As if climbing Mount Rwenzori wasn’t challenge enough, some of my fellow climbers and I have now taken on a new challenge. For the next twenty one days (we started on Monday 13th April 2015) we are going to live on fruit and vegetable smoothies only. And of course we will drink our minimum of two liters of water a day.
Last year, I did a 30 day juice fast, where I only drank juice and so I have a fair sense of what it’s like to live on liquid only. Last year I did the juice fast as a way to jump start my healthy living, but also as a way to undergo a badly needed physical and emotional de-tox. When the 30 days of juicing were over, I was not too sure that I would or could ever do such a challenge again.
But a few weeks ago, Joy Mirembe (who was my juice coach last year), proposed that we do a smoothie challenge. I sort of wanted to, but not really. Michelle and I had talked about doing a juice fast for 21 days beginning after Easter, but all through the Easter weekend, I was cooking up excuses to give her about why we couldn’t, nay, shouldn’t do the juice fast. Unknown to me, I think on Easter Saturday, Joy posted on our WhatsApp Group that she was going to do a smoothie challenge and asked which other climbers (the Rwenzorilings) would join her. Michelle said she was in, and then she offered up my name too. Now, I really couldn’t get out of it.
As I’ve been preparing for climbing the mountain, I know that healthy eating is as much a part of the preparation as is physical exercise. But every once in a while, I have fallen into the trap of over-eating after a heavy workout, with the classic excuse that I will burn off all the calories at the next workout. I knew a time was coming when I had to face myself regarding my eating habits, I was just avoiding the inevitable.
So anyhow, I reluctantly decided to undertake the smoothie challenge. We are now at Day 3 (18 more days to go!). It’s not been as bad as I thought it would be, but still, it can get tricky. Like today, I sat through a two hour meeting and there were hot steaming samosas right in front of me. I literally heard my stomach talk to me about why I really needed the samosas, how I could not give up this chance of a life time (as though I have never fed my tummy any samosas). I could smell all the ingredients both separately and together – the minced chicken, the carrots, the onions, the parsley, the green pepper – that made up the chicken samosa. I died several times in that room, as I fought with myself not to reach out for one. It takes a lot of will power to say no to the body, to the raging appetites, to a tummy talking at you, giving you bad eyes and rumbling in protest. It is a real training in fighting temptations.
But just like with the mountain climb, I have to keep the end in mind, I have to learn to focus and to stay the course. I have to learn that I am building resistance in my body, as well as in my spirit. It’s not easy, but it can be done. I’ll keep taking this one day at a time.