cleanse update: final reflections.

by kathleen on February 3, 2012

catching up?

my 10 day detox has come and gone much faster than i anticipated.  don’t get me wrong, many an afternoon over the past week and a half dragged on while i pined for a peanut butter english muffin, and my mornings were not the same without their grande, extra hot, non fat foamy misto (although my wallet appreciated the break), but overall, the entire program passed more quickly than i would have thought.  some reflections:

reintroduction: for the past three days i have been reintroducing those foods that were restricted to my diet.  i brought back a few items more quickly than the plan advised, but have, the whole time, listened to my body and what it was craving.  i have been having decaf coffee, whole grains (oats, quinoa) and beans for the past 3 days and just today i reincorporated dairy and meat into my meals.  my body has handled the “new” foods very well and i definitely feel back to my normal self.  as i’ll discuss more later, i don’t plan to keep any food “off limits”, but am definitely more aware of a few items i can cut back on.  rest assured, one of them is not coffee (although i’m trying to stick to half-caf/decaf.)

Coffee

general thoughts: overall, i found this to be a very manageable program.  the 10 days provided me with a do-able opportunity to clean up my eating habits and cleanse my body from external toxins without insatiable hunger, an unhealthy reduction in calories, and elimination of food (lack of chew is the main reason i could never do a juice cleanse.)  i never felt lightheaded or exhausted (common among many similar programs) likely due to the fact that the amount of food is not restricted, but rather the type of food.  this cleanse was also made easier by the fact that i truly love vegetables and enjoy eating them — many of my daily staples (brussels sprouts, butternut squash, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.) remained a part of my diet throughout the cleanse.

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structure / duration: the structure of the 10 days, and particularly the gradual elimination of different food groups, made the program easier to tackle.  i did not feel as though i was quitting my day-to-day diet cold turkey, but rather easing into a temporary period of restricted eating.  in reality, the “hard part” turned out to be only 4 days and while those 96 hours seemed like an eternity, in the grand scheme of things, as so many of you reminded me, it’s nothing.

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awareness: these 10 days made me more aware of my eating habits and some long term changes that i would like to make.  i very frequently eat out of routine — case in point, my nightly dessert habit (generally a bowl of ice cream).  when 9:00 rolls around, i don’t think twice as to whether or not i am actually hungry or craving something sweet, but rather scoop myself a bowl of ice cream simply because that is what i’m used to.  i noticed, when i wasn’t “allowed” to have that bedtime sweet treat, that, at least some of the time, i didn’t need it.  yes, some nights i was actually hungry and would have enjoyed that bowl of ice cream, but certainly not on every occasion.

i have also recognized that i eat based on the clock, rather than my hunger.  monday through friday meals tend to follow a fairly set routine — breakfast at 8:30, lunch at 1:00, dinner at 6:30 and a bed time snack.  if i’m hungry at 12:00, i often ignore it as it is not lunchtime yet.  conversely, if i’ve had a big breakfast and am not hungry when 1:00 rolls around, i eat anyways.  throughout these 10 days, given the change in what i would be eating, i promised my body i would eat when i was hungry, regardless of what the clock told me.  what i found was that my meals were much more satisfying!

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physically: i’ve struggled to find the words to state how i feel physically without simply saying that i feel detoxified.  for lack of a better explanation, though, my body feels cleansed; that feeling we all get after a continued period of healthy eating and exercise.  let’s face it, artificially flavored frozen yogurt, coffee, and copious bowls of cereal do not leave my body feeling it’s best (despite my love for them).  my body feels lighter (again, not from a weight standpoint), less bloated, and more energized.  i do not have any intention of permanently eliminating these foods, but will make an effort to reduce my consumption based on this new feeling.  i believe my body appreciated a return to real, plant based, nature (and not lab) grown foods.

from a weight standpoint (because i know the questions will come!), i did not lose any weight in pounds.  in fact i put on 1.5 pounds over the course of the 10 days.  to be honest, i’m not too concerned with it.  as i mentioned, i was eating a lot more, calorie wise, as i was filling up on nuts instead of lean meats, extra liberal with the olive oil, and, to be honest, stuffing myself with water based foods that i’m sure my body is retaining.  as i get back to my normal habits, i don’t doubt that extra pound will fade away.  and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t!

