Shortly after an indulgent New Year’s weekend, my husband and I began a 28 day detox plan to get us ready to commit fully to this new weight loss program. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had much luck in the past just picking a date and waking up that morning completely ready to change my life. It takes some time for it all to sink in; old habits aren’t broken so quickly. So we decided to ease into it this time so we felt confident we could really do this. It’s not just about using Shaklee’s “Cinch” products, not just about changing what, when, & how we eat, not just about getting moving & exercising again, not just about drinking more water & getting more sleep, etc. etc. It really is a change in lifestyle. So we have spent 3 weeks so far paring down & purifying, laying a wholesome foundation, & gaining momentum. Just yesterday, for the 4th week, we kick-started the new “us”, for good, after grocery shopping. This week is the trial run for our new eating & exercising schedule. I am sharing the “28 day challenge & whole living action plan” that we used as a guideline:

Week 1: Cut out processed foods & common allergens, including wheat, dairy, caffeine, & alcohol. Start walking & stretching more. Go on a week-long media fast, clear clutter, swap out toxic cleaners for green ones, scale back your schedule, & hit the hay 10 minutes earlier each night.

(We didn’t stop eating all processed foods, especially desserts & sugar, all together but immediately cut back on our dairy intake which had soared during the holidays. We didn’t go near meat, caffeine, or alcohol. And though we didn’t kick our ipad & itouch addictions, we began watching less TV. We helped my mom clean out her garage & exercise room since we were still visiting her house and not at our own. And started making sure we had at least 8 hours of sleep everyday. We already use Shaklee’s “Get Clean” line of cleaning products so no change was necessary there.)

Week 2: Gradually add certain foods back in, taking note of how they make you feel. Don’t skip meals. Start doing some interval jogging & weight lifting. Take time to decompress, make amends with a friend, swap frustration for gratitude.

(Since we hadn’t cut out all wheat & sugar from our diet, we focused on eating more fruits & vegetables instead. They are the best foods for detoxing the colon, liver, & lymphatic system. This particular week had 2 dinners out with family to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, but we made healthier choices on the menus than we normally do. We also made sure to eat the new “Cinch blueberry almond crisp meal-in-a-bar” for both breakfast & lunch to start integrating the products again then refilled/refreshed our supplements as we were also packing up to leave California for home in Oregon. Trying to finish up business, tie up loose ends, before our journey is also always very stressful so we remembered to breathe, take a few minutes each day to relax for a few minutes in the sunshine, & focused on being grateful that we spent 6 weeks with our families.)

Week 3: Focus on nutritious swaps (brown rice instead of white rice for example). Use herbs & spices to boost flavor without adding excess salt. Start upper body, lower body, & core cardio workouts. Go from walking & jogging to running. Re-order your to-do list to maximize your efforts. Spend time with people who energize you & make a habit of giving everyday.

(Since this week involved our 1,000 mile drive, we used this time to start writing out our meal plans, our grocery list, & our overall schedule. Packing & unpacking involves a little elbow grease, as does walking your dogs enough during a long car trip so we considered that a beginning to us getting some physical activity in. As we got our house back in order upon returning, we made a pile of items/clutter we could live without to donate to charity. Mark even cut his hair to donate to Locks of Love!)

Week 4: Fine-tune the eating strategies. Take a “flexitarian” approach to food, with 8 or more servings of fruits & vegetables a day, healthy proteins, and the occasional organic, hormone-free meat or dairy. Create a more challenging full-body workout, plus a more intense walk/run routine. Look beyond this action plan to what you want to achieve this year. Identify a personal or professional goal, gather support, & go for it.

(So here we are, with our 6 meal a day eating plan in effect with a mostly plant-based, whole foods plan combined with “Cinch”. We have been mostly vegetarians, then mostly vegans, & now we are more focused on just doing our best! We started meditation, stretching, & going back to reading at night instead of watching TV before getting 8 hours of restful sleep (which is no easy task when drinking so much more water is causing more interruptions during the night). We are taking our supplements faithfully. We know what our goals are in this weight loss program, are relying on each other, our families, & the other participants for support, and started tracking what we’re doing in our journals too. We even went to the movies & resisted temptation with water, plain popcorn-no salt, no butter, & grapes packed in my purse. Now it’s time to get our exercise plan going!)

Detoxing can be an ongoing process and there are many techniques out there to accomplish it in all arenas of your life (and for every organ in your body). We used a simple approach in this case to prepare ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, & even spiritually for this weight loss program. One of the key components for us is allowing time for meditation. How can you mindfully eat, exercise, sleep & be fully present in the moment everyday without giving yourself time to reflect and recuperate each day? Just 10 minutes a day to sit in a quiet place and focus on your breathing helps to de-stress. We are taking a 1/2 hour of everyday separately to do breathing exercises, reset the vision in our minds of our goals, be positive about our successes, and release any negativity about our missteps, followed by some stretching. Everyone deserves a little meditation time to regroup! (And to brainstorm about how to reward yourself for all you are accomplishing!)

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