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How Do I Maintain Weight Loss After a Juice Fast?
A juice fast is a period of time – usually between 1 to 3 days – where you consume nothing except fresh juice from various fruits and vegetables. These juices should be prepared at home and contain no other ingredients except what the fast outlines.
The idea behind a juice fast is that our bodies need to occasionally detoxify from all the chemicals, processed ingredients, and other unnatural foods that we tend to put in our bodies that are then hard for them to process.
Juice fasts have also been linked to not only weight loss, but healthier skin and hair, more energy, and better digestion, even when other foods are re-introduced to our diets after the fast.
Few people can come up with reasons not to try a juice fast from time to time to help our bodies reset. But, many of us want to know if we will be able to maintain the weight loss we achieved when the juicing period is over.
It’s less complicated than you might think. But it will take discipline and a desire to follow certain guidelines to make the juicing experience worth your while and pay off in the long-term weight loss you’re striving for.
Reintroduce the Right Foods Back Into Your Diet
After finishing a juice cleanse, you’ll need to follow certain steps as you begin to think about what foods you want to bring back into your diet. Let’s look at this in a “short-term” and “long-term” way.
Your body gets a special type of workout when you engage in a juice fast. While trying to rid itself of the toxins the juice fast encourages, certain organs will be working overtime, like your liver, your gut, and your digestive system as they try and process the toxins being emitted from your body.
For that reason, it’s suggested that you go light the first few days after a juice fast when choosing what you want to put into your body. Though it may sound tempting to reach for a juicy hamburger (because you’re craving the protein) or a crusty french bread loaf (because you want the filling feeling of those carbs), it’s best to give your body a break and not re-introduce these foods quite yet.
Instead, try to eat only raw fruits and vegetables on the first day after your fast, then add in some brown rice, quinoa, and vegetable-based soups on day two. By the third day, you can re-introduce some lean protein, like chicken breast and even some dairy. After 3 or 4 days, your digestive system and liver should be ready to receive other foods as well.
Knowing what to eat the first few days after your fast isn’t too complicated, because you should be keeping it very simple and won’t have many foods to choose from. But the real question becomes – what foods should be reintroduced to your diet for the long term, especially if you are hoping to maintain the weight you’ve lost and still enjoy your meals?
Most people who have done a juice fast struggle with this very issue. They know that going back to bags of potato chips and late-night pints of ice cream probably won’t be the foods that can sustain their new weight loss, and will just end up causing them to regain the weight they lost.
When choosing foods after a juice fast, your best bet is to try and stick with meals that have plenty of leafy green vegetables, healthy fats (like nuts and avocados), and lean proteins, like chicken breasts and fresh fish. Think about processed food as an exception, not the rule. If it comes in a box, think twice before eating it. Sodas, alcohol, and foods made with white, refined flour, and sugar are best to keep to a minimum.
No one is saying you can’t have any of these foods. But remember – you worked hard during your juice fast and sabotaging that work by eating a lot of empty calories may not be worth it.
Move-In a Way That Works for You
Anyone who is considering doing a juice fast probably already knows the benefits to regular exercise and why it’s important to our long-term health and weight loss. But knowing something is good for us and actually doing it are sometimes two very different things.
We could debate all day about what kind of exercise is best for maintaining long-term weight loss. Is running better than walking for burning fat? Should you be doing more reps with less weight when you’re at the gym, or is it fewer reps and more weight for fat burn? And what about a group sport, like a game of basketball or a tennis match? Does this count as your daily exercise requirement?
Though we can’t seem to agree on what form of exercise will help us achieve the most optimal results, one thing we do know is – consistency is key. If you aren’t going to do it, then what’s the point, right?
The best way to figure out what sort of exercise is going to help you maintain your weight loss after a juice fast is to find one that you enjoy and will do regularly. Whether it’s walking the dog every day, going for a hike or training for a marathon – whatever activity is going to be easy to fit into your life is the one that’s going to help you keep those pounds off when your juice fast is over. As someone once told me, “Choose a physical activity that you can’t say no to.” That is some solid advice.
Remember that the general rule of thumb for exercise is to shoot for at least thirty minutes a day. If you want to lose more weight, you may have to increase that amount of time or the excretion level of what you are doing. But thirty minutes doing something you enjoy is a great place to start.
Know Your Why
This may be my favorite one on the list. This has little to do with caloric intake or minutes on a treadmill. It has everything to do with you.
Why did you set out to lose weight with a juice fast in the first place? What motivated you to go through the trouble of researching juice fasts, grocery shopping for the appropriate foods and putting yourself through the process of only drinking your calories for a certain amount of time?
There was a reason you did all this in the first place. And that reason is your “why.”
You’re “why” is going to help you over the hurdles when you don’t want a healthy dinner and instead are calling in an order to your favorite fast food restaurant or are contemplating that second piece of cake and 10 p.m. Knowing your “why” is going to keep you disciplined and determined when cravings pop up or you’d rather watch television than take the dog out for a walk.
Our “why” can be a powerful motivator if we listen to it. And our “why” can help us get back in the saddle when we fall out.
Know your “why” for what made you decide to do a juice fast in the first place and see if knowing that “why” can serve as another resource for keeping you engaged in maintaining your new weight loss.