When most people start weight loss programs with a bang. You’re excited and all gung-ho about it. You’re telling all your friends and family. They’re excited for you too. You follow your meal plan to a ‘t’, hit the gym, or pop in your workout tapes, or go running or cycling or whatever you choose to do to lose weight.

Then a few weeks pass and your body hasn’t changed. You lost a pound, but then you gained two. All this work for nothing. You’re discouraged and feel you’ve failed. You figure, “might as well eat cake, working out is useless.”

Or is it? There is a myriad of reasons your body hasn’t responded to your new eating habits and/or exercise regime. One thing that could help is to prep your body to lose the weight by cleaning out your system. Most people’s systems are clogged by the bad food and eating habits that have built up over many years. By cleaning out your system, you’re making way for other things to to have an easier time leaving your body.

There are several ways to clean your system. Some of them are very expensive and others are virtually free. Some involve complicated equipment and professional assistance, while others you can do on your own. Some can be done in one day, while others will take weeks.

By far the easiest thing to do to help clean your system out is by fasting. I know many people cringe at the sound (or sight) of that word, but fasting can do wonders for you mind and body. And it can be easy. It doesn’t have to be a 40 days and 40 nights fast like Jesus did. Really, I’m not joking.

There are many different types of fasts you can do. Your fast can be as simple as cutting out grains or as strict as drinking water only. Since we’re focusing on weight loss I’m going to narrow down to two types of fasts: juice and raw food. If you’re looking to lose weight juice fasts and raw food fasts are the two best types of fasts to do. A water fast is too strict and will likely slow your metabolism down, which is not what you’re looking for in weight loss.

I recently did two raw food fasts. The first was 7 days. The second for 21 days. In name alone, a raw food fast seems self explanatory, but I was surprised at how many people didn’t know what a raw food fast would entail. I remember being offered muffins, beans, and sandwiches. A raw food fast entails eating just that: raw foods. If a food is cooked, it’s not raw. If it is baked, it is not raw. If it is fried, it is not raw. If it is processed in any way, it is not raw. Tofu is not raw because it it processed. Most ketchups are not raw because they are processed. Steamed broccoli is not raw because it is steamed. Most cheeses are not raw because they are processed.

While I was on the raw fast, I ate mainly salads and juices. I also had a great raw food “cook” book. Without the book I would not have lasted the full 21 days. I probably would not have lasted much more than one week. There’s only so much salad a girl can eat. It had recipes for raw ketchups, spaghettis, sauces, even breads. I’ll admit, while some recipes were delicious, others were not so great. But there were enough options to keep me going.

So how did I feel? I felt alive! The first couple of days were admittedly hard, but once I got into the swing of it I felt great. I felt lighter. I had more energy. And of course I lost some weight. The first 7 day fast left me so invigorated that after two weeks off of it, I challenged myself with the 21 day fast. It was harder, but I’m so glad I did it.

Another fast you can do is a juice fast. It’s very similar to the raw food fast, in that everything must be raw, but the difference is that everything is juiced. This is better than the raw food fast in that your stomach does not have to break down food particles since they’re in juice form. This enables food to get through your system a lot faster. The tricky part is that if you don’t have a juicer, this can get expensive because you’ll then have to buy your juices.

If you decide to do the raw food fast, I would recommend a vegan raw food fast, which would exclude sashimi and smoked salmon, but it’s up to you. You don’t have to do 21 days or even 7 days. Start with just one and take a break. Work your way up. Having support in anything you do makes a great difference, so enlist a friend to join you on your fast and support each other. I’d love to hear any stories or about your experiences if you do try it, even for one day. Trust me, it won’t be so bad.

Until next time, Cheers to a better you!

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