Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boot Camps, Detoxes & Challenges, Oh My!

Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I'm almost always doing some sort of self-created Challenge around personal habits, food or exercise. What is up with THAT?! I was speaking to a woman yesterday about my detox program and she said "Well, I don't really believe in detoxes." Let me tell you, I have heard that A LOT. Mostly from people who are stuck where they are, unable to make lasting behavior changes or harness the power of any on-going motivation. I mean, what's not to believe in? That you body doesn't deserve to get a break from all the crap we put into in every single day? Or maybe that embarking on a Short-Term "fix" is going to lead to any lasting change?

When I started running detox groups, I was just doing it for the former reason. Thirty days to rest and heal the digestive track of harmful substances like sugar, junk foods, coffee and artificial sweeteners. Thirty days to eliminate potential allergens like wheat and dairy. I didn't think anyone was going to stick to the changes after the month was over.

Boy was I wrong!!!

I don't think a single person in any of my detox groups finished those 30-days unchanged. While I expect that many will go back to eating some, if not all, of the eliminated items from time to time, I can also see that their eyes were opened to how they COULD look and feel. Once your eyes are open like that, you can never really close them again. In addition to that, is the powerful sense of personal accomplishment you have when you have pushed yourself hard and done a thing you didn't think you'd be able to do. Once you get a hard-won accomplishment under your belt, those walls and barriers you have set up all around you don't stand a chance. Folks start blasting on through their self-limitations right and left. I see it happen everyday in my practice and it is fabulous!

I personally think regular detoxes or nutritional cleanses are an extremely important part of yearly self care. Just as you change your closets over each season, it's important to change your food and habits over as well. Heralding a new season with a seasonal fast or cleanse is a wonderful way to set yourself up for the new season and enables your to better meet the new climatary changes without becoming clogged, sick, fatigued and unbalanced. This is one of the keys in Ayurvedic medicine, but that will be another post...

Now, on to Bootcamps and Challenges. Whenever I start becoming unbalanced in some area of fitness or personal habit, it is easy to say "Oh yeah, I really should do more yoga." And then totally blow it off. If on the other hand, I say "I am going to do a 40-day Yoga Challenge" and tell all my family and friends about it, you can bet I'm gonna get it done! Same thing with "I wish I could run a race someday" versus signing up and paying for, say the Westchester Half-Marathon. (That's me in the above picture, at the finish line of said race, with my two little fans.) Heck, I even set work-related challenges and personal growth challenges! Everything from "One hour of focused marketing everyday for 100 days" to "Sixty-day Affirmations Bootcamp".

Look, personal growth can become tedious. Weight loss and maintenance get boring! Even fitness gets stale if you are not constantly challenging yourself. The key to ongoing growth and success is to keep stretching yourself. Keep reaching, keep pushing a little harder, a little farther. Shake it up and have fun!

So, here's a step-by-step on how to create your own challenges:

1. Pick something you have been wanting to do but just not doing.

2. Pick a challenging, but realistic length of time. 28-days to create a new habit and all that. 40-days is also a very auspiscious length of time for challenges of a spiritual or personal growth nature.

3. TELL PEOPLE. Close every email with "Day 25 of 100-day No Diet Coke Challenge". Post it in your Facebook status or on twitter. Ask your friends or spouse to keep you accountable by asking how it's going. Get a friend to join you!

4. If you mess up and miss a few days, my personal opinion is do NOT go back to day one. Just start where you are and carry on. If you have to go back to the beginning, you negate all the days you DID get it right and risk losing serious motivation.

5. Hire a coach, trainer or Holistic Health Counselor to cheer you on, kick your hiney when it's dragging, and prop you up when you don't think you can go on. I LOVE being the support person behind the heroes reaching for the gold in life!

Now, who's ready to step up to the plate and post their self-challenge in the comments section? I'd love to hear what you're up to and you never know who you're going to inspire.

As for me,

Today is Day 23 of my 40 Day Yoga Challenge and I'm getting those sexy Chatturunga shoulders my friend Jenn has, woohoo!

Happy Challenging!


  1. Aw, blushing here Em.


  2. Emily it has been a very long time. I love that I stumbled upon you in Facebook and am thrilled to see your career choice. I am inspired reading your here it goes.

    I also am going to take on a 40 yoga challenge, beginning Monday, October 12, 2009. Wish me luck~~! Nancy (Wiley) Colton