Week one was the worst time of the entire period. In this time I suffered headaches periodically as well as sudden bouts of diarrhea... Specifically on days one and two I had difficulty concentrating at work. My head felt like there was a fog constantly shrouding my ability to think clearly. Work was a drag. It was almost enough to want to stop doing the fast but I'm not the type of person to quit after such a small period. As the week went on I got better and better at it. Hunger was never an issue for me. The juices would fill me up and then would be able to coast from there. That week was also very interesting as I tried every single juice that was on the plan. Some I knew I wasn't going to like based on the ingredients but I surprised myself. There were only two juices that I could not handle. It was the Sunrise juice with Sweet Potatoes and Carrot-Kale juice. I love carrots. But when I'd put them in a juice with kale and very little else, it made me gag...
Once I got past that first week, everything else smoothed out incredibly. I did have two more bouts with loose stool over the next couple of weeks but nothing major. By the end of week two I had a pretty good rhythm going. Monday through Friday I'd follow the plan for the five day juices. On the weekends I'd get creative and juice what I wanted to juice. One thing that I made sure of was to blend the rainbow. So I made sure that I got enough greens, reds, and oranges throughout the day to ensure proper nutritional balance. I'd also figured out how to whittle the cost down from about $140 weekly to roughly $60. Farmers Markets were perfect for Kale and Strawberries. The 99 Cent stores had all of the basic veggies covered. From there the fruits were the only more costly thing and I'd get those at Ralph's or Albertson's.
Speaking of lazy, I did have some pretty bad days. It wasn't anything where I would break the fast to eat something stupid, I just wouldn't eat. And when I say some, I mean mostly on Sundays... Or on MOST Sundays... I don't know what it is, but Sundays I would be drowned in a sea of lethargy. I'd read a book or watch Netflix until one or two and THEN I'd make something to drink. I can't really explain it. Sundays just seemed to be the day where I'd do little to nothing.
I could write for days on the different things that I learned over the past 2 months. The biggest thing being discipline. For years I let my eyes do the thinking and my stomach do the talking. If I was hungry I acted on the urge with little sense or thought into it. Hunger is almost like an emotion. When you're high on an emotion you do or say things that later on you may regret. Hunger was my biggest emotion. And time after time I would do things that I would regret but I never learned from them. Eating things that would make me feel sick the next day. It still tasted good so that would offset the bad more often than not. I never took calories into consideration. Juicing makes you slow everything down. On the occasions where I would get a hunger pang there is no quick fix. No fast food. No junk food. Hell, no solid food that you can just plug into the equation to make it go away. I'd have to grab the ingredients, juice them, then drink. The only times I would crave something like chicken wings, pizza, or a hamburger was when I would get a hunger pang. What's funny is even my cravings drastically changed over the fast. Instead of those things I mentioned, I would crave sauteed mushrooms, green beans, and avocado with a little bit of salt drizzled on it.
To further my discipline training I would put myself in situations where I had to say no. At first, Chris wouldn't eat at home. If he grabbed a bit from a fast food restaurant or something like that, he would just eat it there. I encouraged him to bring it home and eat. I was determined to be around food without being able to eat it. I would go to potlucks and out to the bar after dodgeball. It would suck having to stand around while people around you eat chili cheese fries, onion rings, and cheeseburgers while drinking beer but after the first week or two of exposing myself I was able to completely get over the smells in the air. The only time that food became appealing to me was if I was hungry. Now I go out there and I'm able to converse and have fun without being distracted by the smell or sight of food.
Even if I decided to break down and eat something, I couldn't. Eating food, especially complex and processed foods, in the middle of a juice fast can cause a lot of problems. After fasting for five days your digestive system shuts down mostly since it's not being used. You drink the juice and the stomach soaks in the nutrients and the body turns to fat reserves for energy. Enzymes and acids aren't produced at a normal rate or volume. So if I were three weeks in and I had a nice thick burger or a slice of pizza I could very well end up in the hospital. The body wouldn't know what to do with the complex food now entering it's system and the food would rot and make me sick. I learned this little factoid on my birthday... three weeks in to the fast...
Timing of the fast could have been chosen better (My birthday, Easter, St Patty's day) but in the end I'm better for it. This was another way to try and apply discipline. I regretted doing this on my birthday but by the time the other events came I was pretty well over it. I justified with this saying: "If not now, then when?" Meaning there will always be something coming up to prevent me from doing this program if I put my mind to it.
