The challenge starts with 10 days of a cleanse then follows with 14 days of a “max” phase. We started on July 9th. Today is the last day of the challenge. I feel pretty great. Better than I have in years actually. And I’m down 10 pounds. Yay!
Right out of the gate I had to change some habits. Advocare recommends some serious diet restriction for the 10 day cleanse and I wanted to do it right. These were the food suggestions I tried to go by:
- No coffee, tea, soda, or alcoholic drinks
- No white flour, white rice, or refined sugar
- No fried, deep fried, or processed foods
- Avoid red meat, shrimp, and bottom feeding fish/shellfish
- Limit milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy
- Try to eat natural, whole foods.
I’ve suspected for quite a while now that processed white flour is killing us all. And yeah fried chicken just isn’t as healthy as grilled chicken. And I would miss having a steak dinner. But I can do anything for 24 days. My biggest concern was coffee. Seriously my morning coffee (and my afternoon Coke Zero) is a kind of ritual that I clung to during the work week. But low and behold, and I never thought I’d say anything like this, but I don’t need my coffee anymore. Not even sure I miss it.
With the schedule of meals and snacks, I can’t remember a time in the last 24 days when I’ve felt hungry. I’m alert in the afternoons, I’m energetic in the evening, and I’m totally not sleeping through my alarm. And did I mention I’m down 10 pounds?
During the max phase of the challenge, three moments immediately come to mind and are worth sharing here. I’ve found them very empowering.
I went to the store to pick up a few things. Mostly just something for dinner that night and something for lunches. I counted 12 things (few enough for the express lane) and noticed 11 of them were from the produce section. Salad greens, potatoes, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, and so on. Item #12: slivered almonds. I don’t remember ever grocery shopping like that. I feel really good about it.
On Day 19 of the challenge, I went to dinner with my best friend to celebrate his birthday. We found ourselves at a pub. I decided to step a toe over the line and celebrate with a ribeye steak and a black and tan. I woke up the next morning feeling like I was digesting a brick. I seriously hadn’t felt that awful I don’t know how long. It took me until the next day to feel right again. It’s always been hard for me to adequately judge day to day what in my diet affects my level of well-being; it’s hard to know what food gave me heartburn or indigestion. But it’ pretty clear that 12 ounces of ribeye steak absolutely wrecked me. I mean wrecked me. It crossed my mind, and since then more than just once, that maybe all these years I was routinely feeling awful and had gotten used to it.
And this happened today. I went to the break room in the office to refill my water bottle and someone had left out food. It was Jet’s Pizza and there were 6 boxes of it and it was still warm. And it didn’t even smell good. It didn’t look good. I wanted nothing to do with it. It was a moment of clarity, that this greasy pizza was not fuel, it was barely food. It was trash and it would wreck me. And I remembered how I felt after that ribeye. And I could easily say no thanks.
What I’m Learning
Some of my favorite foods are far from healthy. I’ve had a strong desire for a decent cheeseburger for about a week now. And some Hattie B’s. And I want to cook up some mac & cheese. And my sister bought me a variety of craft beer from a brewery down the road from her house in Holland, Michigan. I’m not pouring it out, I’m gonna drink it. But moderation with food isn’t something I think I ever really learned. I think now I’m finally getting a handle on what moderation looks and feels like and actually living that out. So yay for personal growth! Advocare calls that a “non-scale victory”.
I’m gonna keep going. Over the next several weeks, I’m gonna have a few beers and eat some of my favorite pizza, but I’m keeping this change to my routine. I certainly can’t argue with the results. If anybody has questions about Advocare and the 24-Day Challenge, I can answer any burning questions (though my wife is the real expert).