While on vacation with my family and friends in Aruba, I started feeling overly tired and was visibly bloated. Since completing an Ironman back in the fall, I have been pretty lazy and haven’t really altered my diet much. I knew I needed to take action somehow and decided to try a cleanse.
My only previous experience with a cleanse was doing a 3 day, all juice cleanse with my wife. It was definitely tough, but I didn’t have any noticeable results. While a member of Empact Sphere, I was exposed to The Clean Program. It sounded great, but I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to try it for free at that time. The timing wasn’t right. However, when I think about it, the timing is never right. I decided that now was as good a time as any. I bought the cleanse while on vacation, paid express shipping, and started as soon as we got back to Chicago.
The program is tough…and long. 21 days long. During that time, we had a concert that we were going to, multiple lunch and dinner meetings, and a week long trip back to Ohio planned. These were all great opportunities to break my commitment and excuses. However, at this point, I had spent the money and was committed, so I had to figure out a way to make it work. It wasn’t until the Clean Program box arrived and that I realized just how strict the program was. A smoothie along with a packet of pills for both breakfast and dinner along with a strict lunch meal each day. No caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no gluten, no dairy. There was even a list of fruits and vegetables that were off limits.
Basically, eating out was going to be next to impossible. To make it even more difficult, you’re instructed to leave 12 hours between your last meal (smoothie) at night and your first meal (smoothie) of the day. 8 hours to digest the meal and another 4 hours to allow your body to start to cleanse itself.
The first two days weren’t bad. It took awhile to get used to not eating food at every meal, but I wasn’t really experiencing hunger. However, on the third day, it set in. I was getting headaches, felt hungry, and started to get pretty irritable. They warn you that this is likely to happen, but I’m not sure the warning made it any easier on my wife. After the first week, the irritability went away, but not before I reached out to the Clean Support staff (a cool feature of the program) for advice. They recommended adding a few snacks to my diet to make sure I wasn’t under eating.
By the second week, I noticed that I felt great. Not only was I thinking clearer, I had more energy. As an added bonus, I quickly lost 15 pounds and got multiple compliments. One negative I noticed during that time was an occasional sore throat or stuffed nose. It seemed like the start of a cold. The program warns you that this may happen as a result of the body ridding itself of stored toxins.
My workouts dramatically decreased during the entire cleanse. When I did get a workout in, I noticed that my sweat was completely different than usual. No salt, no odor, just water….lots of it. It was crazy and a little scary. What was my body sweating out before?
Now, at the end of the third week, I feel phenomenal and honestly don’t want to go back. I still have the urge to stop at Starbucks for a mocha or grab a slice of pizza. I don’t have delusions of never eating that kind of food again, but do want to limit my intake. Now that my body has been cleansed of most toxins (according to the program), the last step is to do a reintroduction phase that tests my reaction to two of the most common food intolerances, gluten and dairy. I’ll give an update of how that goes.