6 Things I Learned From My 5-Day Cleanse

Last week I took on an ambitious 5-day cleanse. You can read about the plan and my daily progress here. I had a few bumps along the way, but overall it was a very positive experience! Now that it’s over, here’s what I learned and am taking forward.

  1. It was the reset I was looking for. Just as I hoped, living as clean as could imagine (I wasn’t going to fast or give up solid foods) was an effective way to put the decadent holiday/entertaining period behind me. And cutting out a bunch of stuff—sugar, dairy, alcohol, processed carbs, fried foods, TV, etc—was a big enough challenge that I felt motivated while not missing any one thing all that much.
  2. I felt great. Wow, after four days my energy was through the roof! Also, I felt very confident and proud of my ability to mostly stick to the commitment I’d made to myself.
  3. It’s not sustainable. There’s no way I could give up all those food groups for good. In this interesting article about intuitive eating, dietitians Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole maintain that banishing certain foods only adds to their power and makes it more likely a person will binge on them rather than enjoy sensible portions as part of their regular diet. I relate! The day after my cleanse I went crazy on an oozy wedge of St. André’s triple creme cheese. I have borderline high cholesterol so that wan’t a healthy move. But eliminating all dairy left me salivating for the most buttery thing I could get my mouth on.
  4. Bad and good habits go together. We’ve talked about the concept of “habit stacking” here on the blog, and this cleanse really pointed out how my habits, both good and bad, are bundled together. When I settle in to watch White Lotus or The Crown in the evenings, the experience isn’t complete without a crunchy salty snack or glass of wine. But when I read a book, my go-to treat is a cup of herbal tea. It was interesting to see how I craved a certain type of food or drink during a specific time or activity. Becoming aware of my habits helped me see how I can replace the unhealthy bundles with healthier, more productive ones. I really want to do a lot more reading this year, and therefore drink more tea!
  5. Moderation feels decadent. I think this is my biggest discovery. Enjoying a small bit of something fully is a more sensuous experiences than gobbling up all I want. Limiting coffee to one cup of day made that cup so precious and delicious, I’ve never enjoyed coffee more. One chocolate chip cookie, savored thoroughly, is far more scrumptious than wolfing down three. This is something I’m definitely going to incorporate into my life: small special treats, enjoyed slowly and relished to the max.
  6. Balance is the key. This cleanse showed me how I can tidy up my diet going forward to feel more vibrant and energized. The weekend is usually the most social/indulgent time for me, so Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays I’m going to focus on healthy behaviors. At this age, living well requires some discipline, but we don’t have to deprive ourselves!
Embracing moderation not deprivation!

6 thoughts

  1. So proud of the dedication to a healthy goal — and your eventual achievement! Not an easy one for sure! Always inspired by you, my dear friend ❤️

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  2. I love your comment about habit stacking. This might be a better way for me to approach improving my eating habits. Only 1 cookie is still hard for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You probably already have stacks of good habits you can rely on, Tricia. A bath and a book, for example. Thanks for reading!

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