by Steve Edwards, Director of Results
I like to call the Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse a “performance cleanse.” This is because it was designed to be done with a workout program. Let’s take a look at how this differs from other cleanses, how to tailor it to your needs, and what to expect if you decide to try it.
First of all, it’s not a true cleanse. It’s a calorie-restricted and nutrient-dense diet plan. Traditional cleanses contain very few calories and nutrients. Compared to the much more popular Master Cleanse, it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Traditional cleansing diets are done to rid your system of toxins and bring it into homeostasis. They also contain a spiritual aspect. This process can take a long time, which is why you may have seen coworkers walking around the office in a zombie-like state for weeks on end—swilling a strange concoction of lemons and maple syrup.
The Shakeology cleanse is nothing like that. Depending on how you decide to do it, you’ll be eating frequently and consuming between 800 and 1,200 calories per day, and it could be even more should you feel the need. The point of this cleanse is not calorie restriction, per se—it’s nutrient efficiency. The aim is to get the most nutrients possible into the fewest number of calories. The goal is to put all of these calories to use as a part of your exercise program, to rid your body of undigested foods and toxins, and to bring your hydration levels into homeostasis. The result you’re after is not weight loss—though it will likely occur—but for your body to be running more efficiently. This should make you feel lighter and more energetic, even though you’re doing an exercise program.
How It Works
Your eating structure doesn’t change. You still eat every few hours while you’re awake. Each meal should have a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber. And while you’re not eating as much food as you’d normally eat, your calorie-to-nutrient ratio is extremely high. This means that you shouldn’t restrict the actual nutrients you’re getting by too much, so activity can continue as normal.
We recommend you try to keep your shakes to just Shakeology. Adding fruits of any kind, or seeds (for fat and fiber), or the Shakeology Fiber supplement, can and should be done as you see fit.
Ditto for your one solid meal—a salad. As we all know from any salad bar, the definition of salad can be varied. The goal of the salad in the plan is to keep your calories coming from natural sources (no artificial ingredients should be added, including artificial salad dressing). Aside from that, you can add ingredients as necessary. Keep your meat intake to four ounces or less, but add veggies, seeds, nuts, fruits, and legumes in quantities to satiate you.
The goal of the Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse is to optimize your performance. You want to eat enough to fuel your day AND your workout. The foods you’re eating are so high in fiber and nutrients that it’s virtually impossible to overeat. You’ll be consuming so much fiber, along with enzymes and digestive aids, that your body’s ability to flush excess foods quickly will be at its peak.
What to Drink
Water, of course, is recommended in quantity. This is vital to any cleanse, because one of your goals is to bring your hydration into homeostasis. When your electrolytes are out of balance—the main problem we have is salt—you often retain water outside of your cells. This situation, which we refer to as retaining water, is cured by drinking more water. As the excess salts are diffused, your body begins to hydrate your cells (using sodium as it should be used) and flush the water held outside the cells. So, oddly enough, you drink water to eliminate water retention.
Sodas, alcohols, juices, etc., should be eliminated entirely during a cleanse. Coffee and tea, which are diuretics, should be minimized at the very least and eliminated if possible. Again, performance is the key, so if you need a cup of Joe as a pick-me-up, go ahead. Just use only as needed, and don’t use additives. Eliminating sugar and chemicals is vital. However, do not use energy drinks or soda for this purpose, including the ones with artificial sweeteners. Coffee drinkers may find that switching to black tea during a cleanse will give you the energy you’re looking for with less upset. Coffee’s acidic nature can heighten the effects in a negative way during your cleanse.
Why You Won’t Lose Weight
I should say why you might not lose weight, but I wanted to get your attention. Most people will lose some weight during a cleanse, but that is not the goal. Those with a lot of undigested gunk in their systems will lose weight as it’s flushed out. Those of you who are properly hydrated and already eat well are less likely to lose. For those of you who need to lose weight, take heart: you are setting up your system to use nutrients more efficiently and improving your ability to lose weight through structured diet and exercise. So while you may not lose much on the cleanse, you’ll be more prepared to lose weight later.
Another reason why we don’t always lose weight on cleanses is due to a stress hormone called cortisol. Restricting calories is stressful to the body, and it reacts by releasing cortisol. Cortisol is performance-enhancing in the short term, but if you somehow keep your body stressed for long periods, it creates havoc in your system and can cause you to doggedly hang onto weight in a type of survival mode. We don’t want this to occur, which is one reason the Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse is short. It’s important not to remain in a highly calorie-deficient state for long periods of time, especially when you are trying to exercise hard.
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