Review of The Clean Program

Grilled Halibut with Capers,Olives and Tomatoes
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The first time I tried The Clean Program it was fall of 2009. At 5'9, I weighed 162 1/2 pounds and I really, really wanted to weigh 150 pounds. I read about the program on Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP newsletter and I figured if it was good enough for Gwyneth (you get the picture).

I did the program not only to lose weight but also because I wanted to give my system a thorough cleansing. I figured it was the human equivalent of taking the car to get a complete system overhaul.

My first full day was a disaster. I caved in at an office party and ate 3 decadent slices of coal oven pizza and then that evening while wandering around Manhattan waiting for a party to begin, I caved in again and ordered a McDonald's hamburger, small fries , and a Coke. Pizza and hamburgers are not on my daily menu, but there was something psychological going on there. Obviously I was breaking all the rules and on purpose.

The 2nd day, I seriously considered wiping clean the slate and using that as the first day but my friend talked me out of it, and so on my 2nd day I was very, very good, except for 3 tiny pieces of Cadbury chocolate.

Day 4 I was also very, very good.

But enough about that, what about Day 5 through 22?

Day 5 Through Day 22

As the days wore on, I was able to keep up with the program. Every morning I drank the shake (a mix of powder, ice, agave nectar and a frozen fruit, such as blueberries) and took my pills.

Every mid-morning I had a snack of more almonds than is really allowed. Every day for lunch I ate skinless chicken and steamed veggies or fish and veggies or a big salad full of veggies. Every mid-afternoon I had another pile of almonds. Every evening I did another shake.

And every day I cheated with a piece of chocolate candy.

A word to those of you who are married (skip this paragraph if you live alone): I'm a single woman who lives alone but I've noticed that my friends who are married have a much harder time dieting because their lives are so entwined with their husbands. My friends, for example, drink a lot more than I do because each evening they share a couple glasses of wine over dinner with their families. I rarely drink alone. So my advice to those of you doing this who are married or who have a family is to ask for their support through this cleanse. If they agree to "have your back" as you go through 21 days of clean eating, then they will feel a sense of accomplishment with you when it's over.

One hard thing about the Clean Program is feeling like a buzz kill when out with friends. Here they are drinking wine and eating rich foods and you are relegated to soda water with a splash of lemon. My friends were very nice to me, however, and I think people were generally impressed that I was sticking to a program.

The best thing about the Clean Program was how good I felt. I've told everyone that the biggest takeaway from the cleanse is learning how good it feels to eat cleanly. My stomach was never upset.

I never felt bloated. My energy levels soared.

I did miss sugar and coffee and cream and bread. But my body didn't. Once the cleanse was over, of course, I went back to some of my old habits, but I did learn so many good ones that I've kept to this day.

It's very important to maintain some level of physical activity. Every day you should work out, run, walk or do an exercise tape because if you don't, you simply won't be burning enough calories to lose your maximum weight.

What Happened After the Cleanse?

In the end, I lost about 8 pounds. I felt so great that 6 months later, I did the cleanse again. I didn't lose as much weight the 2nd time.

Update 6 years later: I never did the cleanse again. I have adopted some very healthy habits over the years that stem from this cleanse. For example, I rarely drink anything other than seltzer water with lemon and a morning coffee.

I don't even drink much alcohol. I also know how to make a mean morning smoothie full of yummy stuff like frozen organic blueberries, almond milk, chocolate protein mix (I love NuMedica powders) and some other good stuff like spinach (you can't taste it) and cashews.

For those of you interested in this cleanse, I highly recommend Junger's book, ​Clean—Expanded Edition: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself.

Read more about the "The Clean Program" on the official Website.