i.e. sh*t).

Trite as it may sound, things started getting better once I heard the sermon at Church on “Knowing God” and decided to renew my commitment to spending quality time with God. So, one morning, I found myself soaking in meditation, reading His Word. I was especially invigorated when I found that the devotional was hooking up with the text that I had been fixated on (since Sunday) — Philippians 3 — “to know Him and the power of His resurrection”

That morning, I was surprised by the depths of my hunger – spiritual hunger that is. People often ask me how I am able to sleep on an empty stomach during the cleanse. I tell them, after three days, your stomach goes “dormant” – hunger is forgotten. When you start breaking the fast, your body starts to remember and hunger is “rediscovered”.

Well, that morning, my spirit rediscovering hunger – how long its been starving? I hate to imagine.

God speaks and I usually take to weeping.Tears came and it felt like so much crap was coming out of me. As I poured out my heart to God, he began to fill me…

What’s the difference when a non-Christian goes on a cleanse/detox and when a true believer goes on a fast?

A cleanse/detox/fast all have an element of abstinence. A non-Christian will feel “loss” – loss of food, loss of weight… but only a true Believer will feel full… of God’s love, his sufficiency.

There’s nothing as truly fulfilling as receiving a Word you know was meant for you. The Words were just so rich and full – though I was still fasting from food, I was feasting in the Spirit.

This morning, Day 10 of the detox – I went to weigh myself and had to quell myself from feeling disappointed. I hadn’t reached my goal of losing at least 10 pounds within 10 days. Shy one pound. (sigh)

Still, hadn’t I decided that this was not about weight loss?

Disappointed, I began to confess my petty feelings to God. I confessed to Him that feeling “thin” made me feel beautiful because people kept telling me, I “looked great” even when I knew that it was superficial. Then, the harder admission: I confessed to Him that it was easier for me to be dedicated to my body than it was to be dedicated to my spirit – to my relationship with Him.

After that initial confession, I began to pray in earnest that I would not just be physically lean but spiritually “lean”… Just like in Hebrews 12 (MSG)

1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

I was harbouring parasitic sins and had spiritual “fat” that needed shedding – these were hindering my spiritual running!

So many things had to go but I didn’t have the strength – so I prayed the text of my devotional in Psalm 25:11, “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.”

So here I am in the aftermath of Detox 2014 feeling refreshed and renewed. I have no doubts that I will probably gain back most of the weight I lost but I plan to get back to my workout routine (was able to start again yesterday!)

But this year, I also feel redeemed and reinvigorated to run this race well. To be physically and especially spiritually fit.

I pray that in the future, I will look back at this blog post feeling happy – not regretful. This is not a resolution – this is a covenant where the Holy Spirit himself is the Coach, the running partner and ultimately the one who will carry me to the finish line. I am reminded that we are all training in grace – training every aspect of ourselves to be obedient to the Spirit. I cannot lose – so long as I am dependent on grace.

“It is the pleasure of God’s people to contemplate the graciousness of this covenant. They see that the law was made void because it was a covenant of works and depended upon merit, but this they perceive to be enduring because grace is the basis, grace the condition, grace the strain, grace the bulwark, grace the foundation, grace the topstone.” { C.H. Spurgeon }

In the words of Christ, “it is finished!”

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Detox 2014 Update

Today being the fourth day on this detox, things are looking up. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

The first two days of the detox went about as normal with no major hiccups. I was fortunate that on Tuesday (the day I started), I didn’t have to come to work. On Wednesday, I had to attend a general meeting at the school where I work – a painful three-hour meeting where I sat right next to my colleague and her steaming cup of coffee.

The third day (yesterday) was the worst. It usually is but this year, more so. This, I owed to the fact that instead of waking up at 7:00ish to drink my first lemonade of the day, I got up too late – the hunger pangs had set in. I had nausea and poop episodes all day. I also felt very weak and was very susceptible to sights and smells of food. Hence, I had to lay off instagram and facebook for a while.

Today I woke up feeling a whole lot better than yesterday. I’m going to do the errands that I was supposed to do YESTERDAY but never got to.

Weight wise, I’ve lost around (5) pounds ( a little slow – a little disappointing). But I had to remind myself that first, I was doing this to cleanse my body not to lose weight and second, I have already lost (10) pounds since a shocking weigh-in last February that alerted me to my urgent need to lose weight.

