That time I tried a detox cleanse

6 Sep

Raise your hand if you’ve ever done a cleanse. Now raise your hand if you actually did it to “detox,” as opposed to lose some weight right quick. All of you with your hands up: LIARS.

OK, maybe your cleanse was in earnest; I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. But I hereby admit the ignoble purpose of the detox I did: The Two Days of Utter Torture Look Better Naked Cleanse was purely to squeeze my bitty gut in a bittier dress for the Jeffrey Fashion Cares flash mob.

I do not, as a rule, believe in cleanses for two reasons. A) They don’t clean you. Your liver and kidneys do that, and B) They don’t make you lose weight. Sure, you might lose a few pounds of bloat and water, but when you start eating normally again the weight comes back faster than a greased pig on a slip n’ slide.

I knew this, and I knew too that it would be easier and more sensible to just purchase a dress in my current size. But that’s no fun, is it? Here was the plan.

What you’re supposed to eat:

Breakfast: a shake made of 1 cup skim milk, 1 cup of berries, 1 tsp of peanut butter, and 1 cup of ice.

Snack: 1 cup of cucumbers and a green tea (sounds more like a facial to me, but hey).

Lunch: Greens, 4 oz of lean protein like fish or white meat chicken, and 2 tsp of oil

Snack: 10 asparagus spears and more green tea

Dinner: A repeat of lunch (you’re allowed to steam the greens for the sake of variety).

Stick to this plan for two days, and supposedly, it’s like pushing your body’s reset button.

Now this dress was damn tight, so I started pre-cleansing a day or two before. I know from my days of pre-pro dancing (read: days of starvation), if you want to not bloat, you can’t eat salt, sugar, carbs, nuts, dairy, and like half of all veggies and fruits. That leaves pretty much raw tofu and spinach. But I settled for reducing my calories by about half and making them as “clean” as possible: oatmeal for breakfast, a broth based soup for lunch, sashimi for dinner. Then I walked a couple of miles on the treadmill for good measure. I was hungry, but it wasn’t intolerable.

I started the cleanse proper on Saturday, which turned out to be a mistake. I had a huge day planned with pretty much none of it taking place at home—you know, the most likely place to blend smoothies and steam asparagus. I was also supposed to go out to dinner that night. So things didn’t go as planned.

What I actually ate:

Breakfast: the shake…and one bite of T’s cereal (auto-habit!)

Snack: 1 cup of cantaloupe while running around the Georgia Aquarium with T (I dislike cucumbers, so I did some research and learned that melons are in the same genus). And one hard-won cup of green tea—I had to butter up the aquarium staff for a cup and some hot water for my tea bag.

Lunch: I had to rush to a hair appointment, so I grabbed a grilled chicken salad from QuikTrip—no dressing of course. I was so hungry by that point that I ate it with my fingers, picking around the cheese and tomato as best I could.

Snack: Asparagus and spicy mustard. No green tea.

Dinner: I didn’t have time to make the tilapia I had thawed before heading out for an evening with friends, so P packed me a dinner of hummus, triscuits, and a nonfat yogurt. None of which are on the meal plan, but I was so grumpy I didn’t give a hoot. There’s a Taco Bell right next to my house, and it took all my brute strength of will not to head for the border.

How I felt:

Tired, shaky, irritable, starving, headachy from missing my daily coffee—and no slimmer.

What I ate, day 2:

Breakfast: The next morning I felt better, so I gamely started over again with my watery smoothie while my husband had bacon and fried eggs.

Snack: More cantaloupe. Ran out of green tea, so I said ‘screw it’ and had my coffee. Whatevs.

Lunch: That day wasn’t as full, so I was able to make a fish and spinach salad at home. I added garlic, which was not on the list but I figured counted as a free herb, so it wasn’t too wretched-tasting.

Snack: Asparagus again. But by late afternoon I was so hungry that brain function shut down (Question that actually came out of my mouth: What kind of bug is Jiminy Cricket?). And I had my one big cheat: ½ a square of Ghirardelli dark chocolate. Hey, at least it was like 70% cocoa.

Dinner: In the evening I went to a dance rehearsal and thoughts of food were blessedly wiped out for a bit. But when I got home around nine, I had zero energy to cook the chicken I had set out for myself. Instead, I made two eggs without using butter or oil (eggs are kind of a lean protein, right?) and ate them with two small slices of tomato.

Thus ended my 2-day cleanse.

So did it work?

Well, yes and no. Another snafu with my planning was that I still had a whole day of meals to navigate before Zero Hour (the flash mob was a Monday night). I was at a loss, so I had a small plain sweet potato, a handful of cashews, and like a liter of Naked smoothie—before I realized it had 116% of the fiber one needs in a day. Fiber is another of those things ballerinas avoid before donning the Coffee costume.

Eating is for the weak

Pros: I could get the dress zipped (although I still needed Spanx and assistance), which was the ultimate goal. And once it was zipped, I was pretty comfy.  I think my stomach shrunk a little (the actual organ, not the midsection—unfortunately), because my appetite is slightly smaller now. Also, I mysteriously lost 9 lbs…but my clothes all fit the same and my stomach looks the same, so who the heck cares?! (If that’s not an argument for ignoring the number on the scale, I don’t know what is).

Cons: I had been hoping to see a noticeable difference in my body–which I did not–and to feel somehow recharged–which I did not. In fact, my energy was really low, and my mood was pretty touchy. For the hassle and discomfort, the payoff was rather small. I feel like a wimp because this wasn’t even a very intense cleanse.

Bottom line: it was an interesting experiment—one I’m not sorry to have done, but that I’m certainly not likely to repeat.

Here I am in the dress. Victory!


2 Responses to “That time I tried a detox cleanse”

  1. Elisabeth September 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Oh, man! You are a skinny minnie! I’m glad you did this because I wanted to know what it was like and am unlikely to ever do one myself. 😉


  1. Beauty Myths Busted | Cushion Cut - April 8, 2013

    […] diet and exercise. Having to fit into a tiny dress tomorrow might be the only exception, but I was pretty desperate and even I didn’t do […]

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