What’s Your Drug of Choice?

Three months ago, I commenced on a health adventure to see just how healthy I could get.  Now, I am not talking about getting “skinny” here. I am talking about getting physically, emotionally and spiritually more healthy than I have ever been before.  Today marks 85 days in and…holy shit – why did I wait so long?  These nearly three months of cleaning up all my states have revealed bad habits I have fallen into over the last few years to “cope” with the stresses of life – my “drugs of choice,” if you will.

Here they are, in all their glory: my drugs of choice, my detox, and how the last three months have changed my entire life.

What’s Your Drug of Choice?

Calling all serial goal setters: did you set a new year’s resolution this year? How’s it coming?  I generally had several in the works at the start of every year, and found myself falling off the proverbial wagon around this time of year, so last year I took a different approach.  Instead of a multitude of goals and resolutions, I picked a word. A word to focus on. A word to guide all of my actions. A word to live by. My first “word year” was profound (to say the least), so alas, this new year brought another new word: adventure.

With adventure in mind, I have spent the better part of the last three months trying to put myself in situations that are, what I consider, well, adventurous: I lived in Mexico City for the month of January, then continued in my “homeless” adventure around the world; I did a boudoir photo shoot (this is the subject of a post for a different time); I signed up and completed an intensive artificial intelligence bootcamp (I was a litigator in a former life, so this is super daunting to me); we got this blog up and running…

Most relevant to this particular topic, however, is the three month long program that I began on January 15.  I figured while I was embarking on all things adventurous, I would also commence a health adventure to see just how healthy I could get.  Now, I am not talking about getting “skinny” here. I am talking about getting physically, emotionally and spiritually more healthy than I have ever been before.

Today marks 75 workouts in and…holy shit – why did I wait so long to do this?  These nearly three months of cleaning up all my states has also revealed some bad habits I have fallen into over the last few years to “cope” with the stresses of life – my “drugs of choice,” if you will.  In being three months “clean,” I’ve realized how much I was relying on some pretty small things that were resulting in some massive negativity in my life. These small things seemed so inconsequential, but in detoxing them, have made me starkly aware of how much they were really hurting me.

So how have I come to identifying these “drugs”?  Admittedly, some of my addiction awareness came with cleaning up my nutrition and a workout regime; some was the result of other “adventure” driven activities I had set out to do this year; and then there are some that came with some good ol’ fashioned self reflection. Here they are, in all their glory: my drugs of choice, my detox, and how the last three months has changed my entire life.

Drug: Sugar & Alcohol

Hello, my name is Whitney, and I am a recovering binger.  Of food in general, but more specifically, of sugar and alcohol.  Bad day at work? Glass of wine and some cookies. Fight with my husband? Vodka and ice cream. Death in the family? Four chocolate bars, a bag of candy, and six pack of beer.  You get the picture.

Now, I am not here to knock your diet, or your alcohol consumption – to each their own. But for me…for me, sugar and alcohol had become more than just a treat, they had become a coping mechanism for other aspects of my life I just wasn’t happy with.  Do you find yourself in a similar situation? Read on.

Detox: This one is so simple, but has been extra challenging…and oh so glorious – no sugar (of the processed variety) or alcohol for the last three months.  That’s it.

Impact: I could tell you that I’ve lost 15 pounds in three months, or that my body has released nearly 25 inches of inflammation (crazy right), but the bigger impact has been elsewhere.  Energy for days, sleeping like a freaking baby, clearer skin (people keep asking if I’m pregnant from the glow – for the record, I’m not), better general disposition and mood, feeling confident in my own skin…I could literally go on for pages with positive results from this single change.  Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Disclaimer: any time your body is physically detoxing, symptoms of the “flu” (nausea, tiredness, moodiness, congestion) are totally normal. Give yourself 21 days to adjust.

Toxic Relationships

Refocusing this year on my health adventure has also resulted in refocusing more attention on myself.  In doing so (and in traveling for the better part of 2018 so far), social time has become fewer and further between.  With that, I have had to make some pretty tough choices about who I am spending my time with. This has, in turn, resulted in really evaluating how I feel when I hang out with, have a conversation with, or even think about some of the folks I was calling friends.

