Hello, I'm Mark Serrels and for the next week I'm going on a juice fast. I'm on my second day, but the preparation started much earlier . . .
It was the Monday before last and I decided to 'prepare' for my juice fast. I didn't want to jump in head first, I wanted to prepare.
I wanted to prepare for a couple of reasons: I was on antibiotics for a random sinus infection, I didn't want to rush into things. I wanted to feel ready. In 2012 I did my Uberman Sleep Experiment and failed. Completely underprepared. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, etc.
Preparation for a juice diet is relatively simple on paper: 'transition' off meat and dairy; eliminate caffeine. Nothing too strict. The idea is to warn your body for the inevitable shock.
But of course, I had to take it to extremes.
In my preparation week I rigidly applied the following rules:
- No caffeine
- No meat
- No dairy
- No chocolate
- No sugar
- Minimal carbs
As a meat loving, chocolate ingesting, caffeine addict it was, to put it bluntly, a living hell.
Fast forward: Friday, five days into my prep week, I wrote the following notes on my iPhone...
Notes about diet
Feel cranky Have actually put on weight Having weird existential crises for some reason Constipated AND THIS IS JUST THE PREP
I had just had an argument with my wife over something so outrageously banal I can't actually remember what it was, only that it was stupid and I, without question, was completely at fault.
Despite eating nothing but vegetables, fruit and (some) bread for almost a week (in reasonable portions) I had actually put on a small amount of weight. I felt terrible. Exhausted. Weak. Angry. Frustrated.
In the most literal terms possible I wasn't 'myself'. I was asking myself strange questions, beyond the diet, beyond food. Why am I writing? What am I doing with my life? Physically and mentally I was down.
Then, on the Sunday, I went to a christening. After the christening there was a lunch. At that lunch there was a BBQ. At that BBQ there were steaks, sausages, succulent chicken. There were cupcakes, chocolate, lollies. I stood starving, at breaking point. I felt numb. I wanted to eat meat so bad. I craved it. I craved chocolate, I craved caffeine. I craved everything I had scratched off the list and it was painful to constantly and consistently say no to things that felt good to eat.
Then, a contrast so polar it shocked me. Completely beyond reason.
When it came time to transition to juice, it was almost too easy.
Day one of my juice diet: I feel fine. I feel surprisingly good. What is this feeling? I feel comfortable in my own skin.
This can't be right . . .
Every single thing I ever read about Juice diets prepared me for pain, for extreme difficulty. 'The first couple of days are always the worst' the articles said. Why, then, did I feel so good? And why did I feel so bad the week before?
Could it be that I was underprepared enough for my prep week?
Could it be that I was overprepared for my juice week.
I have a theory: all the toxins I was supposed to be excreting during the beginning of my juice fast? By eating a largely vegan diet in the first week, it's entirely possible I had already excreted them. All the pain and struggle I went through before must have been a side effect of that. It's possible.
Yesterday: the night of day one. I sat in my apartment completely buzzing. I could literally feel the energy blazing through my capillaries. My feet tapped, my brain felt rapid. Almost too rapid. Probably all the sugar.
But these were feelings I was supposed to be having on day three, day four. Only I was having them right then, at the beginning. Surely this is a good thing, I thought. But internally I was already preparing my body for some inevitable crash.
I fell asleep. Slept well. I woke up at 6am to get ready for work. On the Sunday night, before my juice fast I weighed myself. 69.4 kgs — my normal weight, give or take. On the Monday morning I weighed myself again. 68.6. Again, normal. Weight can fluctuate up to a kg overnight.
Then today, on Tuesday morning, after one day on the juice diet, I stepped on the scales.