I did it in the old-fashioned way, by doing cardio at least four times a week (and more). I exercised even while on my vacation in the U.S.

I didn’t really go on a “diet” but I was conscious of what I chose to eat, how much and when I ate.I didn’t deprive myself – but stuck to these principles:

  1. I had to decide how much I was going to eat before eating. Also, I consciously loaded up on the healthier options (if they were available).
  2. Eating time was exclusively eating time – no “multi-tasking” while eating – i.e. no facebook, no texting, no work.
  3. I eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
  4. At the end of a portion, I’d re-evaluate whether I was satisfied (Note: I never ate until I was full. Full means too much)

I challenged myself – to earn my detox by losing 10 pounds before my holiday. And I did! On the last leg of my vacation, I gained four pounds more. But within a week of being back home to my routine, I lost it all again.

This is part of the reason why I felt like I didn’t need to do a 14-day fast this year. Instead, I’m doing a 10-day fast. I will drink my lemonade for (7) days and start breaking the fast on the 8th day (i.e. drink orange juice). By the 10th day, I will be drinking soup and water-based foods – no solid foods yet.

One final reminder (to myself and to anybody else that’s reading this) is that the master cleanse detox is not a shortcut. There are no shortcuts in fitness. In the end, we must pay careful attention to the motivations of our heart and to the things we hold dear.

In Hong Kong there is strong pressure to be “thin”. They don’t care if you have NO muscle tone or that you actually weigh LESS than you ought to be. You must be slim or diet trying. But I don’t want to be slim, I want to be fit. I want to be strong. For what reason?

My body is God’s temple and I am a part of His royal priesthood. My first priority above all else is to be able to glorify Him in every aspect of life – including my health – so that I may be used mightily for His Kingdom – whether I am singing, teaching or doing anything else.

My Master Cleanse 2013: The Whats, The Whys, The Hows and the What to Expect

I’ve tried to put off writing this mammoth of an entry for until I was at least at halfway point of the detox but today there was a shortage of things to do that required very little physical exertion and not involving my credit card. So, here I am… Hopefully, by end of this entry, I’ll be more open to doing other productive things today.

At the risk of sounding like my father and betraying my profession as a teacher, here is an outline of what I want to write:

  1. What: My Dislaimers and claims
  2. Why: My Motivations for doing the Master Cleanse
  3. How: Some tips for people who are looking to doing the master cleanse
  4. What to expect: A sneak peek at the “first three days” of the detox.

What: My Disclaimers and Claims

Before anything else, let me just make a couple of disclaimers:

  1. I am not a nutritionist.
  2. I am not an expert on the master cleanse.
  3. I am not trying to make anyone else do the master cleanse.

However, I can give you first-hand information on the experience of the cleanse since I have successfully completed it more than 5 times. So, you could say, that while I’m not an expert, I am a proud veteran.

What I have learned, I have gleaned from various sources. When my parents introduced me to the cleanse, I read the book (heres’a  pdf version) by Stanley Burroughs. While it is quite old, it answered some of the important aspects of the cleanse. I would, however, strongly recommend going to themastercleanse.org website if you are interested. Three words: They.Have.Videos.

Why: My Motivations for Doing the Master Cleanse

The lure of my first time around the Master Cleanse was simple: the promise of weight loss. And lose weight I did. However, the reason I’ve kept on doing it –  is due primarily to what I gained during the experience…

The Master Cleanse, for me,  is less about losing weight and more about gaining control over my life and my body.

I live a very stressful life. It is probably a product of my own life choices as opposed to just being a hazard of my profession. The stress is further expounded by my natural “bear”-like predisposition i.e. after a lot of stress, I store fat and then proceed to do nothing. All of this take a heavy toll on my overall well-being – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. By end of every school year, I look and feel 20 years older (at least).

Doing the cleanse, helps my body to get back to a semblance of balance. My body is leaner, my hormones are less rampant, my cycles (digestive and reproductive) run smoother, my skin is glowing, my mind is clearer and my overall predisposition is refreshed and invigorated.

Ironically, not having to eat, gives me more time to think about food (and other important things). The cleanse reminds me that food should be for nourishment and should not be used as a distraction/excuse from dealing with real life issues and problems.

