The idea of doing a fast or a cleanse never appealed to me. Deprive myself of all the foods I love, why? I live a healthy lifestyle, eat nutritious food, do tons of cardio and strength train 5 to 6 days a week, I’m just fine, thank you. But you know what? In January, with a New Year in front of me, I began to examine my “healthy lifestyle” a little more closely. Because, despite my “healthy” eating and exercise, I felt sluggish, tired and old. Yes, 50s approaching. I can see it looming on the horizon like the sun before it sets, but I couldn’t blame how I felt just on age, I wouldn’t.
When I took a step back I realized there were things I was doing that might not be all that healthy. First, I was eating a lot of prepared foods and yes, they were pricey and from a nice market, but who knows how healthy they really were. And, wow, was I eating a lot! In my attempt to never be hungry or full (my former moto!), I ate often, even when I wasn’t hungry in fear that I would feel hunger or in preparation for a workout. And as far as cardio goes, yes I was doing a lot, but was I really pushing myself as hard as I could, often enough?
I decided I needed to make some changes. But diet? No, all my experience and education told me that wasn’t the right answer. A friend and Isagenix (a nutritional supplement company) expert had been suggesting a cleanse for months. Not for me, I kept saying. And then, one day, it was. I decided to do an 11-day cleanse. This meant 2 days of 2 Isagenix protein shakes (24 grams of protein) and a small, healthy 400-600 calorie meal of lean protein and vegetables. Then 2 days of cleansing. Isagenix has a product called Cleanse for Life that you mix with water every 4 hours on cleanse days. In between your Cleanse for Life drinks you have Isagenix “snacks”—a nickel sized wafer or Isageniix Chocolate Delight—both of which you melt in your mouth so you don’t activate your digestive system. Then you do another 5 days of 2 shakes and a healthy meal followed by 2 final days of cleansing.
I was challenged to find the “right” 11 days to do my cleanse given my exercise schedule. Once I scheduled it and ordered my Isagenix products, it was time to get organized. When would I have my healthy meals? For lunch or for dinner and what would they be? I went to Trader Joes, planned meals for my shake days and then announced to the entire Body By X database (over 400 people) via our newsletter, that I would be doing a cleanse. And then I did it!
It wasn’t easy. The fact that I told so many people what I was doing helped me stick to the program. And the fact that I felt better after Day 1 also helped. I had challenges; I couldn’t workout as hard as usual, I was a little irritable and my final cleanse day was spent at a Superbowl party! I was relieved that my blood sugar never dropped and that I was able to workout at all.
What happened next? I lost 9 lbs., feel less tired, slugglish and old. People have said “your skin looks great” and perhaps, most importantly, I have a new relationship with food and more discipline.
I eat when I start to feel hungry—not when I think I should eat or I’m stressed. I eat more slowly, relishing every bite. I have a renewed passion for cooking and preparing foods myself using truly, healthy ingredients. I’m pushing myself harder in half of my workouts making them truly high intensity. I’m not saying I eat perfectly everyday, I’ve read some really interesting research about treating yourself to things that I’ll share soon. The biggest thing that’s changed is that I’m being a whole lot more honest with myself!