By Guy Lawrence
One Sunday in Feb, 7pm at the Spanish Fly tapas bar in Randwick.
Waitress: “Would you like greens with that sir?”
Me: ” I’ve been eating greens for the last six weeks. Only the steak thanks- Just make sure its juicy, bloody and rare!”
It had been 6 weeks since I sank my teeth into red meat. Thankfully the time had come.
Just before I embarked on this detox, I envisioned having to avoid all coffee shops and having my complete lack of organisational skills being severely challenged. This turned out to be not that difficult once I got going. But watching my flat mates stuff a packet of Tim Tams down along with a hot chocolate was a totally different ball game!
From the outside looking in, I think ‘detox’ is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot, but with a lack of understanding to the real thinking and meaning behind it. It’s taken me a 6 week commitment, many a blog post, reading and countless questions to Tania (naturopath) to get my head around the whole process.
In saying that, I really enjoyed the challenge, and once I had committed, it was not as hard as I thought it would be to follow through.
My main concerns were:
Would I lose weight? – Would I feel like crap? – Would my training suffer? – Would it be worth it?
I started the detox in January after a 2 week break. I was concerned I would waste away, but at the same time I wanted to comply to the rules and religiously stick to the diet for 6 weeks.
I ate copious amounts of food each day. I also dramatically increased the amount of natural fats in my diet for higher calorie consumption, some days I would have up to 400ml of 100% natural coconut cream and 12 whole eggs!
I still dropped 1.5kg of body fat, and gained approx 2kg of muscle mass. I hadn’t changed my training routine much either and was averaging about 5 training sessions a week.
Feel like crap?
Surprisingly no. I had a beast of a headache when i stopped the coffee, and I had a headache for a few days when I went into the last 2 week phase (the liver). But i guess it depends on what kind of life style you lead before doing it. The more negligence, the more work there is to be done is the way I see it.
I certainly wouldn’t encourage just buying something off the shelves and hoping for a quick fix. The reality is, how do you know where your body is at? And if it’s going to help?
Did my training suffer?
These days I train to sustain my health. The vanity of my younger days of wanting to sustain sub 8% body fat and having those mirror muscles permanently flexed is behind me. In saying that, I do have set training standards I stay within and look to make my training sessions as efficient as possible.
During the detox, I chose one staple weights exercise to gauge myself and see if my strength would improve or diminish over the 6 weeks. That exercise was the dumbbell chestpress. I included this in my workout once a week, and I would fail on my final set at 6 repetitions. Then the following week I would go up 2.5kg heavier with a dumbbell set. I.E. If I failed with a pair of 35kg dumbbells at 6 rep’s, the following week I would see if I could do 6 rep’s at 37.5kg, and so on…
To my surprise, I responded every week over the 6 weeks, with the final week pushing 6 reps at 45kg (each dumbbell).
So my strength certainly didn’t suffer.
Was it worth it?
There is something very satisfying in achieving a goal you set out to do. Especially when it can really challenge you and there are many uncertainties that go with it. So just completing the duration was rewarding in itself.
When my daily habits were under the spot light, it certainly high lights your habitual choices around your own health that you make daily, which is a great thing because if you are serious about your commitment, then 6 weeks is a great time to try something new and learn more about yourself.
The one thing I got continually asked during the detox was: do I feel better for it?
Have you had any side effects?
Both questions kind of contradict each other really. If I had side effects I wouldn’t be feeling better at that time, and feeling better for it had no side effects. Does this even make any sense??
But over the course of the 6 weeks, I can say yes to both.
If you think of your body as a car engine, popping it in for a service once in a while would be a great thing to help it run more efficiently and effective. I also feel that our bodies have the potential to be a Ferrari. Except many don’t get out of first gear and open up the engine for most part of their day. Compounded with bad fuel it’s going to run into trouble and not run on all cylinders.
So think of a detox as cleaning out the engine, it might puff out some smoke initially but it’s going to run a lot better.
If you were to ask me should I do a detox? Hands down I’d say yes every time, but I would also seek guidance every time too, as it’s something that needs to be prescribed accordingly.
If you live in the Sydney area and are considering an overhaul or you’re simply curious, I can highly recommend Naturopath Tania Flack, as she’s fantastic what she does and guided me through the detox every step of the way.