The Cannabis Cleanse Diaries
Day "Who Knows Anymore"
I’ve never been a particularly thin human, and we all know that our culture doesn’t make things easy for the overweight. Now, this isn’t to say that I was ever really “fat,” although if you had asked me at any point between the ages of 10 and 22, I would have described myself as such.
I hit puberty really early, and it ended up labeling me be the freakishly tall girl with boobs until everyone finally started to catch up with me around high school. This phenomenon always made me very self-conscious of my body during these early years. It was in middle school that I started being actively concerned about how much I weighed; around the time of having to change in front of my 90 lb twigs of classmates in the locker room.
In high school, I tried various fad diets such as the “Special K Challenge” to try to drop weight. Of course, none of them worked. Then the summer before college, I went through some what of a rebellious phase. I decided that I was going to eat what I wanted when I wanted because, “fuck it - I needed to enjoy life.” This ended up leading to a downward spiral that resulted in my friends and I plowing through bags (I’m not joking - bags) of candy night after night. Couple that with the fact that my freshman meal plan was stuffing me full of Sodexo’s processed foods three times a day, and I ended up gaining far more than the “freshman 15.”
The summer between my sophomore and junior years, I worked relentlessly to lose weight. I was unhappy with the way I looked and felt, and wanted to be better. I tried Laura Lee’s “Healthy Plate Challenge” offered at our local gym, which included grocery shopping education, daily meals, and a personal trainer. I was swimming daily and racking up around 15-20 exercise hours per week, but at my end-of-program weigh in, I weighed exactly the same and had actually gained inches on my arms and waist. Needless to say, I was indescribably discouraged.
This launched me back into the “do whatever I want” phase for a few more months. Patience has never been my virtue, and I was tired of putting so much effort in to get so little reward. I had read all kinds of health blogs and had seen that true and permanent weight loss takes time, with most people reporting at least a year to make a transformation, but a year just seemed far away for me to reach. What if I did all this work for a year and I had no results, just as I had with all these other attempts before?
Around the new year of 2014, my best friend (and roommate at the time) and I decided to start being more healthy together. Yeah, we wanted to lose weight, but ultimately we just wanted to be better humans; we wanted to change our lifestyle. I made the conscious decision to stop weighing myself all together and just focus on how I felt.
The changes were minor and slow to start. We began going to the gym together around 3-4 times per week and made an effort to cook healthy meals for ourselves on occasion. These little baby steps set us up for more baby steps.
That summer, I lived in Boulder, CO and dedicated at least one hour every single day to doing yoga. I kept this up for over 30 days in a row. I also spent time running, creating healthy meals (which was much easier to do in Boulder, I might add), and meditating. Cannabis played an instrumental role in this; I’ve always hated exercising, but when I was high things weren’t so bad. I wasn’t thinking about all the other work I had to get done, either, and was able to be fully immersed in the moment to focus on my body’s movements.
When I came back to Missouri, I obviously didn’t have as much time to continue doing all these things, but the habit I had created in those couple months pushed me to create space in my daily routine for tending to my health. For the first time in my life, my personal well-being was a priority. I had made a lifestyle change.
While all of my exercise did lead to some weight loss that summer in Boulder, my real weight loss was stemmed from a dedication to cutting back on sugar. In Boulder, I was still allowing myself frequent indulgences in the chocolate wonders of the foodie world. I was also having severe allergy issues, including asthma and hives. It was then that I started looking at holistic remedies for these ailments, and heard that sugar and dairy products can intensify allergies. I was so tired of the constant sneezing that I decided to try cutting out all added sugar and milk for two weeks to see how it went - and it worked.
It was not easy. Sugar is literally addictive, and my body craved it. But after the two week hump, it became easy. I was turning down cupcakes, brownies, and cookies left and right. Ice cream? Who needs it. I wasn’t sneezing anymore!
After over a year of not weighing myself, I finally stepped on a scale. I had lost around 30 pounds and was at my lowest weight ever (all the way since junior high)! I was even having/getting to buy new clothes! I could not have been more thrilled.
Then I backslid. There was a week of vacation in June 2015 that put me back on the sugar train, and I was hooked. I indulged on cheese bread, decadent cupcakes, and ice cream. Within a few months, I gained 10-15 of the pounds back, and again became consumed with discouragement. Ironically, this only made me eat more and exercise less.
But then I started working on the Cannabis Cleanse.
Day after day, I was writing about making conscious choices and being aware of our bodies. So I started making a better effort to actually practice all those Cleanse principles I was advocating so strongly for and again make my wellbeing a priority. I started designing a lifestyle for myself that I both enjoy and that makes me feel good. And (after many more months of refusing to weigh myself) I’m happy to say that I’m now only 3 pounds away from that lowest weight ever!
Do I exercise every day? No. Have I completely cut out added sugar from my diet? Far from it. So what made me lose that extra weight this second time around?
Being conscious and respectful of my body. 95% of the time, I steer clear of processed foods and try to choose items that have 5 ingredients or less with no added sugar (you'd be surprised how much this cuts out - this rule kind of runs the show). I only eat eggs that come from happy chickens, and I try to always buy meat that was treated with respect. I make an effort to eat a good range of fruits, vegetables, and proteins each day, and I limit my bread and dairy intake. (How many sandwiches have I had this week? Should I eat without the bun instead?) When I feel like I need to get up and exert energy, I do so through the form of handstand practice, crazy dancing, or running around with my niece. Once a week, I do an hour long calisthenics workout with a friend who's a fitness instructor. It’s not a strict regiment because life simply isn’t that easy. There will be days when you can’t do your 30 minutes of yoga and you have to pick up something at a drive-thru. But when you’ve created a lifestyle where these anomalies are factored in, they don’t derail your overall wellbeing - and don’t affect your long-term weight.
My hope is that the Cannabis Cleanse can help others create their own lifestyle that works for them. I believe that true wellbeing comes from being aware of what your body needs and responding to those needs. The Cannabis Cleanse is meant to provide a guideline for finding that consciousness within yourself so that you can do what's best for you. It puts the control where it should be: back in your hands.
True weight loss doesn’t come from a diet.
It doesn’t come from a crazy-intense exercise program that only lasts a week or month. Your body has been shaped by the choices, conscious or unconscious, that you have made over decades, and a true and permanent change can only come from making changes that you can keep doing for the rest of your life.
It’s not easy. It’s not quick. But if you really want it, you can do it.
Copyright © 2016 Kristen Williams, All Rights Reserved