What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Juice cleanses get a lot of shade thrown their way, but I've done several different types throughout my life, and I always find they kick my health back into high gear. I look at a good juice cleanse as being like that old friend who tells you exactly why you are awesome, loved and valuable -- and why you need to stay on track in taking care of yourself.
Then again, sometimes that good friend feeds you a little bit too much hyperbole and then you go on a spree of debauchery because you are JUST. SO. AWESOME. Or -- you look at all the good things your friend is telling you, then you feel like you will never live up to that potential and proceed to go off the rails. Completely.
Well that last option is kind of what happened to me the first time I tried the BluePrint cleanse. I went for the most extreme option known as "Excavation" which is almost entirely green juices, and while they did keep me filled up for the most part, I found myself fantasizing about pizza and burgers, and the very last night of the cleanse, I broke down and ordered a giant cheeseburger and onion rings, with the empty green juice bottles beside me like little plastic failure trophies.
Of course there's nothing wrong with a burger and onion rings, but I was really looking toward this cleanse as a chance to kickstart healthier resolutions, and instead I just felt kind of crappy about everything.
When I've had issues with food in the past, the secret I discovered was in NOT setting unrealistic expectations -- which is what I did by choosing the hardest cleanse possible, essentially setting myself up to fail. What I find actually DOES work is whatever food you decide to consume (be it a gnarly green juice or a million-calorie-burger), just make sure to NOT beat yourself up about what you are putting in your mouth and stomach but instead -- and here's where it gets revolutionary -- actually enjoy it.
That's right: actually ENJOYING food is the secret to food.
So, I'm going to be honest, I really did savor the hell out of that burger and onion rings.
I also decided that if I was going to try to do BluePrint again, I would do so in a way where I was setting myself up to succeed rather than two-and-a-half days of green juice with a pile of grease at the end.
Instead, I tried to do everything I could to set myself up for success.
This time around I decided to do the cleanse on a weekend, and I went with the much easier option which is called the Renovation. Each day was the same schedule of six juices, and it was easy to follow. Each bottle was labeled with a number, and all of them tasted pretty good, although the very last one is the juice that I most looked forward to because it was cashew milk with agave nectar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and vanilla specks. Honestly, I would choke down the green juice (even though it was sweet and tasty enough) knowing what was to come later.
I passed out each night and still had dreams of burgers and pizza, but this time, I didn't feel quite so unhinged where I was obsessing about what I couldn't have. Instead, I was enjoying an increasing sense of lightness and how my body felt when it was filled with good things. Also, my skin looked better.
By day three, I went to bed at 9pm and knew that in the morning I would feel great about the sense of accomplishment from making it through. I woke up on Tuesday, and I had done it! Like a long three-day weekend spent with a positive but measured friend, I felt rejuvenated and hopeful.
Of course, I'm not swearing off burgers and onion rings anytime soon (hell naw), but I feel more confident knowing that I can do anything (even three days of juices) if I put my mind to it and just remember: I'm the one in control.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.