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C9 and me

If you like to stay at the cutting edge of all the latest diet and health trends, you’ve more than likely come across the C9 cleanse from Forever Living. I’d heard of it, but as ever, rolled my eyes and assumed my normal sceptical stance that cleanses, detoxes and the like simply aren’t a thing. I think this is why my friend, who has recently started her own Forever Living business, approached me to try the cleanse for free, to give a genuine and honest account of the experience. It would be a lie to say that I was looking forward to it.

I’m vegan, which meant that I had to adapt a couple of things in order to be able to do the cleanse, but it also meant that I was already fairly healthy in the way that I eat. I assumed this would make the cleanse a doddle and that I wouldn’t really see much change, but I was a little wrong on that front. I was already a healthy weight for my height, but as I’m getting hitched this year, I am turning up the heat on my workouts etc, to feel a little sleeker in my outfit and if this could help, I was sort of willing to try it.

Days one and two
Armed with my record booklet (that comes with the kit), I sit down and start really taking in just how hard the first two days are going to be. There’s no food. None AT ALL. I like my food and find it hard to turn my nose up at pasta with cheese-free pesto, so already, this was a regret. A mouthful of tablets, some Aloe Vera gel, a fibre sachet and a milkshake really weren’t going to be enough for me, except that they were. I don’t know if it was just sheer determination to get through it or what, but I actually wasn’t hungry. I was tired though and on day two, I noticed my concentration really struggling. I needed some kale, fruit and leafy greens, but I hung in there.

It is at this point that I have to be totally honest about a couple of things…

1. Aloe Vera gel tastes absolutely fine. It’s not rancid or weird, it just has a strangely clean and neutral taste, so don’t dread that!
2. The fibre sachets WERE rank. They don’t mix easily and you end up with big clags of gelatinous hell in your mouth, plus, I was really suspicious of something including a product designed specifically to make you poo. My ‘laxative cleanse’ alarm was ringing at this point.
3. By far the worst part of this was the shakes. Each to their own and I’m sure lots of people find them really nice, but I gagged every time and ended up substituting them for a vegan protein shake made with hemp protein and frozen berries. I seriously could not get the FL stuff down and had to throw it out. The after taste was the worst bit!

As well as feeling like I was sat on the toilet for much of the day and night (you need to drink a lot of water on this cleanse), at the end of day two I felt a little disheartened and sluggish.

Days three to nine
Huzzah!! After the hell of days one and two, food is reintroduced in the form of a 600kcal evening meal. Praise be! As I usually live on a diet of vegetables and pulses, I had a good idea about how to get the most food in me for my calorie allowance and I went to town. This definitely helped with my concentration, but I was alarmed at how ‘well’ the fibre sachets were working. In the interests of full disclosure, I think any cleanse is a bit of an ED trigger in the making, but in order to not let myself get sucked into a negative mindset, I decided not to weigh myself throughout the experiment, but to wait until the end. I know I’m strong enough to not equate a big poo with losing weight and start taking laxatives, but I wonder of everyone is. A slight concern.

Not having to try stomach the FL shakes certainly made this part of the experiment a lot easier for me and I noticed that I was starting to naturally drink more water. Despite working from home, I often find myself going hours without a drink, so that was a good side effect! I really, REALLY looked forward to my evening meal though and that’s how I know that this type of cleanse just isn’t sustainable for a long period, but the question is; did I lose weight and how did I feel at the end?

Yes, I lost weight. A significant amount. We are talking kilos here, but is that really a surprise? I was on an extreme calorie deficient diet for nine days, so of course I lost weight. Plus, whatever I did ingest, I pooped out pretty sharpish! The shock for me was that I really did feel good. My body felt more responsive, fresher and, weirdly, cleaner. I didn’t naturally gravitate back towards the odd bag of kettle crisps with my lunch, I reached for extra fruit and instead of just eating pasta for dinner, I’ve started throwing in extra veg to bulk it out. I know you want to know if I’ve kept the weight off and I have, but that is down to me eventually seeing this cleanse for what it really is; an opportunity to shock your body into better habits. I’ve kept going with my ambitions to be healthier, but if you do this cleanse in the hope of losing some weight fast and then go back to your regular eating pattern, you WILL put it all back on again. It’s common sense isn’t it? Do the cleanse, follow it to the letter if you can, but substitute healthy alternatives if you can’t and you WILL see dramatic results, but that is just the start of the hard work. If you want to keep seeing good results, you have to keep working hard and need to adapt your entire lifestyle.

Would I recommend the C9 cleanse? This is a tricky one for me. On the one hand, I absolutely would, if you are a determined person who wants a kickstart to making a healthy change, but if you are someone who tries every fad diet out there and never makes a proper commitment, I think you need to stay away from this. If you want to change your body and get a lot more healthy at the same time, this is for you, but if you are looking for a miracle cure to your bikini muffin top a fortnight before a holiday, this is not the answer. I do, however, wholeheartedly recommend some other products!

As well as sending me the C9 cleanse kit, my friend also sent out some of the beauty products that FL offer. This included shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, moisturising creams and lip balms, ALL OF WHICH I RECOMMEND. As in, seriously recommend. They are cruelty-free and feel amazing, especially the roll-on Aloe Vera deodorant. I am a full on convert and that’s not a small thing, as I am a bit of a sweater, so I normally reach for the industrial strength armpit blocker, but no more! I now smell sweet and my armpits feel soft. It’s actually made me really happy and I’ve been recommending it to everyone, along with the toothpaste too!

In summary, I think FL have some really lovely products, but cleanses and detoxes still aren’t for me because I don’t need them. I like the freedom of not needing a toilet nearby at all times and I live a healthy lifestyle already. I can, however, see the inherent value in this one for people who are serious about approaching better health. And yes, my jeans fit a lot better, in a size smaller than normal.

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