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Project Me - Cleansing Mind, Body, & Soul

After returning from San Antonio, TX from competing in the United States of America’s Ms. 2021 pageant, I did some self-reflecting. One question I asked myself was that if I were to compete again, what would I want to change or improve? The first thing I thought was health and fitness, but not just for pageant preparation, but as a lifestyle change. After the pageant was over, I began relying on snacks and takeout to keep me going. I was suffering from high anxiety and was going nonstop. I felt as though I was saying “Yes” to everything and everyone except for myself. So, I started looking for Fitness Trainers. I recall reaching out to my dear friend, Imani Cooper and randomly asked who she had worked with for her pageant prep. I immediately reached out to Brook Eneas. Brook’s method of fitness and health goes beyond pageant preparation. It is about a lifestyle change. Her fitness package at the time included a cleanse. As soon as I saw the word cleanse, I immediately thought starvation, stomach aches, and too much weight loss. All things that I’ve heard about cleansers. I was always afraid to do a cleanse because I had Crohn’s disease. I could have continued to focus on negative thoughts or preconceived information and talk myself out of it. That is what I would have done in the past, but I promised myself that I take on the full experience and trust in the process.

The weeks leading up to the cleanse, were amazing. Brook was getting me prepared by changing my eating habits and the foods that I was eating. Everything was healthy, but enjoyable to eat. Instead of relying on my favorite chocolate snacks, I was eating fruit or nuts to substitute. I had even been introduced to foods that I’d never heard of such as couscous and quinoa. I even had to look at how to pronounce these foods! LOL! Now these foods are some of my favorites and I enjoy incorporating them into my meal plans. It wasn’t just changing the foods I was intaking, but my thinking as well. I had to change my thought process. Not overact over things I had no control over, and also learn to scale back on all I was doing and start focusing on really taking care of myself. I was averaging 4 hours of sleep per night and was struggling to say “No” when I would be asked to do things.

On April 12th my 10-day Purium cleanse began. Purium is plant-based and filled with nutrients that help the body and the immune system. My schedule had me taking supplements, drinking a power shake, or eating every 2 hours. I could eat cucumbers or celery all day, but there was a list of flex foods that I choose from to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A warm apple with raw honey was my breakfast go to, a cup of broccoli for lunch, and berries or watermelon for dinner. I always started the day with a sweet fruit to give me that sweet taste that I enjoy. It may sound strict, but my body was getting all that it needed with all that I was consuming throughout the day. I decided I wanted to start at 6:30am and be finished with my last power shake by 4:30. That way I would have time in the evening after work to do something for myself that I usually never have time to do. Day One, I took a hot bubble bath by candlelight, and I began reading Jennie Allen’s book, “Get Out of Your Head.” I even finally had time to journal in Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.” I even went to bed early and got a good 8 hours sleep. Over the course of the 10 days, I was being challenged, and also challenging myself. Not one day did I have food cravings and my anxiety was low. By Day 3 my energy level was high, and I wasn’t sluggish mid-day like I usually am. The bloating that I usually experience was gone as well. My biggest challenge was how to respond if I’m asked to do anything within these 10 days. So, I came up with calling this cleanse Project Me. So, when I was asked to do or participate in something, I would say I am working on a Project and won’t be available until after April 21st. It was empowering for me, just because I was putting my needs first, and wasn’t apologizing for it. I realized through this experience that I needed to learn to balance out my life more. Be able to say “No” more to make room to say “Yes” to the things that matter the most. Every day after work I was dedicating time for myself. From hot bubble baths multiple nights, to reading books including another great book by Shonda Rimes called “Year of Yes," and journaling. On the weekend, I had a pedicure and for the first time experienced hot stones. I also went shopping. I wasn’t rushed like I normally would be. I actually walked around the store and soaked in the time I had. I also spoke with friends that I’d not spoken with in a long time or would text because we would be so busy. I bought a plant that I call Nova, which means new beginnings. My excuse for never having real plants was that I was too busy to have one. Well, I took the time to water Nova and even talked to her. I discovered that it wasn’t about me being too busy, but me not taking the time to do it. The toughest challenge was me writing a letter to my ex-husband in telling all the pain that I had endured with him. I wrote it, read it out loud, and then tore up the letter. It was a way for me to finally put the past behind me and clear my heart of any toxins, just like the cleanse was for my body. For the first time in my life my mind and gut were harmonious. Because my mind was at ease, so was my gut. It's amazing how that works, and I never thought about just how important it is for the 2 to work together.

I ended up losing 7 pounds, 2 inches in both my waist and hips in 10 days, but it wasn’t what I loss that meant the most to me. It was what I had gained in those 10 short days. I learned just how important it is to put your health and well-being first. You have to take care of yourself in the same manner in which you take of those around you. My faith and relationship with God grew even stronger. Relying on him and my faith really got me through the cleanse, and in turn showed me that I can get through anything. I define a cleanse as a way to remove toxins from your mind, body and soul, but also a way to discover something new about yourself. I learned so much about myself and I also learned that I could achieve anything if I simply believe. Always try to make time for yourself. Add “Project Me” time to your calendar and enjoy the one life you’re given.

I dedicate this month’s blog to my dear cousin Phyllis Morris. She died a couple weeks ago, and she was one of the most loving, caring, and supportive people you could find. I couldn’t have been blessed with a better cousin. I can still hear her words of encouragement in my head and will cherish all the memories that I shared with her.

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