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21 Day Clean Gut ExperienceWritten by Kristin

Yes, it's time for my annual cleanse!  This year, I'm doing the Clean Gut program from Dr. Junger. In a nutshell, it's a program lasting 21 days with the intention of cleaning up your diet (and removing common allergens or junky food).  

This means, NO:

  • gluten 
  • dairy
  • processed sugar
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • beans, rice
  • soy, corn
  • potatoes (small amount of sweet potato is OK)
  • almost all fruits except for berries

Over the years, I've upgraded my diet so most of the items on the list aren't challenging for me. (I am so happy to say that!)  However, no sugar whatsoever could be a challenge.  I do love fruit and chocolate chip cookies.  (stevia and xylitol are allowed, though, in small quantities)

For 21 days, I will eat:

  • greens and veggies
  • berries
  • wild fish
  • grass fed meats
  • organic eggs
  • quinoa
  • nuts
  • coconut oil/ olive oil
  • avocado

If you are reading this and considering doing a cleanse, you might also check out the original Clean Program.  I've done that one a few times annually and it's excellent and a little bit easier, I think.

My sole purpose for writing all of this out is to show my clients how to do a cleanse and what it's really like.  I find myself recommending nutritional cleanses to so many clients and I want them to get a play-by-play of how it works and the ups/downs that come with it.

Personally, I love a good cleanse since it's a great way to re-set eating habits, allow my body to heal anything it needs to heal, and improve my energy levels.  Plus, there's a beauty factor!  If you want to look your absolute best, this is one way to go....

Check back tomorrow and I'll give you a full report from day one and give you some tips about how to take any goal and take action - even if it seems mentally challenging or 'too hard' in some way. HINT:  It's all about preparation, pacing, support, and attitude.

See ya tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

DAILY LOG: (check back for daily updates)

Day 1 and 2: Off to to a solid start.  I feel good and not hungry at all.  Why?  I was prepared! 

Preparation is so important and it's one of the top reasons why people struggle with goal implementation. I see this quite frequently with my clients. If you have a goal and can't seem to build momentum with it, ask yourself if you felt prepared to tackle it?

It's tempting to launch right into goal implementation moments after declaring what you want.  

For example, you might say: "I would love to get into shape" or "I would love to find a new job"

But, before you start sending out resumes or lacing up your running shoes, make sure you are prepared to go the distance with your goal. Sure, there's a lot to be said about not hesitating and taking action NOW.  But, if you have a goal that will require you to be disciplined over a period of time, consider carving out a week to PREPARE for success first.

With my 21 day cleanse, I spent a week preparing. So, now that I'm fully in cleanse mode, it's not as challenging since I am prepared.  Lack of preparation creates stress for people and causes them to abandon their goal.  I didn't want that to happen to me.

How I prepared for the cleanse:

  • read materials related to the Clean Gut program
  • created a pinterest board with recipes.  You can see it here.
  • signed up on the community website and read journal entries of fellow participants who've completed the program
  • reached out to the Clean Team for support with a few questions I had
  • Shopped for groceries needed for Week One with some items in freezer for week 2 (very important to have food prepped)
  • removed any tempting treats from my pantry and fridge
  • Started making soups and anything I could prep in advance
  • Spoke with family members about my plan and talked about how they could be supportive since not everyone agrees with a detox
  • Lightened up my work load for days 1-3.

Seems like a lot, right?  

Tip for YOU:  No matter what YOUR goal might be, if you take a solid week to PREPARE for success, you'll have a much better chance of making it happen.  The first 3 days of ANY new goal implementation period (after your prep phase) can be challenging since you're establishing new habits. Give yourself the best chance of gaining valuable momentum by being PREPARED.

Currious to know what I ate?

Day 1:  Breakfast smoothie, salmon/asparagus (see photo above!), large salad for dinner and nuts for snacks

Day 2:  Breakfast smoothie, wheat free/dairy free homemade tortillas for tacos with chicken (you can use fish, too) and large salad for dinner with nuts for snacks and a small smoothie as a treat with cacao (raw cocoa).

You can find recipes on my pinterest board, if you want more details.

Day 3 and 4  Still going strong.  Day 3 was slightly tough since I had a headache but I survived.  I think it's the supplements I'm taking. Plus, I didn't sleep as well on day 3 but that is typical whenever you do a cleanse.  For me, after about a week, I start sleeping INCREDIBLY well. 

Meals were similar to days 1 and 2. Breakfast smoothie, clean lunch and salad with fish or chicken for dinner. One night I made spiralized zucchini (instead of pasta) with a tomato sauce.  You can find the recipe on the pinterest board.  I'm really not super hungry at all.  I've been snacking on nuts, too.  Feeling a little bored on this plan but that's OK.

Here's my tip for YOU, though:  Day 3 of ANY new goal implementation plan is usually a tricky day for people.  It's easy to be motivated for the first couple of days, but around day 3, 4 or 5....people tend to lose their initial enthusiasm and that's when the real work begins. 

No matter WHAT, don't allow yourself to quit any new goal until you've made it past week one.  If you can push through days 3-4-5, you'll usually catch your second wind and start gaining true momentum.  Make that a personal rule. It's one of mine.

See ya tomorrow.  So far, I'm feeling great on this cleanse.

Day 5, 6, 7  

Day 5 was awesome!  That was Friday.

Days 6 and 7 were a little tricky.  This is an update from the weekend.  Ate according to plan, so that's good news!  We had some stress this weekend around the house since my husband decided to rent a small tractor (no, we are not farmers, we live in the city) and rip out all of the front landscaping so we can redesign it.  So, the tractor showed up and he (by mistake) ripped out our main water line, knocked a hole in our brand new fence, and killed the sprinkler system.

