My 21 Day Juice Cleanse & Weight Loss Journey So Far
In January I stepped on the scale and was overwhelmed by the numbers that stared back at me. What I saw was a reflection of all of the stress, bad eating and lack of consistency in the gym that I let myself drown in. Even knowing those things, I stood there and wondered how I'd let myself get to that place. 45 pounds later, I've realized that it was because I stopped putting myself first. Not prioritizing my health resulted in years of me doing the minimum and crying wolf when I didn't see the results I wanted.
Well, as they say, I was "tired of being sick and tired" and those numbers gave me the fuel I needed to finally put myself first again. So, how did that result in a 21-day juice cleanse? I wanted something different and drastic to jump-start the new lifestyle I knew I needed. I came across the documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead," and was hooked after seeing the key benefits juicing provides. First and foremost it's a great way to detox your body from all of the many toxins we stuff it with and simultaneously feed it the best nutrients to help reboot it. To simplify this I thought I'd breakdown my experience in four categories; the good, the bad, some tips and what I did after the cleanse to keep the weight off. So, here we go:
Improved Digestion- This was the benefit that really got me on board to do a juice cleanse because I've struggled with good digestion for awhile. Because your body isn't working as hard to break down so much food, it is able to reset during a juice cleanse. I've seen great improvements in this area since the cleanse.
Energy Boost: The energy that would normally be consumed by working hard to digest food, will be dispersed elsewhere. I got the BEST sleep in my life. I didn't need a full eight hours of sleep to feel refreshed and well rested. I'll admit that I'm usually dragging myself out of bed but during the cleanse I was up at least an hour before my alarm and didn't feel tortured by it at all.
Glowing Skin: While one of the detox symptoms I experienced was small bumps on the side of my face, once the symptoms passed my skin glowed like never before. It also may have been due to getting great sleep for once but I definitely experienced skin that looked alive and dewy.
Weight Loss: I put this last because it honestly was just a benefit on top of everything else I experienced. Even though I started the cleanse to drop weight, the stuff I learned about my body made the weight loss itself seem small. By the end of the cleanse I dropped around 15 pounds.
The good definitely outweighed the bad for me and everyone's detox symptoms (the bad) are different. But I want to be transparent and share some of the negative side effects I experienced during the cleanse. My detox symptoms during the first week ranged from intense cravings, minor acne, mucus and a coated tongue. All are signs of toxins leaving your body. Check out this Youtube channel for a breakdown of different detox symptoms and more great juicing tips.
- Don't think you have to do 21 days to see the great benefits of a cleanse. I'm still trying to figure out how I made it to 21 days, but I'm sure it was because of my eagerness for change. I'm not opposed to doing another cleanse but It definitely wouldn't be that long again. I'd personally recommended doing one or two weeks because that's when I started to experience some of the benefits.
-The week before you do a cleanse, prep your body by adding more veggies to your meals and minimizing how much meat you eat.
-I drank around Drink 96/126 ounces a day and was never hungry. I tried to drink as much water as juice but most days I drank around 64/96 ounces of water to help flush everything out.
-Go vegan or vegetarian for at least a week after the cleanse. This will help your body readjust to whole foods again, instead of shocking it with a burger which can hurt all of the progress you've made.
-Social life? Not that I've really had one myself (lol) but when I did go out during my cleanse, I just drank a juice right before and drank water all night. It was a struggle in environments where I was clearly the soberest person there but in the end, it was worth it. Just hold your glass of water and try your best to pretend it's your favorite drink (more than likely you'll remember it's just water). :(
After The Cleanse
It has been six months since I ended my juice cleanse and I've not only managed to keep off the weight but I've lost another 30 pounds. Like I said before, the cleanse was simply something I did to jump start a new lifestyle I knew I needed. I don't want to leave the impression that it should solely be a way for you to lose weight. If you don't have the right mindset you can easily fall back into past traps. I knew once the cleanse was over I needed to focus on consistently going to the gym and eating as clean as possible.
Have I been perfect? No, I've missed a few weeks in the gym during the last six months (because life happens) and a box of Popeyes has made its way onto my lap a few times (because It's the best chicken). But because my mindset is different, I no longer let moments like those stop me from pushing. What I've tried this time around in the gym is going to a variety of group classes, which I highly recommend for gym newbies. I now take cycling, tabata, pure strength and insanity at XSport. I also give myself challenges, like in July, I aimed for "31 days of movement," where I did at least thirty minutes of some form of exercise a day. Though I only made it to 28, that was a win for a girl who has struggled with consistency in the past.
Because I'm very mindful of my digestion issues, I'm implementing less meat and more veggies on a more consistent basis now. I've also become a meal prepper, which I believe is a great way to stick to a healthy eating routine. With that said, I don't have a fridge full of bowls, I just plan out what I'll eat for each meal during the work week and cook as I go. I also make it a point to have cheat days because I'm a #foodieforlife.
This will forever be a work in progress but anxiety and stress had me stuffing my face with one too many big beefs from Portillos. How you feel mentally is a key player in you staying motivated to do pretty much anything in life. Working out has played a huge role in relieving my stress but now I try to stay more mindful of how I handle stress and things I can do to de-stress. Right now reading, writing, working out, blogging, and even as an introvert socializing helps me destress. Finding things that make you happy and doing it will keep you on track with your goals in life. When you're consumed by stress it's easy to find yourself stuck in a non-progressive rut.
If you made it this far in the post, hopefully you've realized that there's no real magic trick to losing weight. It really boils down to finding your groove with working out and eating well. Hopefully, you've also realized that it starts with a mindset and ends with a plan. Maybe you only try a three day cleanse, or just start to work out twice a week. Just do what's best for you, challenge yourself, and be mindful of your mental health as much as your physical health.
My journey to fitness is far from over (next goal is abs!) and I'm excited to share my progress with you guys in hopes that it reaches someone who, like I did, forgot to put themselves first.
If you have any questions about reaching your weight loss goals, I'd love to hear them in the comments!