I'm a very visual person, graphic artist, videographer. You know the type. So when I finally started to make some progress working The Suppers Programs, I looked back at myself and saw a building that had no ground floor. I never knew I had no ground floor.
I had been toying with Suppers on and off for a few years. My energy wasn't what I wanted it to be and I needed to lose weight. I did a bit of this and a bit of that, floating around the program.
Let me give you the background. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia years ago. I used any spiritual and nutritional path I could to alleviate pain, with some success. When I was 48 I lost my husband to cancer. Nine months later my house burned to the ground, claiming one of my dogs and everything I owned. I told myself that I could eat and drink whatever I wanted to get through a tough time and that eventually I would change those patterns. I even told friends and family the same thing. While my weight didn’t skyrocket, I certainly was overweight and feeling pretty terrible.
I didn’t go to Suppers as I worked through the tragedies because I was eating so inconsistently that I felt like a fraud. Then someone reminded me that I’m welcome no matter what. So when they offered a Paleo-style cleanse I decided to give it a try. The program was called Whole 30. That’s when I got my big breakthrough. Nonjudgment is a distinguishing feature of Suppers, but I just don't expect the world to be so gentle. The only one creating expectations for me was me. The program seeks only to create the environment in which people can run experiments and sort out their own path to better health.
I had tried other things. No salt, no fat, vegan, etc., but most of these super diets left me feeling gassy. Somewhere at a Suppers meeting I picked up the idea that I wasn’t supposed to feel gassy all the time and that a good diet for my body was one that would keep me feeling full and satisfied through the morning. Just eating healthy whole food wasn't good enough; I needed to make very specific choices of which whole healthy food I would eat. I liked the idea of an elimination diet; I thought it might help me to test foods and sort out for myself which were causing fatigue, gas etc. I knew that one of the cornerstones of Suppers, the breakfast chili, wasn’t a good fit for me. The more I heard about Paleo, the more I thought it might be a good match, eliminating grains and sugars, the foods I gravitated to in a suspicious way.
I skipped the first round of cleanse groups: I knew I wasn’t ready. I was secretly disappointed, knowing that some of my friends were about to undergo a transformational experiment. I had to wait until the next time it came around. Besides, the commitment to cooking is hard with my schedule. I start work at 9 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. To pull this off I was going to need a strategic plan and lots of support. The next time the cleanse came around, I was ready. It worked because there was a support group surrounding it. It had a lot of structure. I learned to cook about six meals that I now rotate. I knew I had to report back. I knew there were 10 other people expecting me to finish this 30-day program.
Of course I lost weight, that part I knew to expect. The delightful shock was that I no longer felt the sky falling and the ground trembling. Today I have a much more zen attitude about everything. Eating the right kind of food for my particular body created a solid foundation for every other aspect of my life – the ground floor of my building. I am a lot more confident. I can handle more. I can form a plan and accomplish things without feeling overwhelmed.
When you've been using food and beverages to manipulate your feelings your whole life, there's no reason why you would think that eating a particular way would turn you into a resilient person. What worked for me was the combination of feeling included and knowing that I wouldn't be judged. Healing is a social experience. A lot of us don't know that significant change is possible until something we hear someone else say resonates and we pick the right experiment. For me, an elimination cleanse was transformational; it put a ground floor under my feet.