What I've learned from being on The Clean Program, Part 5

Monday, April 16, 2012

Three weeks ago, I started my journey with The Clean Program and today I can happily say that for the most part, I finished my cleanse. If you recall from three weeks ago, the main reason why I decided a cleanse was even necessary was because I was finally feeling the toll that urban living (in Manhattan) has taken on my body. 

For 21 days, I cut out a lot of foods that commonly causes inflammation and digestive problems in the body.  Of course, this elimination includes the common offenders: booze, sugar, fried foods. However, there were other things that I've stayed away from as well, such as nightshade vegetables  like eggplant and select fruit such as organes, strawberries and bananas.

Life on the cleanse, juice bars became my good friend

When I first started, I heard amazing things about the cleanse, that you can feel your skin glowing at the end of it and that you'd gain a new sense of clarity, etc etc. However, I wasn't banking on some magical transformation, but I was curious to see what would happen if I stuck with a diet for this long. This is actually the first time that I've gone on any diet of any sort, so it was definitely an interesting learning experience...

Learnings from being Clean

  • My body doesn't actually need that much food. Since I was only having liquid breakfasts and dinners, I started to see by night time just how much food I really needed to eat to stay full. Even though I worked out after work most weeknights, a liquid dinner such as a smoothie or a soup kept me quite full and satisfied. So hunger is definitely a perception, according to the book, you can honestly not eat for a few days and your body will function just fine. Of course, I love food, so that just won't happen. But this has encouraged me a little bit more to watch what I'm eating and why I'm eating it.
  • Green juice is actually quite delicious. As I mentioned in my smoothies post, this cleanse helped me discover how good kale, celery, spinach juice can taste. Being on this cleanse forced me to step outside my comfort zone and seek healthier foods that I normally wouldn't crave. There's nothing bad about craving healthier food right?
  • Three weeks of dieting can lead to great results. Okay, so this one seems kind of like a no-brainer right? I knew that if I cleansed I would lose some weight, but really, in my mind, I just couldn't fathom how much difference only three weeks can make. Since I work out 3-5 times a week anyway, I was skeptical. However, even by week 2, I was feeling just that much better and it's a bit shocking to me that my usual habits of weekend drinking and occasional enjoyment of baked goods could lead to me carrying extra weight on my body. This is definitely good encouragement to work in more Clean meals to my regular diet.
  • 21 days is a great way to build a great habit. Here was my mindset throughout my three weeks. Week 1: The cleanse is easy, I can do this! Week 2: The cleanse sucks, I want to drink, I want to snack, I can't go out with friends, go out to enjoy my weekend, ughhh. Week 3: The cleanse is almost over, woohoo! But wait, am I actually liking my elimination diet? I feel like after these three weeks, mentally, I knew what to avoid at the Google cafes. I don't even really crave some of the foods I would normally jump at. The first week when I was on a bad client call, all I wanted to do was go to our micro kitchen and grab some pop chips to snack on. However, that thought doesn't even come to my mind anymore. I know that if I want to snack, I'll just have some almonds and water and I would be complete satisfied. 
  • Eat better, feel better. By week three, I really started to notice my better sleeping patterns. Maybe it's the increase in natural sunlight now, but my body has been naturally waking up on its own at around 7 AM. It is great to wake up and feel good about being awake. Instead of hitting the snooze button, I am clearly off being more productive. 

That's just a few of the things that I feel like I've benefited from doing this for 21 days. So will I do this again? Absolutely. Being clean has piqued my interest in health foods that I would normally avoid. I've grown to really care more about the quality of my food and to understand more of the health benefits behind it. And yes, I do plan on doing this again in 2013! I really enjoyed setting this time aside in my life to take better care of my body.

Update: I did the cleanse again in 2013, here's my first post: Day 1: Starting the Clean Program Take 2, and Grocery List for Clean Living.

If you have any questions about my experiences on being Clean, please feel free to contact me and ask questions!

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