Diary of a Cleanse

T- 4 Days to the Challenge

It was New Years Day.  And like every self-improvement dork, I wake up on Jan 1st feeling like:



The Christmas tree is on the curb and the pine needles are vacuumed by 8am.

By 10am I’ve cleaned out my work desk and posted a big calendar of the year above it:

It starts with the beta test of a 28 Day Transformation Challenge.


For years I’ve been struggling with how to better support my clients with their Nutrition, and I think this Program might be perfect.

(And, to be honest – I need the re-set. I’m great at exercising but I’m also great at eating almond butter with a spoon.)

peanut butter

So I emailed some clients …

..and and quickly get 15 awesome people who are willing to be my guinea pigs and fellow participants.


T- 3 Days to the Challenge

The Facebook Group is created and I ask people to introduce themselves and their reasons for doing the Challenge. It was this kind of stuff:


” Because I feel as big and gruesome as the cruise ship I just got off of this morning”


”  I have the eating habits of a 10 year old boy”



 “I need some portion control that will destroy my continual second helpings – and  to defeat evil sugar cravings.”


“Because despite exercising, I still can’t lose my belly”


“I’m not usually one for the January self-improvement game but soothing my pain with wine and buttered toast is proving to not totally be the answer.”


 “I’m hitting mid-life and for some reason can’t eat donuts and candy bars like I used to. “


“I have a little extra pudge that needs to disappear.”


T – 3 Days to the Challenge: Prep

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T – 24 Hours to the Challenge : Actual Prep


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Challenge Day 1: Detox Hell

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Day 2: The Day We Got to Have Soup

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DAY 4: Detox Phase Over

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Day 4

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Day 5

It’s Friday and I asked everyone to post what they had learned in the first week of the Challenge:

Answers included:


“I can survive without wine at the end of the night”


“My family is more open to healthier meals then I thought”


 “I spend so much money on lunches it has been wonderful to have a plan and bring my lunches and not eat Uber eats all the time”


” I won’t stop snacking to prevent myself from becoming a fat-sack-of-fat but will do it because Oonagh challenged me to do so.”


 “I can, in fact, operate without caffeine. I even feel better. I thought that I was sleeping well before but I can tell how much better my sleep has become. I will continue without caffeine indefinitely.”


“I’ve got a fair number of mindless consumption habits, especially related to snacking and drinking alcohol.”


” I was eating WAY more of my kids’ food than I realized”


“I had more of a sugar/caffeine addiction than I thought because the first two days SUUUUUUUUCKED”


“Having a group has saved me from throwing in the towel more than a couple of times (mostly during the coffee headache days). “


“When I eat better, I feel happier and have a better outlook on life. ”


“I think the biggest thing I have learned this week is that I appreciate being told what to do in certain arenas of my life. I have loved that the only consideration at mealtimes has been “what’s on the plan?”


“Doing it in a group is easier, more fulfilling and really holds you to be accountable for your actions.”

“My mental model of what to eat and in what proportions has changed dramatically. ”

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Day 6: First Much-Anticipated Cheat Meals:


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Days 8 – 21. I’m not going to lie – there were some tough times:


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There were some moments of triumph:

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We ate some unbelievable food:


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One surprising effect is that the Cheat Meals got a little less satisfying…


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After two weeks, I asked people to report if they had noticed any physical results:


“I don’t weigh myself but yesterday I wore a skirt that I haven’t zipped in months.”


“I’m happy to say that I’m down four pounds.”


“I’m down about 8 pounds!”


“I fit into my smaller pants once more. But I plan to complain my way through the next 18 days anyhow.”


“I’ve already lost about five pounds”


“I am definitely a little leaner.”


 “I have already lost two kilos!”


As the inaugural Challenge is drawing to a close, I’m excited to report that 100% of the participants said they would recommend it to a friend. The average weight loss was 10lbs and 3″ of belly fat gone in 28 Days.


But I’m even more excited about the other effects that the Challenge has brought about. I asked people what they are going to do with this momentum:

 “I have a ton of new energy that I’m planning to channel in a ton of ways! I know that’s very vague but I already have a journal full of plans!”


“I would like to change my job”


“I’m going to work through Ottelenghi’s “Plenty” cookbook and build up a solid rotation of new and delicious vegetable dishes.”


“I’m going to run Matthew Inman’s “Beat The Blerch” half marathon while wearing a giant cupcake costume.”


“I’m going to make my own doc film. I know what it’s about and who’s in it. Just need to take the risk and go do it.”


“I’m trying to build my own business.”


“My challenge is to use the 28 Day Transformation as inspiration to create a sustainable structure for all areas of my life…and to keep it up. I’m a much better person for it.”



A huge congratulations and THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the pilot version of the 28 Day Transformation Challenge.


April 2018:

I’ve just done year long follow ups with the early 2016 and 2017 28 Day Challenge groups and 93% have reported that the Challenge has had a long term positive effect on their health and have maintained some or all of their results.

(Compare this to the Weight Loss Industry average of LESS than 1%!)

Check out these pics that people sent me a year after doing their Challenge:


And after a year, 100% of respondents still said they would recommend the program to a friend. 🙂

***Go here to learn more and book your spot for the next intake!***


By |2018-05-02T11:18:11+00:00January 30th, 2016|Community, Fitness Story, Healthy Living, Motivation, Nutrition|

About the Author:

Oonagh Duncan is a multi-award winning personal trainer and regular fitness expert on various media. She’s an acclaimed speaker in the corporate sector, educator for new fitness professionals and founder of Fit Feels Good, Inc.


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