The Twelve-Week Challenge at The12 begins with a ten-day cleanse, or metabolic detox, designed to rid your body of toxins that have accumulated over time and help it perform at it’s optimum level. This gives you the right foundation to begin the rest of the challenge.
The detox is a key component of the challenge because in large part, a person’s overall physical health comes from their ability to efficiently detoxify and eliminate waste. At times, when the toxins – from the food we eat, water and other beverages we drink, air we breathe and the materials surrounding us daily (like paints, carpeting, dyes, cleaning products and even beauty products) are too much, they may overwhelm our system and our bodies may need some help getting rid of them.
Though not scientifically proven, a detox is designed to reduce the burdens on our organs (specifically the liver, kidney, intestines, and lymphatic system); promote healthy digestion; clean the digestive tract; increase immunity and circulation; promote healthy cell growth while reducing free radical damage; and curb addictions to things like caffeine, alcohol, salt and processed foods.
Oh yeah, and although this is not the goal of the program, it also helps you lose weight – a nice little bonus.
The 10-Day program that I did is called “Clear Change” from Metagenics. You can read more about this program on the Metagenics website.
After completing the program, I can tell you first, that I’m really glad it’s over. And second, that I feel phenomenal. Seriously, better than I have in a long, long time.
The eating program on the cleanse was not as hard to stick to as I expected. The program guidelines are very specific and detailed. I am good at following directions and sticking to a plan, so that part was not a problem at all. The thing that took me by surprise though, was how my body responded to the program. The first couple of days, I was exhausted. I was okay day three, but then days four through six were pretty rough. The body aches and pains I had due to the cleanse, combined with catching a cold made the challenge quite challenging for me.
By day five, I developed a weird sciatic-like back pain that I could not figure out. I finally found my answer online – caffeine withdrawal – which I found pretty scary. I don’t really consume that much caffeine, at least I think – a cup or two of coffee in the morning and usually and iced tea in the afternoon. However, this was enough caffeine ingested daily for long enough to make for some serious pain. At one point I said to my husband, “if this is what caffeine withdrawal feels like, remind me to never try heroine.” (Don’t worry Mom, I would never actually try heroine.)
By day seven though, the fog started to lift, the aches and pains subsided, and I started to feel more like myself. Finally, on day eight, the results of the cleanse really kicked in. Not only did I feel like myself, I felt like a better, lighter, faster, cleaner version of myself. It feels amazing.
“But how much weight did you lose?” This is the question everyone wants to know, so here is the bottom line – the results…
I lost 4.3 pounds during the cleanse period – yes the .3 is important. So, I went from 130.1 pounds to 125.7 and my body fat (percentage of my weight that is comprised of body fat) went from 23.5% to 22.9%.
More importantly though, I feel great. My skin looks better than ever, and I’m sleeping through the night consistently for the first time in a long, long time. My quality of life is so improved already. I can’t wait to build on that in the upcoming weeks.
For those who want more detail, below I breakdown the Metagenics 10-day detox plan day by day along with my personal experience each day. It’s A LOT of information, I know, but I wrote this to be a kind of what-to-expect guide for anyone considering the plan, so I wanted to include as much detail as possible. Of course, every person’s body will respond differently during a cleanse, but having a personal first-hand account as a guideline I thought might be helpful.
Note: Each day of the program, you should drink at least 64 ounces of plain, purified, distilled or mineral water to flush the system. This is very important as it flushes out the toxins that you are ridding from your body. Also, there are no caloric restrictions on this program. You can eat as much as you want of the allowed foods each day.
It is also recommended to only eat organic produce, wild-caught fish and free-range chicken. And although it isn’t mentioned in the program guide, I also was more careful than ever when choosing the products I put on my skin during this time. As I was flushing out toxins, I didn’t want to put more in my body through my skin (the largest organ in our body), so I used organic lotions, makeup, all-natural deodorant, etc.
Metabolic Cleanse: Day One
Eliminate all refined sugars – anything with added sucrose, high fructose corn syrup or alcohol, any sodas, caffeine, dairy products, eggs, soy, beef, pork, foods with wheat or wheat flour or corn or cornflower, and any processed foods.
