I may have reached the conclusion of my first six-week jumpstart, but my Eat To Live journey is far from over!
What a ride it has been. I came into this jumpstart with clear intentions to ignite the transformation in my life that I have been longing for. But after more than 30 years of destructive yo-yo dieting, I knew from the outset that this journey was going to take more than just a decision to change my way of eating each day. I would have to tackle so much more of my personal life and what makes me tick if I was going to have any lasting impact on my lifestyle and the future of my health.
Change was never going to come to me overnight. Yes I can make decisions each day about what groceries I buy, what I prepare or cook, and what I go on to consume… but at the end of the day, underlying everything is my emotional attachments to food, food addictions, and all of the self-doubt and chaos in my mind that I desperately need to heal in order for true and indelible transformation.
Over the course of the past six weeks I have experienced all of the highs and lows. I have had amazing success one week and spectacular failures the next. One day I can stick impeccably to the plan with ease, self-love and confidence – the following I can wail in despair, succumb to the self-doubt and sabotage any nurturing I had given myself. I love Dr Fuhrman’s Eat To Live lifestyle. I totally accept every piece of information behind it and I feel the dramatic difference in my mind, body and spirit every day I eat this way. But as much as I can love it, adore it, and want to live this way for the rest of my life, it has been a very bumpy ride both emotionally and physically.
Given my holistic approach to tackle more than just what I put in my mouth, I should perhaps, give myself more credit for how far I have come at this point. It seems fitting that last night, after my husband returned home from more than a week overseas for work, we tucked our four children into bed and snuggled up on the couch together with a glass of wine and a movie. He chose a film I had long wanted to watch – definitely not his own preference – Collateral Beauty. Of course I laughed and I cried (and my adorable husband lovingly admired my meek and sensitive side). But the context of the story got me thinking about my own life and in particular, my health and my Eat To Live journey.
Through all of the damage in my life, which has invariably lead me to the starting line of this ETL journey as overweight and miserable, I realised that there is great beauty in the calamity that has been left in its wake. Up until last night, I had never given much thought to all of the good that has come of the bad. I am forever encouraging my children to seek out the silver lining in every day challenges. But clearly I had forgotten to step back and see my own silver linings each day.
Over the course of the week, I had been contemplating what to write for this journal post, and I felt to be fair, I should claim defeat. But then it hit me. I may not have stuck 100 per cent with the plan in every way, on every single day… but every single day, in every way, I have learned, I have unearthed, I have acknowledged, and I have piece by piece embraced gratitude and change. And most importantly, not once have I given in to my usual mindset of believing that I am not worth the ride, that I am not worth the transformation, that I am not worth the blessing of a long and healthy life. In thinking that I had failed, I completely missed that the most significant puzzle piece that has driven my life in the past – self-worth – wasn’t in fact lost in the collateral damage. It was just cocooned beneath the protective layers waiting for the perfect time to emerge. Waiting for me to open my eyes see not just not the unintentional mess, the ugliness and pain… but to bare witness to all of the collateral beauty that lies behind me and right there in front of me. Oh dear God, you must be jumping with joy that I finally GOT IT!!
Now I realise that without a doubt, I have succeeded. I continue to implement new nutritarian habits that are replacing my old destructive habits. I know the importance and benefits of being organised and planning my meals. I have found joy in prioritising myself each day – nourishing instead of punishing myself! I feel the amazing difference pure and simple plant-based food has on my mind and my body. I also feel the reasons why foods on the avoid list hinder or harm my mind and my body. Even my husband and children notice the difference when I’ve swayed from ETL. I have lost just shy of 6 kg (13 pounds), healed a niggling pain that I have had for the past two years, ignited a love for nourishing myself, rekindled my passion for food (oh how I now love salads!) and most importantly, I can finally see all of the beauty that is hiding beneath the damage.
This six week ETL journey has been the most outrageous success! Sure I can look back and say I wish I had stuck to it more closely, I wish I had lost more weight, I wish I had healed or achieved something else. But this is only the beginning, and I feel I have already jumped the largest hurdle there is in making this lifestyle my every day habit – my way of living without even thinking about it or trying. Every day is progress, not perfection. Had I not felt the fear and the failures, had I not waded my way through the aftermath of bad choices, the mistakes and wrong turns, I would never have bore witness to the exquisite butterfly emerging from the cocoon. I would never have understood my collateral beauty.
Thank you Elisha! And thank you to the amazing journalling team for your love, support and guidance. Words cannot describe my gratitude and the magnitude of the learning that has come from these past six weeks. This jumpstart has changed my life in so many ways. I feel free! And for the first time since I can remember, I can feel my self-worth and beauty.
It is just the beginning!!