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)
[expand title=”More Details”]Keep in mind, right before this fast I just returned from a vacation where I had an unlimited supply of fruit, vegetables, and lean protein. Before the 10-day vacation, I was at my average weight of ~ 78.5 Kg (173 pounds). After the vacation I was at the 76.3 Kg mark.[/expand]
Day One (75.7 Kg / 166.9 pounds):
[expand title=”More Details”]I only felt slightly hungry at around 10 AM. Though, I did not follow the kit’s advice of easing myself into the fast. I ended Sunday evening with a big meal, and had two coffees as well. I started to get a head ache in the afternoon on the first day – likely because of me going cold-turkey off of caffeine. This ultimately lead to a mild migraine with light sensitivity and actually caused me to get nauseous and lose what little food I had. I don’t attribute this to the fast, I attribute this to going from a medium level of daily caffeine intake to ZERO in a single day.
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.[/expand]
Day Two (74.8 Kg / 164.9 pounds):
[expand title=”More Details”]No headaches and no hunger pains. I still drank a juice at each meal, but I didn’t feel like I needed to as much as I did on Day One.[/expand]
Day Three (74.1 Kg / 163.4 pounds):
[expand title=”More Details”]On this day, I only drank 2 juices with no issues. I figured out when to time taking the juice to make sure I had enough focus at work. I could tell when my blood sugar was dipping in the early afternoon and would then drink my second juice. The only negative side-effect from this is that I really struggled in my 2-hour Chinese language class in the evening. I think if I had taken another juice for dinner I would have been able to do it just fine.
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.[/expand]
Day Four (73.3 Kg / 161.6 pounds):
[expand title=”More Details”]Just two juices again and no hunger. I decided to try exercise again and did a very intense abdominal exercise from one of the famous exercise programs. Again, I performed the same or better than I usually do in my workouts.[/expand]
Day Five (73.1 Kg / 161.1 pounds):
[expand title=”More Details”]Just two juices again and no hunger. I took it easy at home on this last day. I couldn’t help but notice that I had no soreness from the exercises. I didn’t get sore until after I started eating food again on the 6th day.[/expand]
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!