Ten days ago, my husband and I started Dr. Mark Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Diet. My intention going in was to reset my digestive system after the holidays and to learn what it is like to go through a diet change this intense so that when I complete my certification to become a Functional Medicine Health Coach, I will be able to better relate to my clients. Now that it is done, despite the discomfort of the first five days, I have to admit, I am happy I did this.
Reading through the book, I expected that if I was going to have any sugar withdrawal symptoms that they wouldn’t be too bad and would probably last a day or two at the most. Instead, I had five days of fatigue and brain fog (my husband only had three!). My motivation was non-existent, and it took a LOT of effort to get done what little I was able to. Fortunately, by the time Day 6 came around, the story started to change.
When Day 6 started, it was a complete change. I had energy again, I could focus, and I was motivated to get out and do things. It was such a relief, and that energy has stayed with me continuously throughout each day instead of the usual ebb and flow caused by caffeine and sugar.
I also learned, or should I say reinforced, that I need AT LEAST eight hours of sleep. I’ve always known this, but never committed to it. After these ten days, I know for sure, under no uncertain terms, if I want to regulate my mood and have energy, I NEED at least 8 hours of sleep. The first five days I was getting about seven hours, and it was miserable. The last five days I got at least 8 hours every night, and the difference was incredible.
I strongly encourage you to take the time to determine how much sleep you need and make it a priority. Sure, I knew I if I needed to get up at a particular time that math dictated I should go to bed at a specific time. For some reason, I still had a mental block against going to bed “early.” That mental block is now gone. I am more than happy to hit the sack an hour or two earlier than before if it means I get the sleep my body so desperately needs.
One of the side effects of doing the 10 Day Detox that is mentioned in the book is constipation. Yep, we are going to talk about poop, so skip ahead if you’d rather not.
The PGX powder that is used as an appetite suppressant and an added source of fiber has this known side effect. What I didn’t expect was to have as much of a problem as I did. To be honest, I was surprised to learn I had been having a problem with constipation for a couple months. Full disclosure: my situation involved soft stool once to twice a day, just not a complete elimination of the bowels each time (I had no idea this was constipation!). This left me feeling like I always “had to go” even though nothing would happen. It is an uncomfortable feeling and one of the reasons I wanted to reset my digestive system.
To prevent this known side effect, it is suggested to take magnesium citrate. When we started the detox, I planned for this and added one pill to our morning supplements and one in the evening just before dinner. This plan worked well for the first couple days, and then it didn’t. I went back to the book (Chapter 3) and read through the tips for working through this little problem. My solution was to increase the magnesium citrate to two in the morning, one at lunch, and one at dinner (ensuring we didn’t exceed the daily dose). This helped my husband but didn’t completely fix my problem. For Days 7 and 8, I added in one cup of herbal tea that is intended for just this purpose, and I am happy to report that my bowels are now happily empty.
I’m excited to be done, but mostly because I need a break from cooking. The meals were not that complicated and were very tasty, but having to prepare dinner EVERY night became exhausting. When we do this again, I will definitely work on a plan for meal prepping so that I only cook a few nights and we can use leftovers for the others.
I’m excited to keep some of the habits we learned over the experience. Utilizing the Super Salad Bar for lunches will save so much time, incorporating nightly journaling and meditation will provide a great way to unwind after a busy day, and a detox bath at least once a week will be a great way to relax and connect with my spouse.
I’ll be making a post soon with a more thorough review of how it went and the overall results. For those who can’t wait and want numbers now: I lost about 4% of my body weight, and reduced my hips by 1 inch, my waist by 2 inches, and my thighs by 1 inch. My overall happiness and emotional well-being went up, and my stress level went down (despite a few things happening that could have sent it through the roof). There is a toxicity quiz you can take before and after the detox. My score before was a 47. My score after was a 15! And it only took ten days!
I’d love to hear your stories about how a detox diet worked (or didn’t) for you and what aspects you incorporated into your day-to-day after. Share your story in the comments below.