There’s a lot of controversy on whether doing a juice fast is effective. Many will argue that our bodies have built in systems to detoxify, while others who have done a cleanse will swear by its results. I can only write about my own juice fast experience.
At the time of this fast, I had spiraled into a really toxic dependency on over-the-counter headache medication. I was popping 6 pills a day at least 3 or 4 days of the week and experiencing a lot of rebound headaches. I felt heavy, and it had little to do with my weight. I had no energy, my skin had turned a terrible shade of beige, and the bloat around my belly made it easier to wear big sweatshirts and curl up on the couch. Again, at 132 lbs at 5’6, I wasn’t overweight. I just felt sick and unhealthy. The problem was that I had started to rely on pain meds so much, I was popping them casually. I got used to feeling like shit and assumed that was the way everyone felt.
Then I watched a documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (it’s free to watch on their site)
I watched it and thought, “Why not me? Why can’t I feel good like that?” In my mid 20s and I was worse off than most people in their 40s. All I wanted was a reboot button. I wanted to put the Excedrin back in its medicine cabinet and keep it away from my bedside. I figured, why not at least try?
Juice Fast Recap
I’d be lying if I said it was easy. Aside from how hard the first few days were, needing to make the juice, clean the juicer, and keep the fridge stocked was enough to make my lazy ass quit. But you guys know how stubborn I can be when I set my mind to something.
Day 1 of the Juice Fast: The Day You Want to Quit
This was the worst day for me, although it may not be for you. As a reaction to suddenly not ingesting headache pills in the morning, my body automatically spiraled. I woke up at 6am with a tension headache. I stretched, trying to stay positive, but wasn’t able to diminish its intensity, which immediately sent me into an anxiety attack. About half way through the day, I started throwing up. I spent the day in bed, in the dark, switching from water to ginger tea to juice. All my body wanted was pain meds, coffee, and white bread.
Day 2 of the Juice Fast: Stuck at Rock Bottom
Day 2 was really hard. I woke up and still had a headache. I spent the entire day in bed, drinking juice, and sleeping. I felt weak, but I could also feel my body craving all the things it had been used to. The juice didn’t go down easily and alongside my headache, I was really nauseous.
I know a lot of people who have gone through the fast and had an easier time. All they felt was hunger, and all they wanted was pizza and ice cream.
By body, I think, was actually going through withdrawals. All the sugar, caffeine, pain meds, and carbs I was used to consuming on a daily basis was taken away and my body freaked out.
Day 3 of the Juice Fast: The (Miraculous) Switch
The morning of day 3 wasn’t great, but it was better. I still had a little headache but I could sit upright. I was starting to smell food and lick my lips. I was definitely on the upswing.
Around 1pm I took a warm bath and that’s when everything changed. I took a deep breath in and it felt like the first breath I had taken in months. I felt my skin; the sensation was heightened and I wondered when the last time I had touched it was. I felt aware. I felt awake. A huge sense of pride washed over me and I came out of that bathtub a new person. By the end of the day, I felt incredible.
Day 4 of the Juice Fast: I look GOOD!
Day 4 was the day I looked in the mirror and started seeing the difference. My skin was glowing and the clothes were loose. I woke up that morning with the tummy rumbles and immediately craved juice. I had a lot of energy the first part of the day, but got too cocky and after playing with Luca too much, grew really tired.
Day 5, 6, and 7: Clarity and Spirituality
I clumped the last 3 days together not to cheat you, but to save time. They were the same – they were amazing. Yes, I looked good and felt energized, but something amazing happened on day 5 as I drove to the supermarket. I took a deep breath in and felt… different. It was almost like a spiritual experience. Every sense was heightened. My breathing was slow, controlled, and effective, and every breath I took felt like it was reaching the furthest corners of my body. I felt strong and revitalized. I felt reset.
How I Look, How I Feel
- Weight-loss: I went from 132 lbs to 125 lbs. I’m 5’6 so a 7lbs weight loss is really noticeable on me. 125 has always been my regular weight. This is the body I’m used to and the body I feel most comfortable in. I think we all have our special weight, but as most of you know, I didn’t do this to lose weight. This was an added bonus.
- Skin: My skin is GLOWING. It’s radiant, soft, and completely clear of any pimples or blemishes.
- Energy: Restored to the max. It’s healthy energy, though. I don’t feel as if I’ve had a pot of coffee.
- Misc: I feel satisfied quicker, like my tummy is smaller. I’m also in a better mood, although that might just be the result of not having a throbbing head.
If you’re thinking about doing a 7 day juice fast, here are some tips I’ve gathered from my experience.
- Prepare for the cleanse by eating clean the week before. It’ll help make the transition easier on your body. (As we saw from my experience, doing anything cold turkey can really throw your body for a loop.)
- Buy a good juicer. Cheap ones don’t do what you need them to do for a fast: leafy greens. It’s an investment, but it’s worth it. Even after you fast, you’ll want to use it to add juice to your daily routine.
- Majority of your juice should be veggie/ leafy greens. I made the mistake of adding too much fruit at first, which had me spiking and crashing too much. Try to keep the sweetness down.
- Drink as much water as possible. You should pretty much always have water with you. A good rule of thumb is 1 glass of juice, 1 glass of water.
- Warm and hot water with lemon helps with nausea and a shaky tummy, especially in the beginning.
- Consider organic smooth move tea. Even if you don’t get constipated, remember that the goal is to rid yourself of toxins. Flush ’em out, baby!
- Pre-cut and prep your fruits and veggies the night before so you can make juice quickly, especially in the beginning. If you don’t have someone there to help you, those first few day will be hard.
- Take the first 3 days off of work or any obligation you may have. I needed 3 days because I was really detoxing and my day 1 and 2 were terrible. If you live a clean, healthy lifestyle, 2 days should suffice. You may not need them, but it’s better to plan ahead than start the cleanse on a day you should be presenting to the board of directors for your company.
- Coming off the fast, stick to raw fruits and veggies and ease into a clean diet.
- Don’t engage in debate while you’re on the fast. Everyone has an opinion and the last thing you need to be doing while you’re working on your health is defending it. Tell them to go research it or wait outside on your doorstep until you’re done in a week.
- Continue to motivate yourself throughout the cleanse. Read articles on how good you’ll feel once you reboot and how you’ll finally be able to get started on your healthy lifestyle.
- Seriously, don’t debate with naysayers. It’s a real drag.
- Don’t do the store bought, packaged juices. If you can, always juice your own, and most importantly, buy organic.
Doing this 7 day juice fast was the best decision I could have made. It is a decision I made to reboot my system and put myself back onto the path of health. This isn’t for everyone, as it takes a lot of strength, motivation, and a specific goal in mind to succeed. It’s not your lose weight quick scheme, and it’s not going to suddenly change your life if you plan to go right back to binge drinking and eating crap immediately after. If you’re on medication, consult your doctor. Do your research and be smart about doing a juice fast.