A lot of good has come out of this attempt at getting healthy. I have learned that I can, in fact, live without sugar and gluten and dairy; a feat I would have considered impossible not that long ago. Recently I got smart and gathered recipes I could have and used them to create a two week menu that fit within my guidelines. I’m grateful that I didn’t think of this sooner. Having had nothing but veggies and smoothies with a dash of fruit in the past couple weeks has changed my tastes. I would be willing to accept the healthy versions of my old favorites as what the proper version should taste like. All of this is a very good thing.

As I’m about to round the corner into the last week of the cleanse, I have begun to call on all my many planning and organizing skills. Calories aren’t super important right now, as I can’t have anything high calorie in the first place. Soon though, I will be allowed 10 servings a week of gluten, soy, diary and/or sugar. I like to think of it as having 10 points to spend however I wish. A slice of pizza is 2 points (1 dairy and 1 gluten), and so I must decide if it’s worth spending that much on. It’s not even a sweet treat after all.

I love that this is how I think now. Food has meaning for me again. I have learned what it’s like to actually feel hungry and full again – something I forgot in early adolescence. There is pleasure to be found in eating that isn’t mindless and it is NOT something to do just because you’re bored. My love of sugar will probably never fade, nor will the many levels of pleasure it brings me. Now, however, I have to stop and think before I pop that sweat treat in my face. Is it worth the points? Is it what I really want? Or am I just eating it because it’s there/I’m bored/it smells nice/I have some emotional need that isn’t being met at the moment? This is the process I will go through each time I consider spending a single point.

My roommate isn’t dieting with me because she doesn’t need to, quite frankly. This makes our house a potential minefield for me. So far it hasn’t been a problem. With the coming introduction of the points though, I’m nervous. Being a decisive planner, I thought ahead and reorganized our pantry to be a much friendlier gazing and grazing environment. Everything that I can have is on one shelf, completely separate from all the food I should be avoiding. Our fridge and freezer is full of goodies I can enjoy freely, so that’s a far lesser evil. Not one worth fixing really.

This coming week I will learn how to eat with variety and a degree of normalcy whilst still keeping to my cleanse. I think this training will be invaluable when I move from the Ignite phase of my Daily Burn diet into the Balance (points) phase. Soon enough I will incorporate calorie counting into this complexity. Not yet though. For now I will simply continue to learn how to color inside the lines.

Until then,