Let me start by saying that I’m a person that loves to eat. Whether it’s junk food, healthy food or in between, I’m always happy to scoff it down.
But recently I noticed (and several girls told me) that my stomach had grown considerably large.
So I checked the weight scales and surprise, surprise, I’d gained 7 kilos in 6 months.
That was mostly down to the fact that I’d spent those 6 months traveling and working on my computer while eating french fries, coke and beer nearly every day.
Not exactly healthy.
So, when I got an email out of the blue offering me a one-month detox program, I decided that it’s probably a good idea.
The detox meant no soda, alcohol, sugar, gluten, fruit juice, coffee, eggs and dairy.
A huge change for me. According to the course, those kinds of foods generally have additives that negatively affect your physical and even mental health.
So, what have I actually ate in the past month?
I’ve stuck to basically organic foods: vegetables, chicken, pork, fruit, rice, and potatoes. I’m not much of a foodie, so my diet has been really plain.
I made sure to get a huge dose of vegetables, salads and meat every day. I assume those are at least safe.
I work all day on my computer, so I stuck to Green Tea while working. In general, I’d have about 4-5 green teas a day.
What happened in the first days
In the first few days I was feeling constantly hungry. My energy was also zapping, even in the morning which is usually my golden time for working.
Before this, I was having about 3 coffees a day, plus at least one Coke-Cola. I know and you know that that’s a huge amount of caffeine.
I’m guessing giving up that much caffeine was the reason for my severe drop in energy.
But once I got through one week of feeling like a zombie (and working like one too), I started to wake up.
Here’s what I found:
1) Sustained energy throughout the day
After the week of death, my body started to feel fresh when I ran in the morning.
I also felt more mentally awake when I was working. The best bit? It was sustained.
I’d be on an even keel for the whole day, whereas in the past I’d have huge jumps of energy when I had coffee and massive come downs later in the day.
Science backs this up. According to Harvard, caffeine causes you to have energy highs and energy lows. It can also affect your sleep.
And of course, research suggests that poor nutrition can cause fatigue – something I was certainly guilty of in the past.
2) I lost 3 kgs in a month
Pretty good effort if I must say so myself. My stomach has felt lighter as well.
Before this, I’d usually have 1-3 beers at night (and sometimes a lot more when I had a crazy, big night). That’s probably the reason I’d wake up feeling bloated in my stomach.
But now, it’s different. I feel less full and fat.
I’ll admit, it was difficult to give up drinking beer for a month. It’s such a social thing to do. Plus I love it.
But in the end, it was well worth it for my body.
I also found that my moods were more stable. I’m generally a happy guy but I can certainly get angry and irritable at times.
But during the past couple weeks, I’ve mellowed out a little more. This could be in relation to my energy remaining constant throughout the day.
Do I miss those “high” moments from drinking coffee and beer with friends? Sure, but at least my mood is more stable, which I’m sure is great for my body and mental health.
3) I’m more physically fit (and ripped!)
I really upped my game at the gym, lifting heavy weights and doing body exercises like push ups and pull ups. I also ran about 5 kilometres, twice a day.
The fact that I was taking care of myself with my diet meant that I had more motivation to be physically fit as well.
As I wasn’t relying on coffee or soda for a quick energy boost, I found that gym workouts and running gave me a nice energy boost if I needed it.
4) My sleep also improved
I’ve always had a problem with sleeping. Sometimes I go through phases of it being quite good, and other times I’m getting 2-6 hours of sleep a night. But the past couple weeks, I’ve been sleeping quite well.
I hardly wake during the night which is rare for me. I can’t be certain if it’s the diet because mindset plays a huge role in sleep for me.
However, it is a nice correlation.
There are research studies that say added sugar in your diet can make it difficult to wind down for the night.
Too much caffeine has also been linked with poor sleep.
What’s more, research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior found that fatty goods may disrupt the normal functioning of neuro-chemicals in your brain responsible for encouraging regular sleep.
5) I’m no longer sneezing
I also found that I wasn’t sneezing as much as I used to.
For some reason, I regularly have a runny nose, particularly during hay-fever season. But I haven’t noticed that at all in the past few weeks.
Research has shown that eating too many processed foods can hurt our ability to fight colds and little bugs because you’re not getting enough nutrition to fuel the immune system.
Now that I look back, detoxing has been a pretty great and challenging experience. My energy and mental state has improved, I’ve lost weight, my sleep has been good, and I’m fitter than I’ve been for a while.
So, will I continue? Absolutely!
The one thing I will change is beer. I won’t have it every night, but I will reserve the right to have a few beers once or twice a week. You gotta have fun sometimes!
P.S For those of you who are reading this article today, I’ve changed my diet up a little bit to be more like the Tom Brady TB 12 Method diet. It involves similar principles but with a few nuances to what I describe above. If you’re interested, check it out here.