My Quest for Perfect Health: Juice Fasting

Following a binge over the Christmas period, personal trainer Tim Rees decided to get back into shape with a 10 day juice fast. The results didn't turn out exactly as he had expected...

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I’m naked, standing in front of the mirror holding a doughnut. Wait. It’s not a doughnut. It’s my belly held with the finger and thumb of both hands. How has this happened? I know precisely. I’ve had a lot of fun this month eating and drinking, but now I’m fed up of it. A little voice in my head says,” it’s New Year’s Eve in 2 days, you can’t stop drinking now! What will you do for fun?” I’m taking a hard line on this one and utter aloud, “I’m going to try something that I should have tried a long time ago”.

I’ve heard many things about juice fasting, mostly positive and nothing so frightening that I was worried about trying one. I’ve done a 3 day juice fast in the past incorporating yoga and other emasculating past times and found it difficult. What I was about to embark on was the holy grail of juice fasting; the 10 day vegetable juice fast. Notice the lack of the word fruit in the previous sentence and you begin to feel as I did when I set myself this challenge. This is to eliminate the fructose (fruit sugar) that comes in fruit.

No patience for yoga flickr / Go Interactive Wellness

No patience for yoga flickr / Go Interactive Wellness

Even though I had put on about 4 kg during December this really wasn’t about fat loss but rather health improvement. I suffer from tinnitus. Modern conventional medicine has no idea what causes it (if I had a penny…) but you can rest assured that ‘they’ know what it is. Great. It’s a noise in the ear. Thanks. A ringing, in my case, in my right ear 24/7. To say it’s annoying is like describing Adolf Hitler as pesky. What’s this got to do with juice fasting?

About 5 years ago I put myself on a diet of salad and raw fish after speaking with a nutritionist whom I respect. All home made, 3 times per day with absolutely no exceptions. I did this for 3 weeks and after about 2 weeks I woke up one morning and the ringing had stopped. I knew this because I was woken up by the politically incorrect musings of the scaffolders who get up very early and clatter metal poles together and shout in the middle of the street. This doesn’t normally happen because I have what sounds like a jet engine at super-sonic speed in my ear and by lying on my left side I can’t hear anything else. Bliss.

Pesky Adolf Hitler flickr / reveriewit

Pesky Adolf Hitler (reveriewit / Flickr)

So, my hearing had returned and the annoying ringing had gone, just like that pesky Adolf Hitler (boom-boom!). Now, I can honestly tell you that I don’t know the mechanisms behind why, but sadly it returned one morning about 4 months later. Since then it has fluctuated from bad to terrible in its own capricious manner. I am absolutely sure that it has a link to my diet because it’s always worse when I’m eating and drinking things like bread and beer – the cornerstone to any nutritious medieval diet.  

What follows is my own experience of this juice fast. I don’t care what should have happened, could have happened or might have happened; I concern myself only with the truth and my perception of it. I’m not Tim Ferriss so the only figures I have for you is my weight in kilos every day.

The Rules: freshly juiced organic (where possible) vegetables only. To be drunk within a minute of making. Water, filtered or mineral. Herbal tea and a very strong probiotic everyday. That’s it. No fat, no protein, no solids, no fibre and certainly no fun.

The diary entries below are essentially my Facebook updates with a bit of fluffing out.

Day 1 (84.9 kg) – I’m feeling motivated to do this, really motivated. It’s the 29th December and I’ve got virtually no work on until the 10th Jan, perfect timing in case I lose my ability to show up on time. I leap out of bed, walk into the kitchen and, nothing. I had eaten all my remaining food last night to get away from temptation today. I update my status proclaiming my plans not because I want people to know particularly, but because I need to know that if I ‘jack it’  I would be open for verbal flagellation and name calling. Quite right too. The first thing I notice is how bored I am, and how I have absolutely nothing to look forward to for the rest of the day. Do I really look forward to meal times this much?

Day 2 (81.9 kg) – 3 kg in one 24hrs?! Well it’s actually more more like 36 hours since I last ate, but still that’s a lot of weight. I’m very bored, but not really hungry if I’m honest with myself. However, I feel like I have nothing to be excited about.

Day 3 (80.6 kg) – I head off to my first workout since starting the fast. It’s a Crossfit workout so it’s not going to be easy! I felt fast and light, not the least bit hungry. Not particularly strong but not weak either. My battle is not going to be with hunger but with boredom. It’s New Years Eve and I’m staying in with a juice and some movies, yippee.

Day 4 (79.8 kg) – I had a pretty restless night; really itchy all over. I  put it down to the ‘detox’ effect that happens (according to numerous sources) on day 3 or 4. My ear still sounds like there’s a deranged referee trying to ‘red card’ my ear drum so no change there. My house mate is sizzling some bangers on the stove. Solidarity brother. My energy levels are still absolutely fine and I still don’t feel hungry. I do find myself twiddling my thumbs and looking for things to do. In fact I wrote an article about ‘thinking positive’ because I had to do something!

Day 5 (79.0 kg) – I wake up feeling amazing, really good and bags of energy. My house mate is at it again with the full English but I’m OK with it. I could rip into it but don’t feel any real urge to. He continues to rub it in by watching Man vs Food but nothing is going to break my resolve. I’m feeling great!

Day 6 (78.8 kg) The weight loss has slowed and I’m still feeling good. I couldn’t get into the Crossfit workout so I go to a local class of Hot Yoga. If I was bored to the power of 2 before yoga I’m bored to the power of 10 when I came out. I haven’t encountered that many smug people since I had tea with the Red Arrows. At least I have discovered something: I hate yoga.

Day 7 (Not recorded) This is the first day that I have woken up hungry. I only had two veg juices yesterday because I just couldn’t face another one. I managed to train again today, the sprints really took it out of me though!

Day 8 (77.7 kg) I’m feeling a lot better than I was yesterday. I added a pinch of sea salt to the juice last night just to cover that base. My clothes are hanging off me now although weirdly I’m not hungry. Not hungry like you might expect, more empty. I could eat something but I’m almost nonchalant about it all. The veg juices are so unexciting I have to force myself to drink them.

The novelty soon wears off! flickr / vasta

The novelty of juices soon wears off! (vasta / Flickr)

Day 9 (77 kg) I’m feeling fairly negative about this so far. I haven’t had any healthy eureka moments like some people proclaim. My tinnitus is all present and correct so it feels like a waste of time. Just able to drink another juice, but what I’d rather do is launch my juicer off the balcony. All I can think about it eating something bloody like liver, or blue steak. No thoughts of sugar or starches at all.

Day 10 (76.6 kg) I now look like an extra in a prison camp movie. Lighter than I have been since time began, and infinitely more fed up. No difference to the tinnitus, and I feel like the whole thing has been a waste of time. Weirdly, I’m still not that hungry. I went for a walk today before breaking my fast tonight. Soup.