I recently had a personal trainer ask my advice about putting a client of his who is 400 pounds on a seven-day juice cleanse. My first, and only, reaction was NO. NO. NO!
I'm not opposed to juice cleanses, and I recently made it through my first one (after three failed attempts over the past couple of years). However, there's a right and a wrong way to do it.
1. Do not approach a juice cleanse as a diet.
It's called a juice cleanse, not a juice diet. You'll probably lose some water weight, but it will come right back. View it as a step to get your diet back on track and to break any food addictions.
2. Do not binge the night before.
"Hey, I'm not going to eat for three to seven days, so l'm going to grab a burger and beer and pick up a box of cookies on my way home." No. Do not do this. You need to ease into a cleanse and prepare your body or your first day will be hell, and a recipe for disaster. Start eating a clean(er) diet a few days before your cleanse.
3. Start with a three-day cleanse or less.
Don't jump right in and aim to make it a full week. Aim to make it just one day at a time. Three days is a lot less intimidating than seven, and you're less likely to break during the difficult moments.
4. Follow the juices in the order given by whatever cleanse you're following.
They are that way for a reason. If you drink all of the fruit juices in a row, your blood sugar will spike and crash. You'll feel like crap, and it will make it that much harder to continue.
5. Finish every juice, even if you're not hungry.
Yes, it's possible to be not hungry when consuming only juice. Your body needs every nutrient.
6. Do not binge the day after you finish.
You spent three to seven days getting your body back on track (and probably forked over a lot of money). Why ruin it and go back to square one? You'll probably be feeling so great that you won't even be craving that burger ... but all it takes is one bite.
7. Do not listen to naysayers.
If you have a bottle of green juice at your desk and admit to doing a juice cleanse, you'll have co-workers who say you're crazy or taunt you with food. You'll have friends who are annoyed that you can't meet for dinner or drinks. There will be those who go on and on about how they "could never do that" and think they're somehow better than you for not taking care of their body. Don't listen to them. They're jealous of your willpower.
8. Take it one day at a time.
The first day will suck. It is by far the hardest. You may be fine while distracted at work, but by the time you get home and your couch is calling, you will be at battle with your mind. Tell yourself to just make it through the night, and if you must eat in the morning, you will. Odds are, you'll want to keep on going ... you made it through the first day, right?! You can do anything! Besides, that nut milk you drink in the evening will be the most delicious thing you've ever had. It's worth it.
9. By day three, you may feel that you can keep on going.
Don't. Applaud yourself for a job well done and ease back into a healthy diet. You can always do another cleanse later. Build up to it.
10. Be proud.
Once you complete a cleanse, you should be very proud of yourself for finishing. It's an accomplishment. Own it!