Do you want to lose a bunch of weight and even a couple of inches in a short period? Do you want to do it without endangering your health via pills or malnutrition? Let me tell you about an experiment I recently executed…successfully.
It all started with one innocent little cruise vacation. My son and I went to the Bahamas for our summer vacation, and we had a great time. On this cruise ship, they had food. Plenty of food. Plenty of
When I returned from that cruise, I felt sluggish, tired and unsatisfied with my vitality, and I could see the ice cream cones I once enjoyed somehow magically mutated into love handles. I had been silently agitated with my look and body fat for a long time, but this was a true wake up call.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an obese person. I eat somewhat healthy, typically avoid fast food, don’t keep any real junk food in my house, and I exercise regularly. Still, I cheat (usually around desert time) and have those calorie cracks in my diet which most of us tolerate.
But this was enough. I needed to do something drastic. Not because my health was in danger or because my wife was threatening to leave me or any of those scenarios. I need to do something drastic because I know about the drift. Nobody intends to get fat or out of shape or unhealthy. They drift there. A tiny bit here, a tiny bit there and the next thing you know, you wake up a year later, and you weigh 25 pounds heavier and it’s exhausting to tie your shoes. I don’t want to drift to that place, and I decided that unless I interrupted my habits dramatically, changes would not be made. I know this because changes have not been made, in spite of my discontent.
I decided to do a detox/cleanse.
But what kind of cleanse? After plenty of research, I settled on JJ Smith’s 10-day Green Smoothie Cleanse. So I grabbed the Kindle version of her book and gave it a read, which took less than an hour. It gave me all the information I needed – how I would proceed, ingredients I’d need, recipes I would be using, and rules I’d need to follow.
The Ingredients (I won’t go into exact detail, but basically): Spinach, Kale, Spring Greens, Frozen Fruits (Mango, Pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries), Fresh Fruits (apples, bananas, grapes), Flax Seed, Stevia, Plant-Based Protein Powder, Detox Tea, Mag07, and some raw organic nuts and vegetables to snack on. All of it needed to be organic, raw, unprocessed, etc.
- Nothing processed
- No milk products (including whey)
- No artificial sweeteners like aspartame
- No meat (obviously)
- No caffeine, tobacco, alcohol.
- You can snack throughout the day pretty liberally, just make sure it’s raw veggies or nuts and limit portion size.
Here’s what happened over the next ten days
I wouldn’t say that it was totally difficult, but it certainly wasn’t easy. I found myself feeling very hungry and a little bit weaker than usual, quite often. I’m not throwing a stone at vegetarians; it’s just that I replaced a 2500 calorie diet with a 1000-1500 calorie diet, and my body was well aware. I just kept some baby carrots and raw almonds around and munched a little between smoothies to make it go away. Of course, I kept a record of notes daily in my Groovy Journaling Solution!
Willpower: The thing about the willpower required here is that I think you have to take willpower out of the equation. That probably sounds a little hokey to you, so let me explain. I picked up a saying from Brian Johnson’s OL101 that I use a lot:
“99% is a Bitch, 100% is a Breeze”
But what does that mean? It means that if you must have a conversation about something with yourself that concerns whether or not you ‘should’ do something, it’s a tough debate to win. But if the conversation is irrelevant because the option isn’t available, then it’s easy. If you’re going to quit something, don’t “try to stop it almost all the time” – just make it a non-negotiable never.
Here’s an example: let’s say Jane has a real shopping problem. She buys and buys and puts herself in financial trouble collecting closets full of clothes. Now let’s assume Jane wants to fix this issue. Which strategy do you think would be most successful?
- Trying to stop going to the store. Telling herself she’ll only buy one thing if she goes to the mall. Researching strategies online about how to stop shopping addiction. (99%)
- Cut up all of her credit cards and have someone she trusts hold her money and give her a small gas/living expense allowance for six months. (100%)
I wanted to go off on that little tangent to illustrate a method I use to tackle all kinds of goals that I think are very difficult. I just mentally (or physically if possible) make the alternative completely unavailable. As I walked by the all you can eat pizza buffet (where I went with a customer for work), I didn’t think, “Oh man, I wonder if I could have just one slice and not eat the crust. No, I shouldn’t.” I thought, “Too bad that pizza is not available to me today.” No discussion. Concessions to your plan lead to bigger holes than you think, and willpower can’t be your downfall if you don’t have to use it.
Exercise: It explains in the book that you do not need to exercise while you’re on the Green Smoothie Cleanse. While physical activity is always advisable, this isn’t one of those diets (it’s actually not a diet at all, remember – it’s a detox) that gives you normal recipes, then tells you to work your ass off and that’s where the actual weight loss comes from. Just do the cleanse as instructed whether or not you want to exercise and the results will accumulate. However, I already exercise anyway, so I wasn’t going to stop intentionally. But, it also said that if you do, to be ready to cut it down a little because while your body IS getting all the nutrients it needs, it is NOT getting all those excess carbs and calories you typically burn during workouts, so just beware. Halfway through my first workout, I knew she wasn’t lying so instead of strength training 60 minutes, 3/week, I cut it to 30 minutes, 3/week. For my bike ride, I knocked it down from 13 miles to 9 miles each ride (except the last one). Aikido practice continued as usual.
