Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My Juice Cleanse Adventure (Part I)

I had been spiraling for a while.

Training was done. All races complete. Warmer temps had arrived.

My mind said, "It's ok to eat like you're running everyday". But the body fires back and says, "Cool, I'm gonna store all this shit for later!"

15 pounds heavier (since April 5) and hating myself every time I ate or had a beer, I decided to turn the bus around and do a couple things - (1) start tracking my food and (2) do a juice cleanse.

To be clear, this isn't about vanity or being a certain weight. I'm the best father, husband and friend when I feel good about myself. I want to enjoy pizza and beer while staying moderately active. This requires discipline, good choices and balance...all the things I'd lost perspective on over the last 30 days.

Tracking Food

I've used MyFitnessPal in the past to track food. Yes, it's a pain in the ass if you're making complicated meals throughout the day but for most of us who try to eat healthy, it requires nothing more than scanning a bar code.

MyFitnessPal figures out your caloric goals based on weight, height and activity level. Mine is 2130. Now you might say that sounds like a lot but it's really not when you think about it. That's about 700 calories for lunch, breakfast and dinner...making no mention of snacks (I'm a snacker), beer or deserts!

Why I like tracking food:
  1. You're forced to look at serving size.

    There is a problem in the US with portion sizes. We assume a plate full of food that isn't the size of our head isn't a good deal. What you think is a serving size is likely grossly exaggerated!
  2. You get a cross-section of all the nutrients you're consuming - fats, protein, carbs, sugar, salt etc.

    There is a healthy ratio of how much nutrients we should be consuming and if you're like me, one (or multiple) categories are typically high on a daily basis.
My pre-cleanse food log (note red numbers at the bottom...not good!)

Juice Cleanse

I've never done a juice cleanse before but in the reading I've done and the folks I've talked to, it's touted as a great way to reset the digestive system, cleanse the stomach, liver, kidneys and intestines...not to mention lose a few pounds in the process.

As I researched local places to buy the juice cleanse, there were definitely some things that stood out for me. See my little chart below to see what I mean.

Company Ingredients Listed Chain Day Options (3-day) Cost
Nekter Yes Yes 1, 2, 3 or 5-day $119.85
Raw Organic Juice AZ No No 3 or 5-day $109.00
Nourish 123 Yes No 1, 3 or 7-day $200.00

I called each place asking additional questions about the cleanse program and ultimately went with Nourish123 even though there were more expensive. The others (1) did not use organic fruits and vegetables, (2) did not know the ingredients of their juices, and (3) were fairly annoyed with my extensive questions.

Only Nourish123 spent about an hour with me on the phone to discuss not just the product but the underlying reason(s) I was looking to do a cleanse. I liked that the owners are holistic nutritionists and were happy to share both their insight and wisdom with me.

Juicing Intro

There are 8 drinks a day for 3 days. 6 are juices and 2 are nut milks. One every 2 hours. That means starting at 6 am and ending at 8 pm. You're encouraged to drink as much water as possible too. You're discouraged from chewing gum as it triggers the hunger centers of the brain (and belly!)

The line up for the day

Day 1

Not happy or a fan...
Feeling pretty invincible, I went for a run to start this day. Just 5 miles but coming home in a caloric deficit was probably not the smartest thing to do.

Either way, I'm ready.

10 am: I'm starving.
2 pm: Mmmm, that one was pretty good.
6 pm: I've got a headache.
9 pm: Going to bed early

Day 2

One of my favs
I purposefully did not plan a workout or run knowing that my energy levels would be lower. And I was right. Considered skipping work. When will this headache go away?

8 am: I miss coffee.
12 pm: I'd really like something to chew on.
4 pm: Don't look at me - I'm hangry!
6 pm: Still have a headache.
9 pm: Please don't dream about food.

Day 3

The headache subsides and I wake up with what feel like normal energy levels and a reasonable disposition (according to my wife and kids). I'm already thinking about tomorrow and what food I'm going to inhale for lunch...thai, teriyaki, maybe a burger? lol

It's what's for dinner.

8 am: Didn't even think about coffee.
12 pm: Half way there. I got this.
4 pm: Blech, that's the one I don't like.
6 pm: "Dad, can we go get fro-yo?"
10 pm: Went to bed at normal time.

Last 'juice'!

Day 4 and 5

This is where it gets interesting. My big plans of eating everything in site was definitely not what my body wanted to do. In fact, nothing at all sounded or tasted good!

I was nibbling Day 4, trying to find small things to munch on - soups, noodles, fruit and bread were the only thing that sounded good at all. I did manage to put down a piece of pizza that night but man did I pay for it the next day :-(

Day 5 consumption has been slightly better but I still don't have my full appetite back. But maybe that's the point of the cleanse...

Day 6 and 7

I have my appetite back but in the back of my mind I always wonder, "Am I really hungry?" or "How hungry am I?" I've become satisfied with less food and haven't had a ton of cravings or the strong desire to eat certain things.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, I felt back to normal. Healthier, down almost 10 pounds and ready to have a few beers with friends.

Part II Preview

You probably have more questions about the actual process, how I felt, what I was thinking and how the adjustment back to 'real' food went...well fear not, I wrote a second blog to give you the gory details!

Stay tuned!

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