If I am honest, this cleanse’s only real rigor is around alcohol. I’ve had coffee (and milk in it) every morning, a little couscous (gluten), some tortilla chips (processed food) and, last night, chicken tika with nan. Not a lot of any of this over the course of 18 days but not the strict adherence I once thought was the magic behind the cleanse — the results being 5 pounds lost, better sleep, clarity of mind.
So, then, results for a relaxed (for me) exclusion diet? Abstaining from alcohol is the key to better sleep, better moods and clearer thinking. I eat more (and better) food, when I don’t have to accommodate the calories in wine, so I have better energy. Wine makes me sleepy, which means I struggle to stay awake in the evening, getting in bed at 9:30, only to wake up at 2 or 3. Poor sleep means fatigue during the day, which affects my moods — the week feels like a slog, I can’t find pleasure in it, I just want to crawl into bed with Netflix. Wine can also make for what I think of as matchstick moods — irritability, impatience, anger. Much more can be written about this (hello passive voice! I’m on to you!) but not right now.
The above sounds so logical and so self-evident that a reasonable person would skip the stupid cleanse and stop drinking wine on weeknights or most weeknights. More on this too: being a reasonable person.
As for weight loss, I’ve been reading more about set-point weight and the body’s old survival-mode insistence on regaining lost pounds. From “Why You Can’t Lose Weight On A Diet” (May 6, 2016 by Sandra Aamodt, author of “Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession With Weight Loss.”)
Metabolic suppression is one of several powerful tools that the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range, called the set point. The range, which varies from person to person, is determined by genes and life experience. When dieters’ weight drops below it, they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger-inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding.
The net-net is precisely what I’ve found: it’s easier to lose weight than it is to keep it off. Post weight loss, even extreme measures will be rewarded by regaining those pounds: exercising daily (me), counting calories with an app (me), cleansing (me). The only question is how quickly you’ll put it back on. I lost 20 pounds and, after two years, have regained 10. Can I be a reasonable person and just accept that?