Please welcome today's guest blogger, Jolyn O'Dell.
I am a 37 year old Wife, Mom, and full-time Business Analyst in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada. With my career being very technically driven, I enjoy spending my free time with my daughter and husband playing and creating fun family time together. I have always been passionate about learning and connecting with people and helping to motivate others to know they can have the life they want. I soak up motivational and inspirational authors from around the world and try to live by the wise words of leaders such as Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. and “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. While I’m not always perfect in execution, we are all works-in-progress for living our best lives and I feel honored when people share their journeys with me. The real fulfillment in my life comes from a growing understanding of what it means to be me and how I can contribute back to this beautiful world.
Over two years ago I watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Inspired by Joe Cross’s weight loss I went and bought myself a juicer, ready to embrace every color in the produce rainbow at the grocery store. I was juicing every day, not fully fasting, but I found before long with the prep time and cost of fresh vegetables that were ending up in the garbage (due to lack of real commitment), that my juicer found its way back into the cupboard, rarely if ever taken out since that first spurt of enthusiasm and inspiration.
Fast forward to three months ago and my weight was at an all-time high of 222 pounds. I had spent the last two years working full time, going to school, Mom, wife, volunteering and giving everything of myself to feel full in life. My daughter who is now five, often wanted to play and while I was always game for Play-Doh and crafts, her more active requests were often passed off to my husband or 'Mommy could only attend the Dance Party at home for a couple of songs'. When I went to the doctor for my annual physical, I received some alarming news that I already knew but didn’t want to admit. My blood pressure was through the roof and given the chance to bring it down or go on meds, I knew something drastic had to happen. My head often felt like a balloon, my skin was a mess and I knew I was consistently outgrowing my clothes. My body was rebelling and I couldn’t say I blamed it.
With everything on the surface of my life seeming so right, why did I feel so wrong? I can honestly say that I felt like my outside didn’t match my insides. I would see pictures of myself and seriously be confused. Did I really look like that? But I feel confident, successful and beautiful with who I am inside! I’ve always been a positive person, someone who believes in hard work paying off and that good things happen to good people…who was that woman staring back at me?
Over the past two years I had watched countless documentaries, read blogs, researched nutrition and read scientific articles on what was being discovered about the fuel we put in our bodies. It was time that I had to admit to myself, I was choosing to ignore it and the results were exactly what I could expect if I continued to do so. I was choosing to put everything else in my life ahead of my physical health and wellness and if done for much longer, I wouldn't be able to enjoy all of the other purposes I had given
my life. Mother, wife, daughter, colleague…all titles and definitions would become pointless if I didn’t take care of my body.
So I watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead again and set out a plan. First and foremost, I talked with my husband who agreed that my success would partially be due to his level of support. So he committed to joining me for the first 14 days of the 40 days I was planning. As a stay at home dad, he would spend the time in his day to juice for us so that I could continue with all of my other responsibilities. We arranged for our daughter to be with Poppa and Grandma for 3 days while our bodies adjusted to the fast. I realize that this is not something that everyone can do, but the trend here is that we made a plan that would work for us. I think that many people want to make a change or have big dreams about embracing a healthier lifestyle that remain out of reach because of the lack of a plan. Being a habitual procrastinator myself, I knew that creating balance in my life would mean that I had to write an honest and realistic plan that would work. Will power can be fleeting, so knowing that I had a road map for my juicing journey took a lot of the guess work out of it.
All inspired and ready to succeed, I started the fast not knowing what to really expect. All of the detox symptoms were as I expected and the weight loss was a great motivator, but what I didn’t expect was the emotional transformation that would take place over the next 40 days. Being in a position to recognize temptation is everywhere and finding an amazing support group on Facebook had me realizing that I wasn’t alone. The feelings of isolation can be overwhelming at times and to anyone wanting to do this I would say REACH OUT because you’ll be surprised at how someone on the other side of the globe can be a tremendous cheerleader for your success. I am an extrovert and my husband
an introvert and I needed to talk myself through the juicing. Instead of overwhelming him or my friends with what I was feeling, I found people who wanted to be in that position of connecting, not feeling like I was trying to sell them on juice fasting on a continual basis.
When you take away something that is so pervasive in our society, you feel exposed. Food is a way to celebrate, a way to comfort…we’ve all used it for reasons beyond that of fueling our bodies. The evidence was there though as my fast had carried on and people were commenting on my glowing skin, how I just looked lighter and more confident. My mental acuity and focus was razor sharp and so I can’t deny that I was reaping the rewards of juicing almost immediately. Family friends and coworkers all
changed from “You’re crazy” on to “Wow, I could never do that” to “Can you tell me how to do that?” I was transforming before their eyes and clearly thriving. Of course I had many moments of doubt and fear but I chose to focus on the positive. I am a driven person and what better driver than changing my life to be my best life and perhaps helping those around me improve theirs?
On my 40th day I burst into tears of joy for having completed what was perhaps the most difficult task I have ever undertaken in my life. I am still on the journey to health and wellness but the overwhelming gratitude I have for the experience still chokes me up a little. I will be a juicer for life. I have around 40 pounds to go until I reach my goal weight and I know juicing will take me there. Now back on “real food” (I always laugh when people call it that, like pure juice isn’t real), I am eating more produce than ever
before and have embraced a partially vegetarian lifestyle. I plan to go all the way to Vegan one day, but for now I’m taking baby steps that work into my life. It was a drastic change to make to take away eating and only drink juice but it was a journey I will do again.
My blood pressure is in the perfect range and with 25 pounds lost I feel the drive inside of me even more than I had before. I want anyone who is reading this who might think they couldn’t do it to know that I used a lot of positive affirmations including Henry Ford’s quote to get me through on rough days;
“Whether you say you can or you can’t, either way you are right.”
Our brains are incredibly powerful and if you embrace the desire to change and literally insist that the doubting thoughts be passive and not something to focus on, you can do it. Juicing is a very mental, emotional, and spiritual journey with a lot of self-reflection and opportunities for real lasting change in your life. Fortunately, I’m stubborn enough that I knew when questions about why I was doing this came up I wouldn’t wallow, I would survive and eventually thrive. The only thing that had ever really gotten in my way was me and it is now time that I become my biggest supporter and create the life I have always wanted. Everything else is just noise, what we say to ourselves is what sticks. So change the script in your head and know that you are worth every ounce of that life you are squeezing out of your fruit and vegetables.
My best wishes to you all on your journey to health and wellness.