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.
Metabolic Cleanse: Day Three
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…