I remember the first time I decided to cleanse or detox my body. I had read about the benefits and decided that based on the symptoms I was experiencing it was time for me to give my body an opportunity to relax and rebuild. At the time I only had a magic bullet blender so my cleansed consistent of primarily smoothies and like most newbies, I made the mistake of overloading my smoothies with too much fruit. Since then I have purchased a juicer (which I personally enjoy much more than smoothies) and I make sure that my home made juices are made up of mostly vegetables.
A properly function detoxification system is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. The liver, kidneys, lungs and lymphatic system all contribute to filtering out all the chemicals and toxins we are exposed to daily.
Here are my top five mistakes that I have learned over the last few years of doing my own detox and through my clients.
1. Clean out your cupboards! This is very important to do before you are doing a juice / smoothie cleanse. The truth is you are trying to get rid of cravings for processed, sugary foods. This is not an easy thing to do. At some point during your cleanse you will come home and have this uncontrollable urge to stuff as much chocolate in your mouth as you can. I've been there! This is not a sign of weakness, sugar has been shown to light up the same pleasure receptors in your brain as heroin. Yikes! Do not set yourself up for failure, get rid of anything that may tempt you. If you do not have it in the house, you can not eat it, it's that simple.
2. Choose only one fruit to go in your juice / smoothie. I've talked to several people that go out and get a new juicer / blender and come bragging to me that they are now starting their day with a smoothie. The first thing I always ask is “what do you put in there?” The answer is almost always the same; “a banana, strawberries, mango, almond milk, some yogurt, a few spinach leaves and an apple … it's delicious!” Of course its delicious, You have about 1 weeks worth of fruit in one serving. The problem with this scenario is that you are overloading your body with sugar. This will cause a spike in blood sugar and throw of your hormonal balances, it does not matter that it comes form a natural source! When you are already taking in too much sugar, this will push you over the edge into more weight retention rather than weight loss. The goal here is to allow your body to get away from all the sugar that is causing the problems in the first place. You need more vegetable in your life, this is the perfect opportunity to sneak them in.
3. Rest! when you are cleansing, your body should be using all of it's resources to rebuild from all the damage you have put it through. This is not the time to be increasing your workout or adding mileage to your runs. Your body only has so many resources and when you push yourself during your workouts you cause micro trauma to the tissue and need to rebuild it. Rather than dividing your resources, send them to the area you need that needs the most immediate recovery. This is not the time to overdo it! Choose rebuilding activities like Yoga or meditation instead of adding another Crossfit session!
4. Do not make any other changes this week. This is not the time to go try out a new fitness routine or try new foods or dieting fads. Use this as an opportunity to really keep everything else in your life nice and steady. Your body is going through enough already. Keep it simple.
5. No cheat days! This is a tough one. The whole goal of doing and cleansse or detox is to give your body a break from all the junk you have been ingesting. If you allow yourself a cheat day you are not giving your body enough of a break to recover and rebuild. think of it as having a braise on your arm. the bruise starts to heal and fade and then all of a sudden one day your buddy comes up and gives you a welcoming punch right in the same spot. It hurts and the bruise comes back. This is the same with your body. Just as you are beginning to heal and get rid of all the sins you slip in a “cheat meal” and kick start the inflammatory process. Not a good idea!