Green juice cancels out beer, right?
And a cleanse? That’ll balance out an entire weekend of mojitos and quesadillas.
I’ve thought it. You’ve thought it. We’ve all thought it.
In fact, between myself, my friends, and my clients, years have been spent bouncing back and forth between these two extremes: (1) booze, burgers, bags under eyes, and (2) kale, cucumber juice, and serious calorie restriction. One day, we indulge and the next we punish ourselves by skipping meals and living on liquids.
You might be wondering, but isn’t juicing good for me?
Well, of course! Juicing provides incredible amounts of nutrients, and even fasting can serve a purpose.
Unfortunately, when we turn to juicing (or fasting) to “make up for” whatever “bad” thing we did the day before, this only leads to trouble. And I’m talking weight gain, bad mood, and a zero percent chance of developing a healthy relationship with your food and body.
Picture this: It's Monday morning at 8am after a weekend of late nights and beers on the beach. Your goal is to make it through the day on only liquids (green juice, herbal tea, and lemon water).
By 2pm, you're proud of yourself for making it through lunch, which gives you the push to turn down afternoon treats.
At 5pm, your busy workday ends. You head home, walk in the door to an empty house, and in that moment remember just. how. hungry. you. are.
And then what? You say “Screw it! This wasn’t doing me any good anyway,” and ransack your kitchen. It feels just as amazing as you thought it would.
But a half hour later, you start feeling sluggish. You’re wondering why you had to take it so far. (WHY?!) You’re feeling like a failure. You have one more chocolate chip cookie before hitting the sack, because why not, one more won’t make a difference. And besides, you’re determined to start from scratch the next morning.
It becomes a vicious cycle. And like I said… the consequences are nothing but trouble:
1. You'll gain weight. If your body can’t rely on you for consistent nutrition, it’ll hold onto everything that comes its way.
2. You'll be in a bad mood. If you restrict yourself to liquids, you’re probably not getting the nutrition you need for stable energy, which ultimately makes you feel tired and depressed.
3. You're hurting your chances of having a healthy relationship with food or with your body. If you expect your body to do all it can to process booze and junk foods and then punish your body with next to nothing the day after, the mutual respect between you and your body will be thrown a bit out of whack.
OK. So how do we change the pattern?
Well, start by knowing this: It’s not what you eat some of the time, but what you eat most of the time that matters. We can only restrict and overindulge for so long. I consider myself a pretty strong-willed person and the longest I’ve ever fasted is three days. And I’ve been alive for about 10,000! Did those three days give me a full body detox? Absolutely not.
Or what about that night I stayed up until 4am dancing and snagged two slices of pizza on my walk home? That must have thrown my body for a loop, no? NO! Because it’s not a handful of days that makes a difference. Not even a few handfuls of days. Rather it’s what I’ve done with the other 9,000 days (give or take a hundred) that has really mattered.
So, ask yourself : How will I up my game ‘most of the time’ so that the ‘some of the time’ doesn’t make its mark?
For instance, commit to having full nutritious meals (I'm talking breakfast, lunch, and dinner) three times per week. Or you could focus on including fat, protein, and carbohydrates at at least two meals a day. Or maybe you cook at least one meal per day at home.
Be specific and be reasonable. Start with a small goal you know you can manage and build from there.... What'll it be? Good luck and keep me posted!