I was unsure about whether I should blog about this topic or not. I had to really wrap my brain around what I did in order to fully understand the how and more importantly, the why. I hid what I did from everyone and laid low while I did it. I constantly looked over my shoulder because I knew I was committing a crime. After much reflection, guilt, shame, and soul searching all I can really do is laugh. After sharing my dirty little secret with a few friends it became clear that I not only have to, but need to expose it to others because we learn from one another.

After completing a competition your body undergoes a new transformation and begins the “road to recovery”. As someone who experienced this first hand, I can politely sum it up with: “HOLY F*CK, what a ride”. Let me be clear, I believe that if done properly, there is nothing wrong with competing. I experienced a lot of joy watching my body and the bodies of others transform. When applied, the science of proper nutrition and exercise truly change the body and it is this aspect of the sport that has always fascinated me. There is however, a downside to the sport; the obsession around sculpting a perfect appearance has resulted in a highly narcissistic sport which only seems to be getting worse. My trainer, who has been in the sport forever, expressed to me how this kind of fitness was always for yourself and challenging the self rather than for the perfect “selfie”. I rarely see this kind of self driven inspiration anymore and for that I do not like where the sport of competitions are currently going. But that rant will have to wait for another day.

When in recovery mode you need to replenish it with whole and healthy foods. Unfortunately, because you’ve denied yourself of so many amazing foods you crave shit food and go out into the world crazed and on the hunt for this shit food. Since November of last year I have been on this journey. After competition I went directly into the pumpkin goodness of November and the Christmas treats of December. We can all imagine how craved and crazed I was. After much holiday indulgence, I got back on track. Initially this was easy but the caloric deficit that I had been in for over a year had finally caught up with me and my body was now really pissed off and giving me the royal “F*ck you”. Before January I had eaten well, trained hard, allowed a weekly cheat, had some chocolate, travelled to Vegas, and lived life but my body was not responding. Even though I was doing everything right my body dug in its heels and refused to cooperate. In an attempt to better understanding what was going on with my body, I sought outside professional help. I did not want to go immediately to a doctor because my past experience has not been largely positive; instead of looking to identify the underlying problem they prescribe drugs to treat the symptoms. I made an appointment with a naturopath and after explaining to her my fitness and health routine she expressed that I “should weight 125 lbs and be ripped considering what you do”. I instantly began crying, confused and frustrated by my inability to get the control back with my body and to hear someone confirm the struggles I had been experiencing. I asked for her professional opinion on what I should do to which she responded: “a juice cleanse to cleanse your system”.

I eyed her coolly, responding with a curt yet polite “no”. I expressed to her how bad juice cleanses are and how I am not a proponent of them. Let’s stop here for a moment and make something very clear: juice is a processed food. When consuming fruits and vegetables we are consuming a whole food. An apple has not undergone any process short of its growth for your consumption. When we extract the juice from foods we are removing the most important parts of the food; the nutrient rich flesh and fiber of the fruit or vegetable. Fruit juices are especially high in sugars and consuming them alone is not beneficial. Many of fruit’s sweet juices are meant to lure animals to ingest the fruit itself in an attempt to spread the seeds of the plant when the animal later excretes them. Juices can be so high in sugars that many are equivalent to soda pop leading to Canada’s recent consideration of removing juice from its health guide (http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/will-fruit-juice-be-cut-from-canada-s-food-guide-1.2380960). Juicing, blending, removing or breaking down any and all pulp or solid matter of fruits and vegetables can diminish or alter the value of foods and it is always better to just eat the food whole. When in doubt, whole is always better.

I expressed these concerns, (albeit much more brief and with less detail) to her and that as an educator on health and fitness I always recommended whole foods. She laughed and together we spent the next month doing tests, blood work, and monitored what I ate in an attempt to figure out why my body seemed unable to change. Finally the test results came back and I then unable to get into see my naturopath for over a month. I was so fed up. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I have this tiny, some would say out of hand control issue. Frustrated and out of patience I threw my hands up and committed the ultimate crime: I juiced it up. You read that, I Liz Naccarato, drank juice and ONLY juice for three full days (*hangs head in shame). I asked to speak to the manager because I wanted to make sure I got all the facts regarding my (*shudder) juice cleanse.

Here’s how our conversation went:

Me: Hey I am thinking of doing your 3 day juice cleanse
Lady: Oh okay, that’s great
Me: Am I going to lose weight or just cleanse my system? What does this cleanse that is highly recommended by all do?
Lady: Most people lose weight but you’ll feel better mostly
Me: Okay cool because I feel like crap now. What do I do after the cleanse?
Lady: well just eat healthy
Me: Like what do I eat? I already eat healthy.
Lady: Nothing processed, just stick to what you’re doing now
Me: Oh okay perfect. Can I have coffee?
Lady: No, but if you need it why not?
Me: What is the caloric intake of the juice?
Lady: 1300-1400 calories (I researched this and according to their website this is correct as I added up myself based on what was in it)

I headed out to grab this 3-day cleanse, paid over $200 dollars for it (that’s 3 pairs of gym shoes I could have potential paid for instead) and begin it the very next day. My experience:

Day 1: I slept the ENTIRE DAY. Woke up, did a run (felt great as I had ate solid foods the night before), taught spin and then slept the entire day! ZERO energy, zero happiness, zero enjoyment. I actually ate some 20g of protein and 20g of carbs because I had to go out in public.

Day 2: Got up. Ran my normal Coquitlam crunch, felt like a zombie, and went right back to bed. Did 1 hour of work, back to bed all day. Ate 20g of protein and 20g of carbs and some vegetables because I had to train someone at night and felt that for THEIR sanity I should eat.

Day 3: Started to feel a little bit better, could actually FUNCTION and worked that day. Felt really LIGHT and airy (possibly because I was on a purely liquid diet, and no not the alcoholic one).

Day 4: Woke up, ate my oats before I even knew what was happening and became instantly euphoric over the thought of being able to eat.

Here is the scary thing, on day 4 I woke up and had lost 5 lbs in water weight. I went right back to eating super healthy and clean, back into my regular training routine (I did not train at all while on the “cleanse of death”). By Friday of that week I WAS UP 10 LBS! I wish I took a picture of the scale but I was too embarrassed to even think of it: “LIZ YOU IDIOT, YOU KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. WHY WOULD YOU TEST IT?” Okay, so I may have committed the ultimate crime but there is a silver lining to be found here. I went into this knowing juice cleanses don’t work and came out of it proving juice cleanses don’t work. Let me be your guinea pig and save yourself the money, frustration, and weight gain: avoid juice cleanses.

I wrote an email to the juice cleanse company that explained what had happened and we need to help educate people that this will NOT help them lose weight, but it may cleanse their system. Three weeks later and I am still waiting for a response.

Learn from my experiment and PUT DOWN THAT JUICE CLEANSE, slowly back away, and STOP THE JUICING madness to lose weight! There is no diet, cleanse or detox that will work better or get you better results that last more than whole foods. Nutrition is everything when it comes to feeling and looking amazing. I could care less about my weight and more about how I feel and I want to help others understand this. When I say I truly want to help educate and teach instead of just GIVING out plans, I truly mean this. I had someone contact me last week asking for “just my plan” and I actually said if they wanted “just the plan” to Google one. Without the help and proper education on what you are fueling your body with you will never learn and you will continue on your hamster wheel.

Turn off the blender and give me a call.

Happy Monday Everyone!

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