Normally, that sort of thing would at least raise my pulse a bit.  I don't usually get mad, but I definitely would've been upset or frustrated with all of that. Alas, I was super calm.  Solved all of the problems by getting a plumber to show up on a Sunday, scheduled the fence guy to fix the damage, sprinkler guy etc...

All is well.  I am amazed at how this style of eating (again, for me...this has really been a sugar detox) helps my mood and how I view things. 

Now, I'm starting day 8 today and feeling a little bored with my meal plan so I need to jazz it up somehow.  I am still faithful to the program and excited about the results.

Side note:  After one week, I am down 2.5 lbs.  Nice bonus!

Tip for YOU:  There will always be a challenge threatening to derail you.  It happens with every single client I coach - no matter what their goal might be!  Hang tight and be faithful to your vision and you'll weather the storms along the way. It's mainly a mental attitude. If you get stressed and feel like quitting a goal, try to calm yourself down with a walk or doing something that feels relaxing. Then, keep going!

Another tip is to remind yourself why you are pursuing the goal, in the first place.  You can do this by looking at your visual anchor (this is something I teach my clients about) or connecting with your support team such as a good friend, spouse or your coach.  

Day 8, 9, 10

If you'd like to know what I've been eating, check out the pinterest page.  The food isn't super glamorous, but it's satisfying.  I start each day with a smoothie (I did this pre-cleanse, too, so it's already a habit) and have protein and veggies for lunch and something similar for dinner.  I'm now breaking up my 3 meals into 5.  For example, I'll have half of my smoothie before my morning exercise and the other half right before I start my work day.  Half of lunch around noon and the other half at 3.  Dinner at 5 - usually all at once.

I feel very good and very strong.  And, I am halfway through!  I also added my exercise routine back into the mix.  I took it easy the first week and now I'm 'layering' it back in.  In previous years, I did an annual cleanse without changing my exercise routine and it was too hard.  I felt too weak to change my eating patterns and exert a lot of energy exercising. This time, I tried another approach and it's working very well.

Tip for YOU: Don't try to do everything at once!  I like to 'layer' goals, with my clients.  In other words, begin working on one goal and put all of your focus into it.  When you feel you have momentum (it will take at least a week) you can 'layer' in another goal.  One of the best ways to sabotage yourself is by trying to make too many changes at once or tackling too many goals at one.  It's OK (and wise) to pace yourself.  It may feel boring, but it's the most effective strategy.  

Day 11, 12, 13

Quick update!  Nothing major to report.  Still cleansing and also lost another lb. I am at the end of week two and I will say it feels much longer than 2 weeks. However, I am sad to only have one week left since I do feel really great. I've made a decision to eliminate sugar from my diet, moving forward, with the exception of some fruits.  I've been shocked to see how I really don't need it. 

My eyes are brighter and that's about the only physical change I can see but it's a goodie.

Went to Costco this weekend and loaded up on week two groceries...more almond milk, organic spinach, organic blueberries, organic chicken, organic spring mix. salmon, etc.  I found sprouted pumpkin seeds there, too.  great find!  I've also been making weekly trips to Trader Joe's for other items.  

Tip for YOU:  Having food for an entire week really helps so I suggest making a master list of foods you're eating and stocking up on them once a week. Being prepared with the resources you need for any goal is always super helpful!  If you have a morning exercise goal, make sure you start the week with a stack of clean workout clothes, for example.  How many times have you abandoned a goal since you didn't have the resources or supplies you needed?  That's a subtle way people self sabotage, so make sure you have what you need to succeed.

Day 14, 15, 16

We have some excitement in this update....a slip up! I had a couple of foods that are not on the cleanse.  Nothing too offensive, but it happened, yes. Sometimes it's tough to eat out and this weekend I eased up on the plan when we ate out a few times.  It's challenging to find menu items that are super 'clean' so you have to do your best.  

Tip for YOU:  If you 'slip up' with a goal or deviate from your plan, it's really OK!  Don't let it be a habit, though.  The key is to *not* judge yourself in any way.  Simply get back on track the next day. So many of my clients beat themselves up when they 'slip up'.  It's absolutely not necessary, though.  In fact, beating yourself up about 'mistakes' will set you back even more!  Have you ever noticed that?  Negativity is draining so keep it positive and keep yourself moving forward.

As a coach, I look for about 80-90% 'perfection' from my clients - not 100.  I expect people to 'slip up' now and again since we are all human.  My approach is to talk about the slip up without any judgement and glean some insights.  Instead, I urge my client to be an observer of their behavior, as if they are watching a movie.  Together, we sort through the 'slip up' and discover why it happened and how to prevent it in the future.

One insight I gained this weekend is that I need to carry packets of 'clean' salad dressing with me in small packets.(many salad dressings have gluten and I am trying to steer clear of gluten forever)  So, I am stocking up today on salad dressing packets.

Day 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 (and beyond)

I am writing this post around day 30, actually.  The cleanse was for 21 days but I decided to extend it to 30 or more.  It's safe to do up to six weeks of this cleanse, so I'm going for it.  My desire to have sugar has gone way, way down.  That's a plus!  Overall, this was another successful cleanse and I'm sure I'll do another one next year. Yes, I plan to continue eating a clean diet, as much as possible.

Tip for YOU:  Changing a 'bad' habit isn't as tough as you might imagine.  Start by identifying the habit you wish to change.  Then, identify a new habit to replace it.  For example, if you don't like your habit of going to bed super late, replace it with an earlier bed-time habit.  For the first few days, it's usually tough/different to do something different. But, if you mentally prepare to stick wtih your NEW habit for 21 days, you'll be very happy with the outcome.  Many experts tell us that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  I believe that's true.  Is there a new habit you'd like to develop?


(photos courtesy of Clean Program and Clean Gut)

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