I did a 5-day fast / juice cleanse recently. My friends have had a bunch of questions about it, so I figured I would write it down and share with anyone who wants to know.
What I did:
I used a prepackaged 5-day fast & cleanse kit. The kit provided nutritional supplements, hunger management pills, and fiber. Because the company did not give me the kit for free, I’m not giving them free advertisement :). I would recommend it to anyone who is interested though – just drop me a note and I’ll tell you which one I used.
The kit only allows you to take the supplements, water, herbal teas, and juice. No caffeine, no fake or added sugars, no solid food, etc. Obviously, you want to limit how much juice you’re drinking to make it a fast.
Each meal you take fiber and 4-7 pills. Pace yourself, you don’t want to get full too quickly. 😉
On the first and second day I drank 3 x 300 ml (10 fl. oz) of juice. On days 3 through 5 I drank between 2 and 2.5 bottles of juice. Usually one in the morning, one at lunch, and a small amount of juice in the early afternoon.
My total caloric intake was about 300-500 calories per day, and mostly in the morning.
Why I did it:
1. I heard good things about it from a friend.
2. I’ve never done a cleanse or fast before, so I wanted to see what it was like.
3. I was interested to see if I would notice health benefits.
4. I was hoping it would help me get rid of some extra fat from some of those troublesome areas. 🙁
How I thought it would go:
I was quite worried I would be barely able to function mentally and physically, and would basically have an IV of juice going in order to be OK.
I wasn’t really worried about being hungry, because I’ve done the Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) thing before. When I first start my weight loss (link) I decided to “reset” my appetite by doing a 500 calorie diet. This felt like nothing to me at the time, and I only lasted about 10 days before I caved and upped my intake to 750 calories.
I was excited for how much extra time I would have since I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking, eating meals, or going to the gym.
How it actually went:
In one word: awesome.
I really wasn’t hungry, and didn’t start to desire food until day 5. Even this desire was just for the taste and comfort of eating – not because of hunger. I have been told from a friend who did this fast at the same time that they did feel hungry – so maybe it’s my experience from doing a VLCD before that helped me through this?
Each day of the fast I took a picture in the evening, and weighed myself. I’ll share the weights with each day’s summary.
Another great thing I noticed is that my sleep pattern normalized almost immediately. I usually struggle to fall asleep at night but during the fast I had no issues. I think removing all the extra factors from my body and the lack of food really helped.
Starting weight: 76.3 Kg (168.2 pounds)More Details
Day One (75.7 Kg / 166.9 pounds):More Details
I drank a juice at each meal because I was worried that I was going to starve my body completely and lose a lot of muscle mass.
Day Two (74.8 Kg / 164.9 pounds):More Details
Day Three (74.1 Kg / 163.4 pounds):More Details
I heard from a friend that some people actually do training while fasting because there is a boost of the Human Growth Hormone while fasting. I looked it up and found some convincing articles about it.
So, I gave it a try. I was not brave enough to try lifting weights at the gym, so I just did exercises at home. On this day, I did push-ups and chair dips. Even though I hadn’t eaten solid food for 3 days, and was running a ~1800 calorie daily deficit, I was able to do 30% MORE push-ups per set than I can usually do. I didn’t feel the energetic “Go-Get-it” rush that I feel at the gym while doing this, but I did not feel tired. It was quite a strange sensation to just tell my body to do the work and have it do it, even though my mind was quite convinced that my body would be unable to perform.
Day Four (73.3 Kg / 161.6 pounds):More Details
Day Five (73.1 Kg / 161.1 pounds):More Details
What I learned:
The main thing I learned is that I don’t know my body as well as I thought. I thought I knew it pretty well after shedding weight and keeping it off. But in this fast / cleanse I learned that our bodies do not need food every day – or even every week!
Would I do it again? Absolutely!