I was practically born dieting.
I was put on my first diet in second grade by relatives because they were concerned that other kids would be mean to me if I wasn’t skinny. (I was only eight years old.) From that point forward, I had to “earn” certain foods and was considered a “bad girl” if my body was larger than before at weigh-ins.
As a result, let’s just say that my relationship with food wasn’t natural. I was raised eating what was permitted, measured and weighed. I ate for the approval of others. Can you imagine what that might look like 30 years later?
By 2009, I was a wreck; I bounced from one eating disorder to another. After I hit the heaviest weight of my adult life, I managed to lose 90 pounds, a struggle that took almost nine years and the voodoo of fake, chemical diet foods and endless investments in the promise of a normal, happy relationship with my body. Instead, it robbed me of the innate line of communication with the body that many others have and trust.
In 2010, while mourning the loss of a friend, I began to regain that weight; I was emotionally eating in secret. This went on for some time, until, one day, I decided I was ready to feel well again. I resorted to the only thing I knew: my old diets of counting points and calories, measuring ingredients and rejecting entire food groups in the pursuit of relief. This time, nothing worked. Although I was like a professional dieter by then, I analyzed everything and couldn’t figure out the problem.
I first heard about about Dr. Junger and The Clean Program when my sister saw it featured on Goop. I read the information, but left it at that. Before long, however, I became aware of Dr. Junger again, when he appeared on Martha Stewart. Afterwards, I devoured every page of Clean, his first book on cleansing and detoxification. What drew me to the program is that it is designed to last. It clearly had staying power, with enough nourishing variety to be sustained longterm. I had never heard of a permanent diet, ever.
I now understand that I worked against myself when I focused on trying to be smaller. The diets I followed—and I followed them all—encouraged poor eating habits, and I had become trapped in an endless cycle of losing and gaining. I would quickly revert to my fear of food scarcity and use any loopholes in diet plans or systems to still gorge on the junk food I craved. Each diet had its own brand of crazy, clearly not in the interest of helping teach people to live more whole and healthy lives.
Clean was the opposite. It allowed me to break-free from the cycles of bingeing, starving, depriving myself and feeling inadequate. Had I been introduced to the work of Dr. Junger sooner, I would have saved myself much time, money, energy and tears. Clean enabled me to permanently change my health, and even my waistline, for the better.
I have personal love and gratitude for Dr. Junger and the entire Clean team forever. Have you ever heard someone say that about a diet?
--April DeMarco. April DeMarco is a fine artist and jewelry designer, foodie, mother-of-two and dog-lover. The former art teacher understands how important it is to motivate, educate and inspire others. As a Mahayana Buddhist, DeMarco has found the power of choice, information gathering and taking action. For more information about Clean, please visit Clean Program.