This was the the first January in recent memory that I wasn’t in desperate need of a detox…

Desperate, not only because my physical body needed it (which it usually did), but more so, desperate to break all my bad habits from holiday indulging and get back “on track.”

To be completely honest, a detox or nutrition challenge has historically been the only thing that was able to do this for me. I viewed it as my “out” from all the bad eating. It was very easy for me to go “cold turkey” and dive 100% into a clean-eating program. I was all or nothing, black or white. There really was no middle ground. (Sad but true.)

For YEARS this is how I rolled. Overindulge for the holiday month (er… months), overindulge for spring break, overindulge my birthday month, overindulge for that last blast of summer, until I found myself back at the holiday season again.

I would subsequently counteract each of those indulgent periods with a detox, cleanse or nutrition “challenge” of some sort, to once again get “back on track,” to lose the weight I’d gained, to kick my bad habits, etc.

But Wait, Aren’t Detoxes and Challenges Beneficial?

Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing nutrition programs, challenges, and detoxes out there and there is definitely a time and place for them. They can be eye-opening, enlightening and even life-changing.

It was through these types of challenges that I learned all about clean eating, how to plan, food prep and even cook in a “real food” manner, hence, life-changing!

But when you end up relying on these types of programs, as I did, to constantly “get yourself back on track” it might be time to take a closer look at your eating habits and behaviors. And when they give you an excuse to eat how you ordinarily wouldn’t, they may be doing more harm than good.

Detox from Detoxing?

Years ago, a coach of mine put me on a detox from detoxes. She challenged me to remain free of any sort of cleanse or challenge for an entire year. I was so reliant on them that that scared me but I was also really motivated for change and a respite from the ups and downs I was experiencing. It was a tough but important lesson for me. That was the beginning of some major self-inquiry and growth.

But growth is never a straight line is it? I don’t recall exactly when or how but after that “detox from detoxes” year, I slowly but surely slid back into my old ways. Overindulging, followed by “over-cleansing,” over and over again.

So, What’s Wrong With That?

Well, for one, it’s not healthy! Sure, I felt AH-MAZING during and immediately after my cleanse/challenge/detox. But, as with anything, the restrictive nature of these challenges led me right back to the place I started. Soon I would find myself, overeating, over-drinking, eating all the things that weren’t considered “paleo” or “detox approved” simply because I could. I had restricted so much that once I was out of the safe confines of a program’s rules or a yes/no list I tended to go off the deep end. Call it self-sabotage, call it rebelling, call it what you want but overindulging simply led to over-restricting, which led to overeating once again.

This set me up for years of distorted thinking and unhealthy behaviors around “clean eating,” even a distorted view of what “healthy” meant.

That Roller-Coaster

I found myself not only on a physical health (and weight) roller-coaster, but a taxing mental struggle that really took a toll on me. I constantly felt like I was failing if I wasn’t eating 100% perfectly. I felt like I was either healthy and trim or flat-out gross. Sounds brutal, but there was not much self-love or respect going on in that equation. Again, it was all or nothing, black or white. There was no gentle middle, moderation or self-compassion. Add all this on top of the extra layer of guilt for feeling like a fraud (because, hello, nutritionist!) and I was a hot mess.

Finally Speaking My Truth

This last year has been a tremendous year of growth and enlightenment for me. Maybe because I turned 40. Maybe because I was just plain exhausted from the ups and downs. Maybe because I finally realized that the massive amount of mental energy that I was constantly expending about the state of my health, diet, weight, pant size, etc. was taking me away from the life-giving work that I want to do, that I know I’m meant to do.

It was taking me away from my kids, my husband, my extended family, even friends and social events because I was unable to be truly present, always absorbed in worry, guilt, shame or disappointment.


This year I surrendered. Fully. It was time to accept that this was my pattern. It was time to take responsibility and face this. To look it in the eyes, as opposed to look past it, brush it under the table and make excuses. It was time to be grown up. No one could fix this but me.

