Sunday, March 3, 2013

Juice Fasting - Is It for Me?

Beginning Weight: 224
DAY 1: I am super excited at the prospect of cleansing all the gunk out of my body. I have been feeling a bit lethargic for quite some time. I have been doing Insanity (The workout program) for two weeks, and it seems as though I am just spinning my wheels.
I did the 60 Day Insanity Challenge last year. While I made it all the way through, and felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment, I didn't follow the diet, and didn't really see the remarkable physical transformation I had hoped for. Friends commented that I had lost weight, and I had... 22 lbs, but I didn't see the lean, mean fighting machine in the mirror I had hoped for.
I'm 45 years old, so I have no delusions of ever looking like a 21 year old. I do, however teach fitness classes, and feel it is hypocritical if I don't get my fitness levels to a better plane. Plus, my wife has made a few comments about my weight. I think I owe it to her to try to look my best. She is way out of my league when I am at my best, so I should try my best to make it not look like she is on a date with her Dad when we go into public.
Having said all that, I have decided to undertake this challenge to drink my diet for 8 days.
My understanding of the rationale behind the 8 days is that your body will live off the food still in your intestines for the first 3 days, then the junk that had been left in your liver for 2 days. Ultimately, you end up really FASTING your body for only 3. I am intrigued by this notion, but wonder how much of it is somebody trying to come up with the next FAD diet, to sell a bunch of books.
I came upon this diet by watching a documentary on Netflix, 'Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead'. In the documentary, the lead character spent 60 days on a food-free diet. He traveled across the US and challenged others to join him. He spoke with people about their diets. He interviewed people with major health problems who were unwilling to sacrifice their hamburgers to spend a few extra years with their children.
I was moved by this. I get the argument that you want to live happy. I just don't see how that happiness HAS to be derived from a juicy steak and greasy french fries. I came to the conclusion that, I love food as much as the next guy- but I love my children more. I want to see them graduate college, and maybe attend their weddings. (That is IF my daughter finds a better boyfriend. If not, I would just as soon kick the bucket early lol).
I'm the type of guy that loves a challenge, and thought... I can do that. It doesn't sound fun, but I can do it. It looks as though it could be life changing. So I thought... Why Not? Now this guy was obese. 60 days was probably the amount of time HE needed to have a life-changing experience. As I researched the diet, I stumbled upon the 11-Day version of it. This sounded about right for me.
I spent the better part of yesterday researching the subject. I probably read every website known to man about the subject. For this being science, there sure are a lot of opinions out there. Therefore, I decided I would take the task upon myself to document my experience, and hopefully others could glean something from it. So it begins.
My wife and I set out to purchase the right juicer. There are a ton of them on the market, so a great deal of research went into finding the right one. On a few different websites, I read that the best juicer on the market was a Champion Juicer. It was a tad expensive at just under $300.00, but was built like a tank.
I decided on the commercial version, and paid about $30.00 extra over the 'home' version. I couldn't find anyone that carried them, so I went on their website and ordered it.
But, I wanted to start my diet NOW. I rationalized that I am at work 12 hours a day, so I will need two. I will purchase an economy version for work, and one use the deluxe one at home. Walmart, here I come.
Jack Lalane's Power Juicer wasn't exactly a bargain at $100.00, but it looked sturdy enough to last a little while. As with anything, you get what you pay for. With all the working parts, and blades that will dull with wear, I imagine the cheap juicers are for people who are looking for an inexpensive wedding gift.
I actually started the diet last night, although I am not counting it as one of the 8 days. I was excited to have purchased my juicer, and wanted to give it a try, so I drank my dinner. I went to the produce department and loaded up on fruits and vegetables. I got a little bit of everything. I couldn't even tell you what was in my concoction, but it wasn't the tasty steaks I had in the refrigerator waiting to be cooked. It wasn't exactly horrible either. I guess you could say it tasted like I expected. My wife asked me if it tasted good. I told her it tasted good for you. I have learned there are actual recipes for juicers, to make delicious drinks. I thought that sounded kind of foo-foo at first, but I LOVE cooking, and later decided I could perhaps replace my favorite hobby (Cooking for my family) with becoming a mad scientist with my drink mixes.
This first mixture was not going to win any contests. I just threw things in my new juicer, and reveled at the juice coming out of one end, and the rest of the stuff coming out the other. I couldn't help but draw the comparison between that process, and what our bodies do with all the gunk we put in it.
I drank my mixture down, and off the bed I went. I felt surprisingly drowsy, and nodded off to sleep. Typically, it takes me hours to go down, but tonight, I slipped into a deep sleep. I don't know if it had anything to do with what my body was digesting, or if it was psychosomatic. I just knew that I went to sleep. I woke up a few hours later as I typically do throughout the night, but couldn't help but wonder if this were a sign that one day I could wean myself off the sleeping pills I normally take for sleep.
I had a busy day to follow, so I popped a pill and watched some TV until I was able to drift off again.
Several trips to the bathroom followed through the night. I always urinate a lot, but usually that is because I drink 2-3 beers before bed. The juice had the same effect, so chalk one up for the argument that it is just easier to drink beer than eat / drink healthy in terms of my body's response.
Today, I find myself CONSTANTLY thinking about my diet, and have a hard time focusing on the task at hand. I typically don't eat breakfast, so hunger pangs in the morning are unusual. I do feel them today.
I drank a good-sized portion of veggies in a cup this morning, and noted how expensive this little experiment was going to be. I had purchased around $35.00 of produce yesterday, and my first two meals had made a fairly good dent in my supply.
I have read that preserving your juice, and drinking it later, diminishes the benefits of this diet, so I have decided I would not bottle up juice for the day.
I brought my juicer to work, and went to the grocery store for supplies to be kept here. Immediately, I started thinking about mixtures that might taste good. I have been very surprised at how differently these vegetables taste in juice form, over their natural state. I normally don't care much for cucumbers, but really like them in juice form.
I browsed a few recipes, and picked up what I thought might taste good together.
Typically, I don't eat until 1:00 or so, but it is only 10:30, and I feel the need to mix up another meal. (NOTE: Not eating until so late in the day is a horrible practice, and one I am hoping to change through this experiment.)
My second meal of the day was a bit tastier. I'm kind of getting a hang for what I like and do not like. Immediately after the meal, I experienced a noticeable euphoric sensation. It's an interesting phenomenon that I haven't experienced before. I feel good enough that I'm inclined to tackle INSANITY head-on a bit earlier than normal.
INSANITY was really hard today. Partly because I am sore as hell from yesterday, and partly because this is a particularly hard segment of the program. I felt myself fatiguing at about the same point I usually do. I experienced the same muscle failure at about the same time on the class. I didn't expect miracles, and certainly didn't experience any. Back to work.
Peaks and valleys is the best way to describe the day. I would hit highs, then crash and burn. I hope this is just a result of my body adjusting. I need to keep my energy up. Teaching fitness classes is all about energy.
When I taught my Muay Thai class tonight, I got really winded. I had difficulty talking to the class after demonstrating some pretty basic stuff. Not diggin' it! I started experiencing some stomach cramps as well. I'm not sure if this is because of the liquid diet, or the fact that I put a gigantic jalapeno in my last tomato juice concoction. I spose time will tell.
Upon my return home, I realized I had forgotten an important piece of my juicer, so it's off to bed without supper... night all!
I conducted this experiment as an instructor at Ultimate Combat Training Center

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