We're nearing the end of the cleanse (day 13 here) and I've done a few entries about some of the mental observations I've made as I went through, as I found them fascinating. (I'm probably the only one.) There were obviously physical changes as well that were surprising and it's time to devote some space to that.
I was hoping/expecting a little weight to come off and I was also hoping for some craving changes and a little jump start into reducing sugar in my life permanently. A few things that I expected did occur, although differently than I had pictured, some things I never thought of also happened, and some we'll have to wait and see. I will note that I changed nothing about my routine other than what I was eating. (And allowing time to purchase and cook said food.)
I did lose some holiday weight. What I didn't expect was the kind of weight I lost and that I actually felt like I was eating MORE food. One of the gyms I work at has one of those machines you stand on that shoots little electrical pulses through you and measures your body fat percentage compared to muscle. I checked it the Thursday before the cleanse and both Thursdays during. I lost a couple of pounds that first week, the second week my weight basically stabilized but my body fat percentage plummeted almost three percent. I also lost almost an inch around the waist, a number which hasn't changed in years.
The food cravings stopped pretty quickly. In fact, I actually really enjoyed the new things that I was eating. Even not having sweetener in my coffee has been fine. I actually may not even add it back. (Although I think I'll be going back to skim milk or at least soy.) If I do decide to add sweetener, I definitely think I'll be okay avoiding Splenda and doing raw sugar or honey from here on out. I'm better at reading labels now, so I'm going to continue to avoid added sugar in the foods that I eat regularly, although I will definitely be having the occasional muffin as a treat. We'll see what happens with this long term, but I will consider this aspect an estimated success.
My skin looks amazing. This wasn't a total surprise. Every time I've given up alcohol for a fight or a run I've always noticed a difference in my skin. It's still pretty awesome though. Especially considering how dry it's been lately.
My right piriformis feels AMAZING. This was totally unexpected and I started noticing a difference the first week. I pretty severely injured my piriformis about a year and a half ago. For most of that time I actually thought it was my hamstring. I futzed around with different methods of healing/not re-injuring it and although I would get occasional relief, nothing worked permanently. I teach kickboxing and yoga throughout the week, bike and run most days as well and try to get at least one yoga practice in a week. I discovered last winter that I COULD NOT run after a yoga session. My leg just wouldn't work after it had been stretched. I found out this summer that if I cut back on yoga, my runs got easier. I also started regular massage therapy once the pain got really bad and tried new foam rolling methods. After that it was under control, but toward the end of the week, those last few kickboxing classes were always hard to get through. My new doctor prescribed 400 mg of Ibuprofen a day for ten days to see what would happen and that felt great! As soon as the ten days were up, we were back to normal, though.
I cannot express how good my leg feels right now. The first time I sat in a tub to soak after a run and was able to fully straighten both knees with no effort or pain was a complete joy. I was able to add another yoga practice in per week. I even ran in the afternoon once AFTER having done yoga in the morning! I can almost throw a fully extended crescent kick on the right side without feeling that pull. It's not back to normal. It's not as if it were never injured. I still foam roll it and I'm still doing a monthly massage, but the amount of pain that I am NOT IN is amazing. The amount of progress it's gone through in two weeks makes me so happy. That in and of itself is worth the amount of time, money and mental energy I have put into this cleanse so far.
That's about it. I didn't notice a huge spike in energy or anything, other than just generally feeling good all the time. I was still tired if I didn't get enough sleep and had to wake up early. I still had no energy to work out if I didn't get the right amount of carbs in. I didn't notice a big surge in thought clarity that I've read some people claim to have. (I felt like I had a lot MORE thoughts and was inspired to start this blog, but that's mainly because I was enjoying watching myself go through these changes. Anything new that you do is going to be interesting, or at least it should.)
I'm going to try and keep sugar out of my diet as much as possible within the financial parameters of my life (we spent SO MUCH money on groceries this month) mainly because of how amazing my piriformis feels. I have been trying to heal it for over a year and this is the only thing that's worked. I'm not going to go on a crusade and try and get everyone to put down the sugar and I'm not going to refuse a small piece of cake at a friend's birthday party. If someone decides to try it out, I'll encourage it and support them (if they're following a safe plan) and be curious to know what they think as they go though, but this is something personal that I did for reasons I stated in my previous entry. I'm sharing the discoveries that I've made largely for myself, although I'm happy if you're interested. :-)