My Holiday This Year

This year, as I faced this holiday season I knew I had a choice to make. I could enter it as I always did. Scared to death of all the treats, indulgent foods and libations that fill the majority of our days from November through January. Viewing them as the enemy, trying to avoid them (they’re “bad” you know!) Depriving myself until I just couldn’t any longer, and then, as if flood-gates opened, helping myself to All. The. Things. Not in moderation, mind you, but in full on overindulgence. All the while I’d be experiencing guilt, shame and disappointment (not to mention feeling physically horrible, inflamed, puffy and packing on some pounds) and promising myself everything would be OK and back to normal come January 1st when I started my detox, cleanse or program.

Nope, not this year. This year I chose self-compassion and began to exercise some very, very atrophied muscles: self-love and respect.

I chose to view all these treats, indulgent foods and libations as just what they were, not good or bad, not something that needed to be avoided like the plague. Just things that come with the season. Things that can be enjoyed in the moment and then forgotten, as opposed to obsessed about.

My Plan of Attack

I had a simple, two-fold plan of attack for this holiday season.

  1. First off, I gave myself no restrictions. (Whaaaa? Unheard of!) I worked hard at being present for every event, conversation and celebration. Because that’s what it’s all about right? The people, the experiences, the connections, the memories, NOT the food. Does the delicious and special holiday food and drink enhance these experiences? Sure, maybe. But it doesn’t define them and it was no longer going to define me.Nothing was “forbidden.” And by removing those restrictions, I found that although I indulged, sometimes maybe a little much, other times I didn’t at all! And, here’s the kicker, I never spiraled! And since I never spiraled, I was able to maintain moderation. Wait, what, ME? Moderating? Well, yeah, pretty much! (Pats self on back.)It sounds so obvious and simple. Don’t over-restrict and you won’t overindulge. But this was never a place I felt comfortable in, until I just decided it was time, and I did it.
  2. Second, I was determined to flex that self-care muscle as much as I could and maintain a vision of how I wanted to feel and how I didn’t want to feel. I knew I really didn’t want to be that hot, puffy mess come January 1st. I knew I didn’t want to rely on a detox to get myself “back on track.” I knew I wanted to get quality sleep and continue getting good workouts, both of which usually suffer during the holidays. I knew I wanted to fit, comfortably, into the same clothes in January that I fit into in November. (That never usually happens, by the way.)I wanted to avoid my annual post-holiday, sleep-deprived, sugar- and gluten-fueled cold sore. I knew I wanted to eat as clean as I could when I was home in order to feel good. I kept up my veggies and ate lighter when I needed it. I skipped a dessert or two. I said no to a couple parties I normally would have said yes to, because I knew it would cause my sleep, exercise and diet to suffer. I had decided that I was done with those behaviors and consequences of the past, as ingrained as they were. It was going to be different for me this year.

Victory with a Capital “V”

And what did all this add up to? Victory indeed. I know it’s a process and something I will always have to be aware of, an ongoing effort of sorts. But I can see it becoming easier and it is so worth it.

This first week of the year I feel light, optimistic, rested and happy. There is no desperation, guilt, shame, puffiness or cold-sore! My clothes still fit well. I am sleeping and have energy for amazing workouts. Additionally, I am PROUD of myself. I took responsibility for what I truly wanted (and what I wanted to avoid) and I did it. #grownup

I don’t need a detox this January to feel better and get back on track. Will I do one some time this year? Maybe. But I’ll do it because I want to give my body a boost, not because I have to in order to get out of some negative self-sabotage spiral I put myself in.

What’s Next?

This is one of many “wins” that I am celebrating on my personal journey of self-inquiry, love and care. I will continue to share this journey and experience in the months to come. Won’t you join me on the ride?

Oh! And in the meantime, if you’d like to learn how you can begin to tap into your own body wisdom, be sure to grab my Eating Intuitively Audio Program to learn more and get started today!