Health or hoax? The cleanse
In a quest to debunk the juice cleanse, our Photo Editor took one for the team
In recent years, cleanses have become all the rage. There are a lot of different types of cleanses: juice, smoothies and the maple syrup, cayenne pepper one that people swear by. Most are usually unhealthy for your body and cause you to deprive yourself for days, or weeks.
I recently did just that.
Although I’m not a fan of cleanses, I was inclined to do one as a kick-start to eating healthy again, All the stress on my body from school and vacations have made me put health on the backburner over the last couple of months. This was a chance to reboot and start over, so I wasn’t just looking for a quick fix.
During the cleanse I was only allowed to eat raw fruits and vegetables, or a “green cocktail” which contains blended fruits and vegetables. I couldn’t drink coffee, or any drink with caffeine, so I was pretty much just stuck with water. Sounds simple enough, right?
Now I’ll be honest: my ‘day one’ was actually two because I started the day before, or at least tried to start, but wasn’t prepared and gave in during the day. The next day was my real start and I knew from the moment I woke up that it wasn’t going to be easy or fun. I decided to do this over a weekend so all my food was readily available. Although eating veggies is really healthy, I barely had any energy to do anything. Along with no energy, I also had an unbearable migraine most of the day that made it hard to even function.
I always had a snack in my hand whenever I felt hungry and it helped me deal with all the temptations in the house. I think I ate the most I ever have, yet I still felt hungry, not physically hungry but I could feel my body craving sugar and carbs. The horrible migraine and no energy left me spending most of the first day in bed.
I woke up hungry and thinking of food. It was how much the idea of eating something fatty and salty consumed me, but I had a green cocktail and a bunch of fruit instead. No amount of food that I ate was satisfying me and I continued to crave every food out there. It was sickening to realize how addicted to junk food I really was but it still took all of my will power to continue eating right.
I still had a bit of a headache the next day and my hangry (hungry and angry) levels were at their highest. This caused me to get mad at everything and everyone around me. I started noticing some of the side effects that this was doing to me including: lack of energy, breakouts and clouded thinking. I was fighting the urge to sneak a bite of something sweet or salty all day. I had plenty of opportunities but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. The second day wasn’t that much different in that I spent a lot of time resting, saving the little energy I had.
The morning of the third day I felt surprisingly chirpy havingway more energy than I did before… I started the day the same as the others, drinking the green cocktail and having a bunch of fruit for breakfast. I continued to eat the same things but noticed that the thought of eating something fatty didn’t entice me anymore. I also stepped on the scale that day and noticed that I lost exactly ten pounds in the last few days. I was shocked at how much I lost, especially since I didn’t exercise and pretty much stayed in bed all day. The number on the scale wasn’t the most important part to me, it was the fact that I managed not to give into temptation and was able to eliminate junk food for those three days.
Chelsey Love is a local registered dietician who doesn’t recommend cleanses to her clients. The results from a few days of an extreme diet are usually that of water weight and will easily come back, she explains.
“If someone’s looking for health, it needs to be more of a slower and doable approach. These extreme approaches in my experience don’t stick,” Love says and adds that, “Be aware of the quick fixes, if they seem too good to be true, they probably are.”
In order to get back to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle – you have to follow the four P’s: Purchase, Prepare, Pack and Plan. If you’re going to change your lifestyle, do so in a healthy way by making the necessary changes to have real and lasting results.
“Keep it simple, keep it realistic and get back to real food,” Love says.
It has been a week since I have done the cleanse and I haven’t gained any weight back. I have actually lost a little more weight since then, but that’s because I didn’t go back to eating junk food. I only used those few days as a kick start to eating healthy and being active again. Now, my diet includes lots of fruits and veggies but also lean protein (not eating protein is what will make you super tired) and healthy fats. I also went back to the gym and have gotten back into lifting weights. It’s the muscle that will help burn the most amount of calories.
If you want to lose weight, do so in a healthy way, prepare and think of it as a lifestyle change instead. A quick fix will never solve the problem but if you do want to do a cleanse, then don’t take it to the extreme. Most importantly, prepare yourself for it and ease out of it once you are done so that you aren’t harming your body.