F This

Acting on the advice of…well, everyone, I decided to stop with this ridiculousness as of Saturday morning. Friday night I had a slight fever, chills and aches, and extreme fatigue…and I don’t think I have the flu; I think I’m not eating enough (insights like this are why they pay me the big bucks). I ate something light last night, because given how my body has responded to this cleanse, I think it’s important to at least make some effort to “ease” myself back into normal-eating mode. I’ve also been drinking the remaining lemonades and cashew juices as snacks today (Kendrick has been assisting), ‘cause they’re quite yummy.

I’ve repeatedly voiced my belief that cleanses are unhealthy and unnecessary, and this didn’t do a whole lot to change my mind. I’m not slamming BPC specifically; I actually think that as cleanses go this one isn’t as bad as some (I was much less hungry on BPC than I was when I tried the Master Cleanse). My specific issue with BPC is that it’s way too expensive, and I feel like the price ratchets the danger level up to Orange: the expense both makes clients feel like it’s a “magic juice” (jeez, for $60ish bucks a day it better be) and more determined to “go through with it,” even if their bodies are screaming for them not to. This is a test geared towards ambitious young people who have spent years honing their ability to get an A on an exam, get into the best school, make the most money…and now they’re applying all that drive to depriving their bodies of what they need.

The weirdest – and most dangerous, in my opinion – part of cleanses? Behind the fatigue, aches, and chills is a kind of high. It’s sort of exciting, being able to exert this kind of control over your body. And to me, that kind of excitement doesn’t feel all that distantly related to an eating disorder. Last night, when I was deciding whether or not to stop, I suddenly realized that I felt guilty. Depressed at my inability to “push through”. I wanted to show my body that I was the boss; that it couldn’t tell me what to do…and that feeling reminded me way too much of when I used to not eat enough a few years back.

I’m not saying that people who do cleanses necessarily have eating disorders, but I do believe that the mindset that permits one to try a cleanse (and I’m including myself in this category) is one that’s perhaps more likely to exhibit signs of disordered eating. The simple truth: something about the hyper-regulation associated with this cleanse reminded me of how I felt when I was a young actress and was determined to be as slim as possible – whatever the price, whatever the consequences.

Now, I get that I’m probably not the best candidate for a cleanse (nowadays, I give zero thought to healthy eating on a daily basis), and I didn’t do this particularly by-the-book (hello, Chinese food and glass of wine)…but still, isn’t the whole concept behind this cleanse that it’s geared towards girls like me, who enjoy their burgers and red wine, but just need to “recharge” on occasion? Maybe it works well for someone who already has a fairly Spartan diet or is used to regulating what they eat, but to me this did not feel safe, and it did not feel healthy: it felt like a test of willpower rather than a step towards a “better” lifestyle. The point of a cleanse is to force your body into doing something that it does not want to do (screw the literature that says “this is your body returning to its natural state, blah blah blah”; nope, your body wants food). I think that we need to pay more attention to what our bodies want…certainly not less.

The main reason I stopped the cleanse wasn’t because I felt sick: I stopped because I was sitting there at my desk, typing listlessly away on my computer and wanting it to be nighttime already so I could go to sleep and be one day closer to being done with this whole thing…and then I realized that I was actually wishing the days to pass more quickly. And then I looked outside into a gorgeous summer evening and thought to myself, “How many nights like this are there in your life when you’re 28 years old and living in the greatest city in the world with someone you love?” The answer is, “Not many.” And I’m not going to waste a single one of them sitting on my couch, shivering, sweating, and sipping on kale juice.

Be healthy, but be happy, too.

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