I am going to talk about bookshelves and how bookshelves really are related to how well I eat and the sugar cleanse. You’ll see the connection, I promise!
I bought the above bookshelves from a friend who is moving across country. We are in need of more bookshelf space right now, and in a couple months we are moving and leaving behind built in bookshelves, so we will have even more need of them. We set them up in our living room, and I finally had a place to store the books that were crowded into a tiny little bookshelf. I also found room in the closed cupboard below the bookshelf to store all of Elena’s schoolbooks that were crowded on our kitchen table and behind the couch. Alongside them, went her craft supplies that were overflowing in the office. That lead my husband and I to clean through the office, taking out bags of old mail to be shredded or burned, and trash too. Then, I found a place for some books from an upstairs bookcase in our new bookcase. The old bookcase was refitted into our music studio bookshelf so that we could finally find music a bit more easily. (Actually, Joel somehow always knew were to find the music, but I couldn’t find things easily at all). Those simple transformations were enough to inspire me to more change.
I’ve found in my own life that personal success breeds success, no matter how small the success was. Unfortunately, failure can also discourage me, which leads to more failure. I think that is true for getting our eating habits in order too. But our eating habits aren’t isolated, but can be very affected by the order of the rest of our lives.
What I mean is this, when our lives are so hectic and stressful, it can be really hard to put time and energy into making a simple, healthy dinner at home. When your life is out of control, sometimes your eating habits go out of control too. When the house seems turned upside down and out of order, I personally can find it hard to have my meal planning, shopping and cooking in order as well. One facet of life is not unrelated to the rest of your life. One part of your life in disarray can lead to other parts of your life in disarray too.
The last two weeks I have fallen behind in some of my chores around the house, as well as some of my writing projects. When you are faced with miles of writing to do, mountains of laundry and a sticky kitchen flour, it can make you want to sit down and look at pictures on Pinterest. (Okay, at least it does for me).
However, when my husband and I got the bookshelves in order, which freed up a lot of other disorderly areas of my house, I got so encouraged that I was able to start making good progress again.
Yesterday, I finally found a place to put all of the new supplements my daughter is on, cleared the counters, and got the kitchen back in order, so that when dinner time came rolling around, it truly wasn’t a big deal to throw together a simple soup. When I have my kitchen organized and running smoothly, I can make meals more easily, and resist foods that I really don’t want to feed my family or myself.
I still have my work cut out for me, but at least I see that I am making good progress again in the house, my writing, and back on track with my meal planning.
Yes, buying a bookshelf did all this for me and more. I think I could become a salesman for bookshelves!
But it also works the other way. Sometimes if you can get your meal planning, shopping, and meal preparation in order, you get so encouraged by your success, you start to get inspired to push through in other areas in your life.
For those of you on the sugar cleanse, which is now, officially at least, rolling to an end, you’ve probably found that if you didn’t plan your meals ahead, have healthy snacks, and a satisfied tummy, it was way harder to resist treats.
You know, I don’t have a simple solution to my, or anyone else’s scheduling, energy, or other roadblocks to a healthy lifestyle. But I can say this from my own experience, seeking to have a simpler lifestyle (which for us is including getting rid of extra stuff we just don’t need), pushing through to find success in one area (so that I get encouraged to seek success in another area), and intentionally planning out my life is all helpful in having a better balanced life. That better-balanced life helps me cook a better balanced diet too.
I am still getting there myself, and it’s just a very busy time for us, but I am hopeful that once I get over a couple of “roadblocks” in the form of laundry, sorting through stuff, and setting up better writing schedules, I will be well on my way to a simpler, less stressful lifestyle.
My personal results on the sugar cleanse:
During this time of reflecting on my life, seeing progress, but still needing to do a lot, it was really helpful to be doing the sugar cleanse. While there were many times when I would have normally put a dab of maple syrup in my coffee, tried a sample of gourmet dessert or chocolate at the store, or had another type of naturally sweetened dessert at home, that sense of denying myself of something helped me regain better self-control.
I’ve always found that if I have better self-control over eating food when I am not hungry or when I just don’t need the extra sugar, that self-control reaches over and gives me strength to have better self-control in how I use my time too. It’s a funny thing how that happens. It must be how each part of our life is interconnected with every other part of our lives.
For those who struggled:
Now, I know that some of you had a really difficult time with the cleanse. If you found that you just couldn’t stay away from sugar, I ask that you not feel that you were a failure. Feeling condemnation from this two week fast of sugar is not the point. My piano teacher always told me when I had a memory blank out when playing for her that I had “struck gold”. That mistake showed me an area in my music where I was weak and needed to work extra hard. In the same way, if you found it impossible to resist refined sugar during this cleanse, then perhaps you also “struck gold”. Perhaps the reason you had a hard time isn’t simply an issue of self-control (though it could be), but perhaps it’s a sign that the rest of you life is so hectic, you don’t have time to eat well. Perhaps your lifestyle is what needs to be balanced out, and then a balanced diet will follow. Or perhaps your body is addicted to sugar, unknown to you, and you “struck gold” in finding that out through trying to do the sugar fast. Now you need to dig deeper and look at your health with a broader viewpoint in healing.
I found that I was fine without dessert, except when I was tired. It made me realize how I liked to eat something sweet to keep me going. My problem was simply not having self-control to resist that second serving of yummy dessert, it was a problem of fatigue. Getting better rest and rebuilding my energy stores is in order (which will then make it easier to resist too many sweets). I also had such great energy when I was writing my salad cookbook, that I think I will start incorporating more raw salad greens into my diet.
For those who had success:
Others of you had great success on the sugar cleanse and found that you lost weight, gained energy, and a clearer mind. I’d encourage you to use that success to continue to breed success! The more you eat a certain way, the more second nature it becomes. Let that success spill over into other facets of your life, which should be easier now that you are more energetic and have a quicker mind.
Others mentioned to me that while it was easy to stay away from sweets, you were surprised not to feel any more energy. I can relate. Fatigue is certainly not always linked to sugar consumption. For me, removing foods that bother me (dairy), getting a lot of sleep (which feels very hard right now with my littlest one), and seeing a naturopath for help has been crucial for boosting my energy.
I am not claiming any simple answers to either finding success, or overcoming health issues. I am on a journey myself. But whether you had success taking out refined sugar from your diet, or not, I hope that this cleanse was helpful to you in either encouraging you in your success, or helping you “strike gold” in the sense of discovering something in your life that needs to be dug down deeper to remove.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you also experienced how success in one area, encourages you to find success in other areas? If you did the sugar cleanse, how did it go for you?