By Kit Rich
The doctor held a blank stare for what felt like an hour. I thought for a split second I saw a quiver of his upper lip that wanted to be a smile, but doctor protocol protected him from his natural urge. My hands grazed the cold metal arms of the wheelchair, my body wrapped in a paper dress, as a needle dripped morphine into my veins. I didn’t want to look up at him again. I just couldn’t. Fixated on a black indentation on the beige ER floor, I finally answered, “Yes. Yes I did it.”
As a celebrity trainer, I have graced the pages of countless fitness magazines, been featured on TV shows and have been the go-to person for thousands of people for health advice. I am the one who tells you how to lose those last grueling, stubborn 10pounds, and I’m the one that motivates you to get up early and start your day healthy.
But before I became your “friend in fitness,” I was, at one fateful time in my life, the one who was being prodded with needles and gawked at through hospital curtains by nurses as though Brittany Spears had just shaved her head, and they were first to see.
“So let me get this straight.” The doctor cleared his throat. “You gave yourself a COFFEE enema?”
Living in “new age” Los Angeles, enemas are very popular. I can recall several occasions where enemas were the topic of conversation while sipping dirty martinis. To many health nuts, enemas are as common as putting gas in your car. But instead of putting the hose into the gas tank, a small hose is inserted into your rectum where water solution flushes out the fecal build up on the lining of your colon.
Enemas are credited for alleviating abdominal discomfort, bloating, getting rid of acne and assisting in weight loss. They are mostly performed by medical professionals, but now, like all popular things, you too can perform your own enema right at home with your at-home- do-it- yourself enema kit!
You know the saying opposites attract? Two very different souls who seem to have nothing in common but once together are the perfect pair? Coffee meet enema. Enema meet coffee. Apparently once coffee is combined with an enema, your colon is ready to take on Godzilla. A coffee enema had all the benefits of a typical enema but was also the Aston Martin of liver detoxes.
That same morning, I woke up excited for the experience that was supposed to give me everlasting health and energy. My dear friend at the time, a natural food nutritional counselor, who moonlighted as my hair stylist, was a huge advocate of coffee enemas. She was one of those hippie types that seemed to have boundless energy. She did yoga, her skin and body were perfection, she loved everyone and she never drank coffee. She did, however, do coffee enemas. Coffee apparently wasn’t good to drink but great to stick up your butt, and she was living proof. I was intrigued.
Coffee has always been a controversial beverage. Is it really good for you or not? But regardless, you should know, I adore coffee. I love coffee more than I love sex. I actually like a lot of things more than I like sex but nothing holds a candle to my morning cup o’ Joe. I once tried quitting coffee for 3 months to keep myself on a budget. Every single day of those 3 months was like waiting for my “get out of jail” sentence. I would stalk coffee shops, sit in the corner and inhale the aroma like a long lost lover remembering the scent of her beloved. I had always hoped and prayed that studies would show that coffee not only was good for you, but also cured cancer.
So there I was, in Starbucks with my nutritional counselor friend, vigorously and enthusiastically writing down the steps of the “at home” coffee enema on a white paper napkin. As she spoke –and the words “stick the catheter in” rolled off her tongue as naturally as “How are you?” – visions of my new life, my 5 pounds thinner life, flashed before me, and I couldn’t write fast enough.
This was it. This was the missing piece to the puzzle. This was the solution that would finally get rid of those 5 pounds once and for all! No more weight fluctuations. No more diet debaucheries. The coffee enema was the mother ship. It would get to the root of the problem. It would bring me home and all problems would be solved. I wanted so badly to believe every inch of the steps written on that napkin, every word that came out of my friend’s mouth, and every Google search I found telling me about the benefits. I was filled with so much conviction, nothing could have deterred me from doing this. I glanced over the side effects and ignored them like vegetables on a child’s plate. Side effects? “One in a million,” I thought.
I know this sounds crazy and so extreme, but I was desperate. You see, I was part of an unspoken community of women that was not media worthy like those in the Obesity or Anorexic community. To the outside world, the women in my community look perfectly well put together and fit. They may go to great lengths to inspire everyone around them to be the best they can be. But at home, when no one else is around, they look in the mirror and hate what they see. If only they could be anyone or anything else than what they were. I was president, vice president, and treasurer of this club.
If I could just lose 5 pounds, my life would be better. If I lost 5 pounds, the other side of the bed wouldn’t be empty. If I lost 5 pounds, I would get the career I always wanted. If I lost 5 pounds, I could rule the world.
A few hours later after the enema, I was on the floor, with my arms wrapped around my now largely descended stomach, crying in agony for help. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. What was going on? I was angry. I was furious! I hated my friend. I hated myself. I was in so much pain.
I was so scared.
Would I ever be okay? Would I ever be the same again?
The nurse wheeled me down the hall past each patient’s room until we got to mine. Room 1: burn wounds. Room 2: shot victim. Room 3: car accident. Finally Room 4: reserved for the over caffeinated with no sense of self.
Crunching on ice cubes for days, I eventually heard the words that I desperately prayed for and that would resonate in my mind forever.
“You’re going to be fine.”
My eyes redirected towards the familiar black indentation on the floor. My only comfort.
“To put it simply, your digestive tract stopped working. The coffee made your colon go into shock. Your body will heal itself. You’re very lucky.” I looked up at the doctor. “Try to be nicer to yourself.”
With a wink and a handshake from the doctor, I left the hospital. I left 5 pounds thinner.
Many years later, 10 pounds heavier, I am one of your leaders in health and fitness. I am also the same girl who, once upon a time, was her greatest and worst enemy. It took me years to get over the shame of what I had done. It took me years to tell this story. It took me years to even go near a coffee shop.
But time heals all wounds as they say. I am happy to report that beverages only go in one way now and exit accordingly. You also might be surprised to know that I have found my way back to my first love, Joe. But now, he exclusively wears frothy soy coats designed by Cappuccino. We have an even deeper love affair than before. There is not as much dependency and now he loves me exactly as I am. He loves my fair skin, buttons for breasts and traces of genetically induced cellulite that no amount of squats or lunges can cure. He even loves the smile lines that stay to chat long after my smile has decided she’s ready for bed.
Yes, time heals all wounds and the faded emotional scars allow you to evolve but never forget. Hopefully, the scars become a constant reminder of who you once were and just how far you’ve come. Hopefully the scars become a great story to share, educate and inspire. And maybe, well just maybe, puts a slight smile on your face as your hands grip around the warm mug for the first morning sip.