Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were great and you’re excited about whatever 2012 has in store for you, assuming, of course, that doesn’t mean the end of the world. Just kidding, that’s a bunch of poppycock. Right? Right?
Anyway, my dear husband and I decided to spend the first week of the new year consuming nothing but fresh squeezed fruit and veggie juices in order to start our new year off on the right track and maybe, just maybe, make up for some extra rich eating over the holidays.
I may not have told you about this, but back in September, when it was still summer in Los Angeles and warm and sunny and… sorry, I forgot it’s probably snowy and frigid where you are, but back in September we did the juicing and it was grand. We lost weight, we were full of boundless energy and we slept better than a baby. (The proverbial baby who actually sleeps through the night, with nary a care in the world, not an actual baby).
After 11 days we eased back into the world of real people food but kept on juicing for a meal or two a day. Ah, those were the days.
So, it certainly wasn’t out of line to think that a week long January juice cleanse would be a good idea. Well, it definitely wasn’t a good idea. My body struggled and I suffered. Usually detoxing takes about a day and a half as your body scrounges up all the ice cream sundae and cheeseburger residue and flushes it from your system. Not this time. I detoxed for four days. That meant headaches, fuzzy thinking, a runny nose, some aches, etc. My skin even broke out, despite the fact that all that went into my body were fruits, veggies and water. I was always hungry, no matter how much I consumed. That’s not usually an issue with this type of eating, where you can have as much as you want. And, I didn’t have any additional energy. I did, however, lose weight at about the same rate as before. It was just twice as hard.
I should have remembered what I learned in school last quarter: In Oriental medicine we are taught that the body works differently at different times of the year. For example, in summer our bodies want to eat lighter and we need less rest. And in winter we need more rest and our bodies crave more nourishment. This is just natural biological functioning, the same way we are biologically programmed to be active during the day and sleepy at night. We can ignore it and do whatever we want, but there are consequences.
This got me thinking about New Years Resolutions. In January, the time when we (in the Northern Hemisphere) should be less active, eat and sleep more, we are prone to jump starting our year with great plans to work out, sweat a lot and eat less to purge the holiday eating pounds. That usually leads to getting up early or staying up late to squeeze workouts in before or after work, school or caring for our families. The typical result is disaster and quitting before the calendar hits February.
I suggest a more natural, body-conscious approach: save your New Years Resolution to get in shape and lose weight until late April or May, when nature and your body will be on your side. You may find that it is simply easier to get into a groove, your appetite may naturally wane and you will need less sleep as the days become longer.
And if that throws a wrench into your bathing suit aesthetic plans then I suggest that you start this year with an eye toward a complete lifestyle change, rather than needing to allocate your annual resolutions to weight loss every year. Just think, if this year you started in April then by next year, it will not only be old hat, but you’ll already be where you want to be and you can make resolutions about other things you want to accomplish in your life, like permanent hair removal in areas where hair is downright gross.
If you live in the Southern Hemisphere then New Years is a great time to start such a resolution. Lucky.
And if you still want to get started in January, cut yourself some slack. Rather than going whole hog (so to speak) with your health plans, start by cutting sugar and processed foods out of your diet. Resolve to eat smaller meals and more often. Eat filling, hearty foods like vegetable based soups and oatmeal so you will be fuller longer with fewer calories. Go for walks regularly, even if they are just short ones. Take long strides so you can feel your muscles stretching as you go. Eating better and walking will also help you sleep better, which will give you more energy. All of that will help you shed a few pounds in a way that won’t tax your hibernating body and will give you a head start for an April work out and diet plan.
That way you’ll be much more likely to see your New Years Resolution to success.
Good luck and report back!
For more information on juicing, watch the documentary that started it all for us: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s a great movie, a fun watch and very inspiring.