Yay me! I just finished a cleanse!
I’ve done a few cleanses in the past and I have to say that this time around was the most difficult. I don’t think it had anything to do with the type of cleanse I did, but because I was so out of shape when I started. The last cleanse I did was actually more challenging in terms of the shakes and the pills I had to take. There were so many pills to take and they left a bad taste in my mouth all day. And the shakes were tough for me to drink. I’m one of those people who has a hard time with certain textures. This cleanse (Metagenix) was pretty easy to follow and the products weren’t bad at all. The shake was easy to make and the one I chose (berry) didn’t taste too bad. I actually started to like it after a few days. The shakes and pills only took ten days, and for the rest of the cleanse I just ate very clean food; lots of fruits and veggies and sometimes salmon. Rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes were in there too. Chicken was an option, but I stuck with fish. I never felt hungry. I actually think I ate a little too much of the good food.
So let me go back a bit…before the cleanse. All summer, and into fall, I totally let myself go! I had a lot of things going on in my personal life, I moved into a new home, and I had just purchased the yoga/pilates studio. As I look back on it now, I think I was under a lot of stress. Whenever I’m in a difficult situation it doesn’t feel difficult to me. But always, in hindsight, I’m like “Woah, I did that!?” So I think I was struggling over the summer and I had a lot on my bran new plate. Maybe I found comfort in food…I don’t know. But I was out of control. I was eating everything and anything; Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Arby’s (those are some really good fries), I had a quarter pounder, and White Castle was my last meal before I started my cleanse. Yup…jalapeno sliders. I don’t know what started the downhill spiral, because when I bought the studio I weighed less than I had since before I had kids. I wasn’t eating gluten and I was really watching what I ate. I was feeling great! By the time I started the cleanse I had gained…from my lowest weight to my weight after those sliders…twenty pounds! And other than teaching yoga, I was doing very little exercise at all! I felt and looked terrible. I wrote a list of what I wanted to change with the cleanse. Here’s that list. I actually forgot about some of these:
I was really just feeling very bad. I noticed that I simply didn’t look good at all. I looked gray and almost sick when I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt sick! I was not myself and I couldn’t get back to myself.
Megan Renfree came to the studio and gave a lecture on stress levels and cortisol and I had my cortisol checked. My levels were off…opposite of what they should be. My cortisol was very low in the morning and high at night. Megan went through my results with me and set me up on supplements. She also gave me a workout plan and some ideas to detox. She helped me plan the cleanse and told me how it works. I was going to eat NO gluten, no sugar, no dairy, no eggs, no corn, no soy, no caffeine and no alcohol. That sounded impossible, but I was very excited to get started, because I knew I would feel better. I had done cleanses before and felt great and I was really ready to start feeling great again. So I started on October 24th and I was going to go until Thanksgiving!!
Well, I started, and I felt awful. I had headaches and was so, so tired. I was falling asleep all day long for the first few days. The headache was weird. It was a pain in the top, back of my head. It didn’t feel right and it lasted for days. I had had headaches in the past from cleanses, but not like this one. It was there for maybe four days. I wanted coffee every day…tea wasn’t cutting it. But I stuck with it. At about day five the headache was gone and I was less tired. At about day 10…after the CLEANSE (the pills and shakes) was over, I started to drink some wine again. After 20 days I drank coffee. Just a little, and some days I skipped it. I didn’t want it like I had wanted it before. I just missed the morning cup. I didn’t use cream…no dairy. I had it black and tried it with some almond milk. Black was fine. I saved a lot of money at Starbucks, and a month later, I still don’t drink as much as I used to. I rarely finish my morning cup. I’m really glad I was able to go as long as I did. I got it out of my system for a while. I knew coffee wasn’t going to be something that I gave up forever. I enjoy a cup in the morning, and I’m not giving that up. So I didn’t make it through a month with no alcohol or caffeine, but I was proud that I went as long as I did.
Although I felt pretty bad in the very beginning, I would not let myself give up. Another strange thing happened; after a few days on the cleanse, I actually started to feel sad! I never feel like that! I don’t! Ever! But I did…I felt really sad. I held back tears all day and cried at the tiniest things. It was very strange to me, but I was feeling depressed, and I hated it. But I figured my body was detoxing EVERYTHING…even emotions. I had been going through a lot and I guess it all had to come out. So I just waited and let it happen. I remember the sadness subsiding after coffee came back…not BECAUSE coffee came back, but it was around that time. And coffee came back at twenty days, so it took that long to start to feel better. And now I don’t feel it anymore. I have never been depressed during a cleanse, and I don’t think that’s something that happens often to people. But this time it did and I’m glad I went through it and kept going and came out on the other side.