“What’s left?”, you may be thinking. Well, it’s actually still quite a bit – all fruits (no oranges); all vegetables (no corn); nuts (no peanut); legumes (no soy); fish (must be fresh, wild-caught); free-range chicken; rice (brown and white); gluten-free oats; rice pasta; potato flour, quinoa; milk alternatives (rice, hazelnut, hemp, almond, coconut); plus a variety of oils, vinegars, herbs and natural sweeteners for flavor.
This is the only day when you do not add any nutritional support – the Metagenics powder and/or supplements.
My Experience Day One:
Not having coffee was not the traumatic event I imagined it to be. Herbal tea made a nice substitute, and the fact that I could have some hot oatmeal with coconut milk and strawberries made me happy. I had plenty of energy still and enjoyed a good workout at The12. The eating went pretty well.
My big win was at dinner. I was making homemade chicken nuggets for the kids and was envying their crusted baked chicken. So, I made a version for myself, rubbing a little olive oil on free-range, organic chicken breasts and then sprinkling almond meal on them and tossing them in the oven. I was pretty impressed with myself for making breaded chicken that was challenge-friendly. Score! I was completely exhausted by 10pm. Fell into bed and slept like a baby until 6:00am.
Metabolic Cleanse: Day Two
Continue foods from day one – no change.
Begin adding Metagenix Ultra Clear Renew nutritional beverage twice a day – 1 scoop mixed in water or juice.
My Experience Day Two:
Made coffee for my husband. Gave it a big whiff before I handed it to him and it was almost like drinking it (only totally not). Brewed my decaf herbal tea and had some rice cereal with bananas and coconut milk. Still had energy and enjoyed a challenging workout at The12. The rules of the cleanse on day two are the same as day one, but now I added the Metagenics Nutritional Beverage and Supplement Capsules.
Around 3pm, fatigue started to set in, big time. I felt an overwhelming exhaustion and cloudiness, but with hours of shuttling kids around ahead, I had to power through. I came home to find my husband and son sitting on the couch watching baseball and eating tortilla chips. I was shocked that I could smell the chips the second I walked in the door, but I resisted. I was completely exhausted again and fell asleep at 9:15, which I don’t think I’ve done in about ten years. Again, slept like a baby.
Continue foods from day one and two, but now eliminate nuts/seeds, rice/grains, and milk substitutes.
Continue nutritional beverage mix – 1 scoop twice a day.
Begin taking AdvaClear supplement capsules – 2 capsules twice a day.
My Experience Day Three
The challenge became more difficult today. Life, as it tends to do, got in the way. The day started with what was supposed to be a simple 45 minute dentist appointment that went wrong. The work was more complicated than the dentist had thought, and I ended up there for two hours (on a pretty empty stomach) and needed Novocaine. When the dentist told me he was giving me the Novocaine injection, I briefly thought about whether that was going to effect my challenge and considered saying no. But I have to tell you, Novocaine, and my paralyzing fear of dental work ultimately won.
After my appointment, I went to a birthday lunch for a friend. With a partially numb mouth and all the restrictions of my diet, I wasn’t much of a lunch date. Luckily, my friend chose Tender Greens, so I was able to find a vegetarian garlic soup and side of soft grilled veggies that worked with both my diet, and my partially paralyzed mouth. By the end of the day some of the “joint soreness” that they had warned about during the cleanse kicked in. My lower back and hips were killing me. I tried to sleep, but the pain was pretty bad so I tossed and turned all night. I did not sleep like a baby.
Metabolic Cleanse: Day Four
Food is the same as day three.
Continue powdered beverage mix – increase to 2 scoops twice a day.
Continue AdvaClear capsules – two capsules two times per day.
