Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday Confessional


"Hi my name is Chantal, and I have 'sticking-to-fasts' aversion..."

"Hi Chantal."

As a lead up to my post, here are my two shout-outs of the day: I have to say that Heather (and her blog, Adventures of Raw Goddess Heathy) has definitely been one of the biggest inspirations in my choice to go raw (the other one being Meredith Frantz and her awesome blog, the Raw Seed). In short, both of these women pretty much exemplified what I was looking for when I first wanted to turn to raw foods: emotional and physical health, fitness, happiness, all resulting in inner and outer beauty. Seeing them, I thought, hey, if they can do it and seem so wonderful, than I can too!

After reading Heather's post today, I decided that I too have a confession to make:

I've always been really enamored by the concept of fasting. Since my childhood, I had always conveniently been able to take the period of Lent very seriously, a seriousness those around me just saw as some kind of exemplary piety. I'd fast all day on Ash Wednesday and often maintaining a fast between breakfast and dinner for the entire 40 day period. And that was just me as a kid! Problem is, doing that led to some more negative and destructive behaviors, and while that's another topic completely and I have gotten over them now, I became very turned off by the whole fasting thing. I came to believe that I was not fasting for the rights reasons; doing it to justify something for my ego rather than doing it for the pure intention of my religious beliefs. I moved on to only fasting on Ash Wednesday and then seeking some other more spiritual way of observing Lent (trying harder to be a better person, not criticizing anyone, not eating sweets, saying only positive things, etc. for 40 days), and that worked out very well for me.

Attempt #1: Some time in the summer of 2007, I was re-introduced to fasting a few months after I made the decision to become truly healthy and fit for what probably was the first time in my life 'for real'. A friend of mine at work was on the Master Cleanse, and while she was a smoker/drinker like most college students are, she was getting serious positive detoxing results from it. By listening to her talk and given my current obsession with wanting to maximize my health, that itch for fasting that I had as a child came scratching at my door again. My friend had been on the Cleanse for about 10 days, and she told she wasn't working out during that period (she didn't really usually either) and didn't recommend doing both at the same time. I saw that as a somewhat significant downside since I was just getting off a 12 week Body for Life program, which had me in the gym about 6 days a week.

However, I decided to go for it anyway, thinking I could do it all. After just 48 hours, I realized how much I loved being in the kitchen, how it was slightly affecting my workouts, and how little I wanted to be on this fast which had me drinking nasty drinks all day, was too high in sugar (because of the maple syrup) and was having little detoxing effects on me though I had been promised transformative results (okay, it had only be 48 hours, but the only thing that did happen was that I think I detoxed all the hangovers I ever had in my life one night, and that was rough... I guess that was pretty much all I had to get rid of since I've always been a pretty healthy individual).

When I 'gave up' after 48 hours, the worst thing about getting off what I thought would be a 10 day cleanse was that I really beat myself up about in the way that I hadn't done since the times I broke some of my fasts during Lent when I was kid. I thought I was a loser, that I was weak, that I had failed, that I didn't have what it took... It was really negative behavior and it put me back into a very bad and very dark place. I figured I would try it again someday, knowing that I still had something to prove to myself, that I can move on from these negative ghosts of the past, and that I still craved the enlightenment so many people have told me they feel after a longer than 1 or 2 day fast.

Attempt #2, #3, #4, #5... Since then I've psyched myself up so many times to go on a prolonged fast, and I have tried, many times, but have never lasted longer than 24-48 hours. I get bored, restless, hungry, and really, I just love food too much to be able to stay out of the kitchen that long. Because one of the things I take the most joy in is cooking for Andrew, I think my inability to do that during a fast really takes my sense of femininity and/or desire to provide for my mate way past my comfort zones.

I've tried fasting at home, during road trips (which I have found to be a lot easier), away from home completely, but I can never stick with it for more than a couple days. It's like being able to see the light, but then just caving in. I feel that the only way I could do a real fast is to lock myself up somewhere far away, in place that isn't home, and where someone just make juices/soups for me so I don't ever have to deal with the reality of not being in the kitchen (and more specifically my kitchen), even though that's one of the places I'm happiest.

The silly thing is, given Heather's post today, I'm re-inspired to give fasting another go. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to follow her plan as closely as possible (allowing for minor changes of course), so I don't have to think about what to drink as much as planning something totally on my own. I'm reluctant to say I'm doing it 'for real' this time because that always seems to be what I say... but I guess, I'll say that yes, I'm going to try again, and I'm going to keep working out while I do it. This time, I hope it sticks. I've 'raw baked' (we really need a word for that...) and have gotten what I hope to be the bulk of my food making needs out of my system today. If I need to do something in the kitchen, I promise myself now that I'll make Andrew taste it and do that part myself (I'm almost certain he won't refuse)... and that's that.

I'm still not quite sure why I feel the need to do this. It makes me wonder who I'm doing this for: Is it for me? for others? for my ego? for my real self? to actually reach a level of clarity? or simply because I'm not feeling so great physically right now? we'll see, I guess, and with the worldwide web as my witness, I'll keep you posted!

Workout of the Day: Abs, legs, back & biceps
5 minutes of cardio warmup on stairclimber
3 x 12 raised arm crunches w/ stability ball
3 x 10 side crunches w/ stability ball (for each side)
3 x 12 barbell squats
3 x 10 lunges
3 x 12 one-armed db calf raises
3 x 12 pulldowns
3 x 12 db curls
3 x 10 leg raises (for each side)
10 minutes of stretching

Yesterday's Workout:
30 minutes of HIIT cardio on treadmill (including 5 minutes of cool down)
1 minute plank
1 minute of side planks
10 minutes of stretching

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