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Detoxing Myself Back To Health


Yesterday marked the end of the I’m Saying No In November Detox. I made it the full 21 days staying completely off of Facebook, doing yoga every morning, and following a strict diet with a couple minor cheat days. The results and daily food journal can be found here: Like the several Monastic Challenges I’ve done in the past, I lost weight, had tons of energy, and felt great. Here’s the breakdown for the first 21 days of November:

Weight Loss – I went from 224 to 213 pounds, for a total of 11 pounds in 21 days. What’s funny is that for the last couple of days of the detox I was eating huge meals on a business trip in Orlando. I was piling on huge portions of steak, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables. I managed to stay away from the free alcohol and desserts every day, except for a little on the last night. When you’re in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter you can’t leave without trying some Butterbeer.

No Grains, No Gains

What I didn’t tell any of you before starting though was that this was my trial run at a full Paleo Diet. For those of you who haven’t heard of the Paleo Diet, it’s a way of eating that mimics our hunter-gatherer ancestors. I’ll let you do your own research, but from a 21 day trial run I can say it worked for me. I’m the leanest I’ve ever been and I actually did less exercise than I usually do.

Here are three great websites that can teach you more about going Paleo:

  • Mark’s Daily Apple – This is my favorite health website by far. I read Mark’s Primal Blueprint book and it changed the way I thought about many aspects of my health. Highly highly recommend it.
  • Three New Leaves – One of my buddies Matt runs this site on Paleo living. Lots of good information.
  • Nerd Fitness – In addition to helping nerds around the world get fit, Steve writes a good deal on the Paleo Diet. Also a great place to start if you know nothing about fitness.

Daily Yoga – I woke up almost every day at 5:30am and did some yoga (which I owe to my three recently implemented sleep hacks). My body felt looser over time and I drove into work every day with a sense of calm. Most of the days I only did 10-20 minutes, but it was enough to get my mind and body ready for the day.

Facebook Free – I stayed off of Facebook for the entire three weeks. I signed on early this morning and had a decent amount of messages and notifications, but nothing that was really all that urgent. I looked at my News Feed for a couple minutes and got bored. It was nice being away for a while, deleting the application from my phone, and focusing on more important things. I even wrote three letters to friends. Real letters, by hand. With stamps even. Now that I’m back on Facebook I’m going to severely limit my time on it. This was one of the better takeaways of the detox.

The most important thing that happened over the 21 days though wasn’t the rapid physical transformation or the freedom from social media. No, the most important thing was this…

I stopped being sad.

Since my mom passed away in June I’ve been feeling a bit unsettled. After coming back from the epic Momstoski Road Trip, I went back into my regular routine of working, traveling, writing and adventuring. But something wasn’t quite right. I just wasn’t my usual cheery, energetic, optimistic self.

In my head I still had all those powerful beliefs from years of personal development. I still valued every day like it was my last. I still realized that life is beautiful and there is wonder all around us. I still knew that good things will continue to happen to me for no apparent reason. I was still supremely confident in my ability to take on any challenge that life throws at me.

I knew it in my head. But I didn’t feel it in my heart.

It’s a hard feeling to describe. It wasn’t like the sharp, excruciating pain I felt deep in my chest after a nasty break-up. It wasn’t like the melancholy I felt as an inexperienced teenager with the inability to work through my problems. No, it was a dull pain that was with me when I woke up and stayed with me all day until I went to bed. In the simplest terms possible, my heart felt heavy.

But then I started waking up at 5:30 every day.

And then I started doing yoga every morning.

And then started eating cleaner than I ever have before.

And then I started feeling more energetic.

And then I felt more productive at work.

And then my workouts got better.

And then I started looking better.

And then I started feeling better.

And then one day I woke up and the feeling was gone.

And that has made all the difference in the world.

[Photo Credit]