My Experience Day Four
Woke up after a restless sleep to find the lower back/hip pain had not subsided…at all. That, combined with the fact that I had now contracted the cold bug that had been traveling around my house for the past few weeks, made for a pretty miserable day. Plus, there was the added complication that because I was in detox-mode, I couldn’t take any pain relievers – ahhhh! Initially, I thought that I had the flu, but in retrospect, I believe it was just the cold virus combined with the cleanse-related joint pain that made it feel that way.
Throughout the day, I kept focusing on the goal at the end, and repeating in my head one of my favorite quotes “the only way out is through.” Also, I thought about how much of a first-world problem this all was and just told myself to power through.
I made myself a smoothie for breakfast – kale, banana, raspberries, and two scoops of the Metagenix Ultra-Clear renew powder. It was tasty and filling. Lunch was a large salad and dinner was red potatoes, broccoli and lentil beans. The cold kicked in more and more as the day wore on. Tried to go to bed early but couldn’t sleep because of all the aches and pains. It was hard to tell at this point which aches were flu related, and which were cleanse related. As I laid in bed and try to manage the pain, I pictured these areas of my body releasing toxins so that they can become healthier and stronger. That helped my psyche, but didn’t help me sleep unfortunately.
Metabolic Cleanse: Days Five – Seven
These three days were the most difficult of the cleanse in terms of diet. Now, you can only eat from the following list: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, collards and bok choy), greens (including spinach, red and green lettuce, romaine, endive, watercress, radicchio, arugula, and escarole – though I don’t even know what that is), whole or freshly juiced apples and pears with no added sugars (organics preferred), fish, legumes, water and herbal tea. Food can be seasoned with oils, vinegar and herbs only.
Increase nutritional beverage to two scoops four times per day.
Increase AdvaClear capsules to two capsules three times per day.
My Experience, Days Five Through Seven
I had what I thought was the flu, but considering the side effects of a cleanse include fatigue, malaise, aches and pains, emotional duress, acne, headaches, allergies, and symptoms of colds and flu, I believe it was part of my healing process. Detoxification specialists call these reactions healing crises, caused by temporarily increased levels of toxins in the body due to elimination and cleansing. Which is all to say, it’s a good pain, but pain nonetheless.
I had very little energy all three of these days and strenuous exercise was pretty much out of the question. I reminded myself often of the end goal and try to ignore the temporary pain. (If you begin the cleanse on a Monday, these days are Friday to Sunday. My recommendation is to try to schedule your cleanse to coincide with a weekend where you don’t have a lot of activities or obligations so you can rest, recover, and eat only at home due to the eating restrictions).
Finding food options was not as easy. I came up with this salad (organic spinach, organic honey crisp apples, organic garbanzo beans and organic hummus drizzled with olive oil and vinegar), and it made me happy.
Metabolic Cleanse: Day Eight
Add back in all other fruits, vegetables and white rice to diet.
Decrease powdered beverage mix – 2 scoops three times a day.
My Experience Day Eight
When I woke up on day eight – although it was only 5:30am – it felt like the sun was shining and birds were singing. I felt phenomenal for the first time during the cleanse. Finally, my cold has dissipated, the pain was gone, my head was clear and I was ready to embrace the day.
After getting kids off to school, I headed to The12 for my first workout in five days and powered through pretty well. It was also nice to add back in the rest of the fruits and vegetables, as well as rice. Oh beautiful rice, I had never been so excited to eat it in my life.
Metabolic Detox: Day Nine
Add millet, tapioca, amaranth, buckwheat, legumes, nuts and seeds back into diet.
Decrease powdered beverage mix – 2 scoops twice a day.
My Experience Day Nine
Day nine felt a lot like eight. I had my best workout yet at The12, and burned more calories than any of my previous workouts. Chicken was reintroduced today, which made me very happy. I never though I could tire of fish, but I found that I needed to mix it up. I roasted an organic free-range chicken (seasoned with lemon, rosemary, garlic, and a little bit of sea salt). I combined with red potatoes and green beans and finally, for the first time since I started the cleanse, my family and I could all eat the exact same meal.
Metabolic Cleanse: Day Ten
Slowly reintroduce foods that have not been added to diet.
If food allergies are suspected, try one at a time and wait 24-48 hours for a reaction.
