Since leaving my previous job to start my own business, life has been good. I have more time with family and friends, get to socialized more, lots of great food and drinks (of course).
So good that I piled on more weight to the extend of feeling lethargic, unhealthy and totally unfit. Even though I was running and swimming regularly, I went from 72kg to 76kg in the space of a couple of months.
At 46, and with such a sedentary lifestyle (working from home), I fell sick more regularly and definitely felt unattractive (to my wife). The last I looked into the mirror, I looked grossly pudgy and decided to put a stop to my “decay”.
We have at some point in time heard about detox programs. It’s the type where you go on an entirely liquid and fiber diet of fruits, raw vegetables, and fruit juices over a couple of days (maximum three I think).
The problem however of detox programs is it leaves you drained completely of energy, makes you feel hungry, and unable to focus as you edge closer to completing the treatment. At the end of it (most if not all), put back everything you clear off your system just as fast.
I recently read about another program that promotes progressive cleansing instead of a full on detox treatment. In brief, it encourages a well balanced diet packed with nutrients, protein, sufficient fiber and lots of water without making the toilet your bedroom.
The best part of it, there is absolutely no need to lay off things that you enjoy eating in moderation. It involves cleansing your body’s system of all the bad stuff that has accumulated over the years.
The cleansing program consists of healthy protein shakes, energy drinks, low calorie (but great tasting) snacks and minerals to help build lean muscle and assist in recovery after exercising. There is no need to skip any meals as I mentioned earlier but does require a little self discipline not to binge and snack unnecessarily (if you are guilty of it, like me) and of course to start exercising regularly.
In brief, the program replaces two main meals a day with two healthy shakes (comes in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavors) packed with all the vitamins, proteins, fiber and carbohydrates an average adult needs a day.
Basically it isn’t the type that simply makes you feel full (so you don’t fell hungry) like most traditional weight lost diets where you completely lay off anything and everything else. Which makes it extremely demoralizing and most give up as soon as they started.
And by the way, this is not a weight lost diet per say although you do lose weight (in a good way) but one that promotes a healthy lifestyle change. There is a 30 day challenge which I decided to take up after going through lots of positive reviews, and picture proof of people who successfully complete the challenge.
I signed up and started my challenge on the morning of 13/4/2016 with a 350 ml strawberry shake. The initial taste experience was a little funny and powdery but it could be because I didn’t add enough water or mix it well enough. I decided to use a blender instead from there on and it was a lot better. Its just like a regular milkshake but only a lot healthier.
Mid morning each day, I have a choice between taking two chocolate snack tablets (really to carry around) or a 100 calorie snack bar with drank lots of water (with slices of lemon, not required but research shows benefits). This depends on how hectic your work life is as both choices comes in small convenient packages that can be easily packed in your bag.
Before lunch, I drank a 120 ml energy drink made from apple, raspberry juice concentrate with sodium and potassium 15 mins before heading for my swim. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel as tired like before.
As a matter of fact, felt I spritely and had energy to spare even after 7 laps and could have gone for more but due to time, I stopped. I didn’t feel breathless as much after my swim unlike before when I was already panting by the time I reached lap 5.
My spirit was high and didn’t feel any pressure at all during work nor felt any stress throughout the rest of the day. The mood was really easy and relaxed. I was really excited and eager to continue on to see what happens as I continue with the program.
Lunch was another 350ml of strawberry shake. Mid afternoon, I had another healthy low calorie snack with an apple.
Dinner was light (as always) with porridge, vegetables and small slice of fried dory fish only because the wife offered me (better not turn the wife down or else). I went for a 4 km run at around 8 pm after taking a 120 ml shot of energy drink mix.
I was amazed at how I was literally blowing away my run! My breathing was consistent and not labored.
After the run, I stretched down at the gym and was actually raring to continue with circuit training but felt some discomfort in my bowel so I stopped. My stool that evening was a little watery but otherwise nothing unusual although I did notice a layer of oil (yucks!).
It might be the cleanse working its way through my body, ridding it of all the bad stuff.
I did not continue with my workout but completed a short round of yoga to cool down. I had a banana at the end of my work out and took a shot of sports drink concentrate to help replenish lost salt and help rejuvenate tired muscles during my workout.
I drank more water today than usual which was good.
For the rest of the week and throughout each day, I felt fresh and energetic unlike previously on weekends when I am not at work. I was even motivated to work out even on a weekend and actually planned in more exercise then usual.
At the end of the 5th day on the first week, I felt really good in general and was less lethargic which was nice. Overall I felt light and fresh.
