May 27, 2013
I didn’t eat for seven days and I’ve never felt better.[caption id="attachment_8111" align="alignleft" width="300"] Juicing gives you more energy, mental clarity and a fresh start[/caption]
I’m on the other side of a seven-day juice fast and I’m alive. Better than alive. Inspired to make a permanent lifestyle change by eating healthier and in awe of my capacity to stick with something.
Juicing, or juice fasting, is just what it sounds like: A period of time — whether seven days or 60 days — of drinking only juice that is extracted from fruits and vegetables.
The fast is designed to give your body a break from the continual process of breaking down the food we eat and instead giving it the nutrients it needs through fresh juice. In return, your body is freed up to do more important things like give you more energy, heal you from the outside and give you more mental clarity.
I was inspired to begin my juice fast after watching the documentary, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.” I’d attempted to do a juice fast last year with my husband, but gave up about three days in because I didn’t like the psychological affects of not eating. After three days, we gave up and made our way to the closest sushi place.
But this time I was motivated after watching the physical and mental changes experienced by the documentary’s subject, Joe Cross, as they followed him along his 60-day journey. I laughed, I cried, I clapped for Joe. I was ready for my own journey.
I don’t think I was quite ready for what a mental challenge sticking with the juice fast would present. Now on the other side of the juice fast, I can assure you that 90 percent of the struggle is purely mental.
I’m supposed to be eating right now.
It can’t be healthy to just be drinking juice.
What if I’m slowly killing myself by not eating? I’m going to starve and not wake up tomorrow.
These swirling thoughts were constant the first two days. Nights were the hardest. Watching Scandal just wasn’t the same without a bowl of Cousin Willie’s white cheddar popcorn. I was so mentally preoccupied with not eating that I didn’t have much room in my mind to think of anything else. I was grumpy, darn it.
Then day three came. The mental clarity and surprising energy everyone was talking about sent the skeptic in me running. It may sound strange, but I felt like I had more space in my mind to think. I felt more alert and didn’t feel the desire to curl up for an afternoon nap. I felt happier, less anxious and enthusiastic. I felt good.
Physically, I was reaping benefits from juicing, too. My skin began to clear, indicating what I’ve been eating is the cause of my breakouts. I started losing inches in my tummy area and my thighs slimmed. By the end, I dropped a dress size and my jeans were much baggier.
Even bigger, I noticed certain things about myself that I wouldn’t have had I not started juicing. Juicing showed me how my desire to eat many times had little to do with hunger, but with my mood. At one point during the fast, I was frustrated by something and instantly looked toward the bowl where a bag of tortilla chips used to be. Had they been there and I wasn’t juicing, I would’ve grabbed a couple handfuls to attempt to make myself feel better. Knowing this emotional eating habit exists, I’m empowered to be mindful of my eating.
On the other side of the juice fast, I can confidently say that I’d do it all over again — and that’s saying a lot. And when I do it again, I’ll be sure keep in mind these tips to successfully complete the juice fast:
Stay mentally and physically active. Don’t stop living. Juicing isn’t the end of the world, you’re giving your body a much-needed break. Keep up with your hobbies and exercise — even if the first few days require you to take it a bit more slowly. Carry on.
Don’t dwell on the discomfort. You could eat if you want to, but you’ve made the choice to fast. Knowing this, keep the discomfort at bay by focusing on the why of this fast — being a better version of yourself.
Stay prepared. Always have juice on hand. Don’t wait until you’re dizzy to begin juicing your next meal.
Do it with someone. Having a willing friend or significant other do the fast with you makes a big difference.
Enjoy the process. Explore who you are — your strengths and weaknesses — during this process. You’ve got a lot to learn.
Plan your next steps. After your fast, you’ll want to keep up with your new healthy lifestyle. Start meal planning now for your post-juicing diet.
Have you juiced before? We’d love to hear what kept you going throughout the process. Thinking about juicing? Let us know your concerns in the comments section below.
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