My fiancé and I decided to take “eating” matters into our own hands.

By Ysolt Usigan
March 12, 2013

Contrary to what my family and friends might think, I did not do this cleanse because I'm getting married in August.

My fiancé and I decided to take “eating” matters into our own hands after Thai takeout, sushi feasts, and lots of mixed cocktails laced with sugary syrups.

Hey, when you’re planning a wedding, it’s stressful, and you can’t help but eat and drink your feelings.

We decided to try the Isagenix 9-Day Deep Cleansing System. We didn't do much research on cleanses; we just picked the least expensive one we could find at $177 (others were $300 and above). Plus, the reviews were pretty good, and this one actually involves eating (albeit a little), and chocolate snacks and shakes.

How it works

This 9-day cleanse really lasts for 11 days. The first two days are “shake” days, which is a combination of drinking a shake for breakfast, eating a light, low-glycemic lunch, and drinking a shake for dinner. And in between you can eat Isagenix Snacks, which remind me of my dog’s vitamins, but actually have proven to be quite tasty. (But who knows, maybe I only liked the taste because I had forgotten what good food tastes like), drink lots of water, and take capsules that are meant to speed up your metabolism and give you energy.

Then, the next two days are “cleanse” days where you virtually eat nothing at all. You drink a lot of water, the Cleanse for Life serum (it’s like a shot) multiple times a day, and in between, you can eat those tasty Isagenix Snacks to curb your appetite.

After that, there’s four more consecutive shake days, and then two more cleanse days.

The hope is that you’ll get rid of the toxins in your body, and in the process, lose a little bit of weight (an average of 7 pounds, they say) and inches from your waist where you’re likely storing elements that shouldn’t be in your body at all.

RELATED: 5 Things You Should Know About Detox Teas

Day 1 (Shake Day)
This is not your ordinary milkshake. It tastes a little chalky, not as sweet, and definitely not a treat. The snacks, which we ordered in both chocolate and vanilla, aren’t bad. They’re like dense wafers or a harder version of those freeze-dried ice creams. For lunch, I had a grilled piece of tilapia and a small serving of roasted eggplant. All in all, the day wasn’t so bad, and I feel a lot lighter on my feet.

Day 2 (Shake Day)
I’ve never craved a scrambled egg this much before in my life. This shake is not doing the trick. I feel a little lightheaded and weak. Somebody give me protein, please! And these snacks, they might as well be potato chips. When you eat one, you want to have another, and another, and another. The snag? You can only eat 2 in between meals (and they’re the size of quarters!). When lunch came around, it was like heaven. Putting that first piece of grilled chicken in my mouth was like an explosion of taste like I’ve never had, and that was when I realized what a luxury consuming actual food was. But yeah, I’ve lost 3 pounds.

Day 3 (Cleanse Day)
Going into this day, we knew it was going to be rough. It’s detox, after all. Looking at the schedule of what we’re supposed to ingest was scary enough. Instead of drinking shakes and eating low-glycemic lunches, you have just little shots of what’s called Cleanse for Life and the delicious yet tiny snacks to keep you going throughout the day. By 2 p.m., I had a mini freak-out about how hungry I was.

Day 4 (Cleanse Day)
Still freaking out… My mental turmoil led me to a Facebook group of other Isagenix cleansers for support—some of whom started their cleanses on the same day as my fiancé and I, while most were people who go on cleanses repeatedly. (Wait, people do this more than once?) Apparently, some even do it for 30 days at a time. I don’t think I’m quite that dedicated to my body or nutritional well-being. I'm happy to report I've lost 5 pounds so far (my fiance lost 12!).

Day 5 (Shake Day)
This shake is the best thing I ever tasted. The one low-glycemic meal that I ate for lunch (grilled chicken and eggplant) was glorious; it was like I was consuming food for the first time. If nothing else, this cleanse has reawakened my sense of taste and has given me an intense appreciation for food.

Day 6 (Shake Day)
The cleansers in my Isagenix Facebook group said it would be easier after day five, and they were right. I got used to drinking a shake for breakfast and a shake for dinner, and looked forward to my low-glycemic lunches like it was Christmas morning. (I was salivating as I put pieces of lettuce into a container at the salad bar.) Though I didn’t lose any more pounds than the previous weigh-in, this didn’t deter my motivation. For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling good—digesting food nicely (in the past, I’d have a bit of a rumble here and there), and oddly, I have more energy than ever before.

Day 7 (Shake Day)
I cheated, and I hate myself for it. I drank a half a cup of a chai latte with skim milk. (I can’t even believe I’m saying this.) Rewind two weeks ago, and I was drinking grande-white-chocolate-mochas-with-whole-milk-and-whipped-cream on the daily; sometimes even twice a day if I wanted a sugar high mid-afternoon. The culprit on day 7: an outing with my friend, Stephanie. You can have green tea on these cleanses, but the café we went to didn’t have such a thing. I drank the chai latte reluctantly, guilt-ridden, and hurting (mentally) later. I felt like I had failed. No will power here.

Day 8 (Shake Day)
I don’t know if it’s psychological or not, but that chai latte is throwing me off my game. I haven’t craved coffee for days, but now I’m feeling the shakes and I’m so close to running to the Starbucks across the street. Like a shock to my system, that chai latte was. Damn that chai latte to hell! I know I’m being punished for cheating, my stomach isn’t feeling so hot… But I’m going to be strong and drink water instead. I’ll drink it warm and in a coffee cup to trick myself into thinking it’s the real deal.

Day 9 (Shake Day)
I’m not looking forward to the next two cleanse days—I know I won’t be having real meals on days 10 and 11. It must’ve taken me 20 minutes to pick what to buy for lunch—had to choose wisely. I savored every bite. I also drank my shake for dinner like someone was taking it away from me. Mentally, I’m a little shaken up, but physically, my body is feeling great and I have a lot of energy.

Day 10 (Cleanse Day)
This is definitely easier than the first two cleanse days. I didn’t have a freak-out about being hungry. In fact, the day flew by and I felt so energized to the point where I wanted to go to the gym. (Note: I never go to the gym.)

Day 11 (Cleanse Day)
Okay, so this cleanse day is not as easy as the one prior. You know when you are so close to something you can taste it? That’s what I felt like today. I’m longing for sushi. Heck, I’d be happy with a bowl of plain white rice sans protein. I went to bed early so that I wouldn’t be tempted.

What I discovered

On the last day of my Isagenix cleanse, I discovered that I lost a total of 6 pounds. Now that it’s all said and done, even if I didn’t lose the 8 pounds I wanted to, I’m still glad I went on this journey because I learned a great deal about myself and my relationship with food.

The most important lesson for me: I was an emotional eater. And no, I don’t mean the “I’m depressed and I’m going to eat a tub of ice cream” kind of emotional eater.

I’m talking about how certain activities and moments would trigger this desire in me to snack even though my body didn’t really need it--from the TV shows I was watching to where I was sitting in my living room. For instance, I knew I wasn’t hungry, but the minute I turned to Bravo to watch Andy Cohen or any of those Real Housewives, I suddenly felt the desire to pick up a bag of chips or order Chinese food.

Why? Because that was part of my routine and my mind had gotten used to it. Not because my body needed it. I mean, whose body needs General Tso's?

Your body is really smart, but your mind--not so much. During this cleanse, I realized how much my body should really be consuming (calorie-, sugar-, sodium- and caffeine-wise). It’s not what I was ingesting daily pre-cleanse.

How do I know? Because during my shake days, I felt okay; in fact, I felt better than ever before. During days prior to this cleanse, my days were filled with lots of ups and downs, highs and lows. I would get a quick fix from a candy bar or cup of coffee, but would feel lethargic hours later.

I don’t think anyone should deprive himself or herself of delicious treats, but moderation is key.

RELATED: 8 Tips for Controlling Portion Sizes

The aftermath

A handful of days after the cleanse, I was still dropping pounds and eventually reached my goal weight. It truly changed my eating habits for the best.

When you put yourself through 11 days of food detox, you really take ownership of your body. The investment in your nutrition and the progress that you’ve made suddenly become more important than wanting to eat cheese fries--really.

This cleanse really gave me the jumpstart that I needed to make better decisions for the rest of my life. My Isagenix coach once said, “There is a reset button.” And it’s the cleanse!

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