I’ve had a lot of questions about my juice fast weight loss. When we left off, I’d lost 8 lbs in 10 days. I’d made it through the tough transition phase, learned it’s not easy to keep up a juice fast while traveling and realized that intense exercise and juice fasting didn’t mix well.
I’ll post a final juice fast weight loss total (with a graph) at the end of this post.
Incorporating Some Solid Food
These monthly experiments are done in the name of fun. I’m a big fan of pushing my own limits, of personal development and doing hard things for the sake of doing hard things. Every so often, I have to draw a line.
I hit a wall with the juice fast around the 2-week mark. Despite increasing my juice intake, I started to feel pretty weak. I’d feel fine while just sitting around the house, felt great while at work, but running just wasn’t possible. Even walking for 4-5 miles made me feel lousy. I lead an active lifestyle and being light-headed and weak just doesn’t work for me. So, I had to modify the rules a bit.
One of the rules I had for this experiment was: If I drop below a healthy weight, I will start eating nuts and legumes. My weight was already dropping faster than I could sustain, and I figure that if I can’t walk my dog in the afternoon, it’s not healthy. So I started adding some protein into my diet in the form of nuts and beans.
I always feel bad when I don’t meet a goal I set for myself, but in this case I realized that my goal was unhealthy and modifying it was smart.
After incorporating some more protein, I started to feel better very quickly. I’d still have the same amount of juice each day, just supplemented with some simple solids. Not only did my dizziness go away, I was able to start walking and running again.
If you’re an athlete and considering a juice fast, I suggest keeping it short, or not being too strict. I’ve talked to other people who have done a juice fast and felt great the whole time. None of them run 5 miles a day, so, that’s probably where my problem was. Just as I learned during my workaholic experiment, sometimes I try to do too much. 🙂
Another Road Trip
Something you’ll learn about me as you read this blog is that I go on a lot of road trips. Pretty much any weekend that my wife and I don’t have an obligation (or weather) keeping us home, we tend to hit the road and try to have an adventure.
We took a 3-day weekend from the 18th to the 20th and headed down to Los Angeles. When I weighed in on the morning of the 18th, I was down 8lbs from my start weight. I knew I wasn’t going to try to keep up a juice diet, but planned to have juice for at least one meal a day. If you’ve read this blog for long, you know I’m basically addicted to Mexican food. 🙂 LA has so much amazing Mexican food, resistance would have been futile.
I was interested to see how the return to a solid food diet would go.Would I get full quickly or feel sluggish? Not really. I had Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was surprisingly uneventful. I also got to have a ton of fun on the trip, spending some quality time with friends and family, hiking through the Santa Monica mountains and enjoying the change of pace.
I didn’t really think much about the juice fast until I got home. That’s when things got interesting. When I weighed in the day I got home, I expected to have put on 3 or 4 pounds. I was shocked to see I was the exact same weight as before my trip. That was weird.
If you look at the graph of my juice fast weight loss (below), you’ll see that my weight dropped sharply at first and then plateaued a bit in the middle of the month.
When I got home from LA, I decided I would resume a pure juice fast for the rest of the month. In the week after my Mexican foodstravaganza, my weight started to drop really quickly again.
I have a theory about what happened, but I really don’t know. My thinking is that my body had adjusted to the juice fast and decreased calories and my metabolism slowed. That’s when my weight-loss plateaued. It makes sense that the body would slow down and go into preservation mode. When I went to LA and ate a
100% Mexican food normal diet, my body probably thought something along these lines, “ok, it looks like we’re not actually in starvation mode, so we don’t have to worry about slowing down the metabolism after all.” Of course, I went back on an all-juice diet for the rest of the month. So, basically I tricked my body. My weight dropped sharply at the end of the month. That’s my theory anyway. I’m sure someone reading this can correct me.
Juice Fast Weight Loss Total
I mentioned in my first juice fast post that I wasn’t doing this juice fast for weight loss. I knew it would happen, but it wasn’t my motivation. Still, I tracked my weight because a lot of people were interested in that aspect of the juice diet. I’m 6’2″ and started the month weighing a pretty fit 171 lbs. I ended the month weighing 160 lbs. I lost 11 lbs in 29 days. You can see a graph of my weight loss here. Click the image to enlarge it.
I was pretty surprised to have dropped 11 lbs so quickly. I’m a pretty skinny dude, a runner and a mountain climber.
When I started off, I thought I wouldn’t like even losing 5 lbs, but I have to admit that I enjoy feeling lighter on my feet. I’m excited to see how weighing 160 lbs impacts my running and my climbing. I’ll post an update about that. I’m also curious to see whether I’ll maintain this new weight or drift back up to my “normal” weight. I’ll let you know about that, too.
If you’re thinking about going on a juice fast in order to lose weight, I don’t know if it’s the best approach. Juice fasting is extreme, and I’m not sure it’s even healthy for everyone.
I would suggest people talk with their doctor before taking on a juice fast, and aim for a fitness plan that isn’t so extreme. Extreme regimens aren’t sustainable over the long run, and you’ll probably be better off making small lifestyle changes that you can maintain forever. Building healthy habits is a much better goal, in my opinion.
Often times, I take on a monthly experiment with a specific goal in mind. I did the Stop Working Late experiment because I wanted to stop being a workaholic. It worked, and that’s been great, but the Juice Fast experiment was different.
I wasn’t trying to change a habit. I did a juice fast mostly out of curiosity.
Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juice made me feel great. Playing with my fancy new juicer was a lot of fun, too. I have a soft spot for gadgets, and this one was easy to justify.
So, am I going to continue juice fasting? No, but I am going to keep juicing on a more limited basis.
Juice fasting is hard, and extreme, and kept me from running. Juicing is something I’m still really excited about.
I wasn’t getting nearly as many fruits and veggies in my diet before doing this juice fast. Consuming more healthy foods is something I’m going to keep doing going forward. Instead of juicing every day, I’m planning on making juice a few times a week. Instead of juice for every meal, I might drink juice once or twice a day.
An extreme lifestyle can be fun sometimes, but I prefer to take a more balanced approach. I’m looking forward to going on a nice long run and enjoying a super burrito from my local taco truck. In fact, I think I’m going to do that right now. 🙂
Have you done a juice fast? How long did you go? What did you learn? Share your experience in the comments.