2. May 2013 by swissfitchick
One of my favorite blogger friends, Sloane, posted a great article about juice cleanses/fasts and their dangerous connection to eating disorders and disordered eating patterns.
I was reading it with great interest, since I made many and essential experiences when it comes to this issue.
During all these years of disordered eating, I did for sure between 10-20 cleanses, at least for 7 days. I tried different types. The juice cleanse, the juice/soup cleanse, whey cleanse, gingertea cleanse. Means, I did not eat any solid food for more than a week. Let me get straight and honest to the point – the cleanses I did were not done with the purpose of cleaning, but of losing weight. Most of the time, it was an ’emergency action’ to stop myself from binging and to get ‘rid of the junk and calories’, I was so scared of having in me.
As Sloane said, it’s not, that cleanses are bad in general. I believe in the good things that a cleanse can do, and I am also convinced that a green juice during the day has great health benefits. But I can surely not recommend doing a treatment like this when you are in the middle of an eating disorder. For me, it held me back from a good recovery. It held me back to establish a healthy relationship with food and calories, with a balance between workouts and food.
Sloane: ‘But besides those severe cases, juicing has become the most socially acceptable form of bulimia. Its so common to hear about the benefits of a 3 day cleanse after vacations or the holidays, after weekends of partying, or simply after a few too many days of “over-indulgence”. For many, juice fasting is the new purging.’
I can only agree with that. I was an acute bulimic, but I did not purge that much – my ‘purging’ consisted more of excessive hours of exercise (3-5 hours after a binge), pills (appetite blockers, diuretics, laxatives, aspirine, guarana) and FASTING. Instead of hanging over the toilet after a binge, I stopped eating and told myself that ‘a cleanse was needed’. Sometimes I even PLANNED them – I planned a week of juicing. Guess what happened 2 days before – while panicking about the thought of not getting food for more than a week, I stuffed myself with everything I could grab for 2 days with the ‘excuse’ that I won’t have any calories for 10 days after that. For me, fasting WAS the alternative to purging. In the end, I did a ‘cleanse’ almost every month, which is probably the worst you can do to your body. Binging, working out like mad, purging, taking pills and fasting – how thankful can I be that my body is still functioning properly, I am healthy and my body looks good. It’s a wonder.
Let me get this right – I did 2-3 professional cleanses, with advice and guidance and I did benefit from that:
- Soft and clean skin after 3-4 days
- Great sleep
- The fast-high; great energy after 4-5 days
- Feeling light
- No stomach issues
- Being more mindful and aware of food after the cleanse
For ME, the downsides of the cleanses were:
- The approach was focused on losing weight
- I got addicted to fasting
- Stoking the bad relationship with food
- Holding back my recovery
- Binging before starting the cleanse
My last cleanse is only a year ago. I went to a fasting-vacation. Again, it was my desperate urge to lose weight. But it was different. I was already too far in my recovery. The Non-Food plan for the whole week made me sick. I was miserable almost all week and I counted the days till I could go home and eat again. It was a drag, and – I did lose some water, but no weight. My body was probably just as fed up as I was and held everything back in defiance of cleansing. Which is pretty smart I think. The amazing thing happened a few weeks after that last fasting experience: I was so convinced that me and my body need food, I started to feed it with healthy and solid food and by Summer, I was in shape – without any pills, purges, sport excesses or fasting cures – but with REAL food and an almost normal account of exercise.
I am very interested in your thoughts about this!
Have you ever done a cleanse before?