Seventy-two hours and eighteen juices later - and 7 pounds lighter - my first juice cleanse is coming to an end.
Day one was tiring, but eye opening. It's shocking how satisfying fruit and vegetable juice can be, in generous amounts. Day two started off with a good dose of energy, and ended with fatigue and headaches.
The third day was by far the best. No headaches, no fatigue, and a rejuvenated outlook on my own health and lifestyle.
Here are a few lessons I learned from my first juice cleanse:
Resign yourself to not eating. I'm an eater. Big time. When I get hongray, I become cranky, weak, and useless. The thing is, as long as you're cleansing properly by drinking the right kinds of juices, and enough of it, you really won't feel deprived. Expect to be tempted by your usual treats, but prepare to shut that temptation down. Tell yourself you're not going to eat that, your going to drink this. And do it.
Conserve your energy. It’s easy to jump out of bed, feeling light and energized, and tackle a bunch of chores or an exercise routine, but exhausting yourself early in the day leads to a painful crash later on. The same can be said for mental exhaustion. When cleansing, I found it's better to pick your battles and maintain a sense of serenity.
Get more sleep than usual. I'm talking nine or ten hours. Sleep comes easily while cleansing, and it feels great to reboot. You might go to sleep feeling a little foggy and incapable of knocking down another day, but by the time morning comes, you'll be ready for another juice.
Capitalize on the detox. After cleansing, your physical and mental attachment to unhealthy food and drinks is reset. It's a great time to give up coffee, alcohol or fatty foods because you've conquered that initial hurdle. It's a clean slate. Your body will now crave what you give it.
Think ahead. Breaking a fast (and preparing for one) requires a lot of care. You have to ease in and out of it. Many nutritionists recommend two days of a vegan diet before and after a cleanse, as well as a reduction in portion size. The thought of eating a steak right now is beyond intimidating. After a liquid fast, it feels natural to take it easy when transitioning back to solid foods.
It's 11 p.m. and I've finished my last juice.
Here's a breakdown of how I'm feeling:
Am I hungry? I am, a little, but only if I think about it.
How is my energy level? I have more energy than usual.
Does my head hurt? No (and I'm oh-so-grateful).
Any nausea? None.
What do I miss the most? Hibachi.
What’s the most noticeable thing so far? I look noticeably trimmer.
First time cleansers in the Boston-area should check out The Ripe Stuff, which offers one, two or three-day cleanses for $60, $120 and $170 respectively. This health trend has lived up to its hype; I absolutely will do it again.
Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan