I Survived the Master Cleanse—Then Gained All the Weight Back

Last summer I voluntarily chose to stop eating for 10 days. I gave up solid foods as part of the Master Cleanse.


Last summer I voluntarily chose to stop eating for 10 days. I gave up solid foods as part of the Master Cleanse.

At 56”, I couldn't budge my scale from around 140, no matter how many times I tried South Beach or Slim-Fast (and yes, I realize my desire to lose was more about vanity than health). A colleague told me hed permanently shed 20 lbs. on the Master Cleanse, a very controversial liquid diet that helped Beyonce quickly slim down for her role in Dreamgirls. The no-solid-food rule sounded a little scary, but the thought of losing 10 lbs. fast was too tempting to resist. So I started poking around the Internet and found a surprising number of Master Cleanse tips—some useful (always stay near a bathroom) and some not (rub your belly to rid it of toxins).

I was ready to spend 10 days ingesting nothing but homemade lemonade. Heres what happened:

Day 1: Every day I was supposed to guzzle 16 oz. of salt water in the morning, and sip a mug of hot laxative tea before bed. According to Google, this was supposed to eliminate years of waste accumulated in my body. Thats basically a fancy way of describing water-like diarrhea and killer stomachaches.

Day 2: I wasnt as hungry as I expected to be and even felt more energized than normal. But that night I went to the movies and could smell my friend eating gummy worms two seats away. I had to sit on my hands so I didnt reach over and steal some.

Day 3: Wanting to burn some extra calories, I spent the day walking around the city. Since youre not eating anything on the cleanse, youre not supposed to exercise—and I soon found out why. Feeling faint, I had to sit down on more than a few benches on my way home. “Are you insane?” my friend texted me mid-rest, begging me to stop.

Day 4: I woke up weighing 135—Id finally broken my 140 plateau! Seeing the scale go down was exhilarating and addicting.

Day 5: Socially, it was an awkward week to cleanse. My colleagues and I were taking our new manager to lunch, and an old college professor wanted to have dinner. My new coworker asked if I wasnt feeling well when I ordered a measly bowl of egg drop soup at a Chinese restaurant. Embarrassed by my no-solid-food streak, I faked an upset stomach.

That night my professor picked a steakhouse. After just two bites of steak and some asparagus, I realized theres a reason youre not supposed to eat solid foods while consuming all that laxative tea.

12 Next
C. Hsu
Last Updated: June 22, 2009

Get the latest health, fitness, anti-aging, and nutrition news, plus special offers, insights and updates from Health.com!

More Ways to Connect with Health
Advertisement