Detox:  Before we make plans to spend time with (whether it be in person or over the phone/FT), I evaluate how I feel when I spend time with that person.  Do I feel energized? Do I feel uplifted? Do I feel inspired? If the answer is not a resounding YES to all three of these questions, I have bowed out of facetime with certain people.

Impact:  This one may sound harsh, and trust me, it is MUCH easier said than done (particularly when it comes to family or life-long friends), but really, time is so precious, why waste it on someone who doesn’t make you feel spectacular?  Aside from the fact I am feeling 4.2 million times better in the last three months, making this change has also meant that when I spend time with my people, I continue to feel even more spectacular. Positive in, positive out, and positive all around friends!

Morning Routine

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed every morning? Not a morning person? Up until recently, my mornings started defensively: multiple hits of the snooze button – this day is going to suck, so no need to rush getting up; wake up late – rushing around to get ready in time to get out of the house; check email – crisis to deal with immediately; first communication with spouse in crisis mode – argument; in crisis mode and now in a fight with my loved one – manifesting all sorts of negativity for the day all before 7:00 a.m.  

Detox: I am here to tell you from my own damn experience that there is no such thing as “not a morning person.”  Change the way you start your day and your entire day will be changed. (I get some of you have kiddos, or significant others who impact how you actually get to start your day, but try waking up a little earlier than them to have some “you” time as your start).  I moved my phone to the opposite side of the room, and get up with only ONE alarm; once I turn off my alarm, I go to a different room, and sit with my eyes closed taking five deep breaths (don’t lay down, you might fall back asleep!); I start with a quick gratitude meditation, then visualize my big four (check out Manifesting Change ( for what and how to do this); from there, I have my morning cup o’joe and eat breakfast; 30-45 minutes of Spanish on Duolingo after breakfast; 20 minutes of Coconut Oil pulling while I write down the things I need to get accomplished that day or journal/blog; brush my teeth; then 60 minutes of exercise.  I will not check my phone, email, or social media until this morning routine is complete.

Impact:  This has probably had the biggest consistent positive impact on my life.  I am happier, which means everyone around me is happier. I am better equipped to deal with crisis or conflict after this routine.  I feel like I have had “me” time every single day. I have accomplished a heck of a lot before I even start “working.” I can’t stress this enough.  Feeling uninspired to change up your morning routine? Read this amazing book – Miracle Morning.

Lack of Fresh Air

Dudettes, when was the last time you spent more than a walk to and from the house/car/office outside?  No, but really? At the start of my three month long journey to healthier badassery, I decided to get myself an Apple Watch to better track my progress every day.  I became incredibly aware of how stagnate I was during the day (even on days I thought I was being active), but moreover, how my lack movement OUTside meant I was also ridiculously deprived of Vitamin D.  

Detox:  AM, NOON, and PM – 5 minutes outside.  Rain or snow or shine, I spend five minutes, three times a day, outside.  

Impact:  I can feel a notable difference in my energy from before my walk, and after.  I’m sure the extra movement has something to do with it, but science says the increase in Vitamin D is helping that (as well as sound sleeping too).

Comfort in Discomfort

You are not a tree: you have the ability to move yourself!  But I know so many of you #badassladybosses are so resistant to change that you are willing to stay planted just where you are.  I am here to tell you, you can’t expect anything to change if you are doing the same damn thing you did yesterday.

Detox:  Do something every single day that makes me uncomfortable, and have an accountability partner to check in with daily on this.

Impact:  This one has been BIG…dare I say, HUGE.  And every day, I feel like this change is forcing me to level up to bigger levels.  How has it resonated? Well, I have traveled the world and been able to continue making enough money to comfortably do so.  New opportunities present themselves in abundance. I have made connections and experienced things I could have only dreamed of before.  Start. Start now.

Consistency

Consistency is key.  Some days are better than others, but committing to consistency is crucial.  

Detox:  Make a list, and each week, focus on one thing of the list, adding a new item each week (Week One, focus on one thing from your list, Week Two, focus on the one thing from last week and one new thing from your list, and so on).  Consistency builds habits.

Impact:  What once felt like an insurmountable list, is now an ongoing work in progress.  I am always learning, always developing, and always feeling productive because of the new habits I have created.  My success with the consistency of these few things has inspired me to continue to add more to my list, which is in turn, making me feel even more awesome!

Whitney Dover is a co-founder of BadassLadyBosses.

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