The 2-Week Pre-Thanksgiving Enchant-A-Thon ended this past Sunday, and oh what a rollercoaster ride it was! Specifically, I am referring to the ride “The Goldrusher” at Six Flags Magic Mountain, because the experience was much like panning for gold in a river: you get all dirty and there are days when you really question why the hell you are doing it, but by the end you’re rich on golden nuggets. And you might lost a couple pounds. Only with Immaculata, you are losing them by exercising and eating well, not by contracting dysentery and/or Scarlet Fever.
And now, a full recap:
Inspire as many others to join me in an experimental 2 week “group Immaculata experience” wherein participants could take on their own personal health and creative goals, and help motivate each other through community. The end goal: for all participants to feel “amazeballs” heading into Thanksgiving.
The following was suggested for participation:
*No Fast Food
*At least 20 minutes of exercise 10 of the 14 days.
*Commit to completing at least one creative project before the end of the 2 week period.
The Enchant-A-Thon absolutely exceeded all my expectations. My original goal was to get 20 people or so to participate in LA. A couple mass emails and a Facebook invitation later and there were over 120 people signed-on, representing 13 states (all in the American union)! The group was a fun hodgepodge of friends, family, colleagues, and a bunch of people I’d never met who heard about it through a friend or on my weekly podcast. It was a diverse bunch, including several comedians, artists, writers, designers, and of course plenty of others with zero creative aspirations. Most took on the full challenge, while others devised their own plans. It’s hard to say exactly how many people actually followed through, but based on correspondences in the Immaculata Facebook group and emails and calls I received, I know at least 40 people stuck with it, and in every case they had a really positive experience. Except for this one dude Damien in Alabama who got bit by a rabies-infected tree-hound. But as I explained to Damien, there is nothing in the Immaculata bylines that promotes climbing trees, and also, tree-hounds are fictional.
Amazing jokes aside, it was just really inspiring to see so many people participating and getting the exact jump-start they wanted when they signed on. It bodes quite well for the future of this thing.
For me personally, after having done the 30 day Immaculata in September and keeping pretty healthy in October, doing 2 weeks was a snap. I didn’t have any withdrawals to deal with, and plus the pressure of “leading” this experiment made cheating a non-option for me. Still, I didn’t stick as absolutely to my plan to write for an hour and to meditate everyday. It’s true, I was working extra hard to write motivating emails and manage the charity project that came from it (more on that in a sec), but I do know I could have been more diligent about it. But I did manage to lose a couple more pounds, and overall I felt and still feel great. So no point in dwelling on that, just gotta step it up in December.
As part of this experiment, I wanted to have as many community events as I could for those participating in Los Angeles. The goal was to have something new and exciting every day to keep peopleinspired creatively or doing something new and different. While that didn’t fully pan out, we had an awesome kick off hike, and by far the biggest highlight for me of this whole thing was the Upward Bound Adopt-
An-Apartment project which popped up unexpectedly just as the first week was ending. In short, I was given less than one week to raise enough money ($800-$1500) to help provide all the essentialitems for a homeless family (a single mother and her 13 year old son) who were moving into a new place in a community apartment situation in Santa Monica. With one mass email and my fingers crossed, half the money was raised within 24 hours, and the rest came in before the week even ended. We also received tons of great donated items from people to help decorate and fill the house, and even got some great books donated from 826LA. From there it was enlisting volunteers to help shop for all the items, and more to help set up and decorate the apartment. It was so amazing to see how quickly people came together, including many immaculatizers, to make this happen, and the results were amazing. For all the positive and healthy benefits taking part in the Enchant-A-Thon provides, nothing came even close to as satisfying as the feeling of helping out this family. There’s no doubt that charity work will become an integral part of all future Immaculatas.
Seeing how positively this affected so many people, I only want to make it bigger and better for next time. Plus, while two weeks is certainly a fantastic start to making healthy changes, going for 30 days is even more effective and rewarding. For me personally, I will be working around the clock the next month to prepare for the next big group Immaculata, set to start on January 1st, the ultimate kick-off date for all-or-nothing people like me. While making health changes will be as big a part of it as ever, I really want it to be the ultimate jump-start into creativity and productivty. As a writer, producer, and performer, I know how difficult it can be to focus, set goals, and actually get things done. So over the next couple weeks I’ll be designing an Immaculata that artists of any kind can take on with the goal of really starting the year off in a way that produces RESULTS. As far as health, I am still debating on whether or not to go Vegan to start the year. But I am leaning towards YES. And on top of that I want to have at least 2-3 group activities each week that will spark community and creativity and be fun as hell.
