leave your inhibitions at the door
It’s been two weeks since I finished The Cleanse and, although it did get challenging at times, I don’t regret it at all. Although I definitely had some health benefits, the best part of it was the sense of accomplishment. See, I’m not one of those people with a bucket list that includes stuff like jumping out of an airplane or running an Iron Man. For me, a major triumph is if I can remember my computer password. So actually planning out and finishing the cleanse was a terrific way to start out the new year.
So the question I’ve answered the most since finishing is “how much weight did you lose?” I simply showed them my “before” picture –
The actual answer – not as much as last time, but definitely a lot. When I first did this 4-5 years ago, I lost 25 pounds in 10 days, then gained back about 10 over the following few weeks. This time around, I “only“ lost 14 or so. I didn’t cheat on it nor did I drink too much of the lemonade and I’m sure I burned more calories than I did that first time, it’s just that the weight loss wasn’t there. I think what happened is that the first cleanse was cleaning out decades of abuse. Since it’s only been a few years, there was less “debris” in my gastrointestinal system to clear out.
On the plus side, I haven’t gained any of it back yet. My metabolism definitely went up and I’m still feeling it. So this was the kick start I was looking for. Plus I learned the every important lesson of portion size – since finishing, I’ve cut portions by at least half and realized I wouldn’t die.
Here are ten other things I learned –
10 – A key to my success is telling everyone that I was doing it. I did the same when I ran the Chicago marathon years ago. Once you tell everyone, you can’t back out.
9 – The first time I did it, I recall having a ton of energy throughout the process. This time, it took about 6 days before I started feeling it. Here’s how much energy I had – there were times that I couldn’t concentrate on work because I was too amped up.
8 – And that energy was there the moment I woke up in the morning to the point where I didn’t need coffee to get my day started. Even now I still have more energy when I wake up. Because of this I’ve returned to appreciating coffee for the aroma and flavors, as opposed to chugging it for the caffeine.
7 – That increased metabolism wasn’t due to excess calories – in fact I was only consuming about 1100 calories a day. It came from taking in small amounts of calories through out the day. There were a couple days where only had bigger quantities (about 300-400 calories) every few hours – closer to my regular schedule of bigger meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Those days where I DIDN’T spread out calories throughout the day were the days I was hungriest.
6 – The flavor of the lemonade was better than I remember, but the monotony of consuming the same stuff all day/every day was tough. I found out near the end that I could use fresh lime juice instead. It’s not terribly different, but any variety was welcomed. Another way to change things up is to make a big batch of the juice in the morning. You can add the cayenne then or as you go. If you add it in the morning, it steeps in the lemonade so it gets spicier as the day progresses. Little victories.
5 – Cooking for other people while you’re doing this really sucks ass.
4 – Water is your weight loss friend. When ever I started to get hungry, I’d down a glass of water. In addition to filling you up, it’s like fighting fire with fire. You feel hunger before thirst, so often when you’re thirsty your body is tricking you to think you’re hungry. Drinking water fights that trick by fooling your body you just ate food.
3 – The recommendation is to take three days to ease back into food. I did it in a day and a half. Mistake. For a day or two it’s like I gulped down a box of Ex-Lax with a Mexican tap water chaser. While fighting a stomach bug. On a Royal Caribbean cruise.
2 – The first time I did it, I didn’t exercise because I thought I’d get too hungry and fail at the cleanse. This time I exercised 3-4 times each week. The actual exercise was tougher, but I didn’t feel any hungrier. And when the energy boost kicked in at day 6, I was flying.
But the #1 lesson I learned while doing the cleanse – and if you end up doing one, I hope you heed this warning –
DON’T TRUST A FART.