I have debated for hours, actually days, whether or not to write this blog. People have become progressively meaner, nastier and more judgmental from the comfort of their computer chairs as of late, and I very much dislike having to defend myself or use my block button. I thought, “I don’t have to open myself up to ridicule or judgment, I could simply continue to share recipes and inspirational quotes on my Facebook page and save myself from the drama and backlash.” Why would I do that to myself?
But then I realized that sharing my story would probably help more than it would hurt. And for every person who feels the need to spew hatred and judgment toward me, there are hundreds, maybe thousands more, who will find inspiration from my story and perhaps change their life for the better. After all, I named my page “Raw Rebecca” because I promised I would offer my followers “Raw” truth and “Raw” emotion. (Yes, that’s right, my name initially had nothing to do with Raw Foodism! I discovered Raw Foodism long after creating my Facebook page) But, back to my wagon and how I fell off.
So, here goes…
Starting around the holidays, I began to stray from my mostly-Raw diet. Quick side note: I am rarely 100% Raw if it’s not Summertime. A Raw Foodist is someone who eats between 70-100% Raw each day. So yes, many Raw Foodists do sometimes eat cooked food. It’s a choice, not a sin. I actually do not recommend everyone to go 100% Raw because I personally feel that such an overly-restrictive diet can be difficult, especially for those with extremely busy lives. I also believe we are all bioindividual, so there is no one perfect diet for every BODY. I simply advocate CLEAN, PLANT-BASED eating (with lots of RAW fruits and veggies). That simply means you eat all-natural, whole clean foods, and mostly plants. So, now that’s out of the way, back to the story. I slowly strayed from my Raw diet because I craved cooked foods during the cold months. Not a big deal. There are some great cooked/clean recipes out there. However, I slowly started to eat cooked comfort foods, like my favorite Peppermint Mocha coffee drinks from Starbucks, Christmas cookies and the occasional slice of ahhh-mazing vegan cake from the Spiral Diner in Dallas to name a few. I considered these “holiday treats” harmless, as long as I got back on my game “tomorrow.” Or, as long as I stuck to the 80-20 or 90-10 plan (eating well 80% or 90% of the time, and allowing treats 10% or 20% of the time). I always thought, “Tomorrow will be different.” But there was always a reason, an excuse…and so…
Tomorrow did not come.
Why? Because I slowly became addicted again. Those few cheat days turned into weeks. I became disgusted with myself and some of you may have noticed a long lapse in my Facebook postings. I was too ashamed to return. Because I know better. I’m a Certified Holistic Health Coach, for Pete’s sake. What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you practice what you preach? You hypocrite! And right then and there, my self-loathing returned. My smile sessions and positive self-talk disappeared. My daily affirmations ceased completely. I ate more anti-foods to make myself feel better. Even though I know un-clean foods are just as addictive as drugs, I allowed myself to slowly become addicted again, even while simultaneously helping others free themselves of that same addiction. It was my dirty little secret. I would go on the occasional health kick during these few months, after I reached my limit, and start a juice fast or raw cleanse. But then I allowed my crazy work schedule to interfere and it didn’t last. And then I went on a few vacations. Oh, boy. These trips were nothing like my first vacation as a healthy person (see HERE). They were full of indulgences and alcohol, and with my judgment lacking, I even consumed some meat and dairy, which simply does not work well in my body (I paid dearly for that later, with depression and bowel trouble…well deserved). I would start off great in the morning, with a green smoothie, but as the day wore on, I would eat and drink whatever I felt like. I returned home and felt like CRAP.
My old health problems re-surfaced.
After all was said and done, I realized my life was different, and so was my waistline. I gained between 12-15 pounds. I was no longer super happy and positive every day. My bowel movements were very light in weight (healthy poop should be HEAVY and BIG), and few and far between (you should poop every day, 1-3 times per day, not per week). I was bloated and constipated often, and I did not sleep well. I woke up almost every morning feeling like I did not want to get out of bed. I started taking naps again. My menstrual cycles arrived each month accompanied by pain and bad moods. I suffered a few nasty headaches, too. What the what!? I was turning back into the old Rebecca. This scared me. I remembered my constant illnesses and how I haven’t been sick in over 3 years. I couldn’t go back down that road. I just couldn’t. And then, the worst thing happened…
My depression re-surfaced.
Notice I barely mentioned the weight gain. That’s because the scale does not determine true health. What determines true health is your daily positive outlook, your energy levels, your self-love, and how you handle whatever life throws your way. Here’s an example. I started to truly HATE my Personal Assistant job. I have several jobs, but this one really started to grate on me. I fully manage a large estate 2 days per week, which means I also keep it clean. The “maid” portion of this job started to really depress me during this time, and that depression trickled down into every faucet of my life. Every time I scrubbed a toilet, I would have to fight back tears, sometimes unsuccessfully. This is a whole other story, but my husband and I are saving money to open our own business, so I know I will not have to do this job forever. But knowing that didn’t help me during this hard time. And that “hard time” I suffered was fully caused by my unclean DIET.
Change is possible, again.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I could change it all…again. Especially before I gained all the weight back, and needed medication again to get through the day without crying. No! I refused to be an overweight pill popper again! I knew I could be happy again, maybe even while scrubbing a toilet (whoa, let’s not push it, Rebecca). It took a full two weeks for me to rid my body of the toxins I permitted entry (I did a clean, Raw cleanse). After that two weeks, I noticed a huge difference in EVERYTHING. I started sleeping soundly again and waking up with energy and smiles. I lost weight. I had energy all day. I produced bowel movements that would put the healthiest Vegan out there to shame. My menstrual cycle shortened and the pain/bad moods never returned. And best of all, I started loving myself again. My depression lifted! I resumed my smile sessions :)
So that’s it. I fell off the wagon. Surprise, everyone, I’m human! BUT I GOT BACK ON.
If my story resonates with you, let me assure you that YOU can also get back on the wagon, and stay on it this time. The first step is forgiving yourself. Beating yourself up only causes more negative feelings which can lead to more destructive eating habits. Accept what you did to get here, and go from there. I look at it this way: I have eaten the Standard American Diet for over 30 years. I am therefore still considered somewhat new to the clean, plant-based eating way of life. So, I’ve done pretty damn good thus far. See how I’m celebrating the good parts, rather than bashing myself over the bad parts? That’s important.
You see, in all roads, you will find bumps. I went over some bumps in my road. But I survived, and more importantly, I learned from it. I learned what those “bumps” can do to my “car,” aka my body, and in a relatively short amount of time, too. I’m actually grateful this happened, because it made me realize more than ever that a few minutes of tasty bliss is not worth an entire day (which can turn into weeks, months and years) of feeling depressed, fat, bloated and lazy. Bad food is just NOT. WORTH. IT.
I’m too smart to allow something as silly as “taste” to wreck my body and destroy my happiness. And so are you. And trust me, once you clean your taste buds from the toxic food you have been eating, real food will taste just as good. It’s a win-win.
As for my toilet-scrubbing depression, this was me today. I had to stop and smile because I caught myself singing and dancing while scrubbing. That’s a big change from complaining and crying. All because of DIET. It was this very moment that prompted me to write this blog today. In fact, I took my lunch break early, and ran to get my laptop.
A clean, healthy diet changes everything. Literally, everything. Let’s all stop living our lives half-full. If you also fell off the wagon, I hope this blog helped get you back on it! I’m here, waiting for you to join me.
To Your Good Health AND Happiness,