Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Post Mortem…The Cold, Hard Truth

A lot of people have asked me if doing the Cleanse was hard. And I’ll be honest—yes, the journey was very difficult at times. While I thought it was going to kill me to fast for one day, let alone TEN, that concern ended up being a non-issue. It turned out I felt more like I was going to die of pure boredom from drinking the same darned thing all day, every day.

To help with this, I routinely searched online for possible tips and other people’s experiences in the hopes of finding commonalities and motivation. While I did find some inspiration, I was more surprised to read about the numerous people who had quit after Day 1 or even as far as Days 5 or 6. These were exactly the days that were especially tough for me. So, much to my chagrin, instead of hope and encouragement when I most needed it, I found the human wreckage of resignation.

Sadly, there are straight up quitters everywhere you turn. I’ve seen it my entire life—on the sports field, in school, and in business. It’s true. It is so much easier to quit than it is to put effort into something that goes beyond a little bit of pain. And in our world of insane convenience where everything is wireless, automated, delivered to your door, and pre-made, pre-assembled, pre-cooked so that all you ever have to do is push a button to do anything, it’s certainly no wonder why we are so easily swayed to jump ship the moment things start to get a wee bit difficult.

It is no different with the Master Cleanse. After 3, 4, or 5 days, I read about people starting to feel uncomfortable, uneasy, or it just got too hard. So they’d quit. And here’s the classic part: They’d shower themselves with praise saying, “Yeah! I made it 4 days – Woo hoo-- I ROCK!”

Excuse me? NO. You did less than half.

On an exam, 40% is an F MINUS. And even if I were to eat at Day 9 plus 23 hours, I would still have failed because achieving a goal is black and white. You either do it or you don’t. There’s no such thing as “kind of” achieving it. Don’t give props for that. I wouldn’t want it and you shouldn’t either. You can encourage me to do better next time, or even say good try, but do not confuse it with success. Set a goal and accomplish it. Period.

I digress…

There is an ongoing, disturbing split between what we experience in school versus what we experience in the real world. In school, for example, “trying” counts for something, whereas in real life, it counts for nothing. Only results count.

How often do we hear our coaches and teachers praising students for trying hard and parents praising their kids for trying hard?

“Well you really tried and that’s the most important thing.” (No, it’s not.) So we are taught and conditioned to bitch and moan “but I tried so hard.. I put so much hard work into this.. blah blah” and then expect a pat on the head, gold star or some other reward purely because of our efforts. Somehow, we grow to feel entitled to consideration simply because we tried. Well that’s bullshit. I don’t care how hard you try, just show me your results. Your commitments. Your achieving of set out objectives.

Whilst this Cleanse was, for me, a move towards better health, it ended up becoming just another exercise in working towards my goals. I set goals every day. Achieving these goals means I’m making progress. What more could I want?

So to those people who didn’t make it-- good try, better luck next time. But to the people who commented about how proud they are of those very quitters, save it. Who are you helping?

...Or are you foreseeing yourself quitting and hoping someone will congratulate you for falling short? Sure, let’s just continue the cycle of accepted mediocrity and failure.

That mindset makes me as sick as that damned lemonade.

I didn’t throw my hands up. You didn’t see me making excuses for why I couldn’t tough it out. Yeah, I bitched and complained and whined, but I never said to my hunger or boredom or stir-craziness, “You win. I give up. I can’t.”

That’s not me. And if you accept the challenge of the Cleanse, I certainly hope it won’t be you either.

You’re probably reading this because you, too, are seeking inspiration and encouragement. Well, I’m here to tell you that it can be done. Of course not without significant effort, sacrifice and will power—but yes, it can be done. And as you’ve read, the rewards are equally great.

Take this opportunity to move towards better health AND practice setting and achieving goals. Just remind yourself to turn any obstacles into necessary steps. Instead of stopping, take the necessary steps to keep going. This will make you unstoppable in everything you set out to do.

My mantra: You will only fail if you quit.

Now, off you go.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Days 11-13 - So long, Farewell, Au revoir, Auf Weidersehen

After reading about potentially horrific experiences coming off the cleanse (sickness, diarrhea, pain, etc.), I anticipated some sort of "adjustment" period to get my digestive system back in gear again. This is what you are supposed to do:
Day 11: Drink fresh-squeezed orange juice only all day.

Day 12: Drink OJ in the am. Have vegetable soup (broth only!) in the afternoon.

Day 13: More OJ. More vegetable broth (vegetable allowed).

Day 14 and beyond: Eat normally with a bias toward healthy, vegetarian, raw.

Here's what I did:
Day 11: Drank fresh OJ all day until evening. Made a stellar vegetable soup and had broth in evening.

Day 12: Drank OJ in the am and interspersed throughout the day. Had a salad in the afternoon along with some fruit. Dinner was vegetable soup with vegetables.

Day 13: Ate normally.

