Summer is here and that can mean but one thing – wedding season. For the last year I have been instrumental in all the man of honour duties for my best friend’s wedding. Finally the day came for my suit fitting. Having felt uncomfortable with my weight for some time, it was a day I wasn’t looking forward to. After all, I wanted to feel just as special as my best friend on her big day.
After my fitting I couldn’t help but feel slightly deflated. I glanced at the slightly podgy person looking back at me in the mirror – and I knew I had to do something and fast, or I wouldn’t feel special on the big day.
It was at this point I was put in contact with a rep for Forever Living. A company that harnesses all of its products from natural sources, most notably aloe vera. There’s been lots of talk about aloe vera and its health benefits recently, and in the interests of both journalistic research and a happier day at my friend’s wedding, I decided to give it a go.
I embarked upon the Clean 9 plan (also known as C9), a nine-day cleanse that promotes a better sense of wellbeing and better overall health. As with most people, I felt slightly sceptical that this would aid me in my end goal, but I still gave it 100% willpower and followed the programme down to the letter.
The pack itself contains everything you will need for a nine-day cleanse, such as protein powder, supplement tablets, fibre sachets and aloe vera gel. The first two days are about kickstarting your body into a deep cleanse and the only food that can be consumed is low GI fruit and vegetables.
You may think that there would be feelings of deprivation and intense hunger, however after lunch on the first day it became much easier to manage.
Breakfast on the first two days begins with two soft gel tablets, a shot of aloe vera gel and another tablet. Your mid-morning snack is a sachet of fibre and lunch is the same, but with the introduction of a protein shake. Dinner is the same as breakfast and evening is followed with a shot of aloe vera gel.
Days three to nine are when the programme begins to change: meals can be reintroduced and the number of aloe shots consumed reduces. Breakfast is the same as days one and two, but with an additional protein shake. Lunch also introduces a protein shake, and evening meals are changed to a meal consisting of 600 calories or less.
I thought this stage would be difficult, however after further research and looking in my handbook, I found there are a wealth of recipes that can be enjoyed.
The main thing on this programme is knowing your goals from the start, which will hopefully keep your motivational levels up. You must also ensure you drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses a day), as you will be flushing a lot of toxins out through this nine-day period. If unflavoured water isn’t to your taste, simply add fresh lemon and lime to water and let it infuse. I found this a great way to keep my sweet tooth happy – by harnessing the natural sugars in the fruit.
I had to ensure that I monitored my weight and basic body measurements on days one, three, six and nine, to fully gauge how many physical changes have occurred. I must stress that this isn’t a weight loss programme, but more a cleanse – the weight loss for some is an added bonus.
Slowly but surely, I began to lose inches and weight, but more importantly I began to change my eating habits and re-educated myself on food and exercise.
By day six, I felt amazing. I had clear skin, more energy and as a direct result, I found myself empowered to keep up with my regular fitness routine. I finally felt body confident and slinked back into old clothes, which for the last three years had been a no go.
By day nine I actually felt sad that my experience was coming to an end and I knew that I would keep this up for the rest of the foreseeable future.
At the time of writing this, I still exercise daily and eat healthily. My old snacking habits have vanished. Through Clean 9 I realised I snacked far too much and I also overindulged when it came to meals. It taught me that controlled yet tasty meals should be enjoyed not devoured, and if a snack is really needed, there are healthy ways to combat it.
I gained so much from the experience, as well as losing a lot. I lost inches all over my body and a whopping 14lbs (a stone) in weight. Not only that, I have gone from wearing medium/large clothes back down to a small size – this is healthy for my height and age.
From my before and after shots, it’s clear to see the physical change I underwent but the overall sense of wellbeing was by far the greatest benefit. So happy have I been with the positive changes C9 had, I have now embarked on a life change and carried on with healthy eating.
I avoid processed and junk foods. The thought of these foods now makes me feel slightly nauseous – I would far rather a nice healthy meal, over a greasy fast food one. I have also invested in more protein powder and aloe gel, to ensure I keep to a routine.
The aloe gels themselves aren’t pleasant to take at first, but the trick is to keep it at fridge temperature or squeeze lemon juice in to take off the edge. With plentiful benefits to aloe vera, it far outweighs mere seconds of unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Should you like any further information, I can put you in contact with a representative. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.