Sleep: Rest and energy were a surprising change to me. I guess I didn’t think much would change, but it did. For one, I would no longer get the slow motion groggy 1 pm zombie wall as is so common. I usually take a nap in the afternoon if my schedule allows at this time. I figure this is because my body isn’t directing all of its resources to my stomach to digest some monster meal and, therefore, has some juice left for my brain (this is uncommon). Secondly, I acquired an unfortunate pattern of waking up at 2 am and fighting some bad insomnia for 1-2 hours. This got frustrating. My best guess is that my body wasn’t feeling satiated enough to go through the whole night, but I’m not positive. I certainly wasn’t going to do much about that late at night, and ruin my progress. But a couple of nights I downed some water with a scoop of plant protein powder to try to help, and maybe it did a little. All in all, I don’t feel like I had more energy, possibly less. But it was a pleasant change to have consistent energy instead of the rollercoaster that is ‘pumped vs. tired’ 3-4 times per day.
Water: A rule I forgot to mention is, no tap water. Deionized is best, but filtered works too. I just used my filtered water for everything and drank a TON of it. Hydration is so important. It always is, but when you’re cleaning the body of toxins, it’s maybe more important. It says to drink 64oz per day, but I drank around 100oz per day, not including smoothies. It’s a great habit to be in. Always drink as much water as you can handle, that’s my motto!
Meals: I only had to replace two meals the entire time, because they are scheduled times that I am with customers for work. I wasn’t about to try to bring a shaker with a smoothie into a restaurant with me, only to hear a couple of months later that the customer “doesn’t want to work with that weird dude with the long hair who brings his own smoothies to the Mexican restaurant.” I’m in West Texas, remember? That just wasn’t gonna happen. So, instead, I ordered the “Grilled Chicken Salad” – hold the chicken and cheese and I’ll just use this salsa as dressing. The next week, I skipped the pizza buffet and hit the salad buffet hard and loaded up on veggies. While I didn’t want to eat that big salad dry, they didn’t have any oil/vinegar, so I went with the least dangerous option – Italian dressing, sparingly. I think I walked away relatively unscathed.
Supplements: I continued drinking my Athletic Greens every day, they are almost identical to what this cleanse is doing, in a small dose. I kept taking fish oil. I added Mag07 for colon cleanse purposes (I don’t want to get into it). I stopped taking psyllium husk and melatonin (which may account for the sleep issue as well) for the duration of the cleanse. I also didn’t take any OTC drugs during the cleanse, although I did experience some very uncomfortable headaches during the first 5 days and wanted some ibuprofen badly.
Detox Tea: I couldn’t find the brand that she recommends, so I bought the one that seemed the best, and later found it had great reviews on Amazon, so I think it worked out well. I drank it every morning as an iced tea and actually found it very tasty and refreshing.
So now, let’s examine the results. I have to say, that it was a huge success. I feel good. I would say that my cravings are much less intense now. On Day 11, I found it quite easy to order a chicken salad for lunch and easy to avoid desert for dinner. I know it’s only one day removed, but I was a little afraid of the rebound effect of my body (or ego, rather) wanting to binge once I got off the cleanse.
As you can see below, I lost 11.6 pounds, 2.4% body fat and three inches around my belly. My pants are definitely in need of a belt lately.
Here are the metrics:
Before and After
And now for the best part – pictures! Although a little embarrassing and quite uneventful, no weight loss blurb would be complete without before and after photos, so here they are. I know most look the same, but a couple of them have noticeable differences. One looks like I’m manipulating my belly to make it look better/worse in comparison, but I promise I was trying to keep my torso completely relaxed in all of them. The creepy close up of my face was to capture any skin surface differences. Click to enlarge at your own risk.
The Wrap Up
So, what have I learned, what’s my advice, and would I do it over? Lots, Go, and Yes.
- I’ve learned (once again) that when I set my mind firmly on a target, I will reach it, no matter what.
- Flushing all the meat out of your system isn’t the magic bullet utopia I have heard it to be from certain herbivore friends, but it doesn’t hurt you too bad either.
- I’m glad to have lean protein from chicken/beef/pork back on my side, but don’t regret giving it a break for a brief time.
- There are many things I was convinced I ‘need’ until I wasn’t allowed to put them in my mouth anymore – then I found out quite easily the difference between want and need.
- I had a lot of toxins in my body, but frankly not as many as I anticipated. I know this because I feel better and look better, but not “holy shit” better.
- I wasn’t thoroughly convinced on the detox part of it, like when it came to drinking the tea and avoiding tap water. I felt that I would have gotten the same benefits if I had used tap water and foregone the detox tea, although I can’t know that for sure because I DID use those things. I also can’t explain what gives me this feeling.
- It set a fantastic baseline for healthy eating moving forward.
- Cravings are very reduced and I don’t want to ruin all the hard work I just did, so eating healthy is relatively easy – at least for now.
My advice will be to try it if you have an average American or western society diet. In fact, if your diet is worse than mine you will probably see results that outperform mine! If you don’t already have a strict, healthy diet in place (let’s be honest, if you do – why are you reading this far?) I highly recommend it. It will start a huge springboard for your new healthy eating lifestyle with much fewer cravings and willpower problems. It’s only 10 days out of the 28,740 days in your expected lifespan; I think you can spare it. The good news is that I don’t think you can hurt anything if you don’t go off script (e.g. if you add a nasty DMAA diet pill or something, it might lead to a crash). You literally have nothing to lose, except a little body fat. I personally have a tentative plan to repeat this process annually, or if I really fall off track with my diet. It feels like a great reset and starting over point for a nutritional lifestyle change.
I’d love to hear YOUR input: Have you ever done a detox/cleanse? How did it go? Something similar – how did it differ? Your opinion? Are you going to start one? Do you have any questions? You can email me by clicking here or Let me have it below!