During the Christmas period, there was definitely some overindulging occurring. More so on the cocktails than the food really. In fact, in just 4 days I got visibly fatter! Even my face has gone all round and I haven’t yet tried to put on my jeans, I’m just sticking with my stretchy leggings for a while.
So to kickstart the year, I decided to do a 9 day aloe vera cleanse, called the C9. You use the aloe vera as a toxin absorber and for the 9 days, along with a reduced calorie intake of only specific foods to give your gut a rest. You’re have to avoid sugar, alcohol or nicotine and they say no caffeine, but one of the supplements has caffeine in it, so that’s a little contradictory… I guess they mean no tea and coffee, especially if you take them with sugar. So here’s how it went:
Day 1 and 2; The Reset Phase
The first 2 days of the cleanse are the same and they look like this:
You start the day with 2 garcinia capsules. Garcinai as a tree found in Asia and the more tropical parts of Australia. You might know it for producing purple mangosteen or monkey fruit. The bark of the tree is a common ingredient in weight loss and that’s what’s used here. It inhibits the enzyme citrate lyase, which stores fat, so your body won’t store as much fat while you take it, and it activates the serotonin receptors on the brain, making you not hungry.
Generally, I disagree with appetite suppressers, I believe more that you need to learn how to respond to your body’s signals, not suppress them. If your body is hungry, then it needs something. It’s missing some nutrient that it requires to function. The problem is, we don’t know which one it’s missing. This is why it’s important to give it a good balance of healthy foods and hope that the right thing is in there. It will almost never be telling you the it requires 6 chocolate biscuits or a fish supper!
A Small Rant…
The problem is that as a society, we’ve become used to eating as a habit rather than eating as required. How many times have you come home from work and cooked and ate dinner and not actually stopped to consider whether you were hungry? As a society, we expect, that at some point between 5pm and 8pm, we’ll eat a big meal. Have you ever said to someone that you didn’t have dinner last night? I guarantee that they’ll ask you why not. They’ll probably check if you’re not feeling well or did you not have any food in, do you need some kind of help?
To not have dinner is so bazaar to us now that there must have been something wrong with you to not have done it. We eat now out of habit rather than listening to our bodies, who generally know best, but this is more of a side discussion. I just wanted to get in that I am not advocating appetite suppressants to anyone looking for a healthy way of life, but on this occasion I did take them as it’s part of the programme.
Aloe Vera Gel
Thirty minutes after the garcinia, you then take 120ml of aloe vera gel. The process of making the gel involves peeling and stabilising the pure aloe vera plant. If the leaf skin is also used, it will cause a rather upset stomach. Aloe Vera gel is a type of fat that’s absorbed slowly by the body so it passed through the gut, collecting up the toxins that are sitting in there, stopping them being absorbed, and carrying them out the other side.
I had been warned that this was not so pleasant tasting to start with, but that you get used to it. Part of the reason is that at the start of the cleanse there are a lot more toxins in your body (following my Christmas, I don’t doubt that!) so the bad aftertaste is the aloe vera reacting with the toxins. I have no science to prove this. Maybe it’s just that you get used to it as you go along.
The first lot of aloe was actually not so bad. It didn’t taste bad as I drank it, but the aftertaste was indeed unpleasant. However, the second lot, taken at lunch time, made me gag. For a very brief moment I considered that I might throw it up again. This didn’t happen, thankfully, and it passed almost instantly. You don’t get left with the taste for long at all and the rest of the doses were not so bad. I learned that if you just pour it down like a shot, rather than drinking it, it goes much easier.
Therm (or Bee Pollen)
Along with the first and second lot of gel, you also take a supplement called Therm. I’m not entirely sure what this is, but it has caffeine in it, which I don’t tolerate caffeine well, so I swapped this out for a bee pollen capsules instead. The point of it is to give you an energy boost through the day and the bee pollen does that same job.
Fibre and Protein
There’s scheduled in a fibre drink as your mid-morning snack. This is just 10g fibre in 300ml water and doesn’t taste of anything. You can take it at any time through the day, but take it on its own as it may bind to other supplements and cause them to not be absorbed properly. I took this as my morning snack as that fitted well with my morning break at work and then had my protein shake for lunch. There is also a list of fruits and vegetables that you can have at any point throughout the day, some are limited in portions and some are free so you can have as many as you like. For most of the day, I didn’t have anything, but around 5pm I did start feeling hungry so I did dig into some fruit.
Around dinner time, you take 2 more garcinia and another aloe vera dose and end your day with yet one more 120ml potion of aloe vera, so you’ve taken 4 doses altogether.