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exercise: it was definitely difficult to maintain my normal exercise routine while in the second half of the cleanse.  while i did not feel famished or lethargic, i also did not have that extra pep in my step that comes from, let’s be honest, a little sugar and carbs!  i was able to maintain my daily walks and yoga classes (although i stuck with beginner/non-heated vinyasa), but am definitely looking forward to getting back to a little running and more vigorous strength training.

slip-ups: as i more thoroughly explained here, i did not stick to the plan 100% of the time.  call it a slip up, a cheat, giving in, or simply listening to my body, regardless, i still feel as though i was successful in this challenge and that my body reaped the intended benefits.  while i think it is possible to be perfect on this plan, it was not realistic, nor practical, for my lifestyle.  i am an active person with a full time job, a love for exercise, a husband to take care of, and two crazy dogs.  i allowed the energy i needed to handle my day-to-day life, while feeling good, to take precedence over a desire for perfection.  and i’m ok with that.

conclusion: while i hesitate to use the word enjoy, i did like this program for what it was and would recommend it to others looking to clean out the system, so to speak.  i learned a lot about my eating habits and what my body needs to feel good, and i came away feeling extremely refreshed.  please feel free to contact me with any other questions!

now if you’ll excuse me, i’m off to find a cupcake and a glass of wine.

happy super bowl weekend!

be safe, friends.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy February 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Kathleen,
I say congrats to you………..it’s actually a big challenge to change a lot of what we eat for a 10 day period………..I would be over it in about 3-5 days, but it’s worth considering…….thanks for detailing it out for your readers:) Enjoy the cupcake and wine!

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2 February 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Congrats on getting through it, staying focused – and enjoy that wine! :)

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3 February 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Very interesting to hear your thoughts on the detox- i’m glad you had a good experience!

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4 February 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm

sounds like you had a good experience! and I’m a habit eater too, although this semester my schedule is so messed up it’s forcing me to just eat when hungry, which is good for me! Have a great weekend!

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5 tammy February 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm

the reason I am too afraid to do something like this is due to the potential weight loss (already underweight)…if I tried to take in more nuts and veggies to compensate for calories, my guts would suffer…so…tricky stuff.

ice cream…yum…chocolate…yum…i am a poor example :(

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6 February 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Such a great recap girl. You handled this whole thing beautifully and I want to thank you for staying so grounded. I used to hate when people used the word “detox” but I really think you’ve embodied a healthy vision of this. Now please go dig into some good wine. :) You deserve it.

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7 February 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Congrats on making it through, and thanks for letting us enjoy it vicariously through your posts!

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8 February 4, 2012 at 1:36 am

Hi lovely! So excited to post :) I’ve been a fan of your blog for awhile so uplifting and charming! Blogs like yours inspired me to finally make my own. Anyways :) , I just finished up a 24 day cleanse and although it was a process I definitely have to agree with you , I enjoy my new appreciation for flavors, portions and purity ! Xo

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9 kathleen February 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

thanks, nicolette! congratulations to you as well — i’m not sure i could do 24 days!

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10 February 4, 2012 at 8:58 am

Great job!! I think everything you say is well said. You did the program for yourself and got the desired results (I think). I hope you enjoyed your cupcake immensely. It’s so perfect to finish the detox now during SuperBowl weekend. Enjoy enjoy enjoy!

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11 February 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Congratulations! Such a huge accomplishment – awesome that it went so well and worked for you!

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12 February 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

This was really interesting to read, Kathleen. I may think about doing something similar soon.

I hope you enjoy your Super Bowl weekend!

~Emily~

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13 kathleen February 5, 2012 at 9:44 am

thanks, emily! let me know if you decide to try it — and if you have any other questions!

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