Detox, cleanse, elimination diet- I’ve heard them all. Many of you have tried them all. And why have you subjected your body to the latest nutrition fad? To that I answer: for 100% all of the wrong reasons. I bet it sounded like music to your ears; promising you to lose this amount of weight within this amount of time- and guaranteed to boot! Here’s the thing my naïve friends, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
There is no quick fix you can partake in that will promote a healthy, well rounded lifestyle. Will you lose weight and shed inches? Possibly, hell I’ll even say probably. The shed pounds lost will consist mostly of “water weight”; i.e. the bloat your body experiences from eating junk, but lower numbers on the scale nonetheless. But will you be able to sustain the results of your cleanse without causing damage to your body? Definitely not. There are hundreds of detoxes and cleanses out there, some of which have been made famous by your favorite celebrities, so I get that there’s a lot to choose from. Just do yourself a favor and eliminate one, treacherous, wrongly used word from your fitness vocabulary (and your life in general): diet. Your health and continued wellness depend on it.
Diet is defined as the kinds of food that person habitually eats. Phew! Great! How true! I feel so relieved the internet knows its actual meaning. But alas! I look below this a millisecond later and voila, American culture strikes again. The cursed definition #2 is listed;
“a special course of food to which one restricts oneself to lose weight.”
How horrifically unpleasant does that sound? So I’m here to ask you why. Why would you choose subject your body to habitual dieting when you can transform your life through a nutritious and balanced diet? (definition #1 reference of course).
If you have a science loving mind such as myself, take a look at what the experts at fitness magazine have to say about detox diets. A registered dietician and exercise physiologist breaks down a handful of these infamous cleanses one by one, and concludes with her own advice which mirrors my own. http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/plans/detox/the-truth-about-detox-diets/
If you are more trusting and will take my guidance, which happens to be the word of a nurse, personal trainer and most importantly a person who has struggled with achieving balance in nutrition, integrate the following aspects into your life. (Tips are in bold)
Eat whole foods as often as you can. Do so consciously and soon enough, it will be a no-thought-required choice. Picture your kitchen. You’re starving and need to eat something, now. As a general clean eating rule, make a beeline for the refrigerator and avoid the pantry. Fresh nutrient heaven awaits you in the cool fridge environment, while most processed crap lies lurking in your closet of food. Chug some water to temporarily dull that stomach growl, grab some celery sticks and contemplate how much better you’ll feel if you take 5 minutes to prepare your food. The mental and physical satisfaction of eating a home-cooked meal you just made all by yourself (high five!) really can’t be beat. You’ll be aware of all the ingredients entering your body because you put them there, no pesky unpronounceable mystery ingredients allowed. Take that delicious meal your able bodied self created and eat slowly. We are all guilty of eating too quickly out of sheer ravenous hunger, and out of convenience. I urge you to be mindful of your plate-to-mouth movement and purposely slow it down. Relish your food. Appreciate the tastes as you chew your clean* meal. It’s amazing how much better stuff can taste when you allow your brain to recognize the good healthy sustenance can do.
That being said, I also fully believe in being able to acknowledge cravings. Learn to differentiate between actual hunger and a junk craving. So practice this: next time you say to yourself “omg I’m so hungry I could just die”, picture a fresh salad. If the thought of ingesting greens is borderline offensive and instead all you see is a bag of Lays, it’s probably a craving. Over time you’ll be able to lie words like “cheat day” and “indulges” to rest in our graveyard of nutrition no-no’s alongside that “diet” you used to swear by. RIP. These words can lead to junk binges if you restrict yourself and can provide a negative mental trigger;ie- cookies = unhealthy = don’t eat that fatass it’ll go straight to your hips. While yes, eating a sleeve of Oreo’s a day is frowned upon and will contribute to fat stores, having one or two once in a while is not a crime, and I actually encourage it! Only you can change your life and rid your body of foods that provide empty nutrition.
Only you can avoid the land of the processed pantry food, and you are your only obstacle. Eat when you’re hungry, choose whole foods when you do, and I bet that dreaded definition#2 will be a foreign concept in no time.