Juice Fast Works, But Not in the Way You’d Expect


As a diet wellness expert, Joe Donatelli has head all about juice fasting. ‘Juice-fasting proponents claim that fasting helps with weight loss, rids the body of toxins, reduces cancer risk, aids digestion and boosts the immune system (though most of these claims haven’t been scientifically proved)…My scepticism gave way to curiosity…I was drawn to the challenge. Could I go three days without food? For most of my life, I hadn’t gone much more than three hours between meals. If I could complete a cleanse—going 72 hours without chewing anything—the improvement to my willpower would far exceed any temporary weight loss I might experience.’ And he was right.


Stage 1 – Optimism: Donatelli recalls, ‘Though a little nervous, I was excited about taking on a new challenge. I hadn’t eaten anything since the day before…I opened a bottle of “Green #1”— a mixture of romaine lettuce, apple, mint and some other stuff. Perhaps because I half-expected anything named “Green #1” to be made of people…I was surprised at how good the drink tasted. I finished it before I got home. I had another juice mid-morning—also tasty. Good start. I remember thinking, “this won’t be bad.” Which, of course, is exactly what people think right before something goes bad.’


Stage 2 – Hunger: ‘Stage 1 lasts three hours,’ Donatelli laments. ‘By lunchtime I was hungrier than usual, and after lunch I was starving. When my wife asked me to accompany her to a presentation she was giving at the Ovitt Family Library in Ontario, California, I leapt at the chance, partly to support her, but also because it would give me something to get my mind off of food. All I could think about was food—the food in our home, the food in restaurants, even the food my dog ate. I craved distraction because, not to get all technical on you, but my body was freaking the hell out.’


Stage 3 – Uprising: Donatelli notes, ‘By the morning of Day 2, I’d lost seven pounds. I should have been happy, but wasn’t for two reasons: 1) far too many people had told me that most of the weight loss would be temporary, and 2) Jesus, I was hungry. Right about this time, my stomach kicked the discomfort up a notch and began cramping. It was the first of about a dozen cramping sessions I’d experience during the fast…I experienced some changes mentally, too. On the drive to the library, my wife asked me a simple question, and it took several seconds for me to respond.’


Stage 4 – Doubt: ‘Late in the afternoon on Day 2, I began to seriously question whether I could make it all three days,’ Donatelli admits. ‘I started bargaining. Is it cheating if I have just one apple? I was miserable with hunger. The juices gave me energy but not satisfaction.’


Stage 5 – Triumph: Donatelli enthuses, ‘By Day 3 I was down 10 pounds—mostly water weight…though probably a little bit of fat. More importantly, I didn’t feel awful. Day 3 is widely viewed as the breakthrough day by cleansing advocates. It sure was for me. I felt less “sensitive,” worked a full day with my usual amount of energy, and while I was still hungry, it was less intense than it had been on the previous two days.’


So did it last? ‘Nearly two weeks after the cleanse I was still down five pounds,’ Donatelli details. ‘I’d put the other five back on almost immediately—that pesky water weight…But besides the weight loss, there have been some far more interesting—and hopefully, more lasting—changes. Today I still feel more conscious of what I eat and drink. I have always equated protein with energy, but I now know I can generate enough energy to function well without eating a lot of protein. Or any food, for that matter. So long as it’s for a short period of time.’

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