30 days I never want to repeat

30 days I never want to repeat

So as I write this, I’m on the last day of a 30 day cleanse. If you missed last month’s blog, allow me to recap (with some detail).

I went to the doctor in November and my weight was 148 lbs. Now that’s not big, but that’s the biggest I’ve ever been and in 2 more pounds my BMI (Body Mass Index) would consider me to be overweight. As a public health person, I’m well aware the BMI is NOT a direct measure of body fat but a measure of disease risk. But who the hell likes to be told they’re overweight?

But I continued the merriment of the holidays – wine, desserts, more wine, and more desserts. I slowed down a bit come January because I knew I had TEDx coming up and the dress I ordered…well, it wasn’t going to hide 2 months of gluttony. Then crazy mega stress hit and I decided that it was an opportune time (post late January birthday – because I had arranged a wine and paint party) to do an intense cleanse. Not only for my health but for my sanity.

So for 30 days – no alcohol, no added sugar, no television besides the news and the Olympics, and no popular music except what I play in class. I ate mainly vegan – fruits, veges, brown rice and quinoa. (I say mainly because I still like honey in my smoothies.) And If I hit a need for calories, like in between classes or events, I’d take a couple large scoops of natural peanut butter.


What I primarily ate for 30 days

What I primarily ate for 30 days

On top of all this (because I never do things easily), I participated in a 30 day Bikram yoga challenge. 30 classes in 30 days in a 105 degree room with about 40% humidity. This challenge began Feb. 3 so I will complete class 30 on day 29, Monday, Mar. 3.

The first 14 days of this endeavor were actually not that bad. I packed my own food for a Superbowl party. I set out what days I was going to do laundry – because you do a lot during a Bikram challenge. I went to the grocery store about once every 8 days to re-stock fresh foods. And my crockpot full of vegetables and brown rice seemed to be going all the time.

Then the shit hit the fan.

On Valentine’s Day I found out that Carolina Children’s Home was shutting down. Not only was I losing my job there as a yoga teacher and dozens of other people losing theirs, but all the kids that I had become so fond of would have to be placed somewhere else. I can’t say my 45 minutes a week made big strides with some of these kids but as I walked out the door for the last time this past week, I was surprised at some of the kids who decided to hug me, or give me a fist bump, or just went of their way to say good-bye. You never know when you leave an impression on someone and I never stopped seeing potential in these kids. In the meanwhile, I’ll figure out how to make up the gap in income – somehow.

Forty-eight hours later, my close friends can tell you of the mega stress that came down. I was in a panic. I really believed someone I cared a lot about was in danger. I’ve never been happier to know the many mental health people that I know to give me advice and counsel.  I had one friend tell me, at the height of it all, “You’ve had a rough day. Just pour a glass of wine. “  Hell no. I wasn’t about to throw away the personal work that I had done thus far. Instead, I made a cup of tea.

The stress continued for the remainder of the month and is now finally easing off. I’m now confident my loved one is out of danger and will continue doing well. I’m still getting into the hot room. And I’m still eating my brown rice.

Though, I wouldn’t want to live these 30 days again. But no one really does want to relive stressful times. I remember as a teenager my dad used to tell me that everything was a life lesson. That was something I didn’t want to hear at age 16. Twenty plus years later, I believe him. However, some lessons can only be recognized in hindsight. I’m still filtering through the lessons of these 30 days. Some have to do with trust and communication. Others have to do with self-discipline, goal-setting and motivation. Still others have to do with growing one’s confidence.

Oh yes, and if you’ve seen me – I have lost some weight – a total of 15 lbs from the beginning of January. I’m back down to my grad school weight and my energy level has never been higher. I’ll continue some of my new habits but not nearly to the extreme that I took them. (Like I’d like to have some chips n’ dip and a glass of wine at the next party I go to.) I’d like to explore this vegan thing more but I don’t know about giving up real cheese…or cake…will have to see. I know how I feel right now so that’s a huge motivator.  And after having so much direct heat applied in my life, I know only great transformation can happen. The trick, for me, is to not be afraid of whatever package it comes in.


My anti-stress song


March Happenings:

NEW CLASS – Wednesdays 6:30-7:30 am at Yoga Masala. Get your hot yoga one early!

Sunday, March 23 – Adaptive Yoga New Volunteer Training! If you’re interested in volunteering, please let me know!

Saturday, Marcy 29 – Asana Junkies 10:30 am – 12:30 pm at City Yoga


  1. Kristen says:

    Your hard work did not go unnoticed, Dara! Since I hadn’t been in class for a few weeks (ugh), I thought you looked great in class yesterday! I’m gluten free (not by choice), so if you ever want to swap some recipes, let me know.
    As for the life stuff, I hate hate HATE to hear that. Sometimes things happen that do not make any sense. But, just rest in knowing that something else is around the corner. Easy to say and so hard to do!

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