Today is day 22 of a 40 day clean eating diet. I’m training to be a Kundalini Yoga Teacher and doing a 40 day yogic diet is part of the course.
There are many forms of the 40 day diet. The one I’m doing is a wholefoods diet, no meat, fish, eggs, and processed food or refined sugar. I don’t eat a lot of meat or fish, so that hasn’t been difficult to stay away from. It hasn’t been difficult to stay away from eggs either.
The most difficult thing has been staying away from processed food and sugar.
So what have I learned? I learned that I have processed food and sugar to numb my emotions for a long, long time.
To cope with the loneliness of living by myself, getting a supermarket pizza or ready meal, or a take-away seemed easier than cooking for myself. Emotionally easier than looking at recipe books designed for groups or families of four! Emotionally easier than eating the same meal for three or four days.
Then of course, after a long day, something ready made was also emotionally easier. When I’m tired, and there’s noone to share the cooking, it’s emotionally comforting to go and get a processed meal. I don’t have to prepare it myself.
Living by myself, the weekends could seem particularly long. I usually don’t drink by myself, so cake, processed food, crips and chocolate were my emotional numbers at the weekend.
After I got past the first week of the 40 days, it scared me to realise how much emotional numbing we do. It also scares me how much sugar and chemicals is in processed food. When I bought a cake that had a best before date of four weeks in the future, how much chemicals is in it to last that long?!
My daily yoga practice has helped me cope with feeling the emotions I used to numb. I’ve also had the added bonus of losing weight. Which was not my goal at all.
When I think of the times I was coping with busyness, stress, grief, depression, and everything else that goes along with life…I wonder now, how was it all made worse because of sugar and chemicals in food.
Today I feel great, I feel wonderful! I have so much energy. I’m enjoying finding new recipes and new foods to try. I’ve enjoyed baking bread every couple of days. I’ve enjoyed cooking dinner from scratch. I’ve enjoyed finding wonderful raw, no-cook recipes! My favourite lifesaver, so far, has been Almond and Cacao Energy Balls. The cacao has been amazing for PMS!
It takes a lot of courage to heal from emotional eating. I’ve made a start. I did a yoga practice to clear inner anger in June and that helped prepare me for the 40 day yogic diet.
I don’t know what will happen after day 40, when the diet is officially finished. I don’t want to go back to eating so much processed foods.
I want to start looking at how I can emotionally supporting people who want to eat healthy or lose weight. Either way, they need to learn to cope with emotions, and that can be something entirely new.
Watch this space for more emotional eating musings! It’s something I want to look into more.
Lots of love!