Last weekend I did a three day juice fast. I bet most of you are thinking “Why?!” Well, that’s what I’m here to tell you about.
Since blogging about body image, I’ve been thinking about my own relationship with food and my body. I tend to have a habit of eating when I’m stressed, tired, anxious, lonely, etc. etc. I eat as an emotional response. If I’ve had a particularly rough day at work or feel emotionally drained (i.e. a lot of the time), I will buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s on my way home and eat the whole thing in one sitting. I use food as a coping skill. But the truth is, food is there to sustain us and give us energy and life, not help us forget our emotions. So, I wanted to change that. I wanted to start being more aware of why I’m craving what I’m craving, or what I’m putting in to my body. In other words, I want to start being a mindful eater.
I tried a three day juice fast back in January. I got through day one, and that was really rough. I remember driving home from work and crying to Taylor Swift’s new album. And not just a few tears. I was bawling. Just, full on ugly cry. Then I came home and slept for like, four hours and just felt miserable. The juice fast I followed called for a coconut water a day, and the one I got was disgusting. I literally gagged the whole thing down. I woke up on day two, contemplated making my first juice, and said “screw it” and made my husband go get me donuts. So yeah, that did not go so well.
Ever since then, I’ve been toying with the idea of trying it again. I drink green juices quite regularly and really enjoy them. I thought maybe the key would be finding the best coconut water for me or replacing the coconut water altogether with another juice. I did a lot of research and put a lot of thought in to it this go round. I was disappointed I gave up so easily, but I also didn’t want to despise my new juicer after putting myself through three days of forcing coconut water down my throat. The juices are honestly very, very delicious and I wanted to incorporate juices in my every day diet. I was afraid if I hated the three day fast that I would then hate my juicer and juices.
(Our minds have this great way of tricking us in to thinking we’re making good decisions, right? Ha!)
In reality, I did myself a disservice. I failed. I went back to scarfing down donuts and ice cream and whatever else I felt like.
Well, I’m tired of doing that. So, I took a day off of work last Friday and stayed at home a full three days with my juices and my journal. I followed Reboot With Joe’s Three Day Juice Fast Plan. Here is my experience:
My first juice was a beet based juice. I picked this on purpose because I love beets so I wanted to make my first juice of the fast a yummy one. I felt good all day! It was such a shocking contrast to my other day one experience. I was really nervous to drink my coconut water, but after opening it and drinking it, I actually started liking the taste. The big difference with this experience? I got flavored coconut water instead of plain coconut water. I’m sorry, but plain coconut water just tastes like dirt water. It’s really, really gross. I had Amy & Brian’s Coconut Water with Lime for each day. The worst part of day one? My frequent…very frequent…trips to the bathroom. Everything was going straight through me. And, since I had beet juice that morning? It was all very…colorful. (I’m not sure how to put this tastefully but I want to be as honest as possible.) These juices were definitely cleaning me out. Towards the end of the day I started to feel some pangs of hunger, but nothing too substantial. I kept myself really busy that day and made herbal tea or a juice when I felt that the hunger got too much. I really tried to listen to my body and give it a juice when I felt it was ready. I tried to stick to a “two hour juice” schedule as much as possible, but I also felt what my body was feeling. I spent the day reading my old journals from high school and it was hilarious. I journaled a LOT back then. Mostly about boys, but also about changing friendships, finding myself, growing up, and a lot of typical “coming of age” experiences. It was a roller-coaster or emotions and I really felt transported back in time, which can be fun every once in a while. I also journaled a bunch in my new journal about how I was feeling, life, and all sorts of things. It was a very therapeutic and healing day, to say the least.
I fell asleep, HARD, after day one and slept like a rock. I felt really great when I woke up on day two. I was hungry, but it was a normal “just woke up” hunger. I had headaches the first day, but not the second day. I was significantly hungrier throughout the second day, though. I kept thinking about the cubes of watermelon I had in the fridge. And there was a salad sitting in the fridge waiting for me when this fast was over. It was just sitting there, haunting my thoughts. Day two was definitely the hardest of all three. The juices were satisfying and filling, but my brain kept trying to trick me in to eating that damn salad. My bathroom trips were a lot less frequent on day two, but I felt way less bloated and “full” than normal. I felt pretty empty and flat. I was really sleepy on day two but when I tried to take a nap, I couldn’t fall asleep.