And now, more information than you could ever want to ingest:
Here are some of my favorite quotes that came in over the 2 weeks:
“Alrighty… I’m doing pretty good at this! No booze, bad food, nothing processed, no bread, cut portion sizes too. I’m a kinda hungry, but not to the point where I’d want to kill anyone. I like it.” –
Juliana C. (Los Angeles, CA)
“Day 2 and I already slept better last night than I usually do! And by that, I mean I wasn’t drunk when I woke up.”
– Phil R. (Los Angeles, CA)
“I’ve been doing well (but, as some of you know, I’m pretty good at this sort of thing). I’ve Immaculatized my routine by doubling my weekly mileage — now I’m up to about 80 miles per week, split between early morning (everyday at 550am) and evening (everyday at 430pm) workouts. Also I’ve given up vodka, tequilla, whiskey, fernet-branca, and Coors light (my favorites). And since I’m not drinking any of that, like 50% of my usual diet is now gone. So, mostly I’m drinking LOTS of water with Emergen-C. As for food, not much has changed, but instead of snacking on whatever is around I snack on Balance Bars. Best of all, I’ve been writing plenty — I finished two new short stories and both my novel and my oral history collection are coming along. Other than that I still watch bad television and don’t really sleep much. But whatever, I’m liking my own little slice of Immaculate awesomeness.”
– Baruti A. (San Francisco, CA)
“I started on 11/1, so I’ve had 12 days of no alcohol, no candy, no sweets, no fast food, and only water to drink, and right now I’m feeling great. Today I woke up after only 7 hours of sleep feeling refreshed (that is usually not enough for me). I’m also having a better time at work. And I’ve even lost almost 6 pounds. Good stuff.”
– Rob E. (Los Angeles, CA)
“This group has helped me not take my eating right and exercising too seriously while at the same time helped me stay on track.”
– Lea N. (Richmond, VA)
“Jamie, you inspired me to Immaculatize a while back. I’ve cut my drinking down a lot, but I think age and abuse has alot to do with it. The hang overs are a lot worse so I think time has caught up with me and I surrender to sobriety.”
– Alex A. (Boston, MA)
“I’m sore from an intense yoga workout yesterday (upper body) but managed to ride my bicycle about 60 miles the last 3 days & gonna run a few miles tonight. I hit a 5 year weight low today also (still need to lose about 30 pounds).”
– Dave J. (Wyoming, MI)
“Hey guys– are you noticing a difference already? I am.
Before starting Enchant-a-Thom= Woke up at 11am-ish
After starting Enchant-a-Thon= Woke up at 9am on the dot
Before: 210 lbs
After 209.8 lbs
Before: Couldn’t meditate for 5 minutes
After: Couldn’t stop meditating after 20
After: Greek Orthodox
After: 6’9” (I’m pretty sure)
Before: Cat person
After: Deer Hunter
Before: Dodgers fan
After: Giants fan
Overall, feelin’ dy-no-mite. Anyone having problems kickin’ weed or alcohol, gimme a shout out. I had to quit the stuff four years ago and I know how hard it can be.”
– Kevin B. (Los Angeles, CA)
“I also worked out today by flipping a tractor tire and then hitting it with a sledge hammer before pulling a guy on a sled. My trainer called it “conditioning”. I thought perhaps I’d started a part-time construction job. At any rate, I broke a sweat for the 15th time in the last 19 days. Giddy-up. – Chris M. (Omaha, NE)
“Last night was the 2nd time in 4 days that I was on my second beer before I said “Oh my God! I’m drinking beer! I’m no longer immaculate!” But because of that realization, I didn’t have a Hollywood Blvd. bacon wrapped hot dog afterwards, so I can say with all confidence that Immaculata stopped me from getting tapeworms.”
– Phil R. (Los Angeles, CA)
“My Day One is off to a good start! The added hour in the morning probably gave me a nice little boost; I’m going to try to get up at sunrise more often, it’s a pleasure to have all that extra time to bum around the house, read the paper and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Later today I’m going to go for a long hike up Jesusita Trail here in Santa Barbara. Happy trails!
– Adam K. (Santa Barbara, CA)
“My office newsletter went all Immaculata on me with a quote by Buddha, “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” I’m finding inspiration everywhere!”
– Valerie D. (Danvers, IL)
Valerie also offered the following after the final day: “I’m pushing onward too… it feels too good to stop now” and vlogged this inspirational video.
As I hope will become a trend, certain participants took the liberty of creating their own content, including motivational posters, calendars, and recipes. Here were some that came out of this first experiment:
And that’s a wrap, folks!