The first week – what to expect
With the first week behind us, and the road ahead looking paved with smooth road, I want to share our experiences for anyone who is just getting going, or who is considering it.
Background: Kat and I both did an 8 day (should have been 15 day) herbal cleanse, right before starting the Four Hour Body slow carb meals. This was on the back of a December that wasn’t the worst eating you might see, but things were slipping and we wanted to start 2011 right. Read on for what we experienced, and what’s common.
First week: I am including in first week side effects from our cleanse, though these should be read as the most extreme cases – as we were off most foods, except vegetables, brown rice (not slow carb), almonds and fish/chicken.
In the first 4 days, we both had a variety of headaches, aches, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and mood swings. I believe this was a combination of lack of food, and being off sugars, starches, and ‘normal’ foods, plus being off caffeine cold turkey. On slow carb, we didn’t experience any of these symptoms at all, in fact we have had a boost in energy, a lift in mood in general, and the fat loss that people talk about, all whilst feeling very well fed.
Potential side effects:
- Confusion of what to eat
- Mood changes
- Changes in bathroom habits
- Puzzled looks from people you tell about it
Tips to make the first week easy:
- Shop ahead and stock your cupboards
- Empty your house of any cheat foods (as practically as possible – we have a cupboard that everything’s away in)
- Plan your first day/2 days of meals
- Drink a lot of water – with lemon juice if you can
- Have a walk or some exercise each day
- Get adequate sleep
- Keep other things fairly routine (ie no travel, no new experimental yoga classes, don’t change coffee habits)
- Don’t keep the company of people that like to talk down anything new, different or challenging to their lifestyle
For those considering the slow carb, Four Hour Body diet, I would recommend that you start over a weekend, and if you can, perhaps do the first week as 8 days – start on slow carb Saturday morning and finish on Saturday morning the next week for cheat day. This will give you 2 weekend days for any sugar withdrawals. The nice thing is you don’t need to go off caffeine, so you don’t get all those withdrawals at the same time.
Some of the first week benefits we found:
- Easier to cook meals
- Clear times to eat – no more guessing or ‘reading’ hunger
- More energy! 2 hours a day more.
- Fat loss – like most people – between 2 and 8 lbs
- Mental Clarity and focus – for me this is a huge one
- Better habits with water
- More awareness of how food affects -everything-
- An amazing sense of freedom on cheat day, haven’t had it for years
Cravings are there because your body likes habits, in all things. Sugar included. It also knows that if you’re feeling tired, sugar is the fastest fix, so try to get adequate sleep and you should be fine.
In review, we had a lot of fun with our first week. There was a lot of new things to try, coffee with cinnamon was one, and a lot of new flavours. After a while, the simplicity of the regular meals, and the choices for them becomes very convenient, and I appreciate not having to think to make lunch. Once you have the first week behind you, you can fine-tune and balance to your liking – you’ll be an old-hand by then.
We also posted our recent slow carb food shopping list, to help people get a feel for what to buy at the grocery store.
All the best with your first week – leave a comment if you have a question, a suggestion or an idea.
You might be interested in reading these too:
- First week in review Just one week. What a change a simple 7 days can make. Hard to believe its a week, as it has zipped by. To say that I’m excited about tomorrow’s ‘crazy food’ day...