As part of the program every week, it also includes a two day (back to back) or one day liquid cleanse day to remove toxins and clear up the body’s system of bad stuff like a detox does. The difference is that it isn’t all liquid only, fruits and raw vegetables diet. You still get to enjoy small portions of fresh fruit, healthy energy snack bars during the day in addition to the energy drinks that are filled with proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins that are meant to cleanse and fuel your body throughout the day.
1st cleanse day
After 5 shake days, I started on my cleanse routine. Frankly, I haven’t read much of the nutritional facts on everything I have been putting in my mouth, but all I can say is that I feel really good overall.
I don’t feel hungry during the day even though it was a liquid diet but instead felt fantastic, energetic and focused with work on hand. During my mid day swim, and on my “before dinner run”; I felt that I has so much energy and strength to finish strong.
I rounded off my 4 km run with another one.5 round of a 9 course static circuit training. I don’t feel as drained after exercising like before.
All round it was pretty amazing to say the least. I actually look forward to completing the remaining 24 days of my first 30 days.
I like to add that other then the additional banana (mid morning), water melon, winter melon and another banana in the evening after my workout, I followed everything else exactly as recommended for my cleanse. I didn’t take any other solid food.
I had a total of 5 healthy snacks between breakfast, lunch, dinner and finally before going to bed. Took one shot each of energy drinks before my swim and run followed by sports drink concentrate to help in recovery.
Drank one shot of cleanse concentrate for breakfast, lunch, mid afternoon and a last one for dinner after my evening workout.
2nd cleanse day
On the second day of my cleanse, I weight myself in the morning after waking up. I had to weigh twice to make sure my eyes wasn’t playing games on me; 72.4 kg (down from 76 kg)! It’s unbelievable how much bad stuff I got rid of in my body after just 7 days!
I initially thought it might have been water weight but soon realized (as I continued) that it wasn’t.
I swarm twice that day (no run) and both times had an energy drink 15 mins before heading out. I had an apple and a banana after my swims.
The cleanse routine was no different than the first day. I don’t even feel the urge to snack or binge anymore unlike other diets I have tried before. They don’t last beyond the week anyway.
For the rest of the 24 days of my challenge, everything became second nature. I didn’t even need to think of what to eat nor watch what I eat. I just replace two main meals each day with healthy shakes, eat my favorite food moderately at other times, enjoy exercising (not dreading it) more often and drank lots of water.
The matter of fact about drinking more water besides the benefit of hydrating yourself is that I realize it helps prevent yourself from eating more than you need to at other times. When you are consciously hydrating regularly, the water helps distribute the energy from the food you consume evenly in your body throughout the day .
This effectively stops you from feeling hungry which in most cases for many people resulted in unhealthy eating habits. Instead, I simply snack on small portions of healthier alternatives in between meals to fuel my body which is recommended not only with this program but also by nutritionist.
For the record; I lost 5 kg in 30 days and I haven’t put it back since!
How did I lose weight in a month? I stick to the cleansing program, exercise regularly (not excessively), fuel my body throughout the day with healthy snacks, drank lots of water (no more carbonated drinks for me) and still enjoy my favorite food in moderation.
The important thing is NOT to starve your body. Eating smaller portions in between the main meals helps fuel your body for the day and stop you from over eating.
Taking 5 – 6 small meals and snacks has been scientifically proven to improve your metabolic rate which of course aids to expend your energy faster and more efficiently instead of being stored in your body then converted into fat if left unused.
This is exactly why people as they age, their metabolic rate slows down and starts putting on weight due to the body’s inability to expend calories from poor eating habits and diet.
As I write this, I just past my 90 days or 3 months since starting the program. I have become fitter, leaner, feel & look younger and more energetic. I have lost a total of 8 kg and achieved my goal of reaching my healthy weight of 68.2 kg for my age group.
My BMI dropped from its highest at 26.3 (over weight range) to a healthy weight range of 23.6 today. I also dropped four pants sizes ( from 36″ to 32″)!
I am glad that I got started with the cleansing program and would definitely encourage anyone who is interested in changing the way they look and feel to a better lifestyle.
What I really like is the fact that it is a lifestyle program where it doesn’t tell you to stop eating the things you love; yes, not even the sinful things in life that most diet plans expects you to stop eating completely. As long as you fuel your body with the right amount of nutrients, proteins and all the great stuff necessary for your body, you can continue to enjoy your favorite food in moderation.
I can also tell you this, as you progress it is easy to include regular exercise into your daily life. As a matter of fact, even if you hardly exercise previously; as soon as you feel the amazing changes (emotional and physical), you’d want to hit the gym to make your body look the part too.
If you like to find out more, feel free to leave your questions and feedback below or you can connect with me on Facebook and send me a personal message on Messenger or simply post on my timeline.
I’d be more than happy to share with you a secret that is; no longer a secret.