Thanks to all of my gluttonous eating around the holidays, last Thursday I decided it was time to do a 3 day juice fast. Perhaps it was a spontaneous decision, but I’ve been wanting to do one for a while, and this past weekend was the perfect time to do it. 18 juices later, I was ready to embark on what I knew would be difficult adventure. But allow me to rewind for a moment…
First, I realize that according to many people, not eating solid food for 3 days isn’t exactly a good idea. Second, I did not do this fast in order to lose weight. In fact, I did not get on the scale before or after. I simply wanted to allow my body a break from all the junk I had been ingesting over the past few weeks. (Why so many parties around the holidays???) And finally, I’ve been talking about doing a juice fast ever since I saw Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Mentally, however, I could not let go of the idea that I would not be working out for three days. In addition, I never felt like I could take three days of feeling lethargic. My willingness to sacrifice just wasn’t there. Well, there is nothing like a piece of cheesecake or peanut butter fudge to push those reasons aside and to start drinking kale like it’s going out of style. 🙂
My juice fast started Friday morning and 72 hours later, I couldn’t find enough food in the house to satiate my hunger. However, the purpose of this post is not to tell you about how I felt over the three days. Instead, I would like to share a few things I learned from this experience. (But if you really want to know what I went through, just scroll down to the bottom for a very short summary.)
Lesson #1: Food is everywhere
When you can’t eat, it’s impossible to not realize what a large role food plays in your daily life. From preparing food, buying it, meeting friends out for lunch, hanging out at a neighbor’s house, planning your next activity, or any other thing you can think of… you name it and food is there. Food is central to so many of the things we do, and when it is taken it away, what the heck do you do with all this new found free time? Take away meals and suddenly your have time to watch four movies in a day and read a few books.
I also came to realize just how much food is used to make us happy or to get us to do things. On day 2 of my fast, I decided to do a little grocery shopping to get out of the house. Bad idea. Total Wine was giving out samples of champagne (at 9am) and Whole Foods seemed to have more samples than their normal selection of fruit and pita chips. Maybe it’s always like that and I mindlessly eat chips and drink champagne first thing in the morning. In fact, that’s probably exactly right. But when I was forced to be mindful about my actions, it really became clear to me how much food guides my day to day activities. Just a little food for thought. 😉
Lesson #2: Experimentation is a good thing.
There was certainly no shortage of people telling me how crazy I was or what a bad idea it was to drink only juice for three days. In fact, Mario was the only one telling me to stick with it even when I wanted to gnaw my arm off. I did this fast because I wanted to see how my body reacted. My body is not the same as anyone else’s on this planet (hooray!), and if I don’t try, how will I ever learn what works (or doesn’t work) for me? That is a lesson that can be applied to so many aspects of our lives. We rely so much on what people tell us…. run this many days a week to avoid injury, this is the best exercise to prevent runner’s knee, eat 3 times a day, eat 6 times a day, cardio before weights, weights before cardio, and the list goes on and on. In order to decide if any of this information is true or false, isn’t it almost necessary to experiment? Of course there is value in learning from other people’s experiences. How else are we going to know what to experiment with? But my take away from this fast is that in order to know if something works for my body, I have to try it out… on my body.
Lesson #3: A lot of things in life are like a marathon.
When I decided to do the juice fast, I knew it would be hard, but I wanted to do it. Kind of like a marathon. Day one wasn’t so bad. I was excited and ready for the adventure that awaited me. Just like the first 13 miles of a race. Day two was hard. I was stuck in the middle. Too much invested to turn around and not close enough to see the end. It sucked… like miles 13-20 of a marathon. Day three was hard but I knew I was going to make it to the end. The fact that I would be able to say I successfully completed my goal was motivation to keep going, no matter how hard the remaining hours would be. The end was approaching and I knew I would finish… just like miles 20-26.2.
During my time between watching movies and reading a book, I began to think about just how many of our obstacles and adventures in life are exactly like this. Exciting at first, really crappy in the middle when things get tough, but exciting, inspiring, and motivating when the end is in sight. Sometimes the hard part may be 24 hours or 7 miles or perhaps even years, but if we persevere, we will see it through, whatever that “it” may be.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
My juice fast summary: It was a lot harder than I thought, I had a terrible headache for 2 days, I didn’t have any increase in energy levels, and I will not be doing it again any time in the foreseeable future. 🙂