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
Have actually put on weight
Having weird existential crises for some reason
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.