It has me thinking about myself. I get to evaluate how I have treated myself. Unfortunately, I suffer through bouts of self-hate throughout the year. I tend to IMPLODE first — attacking myself when things get rough.

It has me thinking about what is going on around me. Once my digestive system isn’t protesting anymore, I find myself listening to the soundtrack of “everyday life”, my eye is drawn to snippets of simplicity around me. Besides introspection, I get to do “extro-spection” – about life, about God, about the future, etc.

Of course, it isn’t just a philosophical/psychological/spiritual retreat.

I get to know my body a lot better. Have you ever gone to bed with no food? Its a veritable cacophony of gurgling, rumbling and splashing in there. During the cleanse, you learn to listen to your body. You become intimately in tuned to your energy levels. You find out the times of the day when your hunger starts. Best of all you learn the importance of discipline and preparation.

How: Some Tips for People Who are Looking to Doing the Master Cleanse

If you’re reading this far in, I am assuming that you have done the necessary fact-finding into the subject (and no, I’m not just talking about the recipe to the lemonade), considered the risks and have made the decision to try it out.

No matter how many times I’ve successfully done the master cleanse, preparation is still imperative to success.

  1. Clear your schedule. The first three days is the hardest so make sure that you can hanker down somewhere not having to do much. You are more likely to quit in the first three days. Trust me, I know from personal experience. Steer clear of any major “food events”. Unless you’re a masochist, you wouldn’t want to do that to yourself. 
  2. Write a to-do-list. You will have a lot of time in your hands. You will need something that is not too physically strenuous to pre-occupy your mind with. ESPECIALLY the first three days.
  3. Prep your body. The days leading to the start of your detox, start eating simple foods as opposed to processed (i.e. vegetables, fruits, soups, juices), this will prevent your body from the shock of having to quit solid food cold turkey. Initially, you will experience dizzy spells, hunger headaches and cravings like none other. By getting to know your personal digestive cycle, you can prevent yourself from going “hungry”. For example, I usually prepare my morning lemonade the night before so when I wake up, its ready. But heed my advice, no matter what: keep calm and drink more lemonade.
  4. Prepare for breakdown. Remember that The Master Cleanse is a detox – and not just a physical kind. I’ve experienced some major emotional breakdowns during cleanses. But I have learned to anticipate them, to be open to them and as a result have experienced major breakthroughs. Talk to someone you trust, log on to a forum, write in a journal – GET. IT. OUT. You’ll feel a whole lot better.
  5. Get support. The Master Cleanse Detox is controversial. There will be people who will not be supportive. Some will even try to set you up for failure (so mean!) Having support will help you keep your commitment and give you the reinforcement you need when you are vulnerable.

What To Expect: A Sneak Peek at the First Three Days of my Detox 2013

Note: Every person is different. Every detox is different. My detox experience varies from year to year. This is just a “snippet” version of the first three days of this years’ detox.

Day 1

  • Ate too much last night.
  • Feeling groggy – not a good start.
  • Didn’t drink my first lemonade early enough.
  • Had to go out and walk around Central.
  • Hunger headaches and stomach aches all day
  • Terrible, TERRIBLE, first day.

Day 2

  • Feeling much better today.
  • I lounged around the house, watching TV, reading online, sleeping, etc.
  • I tried to do some weights and do errands for mum – felt more energetic at night.
  • no headache but towards sleeping time, I felt dizzy.
  • Could sleep much. Went to the toilet multiple times. My stomach feels upset.

Day 3

  • Didn’t wake up to hunger.
  • Have to go to Central to buy more maple syrup. After that, I’ll go around and shop some more.
  • Ecstatic to find that I’ve already lost 3 pounds – I usually don’t start losing weight until the 4th of 5th day.
  • My stomach is flat already and my face is slimmer. Feeling pumped!
  • My tongue feels and tastes strange. Its covered in white.

Conclusion

To end, let me reiterate that doing the Master Cleanse is a personal commitment that I have made. A venture that I have gone through at least once every year for the past 5-6 years and hope to – for the rest of my God-given life.

I hope this was informative, reassuring or at least entertaining to read. I’ve managed to use up at least an hour and a half on this – which I am very pleased by because today (Day 4) has been awfully slow.

I have a bit of stuff that I want to do so I am ending here. Perhaps in a few days, I will write about my progress so far and regale you of some terrifying stories of past “hiccups”. Til then!