I had no problems at all. No tummy issues. And here's the best part....

I FEEL FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My skin is absolutely glowing. I have gained back 3 pounds- but if that's the price I have to pay for this incredible amount of energy I feel, then so be it. My energy level is through the roof.

Most people I read about reported higher energy during the cleanse and this was simply not the case for me. I always felt pretty status quo and on the verge of fainting if I wasn't careful about getting up slowly (but I have low blood pressure and HR in general already).

Now that I am back to eating, I feel like a gazillion bucks. It's amazing.

This morning at the gym- I hadn't missed a beat. I felt stronger and leaner. What a great feeling.

If you're thinking about trying this cleanse, I say commit yourself and go for it!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Post-Cleanse Scorebox

Days on Cleanse: 10
# lemons used: 61
# jars of maple syrup: 5

Total weight lost: 12 pounds
Total inches lost (chest, waist, hips, thighs, arms):
8.5 inches

Energy level before: 6
Energy level after: 8

Day 10 - Everybody Was King Fu Fighting!

YAHOOOOOOOOOOO-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY!!!!! I never thought this day would come.

Finally! It's my last freakin' day on these crazy lemons.

I woke up feeling great. Lost another pound. Went to the gym for a boxing workout. Had moderate energy, certainly not as weak as yesterday's run, but not as high as usual. To be expected. I've really leaned out in my tummy and arms and legs. If anything, it's great motivation to stick with a healthy program of smart eating and continued exercising.

Today I wore my skinny jeans and I wasn't struggling to breathe. (Always a plus.) I didn't drop any clothing sizes or anything crazy like that, but everything just fits a little better on me now.

I experienced cravings again in the evening, and as a result, more crankiness. It's times like these I believe it's best to just go to sleep.

So after watching TV for a bit, I hit the sack.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 9 - Heartbreak Hill

Okay, I'm in the homestretch now. I got up and went for a run this morning. Man, it was tough. I was a lot weaker right out of the gate. I just didn't have the stamina and strength that I usually do. I plowed through it, huffing and puffing.. It was more of a slow jog than a run, really. I still covered my usual 3 miles, but, I'll be honest-- it was excruciating.

When I got home, my recovery was very slow. It took a good 10 minutes of rest before I could think about getting in the shower. I decided that run may have been a little too much for my in-shock body. I'm going to be more in tune with it during tomorrow's workout.

On a more positive note, my skin is looking fabulous. Smooth, clear, radiant :)

I ended the day with cravings again. It's always when I'm fixing dinner for the family. Having all that colorful food and yummy aromas around me makes it very difficult. Last night, all I wanted was a teeny tiny snippet of SOMETHING. Just something different to munch on and spit out. I even went to the pantry in search of something but alas, shut the door and fixed my lame-ass tea.

The cravings subsided and off I went to bed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 8 - If I never have to see another lemon again..

Almost there... yet, still so far away. I awoke from a deep slumber at 4am with the crazy cramps again. Ugh. They are painful and probably worse just because I'm still half asleep. I'm so over all the bathroom runs.

Well, besides that, I did wake up feeling fine. I lost another pound for a total of 10 pounds. Big smiles. I do expect to gain half of it back, but I do believe my composition will be a lot better and healthier for it.

So, I'm really really really really tired of the lemonade. I think my juicer's even tired of all the lemons. And then of course, out of the blue my son asks if he can have a lemonade stand this weekend.. How random!

Anyway, the lemons. I switched to drinking everything through a straw which I should have done from the get-go. I feel like the lemon juice is eating away at my tooth enamel. And the tea is staining my teeth. I'm going to whiten after this is all over.

I am bored bored bored to death with this lemonade crap. I'm cranky.

I spent the evening going through cookbooks and finding new recipes to fix. It was the highlight of my day.


On to Day 9...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 7 - She chants chex like a champ chex mix chewer

I can't believe I've made it this far. I woke up feeling fine and hopeful that today brings more energy. My weight stayed the same. Yesterday I had zero BM's because I didn't take any tea the two times previous. I'll start back up today. Only 4 more days to go!

I went to the gym in the morning. No problems getting through. I'm thinking it's going to be a good day-- yay!

Had my drinks throughout the day. Felt fine.

At dinner, I did a bold thing. I decided to experiment with a new recipe for my family. I do not recommend this. Why? Because the meal looked so savory and tasty and smelled absolutely delicious and I couldn't even so much as lick the spoon. It was pure self torture. My family loved it. Grrrrr.

I went off and sipped my lemonade, which I am really getting sick of by now. After having my evening tea, I started to have my first real craving. Of all things, I was craving just one little rice chex Chex Mix Original Flavor. What the hell? How random. All I wanted was to just put one in my mouth and savor the flavor and crunch on just ONE! It was awful. My poor husband was ready to go out an buy me a bag.

Anyway, I managed to make it through without putting anything in my mouth. On to the next day.