My Experience: Day Ten
I’m done, I’m done, I’m done, I’m done! There may have been some skipping and happy dancing. There was no champagne sadly but I did overindulge in sparkling water.
On a more serious note, I have to say I am proud of myself. Forgoing caffeine, alcohol, processed sugar, salt, eggs, soy, beef, pork, foods with wheat or wheat flour or corn or cornflower, and any processed foods is no small challenge. I am so glad I did it.
I can’t stop smiling because I feel (and I think look) so much healthier. I can not wait to build on the progress I have made during the next step of this journey. I hope you follow along. I’ll keep you posted…
Well done on making it through – and I love the pictures of your meals, they look great!!
Thank you Rose. I appreciate your feedback! It’s hard work but so worth it when you see the results.
Pingback: My Twelve Week Challenge: The Results, Part One | OC Green Mama
Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to know so much about this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something.
I think that you just can do with a few % to pressure the message home a bit, however other than that, this is wonderful
blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.
Your math was incorrect. You lost 4.4lbs
Yes, you are right Maggie. I lost 4.4lbs. not 4.3. Thank you for pointing out my mistake. Hopefully you found some helpful information in the rest of the post. 🙂
My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your
post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write
in relation to here. Again, awesome web log!
Thanks for your info on your detox. I am on day 4 today and have not experienced any of the pain yet. I did notice that I had a hard time keeping up with the rest of my family and dogs on yesterday’s walk though! My biggest challenge is that I can’t swallow pills so I’m having to add the capsules into my smoothies and they don’t taste very good. I’m not looking forward to the next few days when the quantity increases. I have IBS and I’m also concerned that the cruciferous vegetables and all of the apples are going to leave me bloated and gassy the rest of the week 😦 The first few days were bad enough! lol I will push through and see how it goes!
Glad it is going well for you Melissa. Glad you haven’t experienced any of the pain. Hope days 5-7 aren’t too bad. Along with the cruciferous veggies, I ate a lot of salad with hummus, apples and fish. Good luck to you!
Thanks so much for the information on your cleanse. I have used the Metagenics products in the past and had the same results. Just don’t remember exactly how my dr. had me do the regimen, so thanks for sharing your experience. Just one question, on days 8-9 you show that you reduce the amount of shakes, but do you leave the capsules at 2 caps 3 times a day those days?
I believe that is it Ben. It’s been a while now so I can’t remember exactly – but I know that I followed the instructions detailed in the Metagenics instructions included with the cleanse powder and capsules.
I’m going into day four right now and have spent most of the night awake due to hip and lower back pain. Reading your blog gives me faith that this will pass and what I’m doing is worth the effort. It helped to find out someone else has experienced hip pain like this while detoxing. Thank you for documenting your experiences and sharing them.
I’m so glad you found it helpful. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. Good luck with the rest of the challenge!
I too have been experiencing the most intense sciatic-type pain on day 3 now day 4 of a cleanse. It was so severe that i couldn’t lie down or sleep. I did not relate it to caffein withdrawal until a Google search. Just because I was curious I had a shot of espresso and in literally 5 minutes all pain was gone. I am now lying in bed comfortably – probably not going to sleep well because of the caffein shot but now I know that the caffein/sciatica pain connection is real. Now I am curious as to why this is. Thanks for your post.
I just started this cleanse, tomorrow is day 3. I’m having a difficult time getting the shakes down; actually gagged this morning. Pretty much one of the worst tastes I’ve ever consumed in my life. You didn’t mention any issues. What did you mix the shake powder with for consumption?
Hi Sara. Yes, the Ultraclear can be tough to get down. I refer to it as the “sand shake”. 😉 I am actually doing another cleanse right now to start the 2016 year – so I feel your pain. I mix it in the included mixing container with 4 oz. water, 4 oz. of pure, organic apple juice, and a few ice cubes. The apple juice gives it enough sweetness and the ice cubes make it cold enough to get down. Hopefully that will work for you too. Let me know what you think if you try it. Good luck!
