Self Care Saturday: Five Day Cleanse Recap / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

Hello, my name is Donna and I am addicted to sugar and carbs…

Hi Donna!  

I’ll spare you the details of my addiction. Let’s just say it may or may not include needing a bagel and caramel latte every morning to function and eating a sleeve of Oreos at 10:30pm when I should be sleeping. Research has shown that sugar addiction is real...as real and dangerous as alcohol addiction and drug addiction except it’s (mostly) socially acceptable. But it’s no longer acceptable in my life. I’m ready to just say no!

I’m ready to say no because this year I am embarking on a journey to self-love, self-acceptance, and self-care that is radically different than in the past. In many ways, I am hoping to put the past behind me and press on toward an embodied freedom. I have spent so much time loathing my body and being consumed with every morsel of food I eat and every sweat session I have. In essence, I have been bound by my body image and I want to get free! For me, this means engaging in healthy practices for the sake of love and health and not for a particular aim. It’s about truly recognizing that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and treating it like the dwelling place of God that it is. To that end, my health and fitness goals are more about how my body feels than about numbers. (More later about retiring the scale for 2019) And the sugar and carbs that have anchored my diet for years don’t make me feel good. In fact, they leave me sluggish, moody, foggy, and bloated with blemished skin.

I tried to kick the habit myself. But it’s hard. I’d start the day off well and then give in to my cravings. Or I’d start the week off well and then bury my stress in fast food by Thursday afternoon. I knew I needed more help, so just before the new year, I ordered the “Five Day ‘til Dinner” Cleanse from Jus by Julie. I did their five day cleanse two years ago and lost weight, but did not totally enjoy the experience because going five days without food is not my jam. I opted for the ‘till dinner cleanse because it allowed me solid food and it also allowed me to have a healthy dinner with my family. The cleanse was scheduled to arrive on Thursday, January 10th, in time for me to get through the hardest days at home without the pressure of doing the juice cleanse at work. Well, the cleanse arrived on Saturday afternoon and since I am a glutton  for punishment, I decided to start the cleanse on Sunday.

I drank my first juice during the hourlong ride to church.I preached, enjoyed coffee hour without snacking on cookies and cupcakes, and then made the hourlong drive home.. I forgot to pack my second juice, so I stopped for black coffee because I was hungry and almost dozing at the wheel. When I arrived home, I drank my second juice. I felt a burst of energy and got through the rest of the day. I was  a bit tired but I didn’t feel hungry after getting back on track with my juices. I savored dinner and I felt good about the days ahead. That was until Monday when I woke up with a migraine that was so bad I couldn’t keep my eyes open without being in pain. I didn’t go to work and stayed in bed most of the day. When the pain subsided a bit, I ventured for food. I couldn’t stand being in pain and being hungry. My food choices for the entire day consisted of bread, sugar and butter. I don’t know if I had any veggies, fruit, or protein. It was a sad day.

I was resolved when I got up on Tuesday to forge ahead. I remembered my “why” to break my sugar and carb addiction and knew that I needed to get back to my juice. Tuesday went off without a hitch except I spent way too much time in the bathroom between the juice and water. On Wednesday I felt better than I have in a long time. In fact, I was so satisfied that I did not drink my final juice. And Thursday! Thursday was the day I’ve been waiting for! I woke up early with energy. I felt amazing and excited to drink my juices. I have dealing with the side effects of sugar addiction for so long that I had forgotten what it felt like to feel good. It sounds crazy, but you can be sick for so long that sick becomes your baseline. Thursday reminded me that I love to feel good and I function best when I feel good. Thursday was also amazing because I drank my juice during a staff meeting when there were Dunkin’ Donuts muffins available.

IMG_9729.JPG

I should add here that I drank lots of water and had a one cup of coffee daily with 2 teaspoons of sugar. I tried stevia as “allowed” on the program but the taste and aftertaste weren’t my cup of tea. I also had two scrambled egg whites in the afternoon (also allowed) when I felt like I needed to chew. something.

By taking Monday off, Friday became the last day of my cleanse. Friday was also my lunch date day with hubby so I adjusted. I drank a juice for breakfast, ate a wonderful and healthy Thai lunch, and drank the remaining three justices as prescribed. On our date hubby and I checked in with each other. He remarked that I was different—calmer than before. He also shared that he had not heard me say, “I’m tired!” all week. Hearing him say this was helpful and confirmed that doing the cleanse was the right thing to do. On Friday, Big Girl finally mustered up the nerve to ask to taste my Spicy Lemonade. She loved it. Full disclosure: She drank half the bottle.

IMG_9785.JPG
IMG_9790.JPG

Six calendar days and five juicing days later I look and feel amazing. I couldn’t tell you if I lost weight or inches, because those are no longer my methods of measurement. What I can tell you is that I am less bloated, my bowel habits are more regular, my skin is clearer, I’m sleeping better, I have more focus and energy, and I had no desire to order dessert at lunch. I’ve also been less moody, stressful situations haven’t stressed me out, and I’ve been more patient with my children. What I’m committed to now as I resume regular eating is to have a juice/smoothie daily and drastically reduce the sugar and carbs in my diet so that I can maintain this feeling. Because on this self-care Saturday, I feel FREE!

 

Just for fun, here is how I felt through the cleanse using music videos to communicate my feelings...

 Sunday: Let’s Get it Started

Monday: Sledgehammer 

Tuesday: I Feel Like Going On

Wednesday: Lord Keep Me Day By Day

Thursday: New Attitude 

Friday: My Preogative

Saturday: I’m Free

You can learn more about the cleanse here.  

By the way, this is not a paid endorsement; The opinions are my own. I bought the product with my hard earned money and really believe in it.