I did drink on a couple of occasions while juicing. I was reading online that while drinking is frowned upon, there was no serious ill effects from doing so besides hangovers and other alcohol related symptoms. So I gave it a go after dodgeball one night and I absolutely regretted it. This was about four weeks in I took 3 shots of vodka (I stayed away from beer to avoid the calorie dumps). I didn't get blackout drunk or even a heavy drunk. I had a nice buzz going. What made this horrible for me was that I hit the peak of the alcohol effects very early and was coming down into the drunk food cravings. So then I was at a bar with lots of greasy, amazing sounding foods with nothing but self control to keep me on the right path. We made our exit early that night. On the other occasions I made sure to fill up on juice before drinking to make sure that I didn't get drunk and that I wouldn't fall into the arms of temptation.
I have been exercising during this period as well. I don't have a gym membership so I turned to crunches and push ups in the mornings. I do two sets of 25 each. I'm about to up the amount to 3 sets here soon. I am not strong enough to manage all out push ups, so I do them on my knees instead. This gets my heart rate up in the mornings and helps energize me for the day! I've also been frequenting the stairs. The stairway to heaven is literally right around the corner so a few days a week I walk there (roughly 1.4 miles each way) and then ascend the pathway to the stars. When I started about four weeks ago my time was twenty minutes to get to the top. Last Thursday I managed a svelt 14:18! AND I had two minutes where I stopped and talked to a man about signing up for a community fitness club. While I knew I was going to have to take another break, I can't say that I'll do it in twelve minutes or so, I can say that I could most likely cut another minute off of that time! When pushing myself I've learned to go past the initial feelings of tiredness. The biggest reason I've cut my times down is limiting my breaks. That added in with the reduction of weight allows me to boost my time every time I go there!
Oh yeah. There's the whole weight loss aspect of this too, right? Well going on a juice fast allows the body to flush the toxins out and heal the organs from poor eating rituals. A common side effect is weight loss. For me, I started the program at a nice weight of 351 pounds. As of yesterday, after completing the sixty day fast I weighed in at TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY SIX POUNDS!!! That's a swing of FIFTY FIVE POUNDS!!! Incorporated into that is loss of inches all over my body. These were my measurements as of November
Mid Section: 55"
As of yesterday, my measurements were as follows:
Neck: 15" (-1)
Chest: 44" (-4)
Bicep: 15.5" (-1.5)
Mid Section: 46" (-9)
Waist: 47.5" (-6.50)
Thigh: 29.5" (-4)
Because of the fast I can now wear shirt sized anywhere down to 2x comfortably (depending on the brand.) My pants all don't fit anymore and I know that when I do go out to buy clothes, I can shop pretty much anywhere! Before hand I would have to go to the Big and Tall store or online. I can't see the difference from looking at me but through comparison I can see quite the difference! This is why, if you're trying to lose weight, a scale is your enemy but pictures and measurements are worth their weight in gold! THAT'S HOW YOU MEASURE PROGRESS!
*Cheesy sentimental music change*
There are a ton of skeptics out there when it comes to doing a juice fast. People call this a fad diet, and that you only lose water weight. Or you lose water and muscle but no fat. I've read everywhere that people who do this have no metabolism and put the weight right back on. The fact of the matter is yes, most people don't learn from doing this and balloon right back up to where they were before. I know that over this next week I'll put on roughly ten pounds from food weight and water compensation for having salt in my system again. That's unavoidable. BUT I WILL NOT BE ONE OF THE MAJORITY THAT GAIN THIS WEIGHT BACK! For me, fasting was a tool to re energize my drive for weight loss and to get ahead of the game. What makes me different from the other statistics is the fact that I've been in this game before. I've successfully lost weight and kept it off so I know what it takes from here to keep that going. I'm now down to 296. I used to weigh around 425 pounds not even two years ago. I know what it takes moving forward to get to my goal weight (which is now only 46 pounds away)!
I've gotten back on to MyFitnessPal and tomorrow I'm getting my iPod fixed so that I have easy access to keeping track of things. When I checked the website last week, to keep losing 2 pounds a week I would need to have a daily intake of 1,900 calories. Welcome to the real world Frank! From here on out, the key to losing weight will be to increase physical activity. (I hear the Frank to 5k whistle blowing in the distance.) This week is dedicated to reintroducing myself to sold foods and from there it's all about applying the lessons that I learned over the past sixty days to the wealth of knowledge that I've learned already. I would like to continue juicing on a daily basis. Maybe as a mid morning or mid afternoon snack. Salads in general are going to become a staple in my eating from here on out. The nutrients provided from the vegetables are incredible for the body AND they are low calorie spacers so that I'll take in less from the less healthier foods at meal times.
This is all for now. I have tried to make as much sense from the jumbled experiences I've gained over the past 60 days and if anything else comes to me I'll try and work it into a post for you all! I do appreciate all of the well wishes and positive support during this time as well! It's been a while since I've written anything and I hope to continue with more later this week! As usual, I'll leave you with words of wisdom bestowed unto me by a great prophet.
Until the next episode.