I’m curious about your use of garbanzo beans and hummus on days 5-7. I’m following a 10 day as well and my days 5-7 read the same as you listed. I would have loved to have an option other than oil and vinegar to top my salads!
Yes Peggy, beans are allowed on all days of the challenge so garbanzos and hummus were huge for me. Makes salads so much tastier!
I’m on Day 4 of the cleanse but I have to admit that I still have a cup of coffee in the morning. I can’t imagine going to work without my coffee & making my co-workers suffer. Did you ever find that you pooped more during this cleanse. Not meaning to be gross but if you’re going to be honest, then be honest!
Yes Jan, I found the same thing. I think the Ultraclear Renew powder has that effect on people. 😉 Hope the rest of your cleanse is going well.
Hi, thanks for posting your experience with the cleanse! I am on Day 4 and am having a strange symptom and can’t find information on-line about it, so thought I would ask you:) I have a metallic-type taste in my mouth and my teeth/mouth feel very sensitive and almost tingly. Could this possibly be a symptom of mercury or metal detoxification? I am not using the Ultra Clear Renew, but am using the Ultra Clear Plus. Also, the bottle of Adva Clear states to take 2 capsules per day, but I think my Metagenics rep has mentioned to take as many Adva Clear as needed to buffer uncomfortable detox symptoms, so I am taking 4 per say. It looks like that’s how many you were taking as well, is that correct? Thanks very much in advance!!
Hi Kara. I did not have the metallic taste symptom so I’m not really sure what that is from. I did find that most side effects of the cleanse subsided by days seven/eight though, so hopefully it is resolved soon. In terms of number of Advaclear capsules, it varied by day. I followed the guidelines in the guide that came with the kit. Increasing number of capsules I think days 4-8, then backing down again before the end. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with the rest of the cleanse.
At what point do you take morning supplementation? Right after breakfast or wait an hour or so after breakfast. Same with afternoon supplementation. When do you take that.
Hi Charles. Thank you for your question. I took the supplements along with my meals. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Thanks for your post. I am on Day 9 and feeling incredible. I am 65 years old so was wondering if my system would be too toxic for positive results. However; I feel restored. I found the caffeine piece to be the most difficult. I had been drinking one cup of coffee at 6 a.m. and another half at my desk at 8 a.m. Honestly, without that caffeine (or any other caffeine), I was quite sluggish throughout the first several days. I missed salt, cheese, yogurt the first few days, as well. I’m looking forward to the next phase of my new path. I have returned to appreciating mornings as I wake up after a solid sleep, ready for the day. Looking back, the ten day plan was well worth it.
You mention 12 weeks. I was interested in what the rest of the time was about, besides the 10 day cleanse. Thks.
Here is a link to view all the posts pertaining to my 12-week challenge. I think this will answer your question. If not, let me know and I can provide additional detail. https://ocgreenmama.com/category/my-12-week-challenge/
Hi. I am just now completing the 10 day program and do not want to lose this great feeling. I am interested in finding out if you used another metagenics shake to keep up after? Can you offer me any tips as to which to use? I am looking into either the healthy transformation or the regular ultra clear. HELP! 😅
Hi! I can’t thank you enough for this blog. I read it 2-3 times to prepare for the detox and now as I am STRUGGLING through day 6 your blog is my only comfort. Today has been the worst and I started thinking maybe I did something wrong, but after reading again I can see that this is my body doing real work. Thank you for taking the time to write out your food and physical experience each day.
So glad you found this helpful. I wish you the best in finishing your cleanse. I am hopeful you are feeling better today.
I’m on Day 4 of simply abstaining from coffee/caffeine. Day 1 and 2 I had a headache. Days 3 and 4 my lower back feels like I’ve been beat with a bat. Last night I just rolled around looking for a way to be comfortable. I don’t even drink a lot of coffee, no sodas/tea/energy drinks. I’m shocked at these withdrawals.
I had the same experience. It’s crazy how much of a withdrawal it was. Good luck with the rest of your cleanse. Hang in there. It gets better.