As far as case studies go, this probably isn’t going to win any awards for innovation.
A few weeks ago, I decided to change my life for the better. I knew that it was time to look myself in the mirror, face up to the truth and ask “Finch, you unhealthy bastard, do you want to be a stud muffin or just a slob who ate all the muffins?”
By saying adios to junk food, crappy eating and lack of sleep, I theorized I could create a lifestyle change that would snowball in to something resembling vitality and full health. This, in turn, would allow me to thrive in the workplace with optimal levels of concentration and focus.
The ultimate goal was an improvement in mind, body and spirit. It was time to say “kiss my balls” to the unhealthy bastard in the mirror, Michael Jackson-style, minus the unhealthy interest in kids.
I spent days, literally days, hunched over a laptop in Cambodia researching the best possible diet to give my body a healing rest from it’s regular abuse. Detoxing is a controversial subject. It’s very hard to strike a balance between listening to the raw food psychopaths who’ll give you dirty scowls for even glancing at a cow in the wrong way, and the All-American Americans who believe eating an entire livestock of chickens isn’t just a delicious choice, but what the chickens wanted.
I decided on a 4 day fruit detox, followed by a slightly more lenient diet that would be more sustainable for my non-commital ass in the long run. Minimal processed foods, minimal caffeine, no added salts and sugars.
I haven’t tasted alcohol for over 6 weeks now, so that was never a problem. No doubt my tolerance will be tested when I return to London, however.
Surviving The Detox
For those of you who haven’t tried a fruit detox, the first effects are typically a raging headache and the growing despair that life is not worth living. “How am I to survive if I don’t find a kitten to kill soon?”
Detox symptoms vary from person to person. The heavier the symptoms, the more toxins you’ve accumulated in your body that are struggling to come out.
What follows is a detoxing process known as “retracing”. This is where your body undergoes the strange sensation of re-experiencing recent illnesses and weaknesses. If you didn’t know any better, you’d assume that the detox is adding to your woes rather than working for the greater good. But it’s all part of the recovery so don’t go quitting while the going is tough.
Your body is actually flushing harmful toxins in to your bloodstream at a rapid rate, much faster than the body can dispose of. The toxin-filled blood rushes to the brain and creates a surreal sensation where you experience many different pains and illness symptoms in short bursts.
The symptoms were always there. But it’s only when your body is in “recovery mode” that the organs can actually deal with them. Of course, this triggers the instinctive “I feel worse than when I started. Somebody get me a burger. Cheeseburger. Shit, it’s getting worse. Get me some extra cheese with that…”
This period of headaches, fatigue, volatile stomach reactions and irritability lasted for a couple of days on my detox. Caffeine withdrawals can lead to massive headaches, and if you like your sugar – which I don’t – you’re also going to suffer. My longing for food with meaty texture almost lead to the butchering of a gecko outside my hotel room. It’s not easy to fight your cravings under a barrage of physical aches and pains.
But when the symptoms begin to pass, and here’s the big incentive, you truly do feel a million times better than you did before. Your body begins to accept and use the nutrients of the fruit to your advantage, unleashing enormous swirls of energy and a sense of clarity the likes of which I’m still wondering how I ever did without before.
It probably helped that my detox was aided by an endless supply of fresh coconut and grapefruit juice, two of the most renowned superfruits in the world. I have since re-introduced lean meats in to my diet, but never at the expense of leafy greens and an overcompensation of fruits. I’ve replaced alcohol with smoothies, diet coke with water, and coffee with green tea. The effects are here for me to see, and I’m very happy with them.
33% Diet, 33% Exercise, 33% Rest
No healthy lifestyle can be sustained by simply eating the right foods. It’s just as important to exercise and get a sufficient amount of sleep. Even though I have a gym and swimming pool downstairs, I’ve often found my work “too pressing” to find time to exercise as much as I should have. That is changing by simply forcing a work-out in to my daily schedule, no matter how many servers are crashing and burning around me at the time.
My sleeping habits, ironically, were fixed when I started my detox. The overwhelming fatigue that I felt after a few days of eating only fruit was enough to get my body clock back on track. The sensation of waking up naturally at 8am, fresh, energised and blessed with clarity is a million miles from how I felt just two months ago. Then I would slip out of the bedroom at 1pm, feeling just as lethargic as I had when my body finally passed out the night before.
A good sleeping pattern makes such a huge difference to what I feel capable of achieving in a day, and certainly to my attention span while I’m trying to achieve it.
Many entrepreneurs argue that they’re “not morning people” and work most efficiently at night. While this may be true for some, I would bet that the majority are simply closet insomniacs making the best out of a bad situation.
Finch’s Sickly Generic Final Thoughts
Striving for a healthy lifestyle isn’t something that should be born out of wanting to make more money. There’s no point in stacking towers of dollar bills if you don’t have the health and peace of mind to enjoy them. This is something I have struggled and grappled with for a while.
I see it as a common trait of young entrepreneurs. We have so much money, and such little sense of value. If your work ethic is harming your health, the only future you’re contributing to is your own self-destruction.
While I can say that the changes definitely did improve my focus, concentration and work productivity, these are secondary to the satisfaction that came from looking after myself and actually feeling a sense of working with my body, rather than dragging it kicking and screaming through the night against it’s will.
Western society, particularly America, is riddled with quick fix cures for conditions that can’t possibly heal with the popping of a pill. Papering over cracks is the term that springs to mind. But that doesn’t stop people from trying. Many of us will find any excuse, or quick fix, to continue living unhealthily, until it becomes impossible through the damage we’ve already inflicted to ourselves.
If you’re going to try a detox followed by a change in lifestyle, be prepared for several days of complete and utter Hell. It gets a lot worse before it starts to get better.
Be truthful with yourself, get educated, and find ways to cut out the crap that’s holding you back. Your mind and body will reward you by working at their full potential. And if you’ve been operating “half-arsed” for as long as I had, this can feel like an incredible burden lifted.
Recommended This Week:
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