My Thoughts on Day 1 and 2
A lot of people who have done this said that they’re surprised how little hunger they felt. This was not true for me. I was hungry. I spent a lot of time missing food and announcing loudly that I missed food. Now, I do have to take some responsibility for this, as I didn’t prepare well. On day 1, I didn’t have enough of the allowed foods so I just didn’t eat very much.
Day 2 was better as I studied the list and went first thing in the morning to the shop and stocked up on fruits and lettuce. But Amy’s cannot live on lettuce alone! When you get through it and put it in perspective, it’s also only 2 days. I can make it two days. It’s a good thing to stop piling food into my gut and give it a chance to clear itself out. Our intestines are little confined ecosystems on their own and they need some looking after.
Speaking of clearing it out… There was a lot more clearing out going on than one might expect after 2 days of not actually eating! I guess this is the aloe vera flushing out the leftovers. If you want to try this cleanse, be aware that this happens and is normal. No-one warned me, so I’m warning you.
Days 3 – 9; The Easy Part!
Days 3-9 look a bit different from the first 2 days. The first 2 days are designed to reset your body, flush out your gut and get you clean and ready to go. For the last 7 days, you increase your calorie intake (though it’s still only 1,000 calories) and add in some more intense exercise. It looks like this:
The main difference is that there is more food and less aloe. This makes me very happy. You only have to take 1 dose of aloe vera gel in the morning and then it’s over until the next day. Taking the aloe vera did get easier, but I think it was that I learned to deal with it rather than it tasted better. I did start questioning this around day 7 though. It never became pleasant, but it definitely got better. I stopped minding as much and started thinking that I could get the hang of this as a daily thing. You also add a 500 calorie dinner each day, which I was very excited about, and an extra protein shake. I had Day 3’s dinner planned from before I even started.
On Day 3, you re-take your measurements. I found that I had lost 1.3kg, but no inches. To lose that much in 2 days is most likely due to water loss rather than fat loss though. For this reason, I tend not to put too much stock in my weight. It can fluctuate within 1-2kg even within the same day depending on your salt intake, water retention, what you’ve eaten and even just what time of day it is. Still, you are less bloated from losing water (losing stored water is not a bad thing) and look better.
Some Surprising Side Effects
As the week went on, I was not entirely convinced that I was seeing the benefits I had expected, but I decided to checking my weight and measurements again until day 10 as there’s so much fluctuation in these things that there’s no point looking every day. By Day 6 though, I had found that I was sleeping much better. I have an Up activity tracker that keeps a log of my sleep. For the last month or so, I’ve been pretty tired and not sleeping well. I don’t get up feeling rested. When I looked, I found that I was getting very little deep sleep. I should be getting between 1.4 and 1.8 hours of deep sleep a night and I have been getting between 19 and 48 minutes.
On Day 5 of the cleanse, due to various reasons, I went to bed around 1:00am instead of my usual 10:00pm. I decided to leave the alarm on for 6:00am, but if it goes off and I’m dying, I’ll sleep in. It was a Friday so I could work later in the night instead of in the morning. However, come 6:15am, I was up and starting my day. I got through the whole day and went out after work to spend a couple of hours with friends. I even stayed up until midnight!
The next day, I again woke up feeling really good and when I checked my sleep, I saw that I’d had 1:48 of deep sleep for the first time in over a month. Maybe it’s coincidence, but I know someone else who did the cleanse and said that she slept very well during it too.
I also cheated slightly and ate a macaroon on Day 6 and just a few minutes later I felt it; the sugar rush! Just a small one, but it was still like “Wow, sugar!” So clearly my body is also adapting to not having sugar at all. We take our bodies for granted when they work the way they’re supposed to. We only notice when they break down. So although I didn’t actively notice any major improvements, by day 7 I was just generally feeling pretty good. I even started back at the gym with the Ashy Bines Ab Challenge.
So Was It Worth It?
After the 9 days, I retook my measurements and compared them to when I started. I lost 1.5kg as well as 1.5 inches off my waist and 1 inch from my hips. I think for 9 days this is a good result! It’s not like I’m overweight and have 10kg to lose, so this much was noticeable for me. When you add up the other benefits, like having more energy and sleeping better, I would say yes, it was worth it. Had you asked me this on Day 2, I would have had a very different answer! But after getting past that hump, it really does get easier.
If you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can get it at the right here. I do get a small commission if you decide to try it from this link. If you do, please drop me an e-mail and let me know. I would love to be there as a support through your journey. Had I waited and done it with a group, I think Day 2 would not have been so hard…
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