It’s no surprise that I love fitness and health. From clean eating challenges to working out every day, I believe strongly that the body is our temple and we are tasked with taking care of it. Plus, I want to be around to embarrass my grandkids someday and that starts now. So, then, it should be no surprise, I suppose, that I tried a juice cleanse.
My goals for this were multi-tiered, but all completely related to body performance. I couldn’t figure out why I can’t lose my middle-aged “pooch” on my stomach. Bloating? I also was sold a story that my intestines need special care that I wasn’t giving them. I had images of things rotting inside me. (Side lesson: stay off health and fitness websites.) So for those very important reasons I picked up from the Internet, I wanted to love this.
I also wanted to love this because I go to Clean Juice a lot and love their products. I was hopeful for a gift card when they saw a post from me bragging about the supreme state of body performance after a juice cleanse (blogger goals).
But I am sorry to say I did not love my juice cleanse. It was a wildly miserable experience.
Here is what happened during my juice cleanse:
1 I felt sick almost immediately. While everything I read on the Internet stated that people started digestive issues on the morning of Day Two, my issues started within three hours. After my first two juices and skipped breakfast, my stomach was torn up in an extremely unhappy way, not in an “it feels so good to get rid of this rot” way.
2 I gained weight at the end of the day. I stepped onto the scale that night, expecting to see amazing things, down to my dream weight, maybe even able to be called skinny! But I had gained over three pounds. IN ONE DAY. Because my body was so bloated.
3 Days of a juice fast are not days to do any physical activity. I did hot yoga in the morning and thought I was going to pass out. I drank plenty of water, followed the Clean Juice instructions, and am not new to hot yoga. Yet I felt wretched.
4 Not all juices taste good. While most of the juices I had were quite tasty, there were two I had to hold my nose and chug down. This does not go well if you are already having digestive issues and feel like passing out.
I have a lot of self-discipline. And I was prepared to power through the tough times and find a state of complete peace with my body on the other side. But it simply didn’t happen.
I am glad I opted for a developed juice program, instead of trying to do this on my own. I didn’t have to use my brain to plan or implement or prepare, which was good because my brain was no good while on the juice cleanse anyway.
But at the end of the day, I couldn’t parent, which was the most distressing part. I was so foggy and cranky, all I wanted to do was to tackle my second grader and eat his PopChips. I wasn’t listening to him speak or share his day, I was obsessing about when I could take my next juice. I was cranky and short-tempered. Everything they did irritated me and I had no patience. I was a miserable parent.
Which leads me to my surprising lessons from my juice cleanse:
1 No one should have to parent under starvation. I want to be really clear: I paid a crapload of money (WAY too much money) to basically starve myself. Why? I am so privileged that I can treat starvation like a game? This realization hit me hard.
In my cushy world, I really don’t understand the struggle of far too many mothers who can barely get one meal a day. Seeing such a stark contrast between my parenting abilities on a full belly versus starving, I can’t imagine how mothers who face starvation as a daily reality, without a choice, do it.
Ultimately, I decided to give a donation to Feeding America. After all, if I can pay money to starve myself as a hobby, I can pay money to help a family that shouldn’t be starving due to want. Feeding America shares:
42 million people face hunger in the U.S. today — including nearly 13 million children and more than five million seniors. Hunger knows no boundaries — it touches every community in the U.S., including your own.
My one brush with the overwhelming and crushing numbness true hunger brings was self-implemented. Let’s help those out there who DON’T have a choice instead of pouring money into fasts and cleanses because they are trendy and we want to lose our belly fat.
2 This should be done for spiritual and philosophical reasons. Ultimately, a juice cleanse is a fast. As Clean Juice says in their material:
Use this time for self-reflection. God sometimes talks to us deepest when we are the most still and focused. Those who are tested deeply He uses greatly!
I went into this for the wrong reasons, and with an incredible amount of ill-founded confidence. Lent seems like a great time to do this as this is an opportunity to still the mind, focus on the spiritual, and remove one’s immense preoccupation with bodily needs. This is not the thing to do simply because you want to lose weight.
I am glad I tried this, I suppose, even though I do have regret at how much money went down the drain (or toilet) when there is such a great need in our country and world.
But I still love Clean Juice and I appreciate all the good benefits that are found in the juices. In the end, after I decided to quit the cleanse early, I used the rest of the juices I had in my fridge as part of my overall diet. I integrated the healthy, organic juices into my day and I felt GREAT.
And while I will always claim my belly fat to be a mystery, I think I really know what it is….
This challenge was designed in September 2015 by me, to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to force myself to try new things, to learn to embrace my life, to take a situation where I was feeling sad and lonely and force a new perspective. I was feeling stagnant but I realized it was my own fault. There is way too much fun, adventure, laughter and good people in the world for me to feel sad. I didn’t have true goals when I started: just to get out of self-pity and to get in the middle of the road and rush straight forward.