I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, buttt I’m done with my 40-day detox/cleanse! I never thought I’d agree to do something like this in the first place and I definitely never though I’d be able to make it through the full 40 days without cheating! (We were allowed to have one “off-menu” meal each week, which I didn’t know until 3 weeks into the challenge! Oops!)
I know I’ve covered some of my progress with this cleanse on the blog already, but I’m required to do a reflective essay and I thought it made sense to include it here to tie up and loose strings I didn’t already cover with you guys! So here it goes–you might want to grab a cup of coffee, some tea, or glass of wine (depending on what time you read my blog!).
Looking back on my 40 Day Body Reset:
Forty days is a long time. Committing to something for six weeks, changing your life for six weeks, depriving yourself of so many things you used to know and love for six weeks isn’t easy. On the other hand, these past six weeks flew by, at least for me. I can’t speak for my loved ones who were around me during this time. It probably was a lot more difficult for them than it was for me at times. Deciding to cleanse your own body is one thing, but it’s not a simple, stand alone decision. Those around me, fiends and family were directly affected by my detox. I rarely went out to eat, I mean, why bother going to restaurant when you can’t order anything on the menu (or if you do order something you have to be that obnoxious person that asks for 1,000 substitutions to be made). I didn’t mind my six weeks of eating at home, but those around me probably minded! I was constantly moaning and groaning every time I walked into the kitchen and someone was cooking pasta or someone at work was eating French fries. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it! Being around food you love, but can’t have sucks! What sucks even more is for the people around you having to put up with you! (I was grumpy for about the first 2 and a half weeks of this challenge. I missed “real” food and my freedom to eat whatever.)
What I loved about this detox boils down to one thing: the results! Getting rid of my acne was my motivation to try this *extremely* drastic cleanse in the first place. I did NOT decide to do this strict diet/detox to lose weight or change my body composition, which I think is a common misconception. I’m required to submit body fat measurements along with before and after pictures,but honestly, I don’t even want to do that part. It’s not what was important to me throughout this process and I honestly hope I didn’t lose weight by doing this cleanse because that so totally wasn’t the point of this! With that being said, after doing this challenge I can understand how it’s a GREAT way to drop a few pounds quickly if that’s something you’re interested in pursuing. Personally, in order to combat weight loss I loaded up on things like almond butter, eating larger portions, and LOTS of fruit!
Another thing I never thought I’d say: my cystic acne is gone. GONE people, GONE! I’ve struggled with cystic acne since high school. I cut dairy out of my diet and that helped a little, but it didn’t get rid of it completely. Cutting basically everything inflammatory (and everything tastes– pasta, sugar, alcohol, etc) out of my diet cleared my cystic acne up so quickly! I actually still can’t believe how it went away in only a matter of a week or so! I spent years on medications and using topical creams and none of it worked. This sugar-free detox did. With that being said, not all of my acne is gone. It’s much less of a problem than before the challenge, but I still get pimples every so often. I can’t really complain though!
It’s been a few days since the challenge ended and I’ve tried to introduce foods back into my diet in very low amounts (like corn, wine, and little bites of chocolate here and there). Unfortunately I noticed right away that I was getting more pimples. So now I’m at a crossroad, whether I live a SUCKY life (and yes, I mean sucky, who wants to live without any of the good stuff in your diet?) and have great skin, or I reintroduce foodsI love into my diet knowing it will have a negative affect on my acne. I honestly haven’t decided yet. These past few days I’ve been trying to do an 80/20 approach, where 80% of my food intake is detox compliant, and 20% is “off-menu” aka the good stuff! But even having an 80/20 ratio is causing my acne to flare up again. No one said this challenge would be easy, but I also was in no way shape or form prepared for how difficult this kind of decision would be.