Once the cleanse is over, you’re allowed to bring back one food group at a time for three days to see if you have any negative reaction to that food. I thought it would be dairy, because I love cheese, but the day the cleanse ended (Thanksgiving) I brought back corn because I wanted chips and guacamole! I was tired of eating quac with a spoon. It didn’t really affect me badly, but I did gain a few pounds after bringing back corn. I really haven’t brought anything else back yet. I feel too good to start eating the things I gave up. I love how I’m eating. I feel much better in my clothes. I didn’t have any candy on Halloween, or stuffing on Thanksgiving. I haven’t had sugar or soy or gluten, etc. I eat fish and rice and the best protein shakes ever!
Let me tell you about those! I use Arbonne protein powder and it’s awesome! (I do not sell Arbonne…never have.) I usually blend the chocolate powder, with a banana, some peanut butter, almond milk and some ice. It’s my favorite. I have another one that tastes like a caramel frappacino. If you do the cleanse I’ll share the recipe. It’s so, so good! I will stick with the shakes from now on. I love them! I’m just finishing one now.
So, I feel so much better. My feet don’t hurt at all. I actually forgot that was a problem until I just looked back at my list. I would limp when I got out of bed every morning because my feet ached. I don’t anymore at all! My lower back stopped aching, unless I stand for a very long time, which comes from my weak core. I need more pilates for that. But whenever I stop eating gluten my lower back no longer hurts. I think my coloring is finally starting to get better. I don’t look nearly as bad as I was looking about a month ago…I was really getting concerned. I seriously looked sick. I have lost over ten pounds and I’m going to keep going. I have three pounds to lose until my body is back to where it likes to be. I don’t crave food or feel like eating all the time like I was. I’m sleeping good. It’s easier to get up. I have much more energy and I’m not nearly as lazy as I was. I don’t struggle to get things done…I WANT to get things done. I’m not going to go back to what I was doing. I’m sticking with the healthy eating and am actually really enjoying it.
Here’s what I would do differently if I started the cleanse again. I would take more saunas. Megan told me to, and I only did three times. I’d go much more often than that. I’d work out more. Like I said, I was feeling so crummy at first…tired and headachey and sad…I just didn’t do it. I did some…but not enough. I’m going to start doing pilates more now, and I’m going to get out of my studio and do yoga in a place that’s not my own. I need to clear my head and not think about studio things while I’m doing yoga. If I went back and started again, I would eat a little less than what I was eating. I know I ate bigger portions than I should have at first. I did very well at drinking more water at first. I have slacked on that and I need to get back to it. I know my skin would look better if I did, and I’d stop getting cramps during yoga. So there are things I’d do differently, but I am proud of how I did either way. I was not perfect, and I didn’t expect to be. I did my best and my best worked.
So, I’d like to help everyone try it. Only if you’re willing of course. If you’re at a point where you’re tired of feeling poorly and you want positive changes in your body and mind, then it’s time to give it a try. Don’t expect perfection, just do your best. Megan will be at Happy Hour on Thursday night, December 13th. From 6:30 to 7:30 pm I’ll lead you through a slow yoga class. And from 7:30 to 8:30 pm Megan Renfree will explain the benefits of detoxing. A group of us at the studio will do the cleanse together starting in January, after the holidays. We will have a 20 day challenge at the studio as well in January. If you make it to 20 classes in January, you’ll get a Happy Hour sweatshirt and a heart full of pride! Julie Bevel at Fox Valley Spa is offering everyone in the cleanse a very generous discount on her amazing infrared sauna. So think about it. If you’d like to feel better and look better, join us for our Happy Hour cleanse. You can totally do this! And I promise, you will be so HAPPY you did. Sign up for the workshop on the 13th if you’re interested. Megan can answer all of your questions at that time. Let’s support each other and work at feeling better. We’ll share recipes and ideas and workouts. I’m very excited about this and I hope to see many of you there!