After my “dinner” juice on day two, I almost caved to the freakin’ salad. I went back and forth in my head for the longest time about if it was “cheating” or not. I walked to the fridge and back to the couch several times. I was so hungry. I quite literally had the salad in my hand and was about to grab a fork when I stopped, took a breath, and thought about why I was doing this. I wanted to have some control over my relationship with food! Giving my brain what it wanted was not the answer. So, I put the salad back in the fridge, made some herbal tea, and sat, extremely dissatisfied. I told myself, however, that I was going to listen to my body. I made a compromise with myself: drink all of this herbal tea, and sit for 20 minutes. If after 20 minutes you still feel this ravenous hunger (seriously, my cat and dog were starting to look real good at this point), then you eat the stupid salad. If you feel ok after 20 minutes, you forget about the stupid salad. (Stupid salad.) I didn’t want to hurt myself in this process, which is why I made that compromise. I was noticing that I was craving food that was in the house. I wasn’t craving a cheeseburger because that wasn’t easily available like that salad or those watermelon chunks were. This is key for me, because now I know I can’t keep “bad” things in my house. After my 20 minutes of herbal tea, I felt generally good and did not eat that salad. I went to bed after a long bubble bath feeling very, very proud.
I felt SO good on day three. I woke up and was not very hungry, so I stayed in bed another hour and a half before finally getting up and making my first juice. I had so much energy one day three. I took the dog on a long walk which was so nice and I cleaned out our guest bedroom closet, throwing a bunch of stuff away. I was seriously so surprised how much energy I had without caffeine or protein. I was constantly on the move this day, which was an interesting difference to day two where I felt very sleepy. My bathroom trips were normal but instead of everything flowing through me quickly like day one…I had a harder time getting it out. (I know, this is gross but I want to be thorough. Blogs like this really helped me prepare.) I did end up eating a cup of watermelon on day three. It was around 5:30, similar to the time when the intense back and forth with the salad happened the day before. I had just gotten back from a hot and sweaty walk with the dog and I just felt like I needed the juicy watermelon and I needed to chew it, not drink it. So, that’s what I did. And I have no regrets. I don’t feel like I cheated, because I had watermelon in some of my juices so it would have still gone in my body. One thing that was extremely noticeable, however, was how incredibly sweet the watermelon tasted. Like the sweetest watermelon I have ever had. It was interesting how quickly my taste buds were adjusting to a vegetable/fruit based diet. I did not have any herbal tea on day three, which in retrospect may have helped me steer clear of the watermelon. But, like I said, I have no regrets!
Overall, I am really glad I did it. Since the week since finishing the fast, I have been really aware of what my body is wanting and pushing cravings aside. My sugar intake has gone down quite drastically, and I am aware of how fast or slow I am eating. The hardest has been at work. I am so used to not having a lot of time to eat lunch so I scarf it down super quickly and usually work while doing so. My goal for the summer is to slow down my eating at lunch and actually take my full 30 minute lunch break to enjoy my food. I didn’t do the fast for the weight loss, but I did lose 4.8 pounds in those three days, but I gained most of that back when I went back to eating full meals again.
Would you do it again? Absolutely. In fact, I’m already thinking of a time when I can do it again, maybe this time for five days.
Here are my tips for doing something like this:
-Cut out caffeine before you start. I stopped drinking caffeine three days before I started the fast, and I started weaning myself off caffeine two weeks before. This reduced the headaches and cranky moods drastically.
-Incorporate juices in to your normal routine before doing a fast. It helps you get used to how juices affect your body.
-Have a plan for what you will do during your fast. Journaling was the best thing for me. At the end of it, I felt like I had been at a retreat or a spa weekend. The whole thing was very refreshing and rejuvenating for me and has led to a much more positive attitude and more energy in general.
–Don’t believe people when they say this is easy. I really wanted to eat everything in sight on day two. I can’t imagine having to be at work or out and about while feeling that way. I would not have stayed strong if I hadn’t been at home. It’s a mental challenge, for sure, but it is well worth it.
-Get a “reboot buddy” to talk to while you’re doing the fast. Or better yet, have your buddy do it with you!
Have you tried a juice fast before? What was your experience like?
Happy OM’ing, and namaste. ❤
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