It wasn’t a cleanse, wasn’t a diet. It came in a big box with gazillions of packets—Matt called them dried lentils but that is a misnomer—comprising meals and snacks for many times a day (porridge, lattes, green drinks, broths). Had I eaten all the food they suggested per day, I would have eaten two or three times the amount I usually do. Also, after reading the ingredients, I realized that I already eat better and cleaner than anything they sent. But that’s me. I’m a restricter (see Women Food and God for what this is and the difference between restricters and permitters). Matt, as I’ve written here before, abhors structure, goes for creamy bland rich foods (think tapioca pudding) and doesn’t really think about how they translate to nutrients, insulin, things like that.
By the first day, I was already rebelling. Structure might give me freedom—inwriting, certainly, but also, in food and exercise—but I don’t like people dictatingwhat I eat or when. That boat sailed thirty years ago. Matt, while not loving the different packets, felt fine about it all. Adhered 100% to the instructions while I, on the second day, was in a terrible mood and decided that my morning matcha latte and pumpkin seed tortilla had exactly the same ingredients but without the maple sugar that the requisite packets contained. So I drank/ate my usual breakfast every day. Lunch was berries and a little coconut milk or nuts and seeds, dinner was broth with piles of vegetables and some protein. (I used my own broth, not theirs. I didn’t like the list of ingredients in theirs). They recommended intermittent fasting for 12-14 hours daily, which I already do. The biggest difference for me was that I didn’t eat my beloved parmesan cheese—which my doctor suggested might be causing the dreaded “inflammation” and might not be good for post-cancer eating—or dark chocolate or my snickerdoodle after dinner.
Why did I do it?
I was curious, I wanted to support Matt and I could no longer close my jeans so I thought, okay, let’s see what this is like and maybe by the end, my jeans will fit me.
My body has changed since having had cancer. I will write about this in a further Cancer Chronicle, but I realize I was thinking—not realistically because after all, I did have breast cancer—that perhaps I could reset my body to its pre-cancer feeling. Not pre-cancer size but pre-cancer springy ageless feeling.
A life without cheese and chocolate, particularly without chocolate, is not a life I want to keep living. So I won’t.
My jeans fit again, I probably lost a few pounds, but I never get dressed in anything but my stretchy pants and green hoodie so it is satisfying but doesn’t seem to make much difference in anything.
Matt lost six pounds. He’s very happy about it. But he was happy before he lost the six pounds so not sure that counts for a lot.
Bodies change because of so many circumstances. Aging, illness, stress, it’s part of the package of having a body to go through this life with. No one notices or cares that my body has changed. Certainly Matt doesn’t care. It is only about the meaning I give to anything: my tight jeans, the size of my belly, cancer, getting older, the pain in my breast, not hearing from a friend.
It always gets down to the thing and the meaning we give to the thing and sometimes, often, it takes awhile to separate the two. And, this is as important: questioning the meaning we give to the thing. Just because the meaning I give to not being able to button my jeans is that I will keep expanding until I bounce like a rubber ball through the house doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because my friend has not called me back doesn’t mean she has forgotten me or that I am not important. It only means that those are conditioned thoughts I have. It means that’s how my mind works.
It means that when I go along with the frequency of fear—because that’s all thatthought is—fear dressed up in tight jeans—I react with fear. Fear meets fear. And whatever actions result from that are never, ever true. They close the heart, not open it. They make the world smaller, not bigger. And they make who I take myself to be small. Not a path I want to take. I do, we all do, have a choice: Do I follow the path of fear or do I switch to what opens my mind, heart, life? The pleasure of chocolate is in a different category altogether. Also, it gets digested in a second stomach.
To revisit the entire Cancer Chronicle retrospective, CLICK HERE.
Come, come, come to Geneen's 4-day online retreat, November 9-12. You'll be in the company of other women with the same longings, the same challenges, and together we’ll have the direct experience of natural eating and learn tools for changing what limits your life and the shape of your body. For more information and secure online registration, CLICK HERE.