Life Lessons

Lean clean machine

If you’ve been following some of my social media posts recently, then you might know I’ve just come to the end of a 21 day cleanse. First, let’s read the riot act involved; no dairy, no gluten, no sugar,  no caffeine, no booze. No animal protein from week 2. Optional magnesium salt baths, liver cleansing castor oil packs. Tumeric tea. Definitely no G n T.

Why embark on such a regimented trek? Well, over the last while, I’ve felt stuck in a real rut. While I try to eat healthily and exercise, as a busy mum I just always felt in a rush. I had slid into that “I’ll get on a better track next week” kind of mentality. Stubborn post kid kilos that just wouldn’t shift. Feeling tired from the moment I woke up. Mood swings. Bloating. Grabbing food on the go. A habit of unwinding with a glass (or two) of red. Waking up (or being woken up) and finding myself tossing and turning unable to get back to sleep. Rising in the morning a bit grumpy, a bit run down, a bit fed up. To be honest, just not feeling that great in my own skin.

So when it popped up on the old FB that a few people I knew were signing up for this 21 day Winter Cleanse, I thought, why the heck not. Can’t be that hard, can it?

I’ll not lie to you, it has been quite a journey. Week 1 saw me replace my morning Tetley with hot water and lemon, and go cold turkey on my post school run Costa. My fridge was packed to the gills with green things, and the husband’s resolve to stand in solidarity with me on the no booze front lasted just a few days. Cue awful caffeine and sugar withdrawal headaches, irritability, achy muscles, cravings and an overwhelming feeling that 21 days was – well – maybe just a little too ambitious.

Usually it would be at this sort of hurdle that I’d give up.

After a few days though, these detox symptoms eased significantly, and things were looking much, much brighter. I was sleeping better. Feeling lighter. My skin had perked up. My belly bloat was beginning to deflate. I felt pretty sprightly. While there were of course good days and bad, I was determined to stick with it. Just to prove to myself that I actually had the resolve to see this bad boy through.

So, with 21 days under my looser belt, here are some of the changes I’ve experienced and the lessons I’ve learned along the way…

Let’s start with the vital stats, shall we?

Weight Loss: 4.4 kg (this really surprised me)

Waist: 2.5 inches off (hello hint of abs)

Hips: 1.5 inches off (farewell muffin tops)

Chest: 1.5 inches off (could have done with boosting this, but you can’t have everything)

  • I feel SO much less bloated. My skin is clear. My eyes whiter. My hair looks better.
  • I’ve slept like a log when not abruptly awoken by little people.
  • I’ve woken up each morning actually feeling fresh and not uttering the words “I’m SO tired.”
  • I’ve not felt the need for a nana nap mid afternoon.
  • I’ve used vegetables I’ve never even heard of. Persimmons. Sunchoke anyone?
  • I’ve finally cured my phobia of kale. Sautéed, smoothied, tossed in a salad. You name it, I’m your guru.
  • I’ve used my Nutribullet more in the last 3 weeks than I’ve used it in the 5 years I’ve had it.
  • My wedding rings are spinning around on my fingers again. For months, I was having to pull them off at night because my fingers felt swollen.
  • I realised how much importance I placed on food and drink as a form of entertainment and enjoyment. How much I craved things, from a glass of wine to a pretty crappy take away coffee.
  • I feel happily more present in things, from time spent with the kids to my own work.
  • My mood has elevated – in fact, my husband thinks I’ve been way more agreeable on the old cleanse.
  • I realised just how much I was eating my kid’s dinner. I had convinced myself I was only nibbling a little, but seriously…
  • I’ve massively upped my intake of plant-based things. And feel very good for it.
  • I thought the term ‘brain fog’ was just a cliché, but I definitely notice more clarity. I’m not forgetting things as often. My mind actually feels sharper.
  • I finally feel more in control of what I’m eating.

Would I do it again? Yes, absolutely. In fact, moving forward, I’m finding it hard to just go back to my old ways. I’ve done detoxes in the past – 7, maybe ten days max, but have just hopped off the wagon and back to my old tricks again at the end of it all. 21 days is enough to help make a sizeable dent in your habits and make you much more mindful of what you’re putting into your body.

The cleanse was created by Dubai based Nutritional Health Coach, Jo Owen, of Nourish Flourish & Fly. The lovely thing about this programme was the support – access to a facebook group to keep you spurred on, plus a free one on one follow up strategy session with Jo post detox. She is also currently working on her Spring Cleanse, might just see you on board!

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  • Reply Joanne Arganaraz February 18, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I so badly need to join you on this! It always seems a lot harder with the multi responsibilities of motherhood and work…Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply Cheryl Parsons February 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

      I know, it was tough Jo! But I am so pleased I finally got around to doing something like this. The support definitely helped. And wonderful Inoka who lives with us and all her chopping!! 🙂 Maybe we will try the next one together! xx

  • Reply Jade August 11, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I’ve been meaning to do a cleanse for a while now… after a 2 month long stay in another city and all the eating out, I badly need one. Thanks for the inspo!

    • Reply Cheryl Parsons January 23, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Jade! Yes, I have done 3 now and always go back to the principles of them when I’m feeling out of sorts! x

  • Reply Ailsa lena August 12, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I have always admired your site, Thanks for the great tips and work .

    • Reply Cheryl Parsons January 23, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      Thank you Ailsa!

  • Reply Aayat Harb September 26, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Such a great post, and after this post i think you are the best mom:)

    • Reply Cheryl Parsons January 23, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      Many thanks Aayat! x

  • Reply Ailsa lena September 29, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    This is a great blog. I am pretty much impressed with your good work. You put really very helpful information.

  • Reply Amal Owasi June 11, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    Wow, what a journey of hardship and patience, and finally tasting success. Clean eating in my opinion along with mild exercise is the only way to fat loss. Can you tell me what food you ate which I can easily cook at home with common ingredients and veggies?

  • Reply Hamad Altuwijiry July 4, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Very very delicious food, i will going to try. I appreciate your blog post~!

  • Reply Abbas July 28, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    Wonderful Website Great Work ( letting go of the constant pressure to be perfect, )
    Great Thinking Keep it up

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