On a happier note, and a note I’ve touched on before, I couldn’t be more proud of how well I did during this challenge, especially the first three weeks when I didn’t know I was allowed to have one cheat meal/week! While I was also allowed to have wine once week, I cut alcohol out of my life completely for these forty days and I’m so glad I did! I LOVE wine. A lot. But these forty days showed that it’s so easy to cut something like this out of your diet! I thought I would break, I thought I would cheat, I thought I would at least take a sip of something over these six weeks, but I didn’t! Surprising myself never got old throughout this challenge. I had no idea how strong I was until now.
This challenge wasn’t just about what you put in your body, it was focused on the whole body. We were supposed to meditate for 15 minutes each day (minimum), exercise daily, track our hours of sleep, and drink half our body weight in ounces in water each day. Circling back to this whole meditation thing…I’m not going to sugar coat it here– I’m not into meditation. I LOVE Yoga Nidra (also known as sleep yoga), which is a form of meditating, I think? But the kind of meditation I tried (your good old fashion someone talking to you while you lay flat for 15 minutes and try not to fall asleep) is so not my style. I wish it was, meditating seems cool and I know there are lots of health benefits linked to it, but it just wasn’t for me. That’s okay though because I gave it the gold ole’ college try and I wouldn’t have ever tired it at all if not for this challenge. Yay for being optimistic!
Maybe I’m so optimistic because I’m so well rested….one thing I was very good at these six weeks was getting my beauty sleep! I might not have done 8 hours of sleep (which was recommended) each night, but I was pretty darn close! At the beginning of the challenge, when I was used to sleeping 6 hours each night it wasn’t easy to actually sleep past those 6 hours. I would go to bed 2 hours earlier than usual, but then I’d end up waking up 2 hours earlier than usual. Hello 4:00 am, we’re still not friends. Here’s a better description of my sleep schedule before the challenge: go to bed at 12:00, wake up at 6:00. So when I went to bed at 10:00 I woke up at 4:00, but after the first week I did a bit better with sleeping past 4:00am! I tried napping during the challenge, but honestly I’m just not a napper! I loved falling into a nap, but every time I woke up I felt more tired than I started and sometimes I actually felt sick! Weird…
Exercising during this challenge was something I was great at! I went to Pure Barre almost every day of the challenge (until I jetted off to Colorado, where I traded in my Pure Barre classes for climbing mountains). On top of my fitness class each day I almost always reached the 10,000 steps goal. It’s actually quite easy to reach 10,000 steps when you’re able to opt for walking somewhere instead of driving. Yay for living near Greenwich Ave!! Some days I would push 20,000 steps, but for the most part a normal day for me was 11,000ish. This challenge definitely pushed my body. In an effort to gain as many exercise points as possible I only had 3 “off days” from Pure Barre, but even on my off days I was making sure I did at least 10,000 steps. I think the only real suggestion I would have in changing this challenge/making it healthier would be forcing participants to do off days and not penalizing them for doing so. (While you didn’t lose points for not working out, you didn’t gain any points either, so it still felt like an off day counted against you).
Ugh where do I go from here now? I’ve been rambling for what feels like ages and I feel so much pressure to wrap this up with a bow and all. The reflection process is something I bought into a long time ago. Hellooo Creative Writing major over here! With reflecting you lose out on half the experience, which is of course making sense of what just happened. I’m still at odds with which direction my life will progress forward towards, whether I’m going to buckle down and suck it up and commit to being sugar free, or whether I’m going to adapt an 80/20 diet and accept the fact that a little acne is worth the price of living a normal life. As frustrated as I am to be in this position, I am so grateful to have gone through this experience and am especially grateful to have found a way to fight my acne! I kind of feel like everyone should try this challenge, do it for a day, for a week, for two weeks, it doesn’t have to be as much of a commitment as I did, but push yourself out of your comfort zone! You might be surprised with what you find. I sure was! If you’re going to try something like this cleanse that I did (which you should!), definitely make sure it is with the guidance and support of a nutritionist, and even better if it’s some sort of competition that way you stay extra motivated to keep to the strict diet!
Alright, fingers crossed that I win this challenge! I think there’s a pretty good prize at the end of this all! Wish me luck!