Last week, I talked about how I felt EMOTIONALLY during my intense cleanse. That I discovered that, for me, it was hard to untangle the emotions that come with eating food--any food--with the act of eating to nourish my body. That removing those feelings left me depleted emotionally. How I felt PHYSICALLY throughout the cleanse was quite different, however.
First, I have to be honest and say I didn't last the entire 3 weeks. I had about 5 days left, when I just called it quits. I went to a wedding in North Carolina, and well...BBQ called and I just couldn't do it anymore and felt like I'd gone the distance all things considered. That being said, 2.5 weeks was enough time for me to see some changes in my body.
First, I was not nearly as bloated--something that seems to be par for the course for me after every meal. I felt less bubbly and didn't have that HEAVY post-meal feeling that often leaves me lethargic and uncomfortable. This was a big deal since all of that stuff contributes to the kind of feelings I don't like having about my food--guilt and regret.
Another major observation was that my appetite DRASTICALLY decreased. I joked to friends it was because my body was boycotting the short list of things I could eat, but I suspect that the foods I was eating were actually giving me the nutrients I needed to feel satisfied, so I needed much less. This was HUGE. One of my biggest issues is portion control. I can EAT. I'm always hungry, and if something is delicious, even when I feel full, I can't stop won't stop. Forget doing the whole stop when you feel 80% full thing. I barely stop when I'm 80% over capacity. Eating small portions, I barely recognized myself. I would eat half my plate and just feel full. No will power needed. Nothing. I was just...done. It was crazy.
Things that didn't happen that I was hoping would:
- more mental clarity, focus and memory
- a significant increase in my energy level
- improvement in my sinuses or ability to breathe through my nose (being a mouth breather is no way to live)
- getting things movin' (if you know what I'm sayin)
Post cleanse, I reintroduced wheat, and nothing really changed. Then I reintroduced dairy and I didn't feel anything different there either. (Disclaimer: I didn't do this part as diligently as outlined in the book). And I have to say I was weirdly disappointed that I didn't break out into hives after having a piece of toast, because the thing is, I think I did this cleanse because I was secretly hoping for there to be some magic SOMETHING that I could point to, to explain some of my issues. It's like sometimes when you go to the doctor almost hoping for a (non-threatening) diagnosis, so you can say OH?? It's THAT? Now I know what to do to fix it. I've heard so many stories of people tossing their inhalers and ditching their skin care products and never feeling better after eliminating gluten or dairy or some other food or additive, and blooming into a radiant, healthy version of themselves.
Alas, that was not my experience. I will say I shed a couple lbs (which I immediately gained back once I reincorporated the eliminated foods) which was nice at the time, but one thing really did stand out to me AFTER I started eating normally again. My anxiety levels, which I hadn't noticed had dissipated during the cleanse, came back in full force. It was like living with a pain, and then realizing: Hey, I haven't felt that pain in a long time! Like it went away so quietly, you didn't even notice when it left (like falling asleep...slowly at first and then all at once). But when it came back, it came with a vengeance. I all of a sudden was feeling anxious and having racing, unhappy thoughts. And that hit me like a ton of bricks. Could my eating be related to my anxiety?? Have I been thinking food makes me happy, but really it stresses me OUT?? And that was no small thing. Sadly, since I sort of just mish-moshed it all up at the end, I don't know which foods (if that really is the cause) got me feeling anxious again. And once I regroup a bit from this foray into cleanse world, maybe I'll try again and pay particular focus to my psychic state rather than my physical one, when it comes to how the food I eat is affecting me.
Overall, I would say that embarking on something like this is worthwhile. If you discover nothing physically, you uncover so much emotionally that is worth exploring.
See you in class!