There is probably nothing more musical to one’s ears than the words “You look great! You’re so payat!” For most of us weight-obsessed individuals, the battle of the bulge takes up much of our daily conversations with friends, family and even total strangers. Have you ever gotten the “Hey! Have you lost/gained weight?” in place of a simple “How are you?” Our foreign visitors often have to be briefed that the mention of their current state of, well, body mass index is as normal as talking about the weather and they should not take offense. No matter what time of year it is in our country, thin is always in. I still remember those (including myself) who go on one ridiculous regimen after the other in the months leading up to Christmas because, we all know, even an Olympian will not be able to resist the temptations laid before him on a noche buena spread.
I can safely say I’ve been on both crazy to not-so-crazy diets, ones with ridiculous anagram meanings, to ones that were healthy, but needed medical supervision in order to do it without going stir-crazy. I had come to a part of my life wherein I was just plain old tired of yoyo-ing from one dress size to another. Not to mention that drastic dieting does take its toll on your skin and well-being. Sure, you can lose a dramatic amount of weight if you want to in a very short period of time, but if you didn’t change anything else about you (say, your attitude towards food and/or stress) you’ll just binge your way back to overweight glory in no time. Looking at the mirror and wondering where the skinniness of my youth went was not the best way to start or end the day.
It was early in this year that I made the conscious decision to pay equal focus to both my mind and my body. So I enrolled in yoga teacher training and for that whole month, I went vegetarian. Thirty days of intense yoga plus lighter fare started to make a difference in my overall well-being. Since some yoga poses require you to carry your own body weight, a shrinking body mass helps your practice dramatically. That month I must have dropped almost 10 pounds and was feeling strong and more aware of my body, so I then decided to do a detox, choosing Stanley Burrough’s Master Cleanse. A caveat: I am not in any capacity a nutritionist, but I have learned to do my due diligence before starting something new. The Master Cleanse, known more popularly as “The Lemonade Diet,” works on the premise of cleaning out your system completely and providing a brand new spanking “you” inside, after a minimum 10-day rest period from all the food and beverage that you may be addicted to. If you think you aren’t addicted, see how long you can go without sweets, coffee or even processed foods such as white rice or cheese.
This cleanse asks you to rid yourself of your bad food habits by committing to only drinking a concoction of organic lemons, water, cayenne pepper and grade B maple syrup, combining it with light to no exercise, and rest. Going into the diet, you have to start to wean yourself off of meats, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods, etc., so that by day one you can go through your day with a thermos or two filled with liquid gold. This detox is not for the fainthearted. You have to commit and realize that a majority of your eating habits (the bad ones) are due to your emotional attachment to food, drink and even the social relationships you associate with eating. The first two days are relatively easy; pride is what can carry you through the first 48 hours, plus by the second day you may already lose two pounds, which feels pretty good. It’s Day 3 that is the biggest hurdle (at least in my case). Much like a drug addict or alcoholic goes through withdrawal symptoms, I got a headache and the sweats (others got stomachaches or feverish symptoms) and you feel like you need a food “hit.” You just have to keep drinking the lemonade blend and even more water and, if you find yourself constipated, an herbal laxative tea.
Days 4-6 is when it begins to dawn on you how little you need food, or at the very least, how much food and drink you over-indulge in, because you are now feeling more alert and strong considering it’s been days since your last swallow of solid food. Days 7-8 are also challenging because you may start to argue with yourself, and say things like “I’m more than halfway done, I can quit now.” Or “I’ve already lost almost 10 pounds, I can stop this!” You can lose about 1-2 pounds a day on a Master Cleanse,” but bear in mind that 60 percent of what you lose is water weight. By Day 9-10 you are feeling stronger than ever, lighter, and if you have had problems sleeping, you will find that you don’t need to sleep as often or as long and still feel energized. Not to mention your skin and eyes are brighter than they’ve ever been. If 10 days is your maximum, then start to wean yourself back to the non-liquid intake slowly. I would highly recommend the super food smoothies of Edgy Veggy (www.edgyveggy.ph) or the slow-cooked vegetable soups of Real Girl Toy Kitchen (www.realgirltoykitchen) to help you break your fast over Days 11-13.
Everyone’s experience with The Master Cleanse is different, so let me just share mine. I lost about 11 pounds during the time period and gained back four. But, since my appetite and stomach had decreased in size, I was no longer as hungry as I used to be, and my metabolism had also increased and hasn’t decreased since the fast. I am at my lightest weight now, having lost an additional 15 pounds since going off the fast in May and I’ve dropped three dress sizes. A detox is for an overall rehaul that can result in not only cleansing one’s body but kicking dependence on food to make one feel good. Check out www.themastercleanse.org to see if this is the detox for you.