I don't really know how to start this other than just to state the reasoning behind why I need a cleanse right now. Lately I've been so busy that I haven't been eating properly, sleeping properly or taking care of myself in general—like at all. The point is, I have no time and while I'm extremely proud of myself for working so hard and making so much progress in my academic and professional life, I'm still just a person, not some sort of robot.

All of this caught up to me a few days ago when I had so much to do in one day that I panicked and completely shut down. I knew I didn't want to continue on like this so I decided to make a change.

This article is the first of a three-part series that I will do— an intro (what you're reading now), an update (after the first week) and a reflection (at the end).

I'm not talking about a juice cleanse here, so if that's what you thought this was about then sorry to disappoint. I'm talking about eating cleaner foods, working out and getting more sleep. Seems simple, right? Wrong. I plan to follow this for two weeks strictly (as strictly as I can). After getting the hang of it, hopefully I can continue with this routine and make it a lifestyle change.

The Rules of This Challenge (that I made up myself) are: 

- Eat only clean, whole foods. Eating clean means to avoid seasoning, oil, frying or anything that alters the food. You want to eat the food in a form that is very close to its simple and natural form. 

- Cut out simple carbs, sodium, processed foods, and sugar (other than fruit) 

- Eat at least five times a day (three meals, two snacks) 

- Work out five days a week in the morning before the day starts 

- Sleep at least six hours every night

- Take time for myself each day to do something I enjoy or something relaxing, like reading

I'm going to meal prep ahead of time for the first five days in order to keep on track. If I know I have good meals in my fridge that I already paid for and went to the trouble of making, I won't want to let them go to waste. 

The point of this is to take control of my life because at the end of the day that's all we can control—our own lives. I can't control other people or other things and what they do but what I can control is choosing to be happy and healthy. I'll check in after a week with an update on any progress I've noticed.