Many people embark on a juice cleans thinking it will be the answer to all their weight problems: “I’ll drink nothing but juice for a few days, which is packed with nutrients, and it will help me lose weight, while still filling me up, and then I will have a great head start on my weight loss plan.”
The reality is, that while all these things can be true, it’s not necessarily so, and if done wrong, a juice cleanse may not yield the results you are after.
Here’s what you need to remember when it comes to carrying out a juice fast so you can make sure you have success:
1. Juicing loads of fruit is not the answer
Fruit has high levels of naturally occurring sugars, and while fine in small quantities, when you pack your juice full of mostly fruit and not vegetables, the result is just a sugary drink that is much lower in nutrients than you may think. This translates to a spike in your blood sugar and your pancreas and liver having to work harder to look after this sugar, the opposite of what you are trying to do. During a cleanse, you are trying to give your digestive organs a break, not make them have to do extra work. Instead, pack your juices with veggies and add only have an apple or orange or a few slices of pineapple to make the juice palatable.
2. It’s not meant to be easy
The point of doing a juice fast is to give your digestive system a break and let it work on cleaning out all the toxins that get leftover after normal digestion. In this regard, your body is essentially doing a big detox, purging itself of built up toxins that may have been in there for several weeks. This means you may feel symptoms of this detoxification process such as headache, nausea, achy joints, fatigue, irritability and low energy. This is a normal part of fasting and cleansing, and you should go into the cleanse expecting this to happen and for it to be a bit of a rough few days. That being said, don’t plan to do any strenuous activity during these days and allow yourself plenty of time to rest
3. Don’t do it just to lose weight
When you do a cleanse, it is true that you will likely lose some weight, several pounds for some people, depending on their state at the start of the cleanse. This is the result of a few things: a) you are taking in fewer calories, so you are naturally going to lose weight; b) your body is eliminating toxins which may have been stored in fatty tissues and causing you to gain weight; and c) you will likely drop some water weight. The important thing to remember though is that after the cleanse is over, you have to make a lifestyle change in order to see the affects of the cleanse be maintained and to maintain the weight loss. Cleansing and then simply returning to your old ways, will not only make you gain the weight back (or more), and it will also negate all the work you did on the cleanse, as your body will simply send toxins right back to where they were just removed from.
4. Support your body
Given that part of the purpose of a juice cleanse is to allow your digestive system and other organs to have a rest, and to do that you need to support the process. Obtain lots of rest during your cleanse, including at least 8 hours of restful sleep in a room free from electronics. Practice daily methods of relaxation such as yoga or meditation and adopt methods of de-stressing, including deep breathing, taking a bath or sitting alone in a quiet room with a candle and some calming music. It is essential to drink lots of water – 4-5 liters a day – and to look after the lymphatic system. This is the system which is responsible for aiding in eliminating wastes from the cells and you can help in this elimination process by taking Epsom baths, employing alternating hot and cold showers and practicing dry skin brushing.