Thinking of Trying a Cleanse? What You Should Know First
Trying a cleanse or a detox is all the rage right now and has been for a handful of years. After all, we know what kind of junk foods we put into our body on a regular basis or over a weekend of parties or laziness. These weight loss diets promise to help us erase the past and get rid of all the “toxins” and other unwanted substances we’ve put into our bodies while we were being less than careful about what we were eating and drinking.
The Darker Side of Trying a Cleanse
Trying a cleanse might not be quite as good for you as you think. As much as most reputable diets do recommend that you consult with your doctor before giving them a try, the vast majority of us simply don’t do it. Visiting a doctor can be a nuisance. We need to take time out of our busy lives and possibly pay for the appointment, too. It can feel much easier to simply go ahead with something and if it feels like we’ve made the wrong choice, we can stop it.
However, there are many reasons that you should think twice about skipping the doctor’s appointment to consult about trying a cleanse. Primary among those reasons is that your doctor will very likely discourage you from doing a detox or a cleanse in the first place. There are several reasons that this is the case.
Why Your Doctor May Not Be on Board
Consider some of the reasons most doctors don’t recommend cleanses and detoxes:
• Your organs already cleanse and detox you
If you have healthy organs, then they naturally function to detoxify your body every day and night. If you don’t have healthy organs, doing a cleanse could stress them out further and put your health at risk. Binging on green juices, spicy lemon water or other cleanses can actually place additional strain on the organs that are functioning perfectly well at detoxifying you in the first place.
Surgeons often point out that when they work with organs such as the liver or kidneys, there aren’t any toxins built up inside. That’s simply not how these organs function. They don’t hold onto unwanted substances like an old kitchen sponge.
If you want to help them to do a better job, stop eating junk food for a while and focus on getting enough water, fiber and balanced nutrition in your diet. That strategy will do far more good for you than a short-term cleanse. If that’s not working, it could be the result of an underlying illness, in which case you should most certainly talk to your doctor.
• Detoxing and cleansing always remove important foods
Whether you’re doing a green juice diet, celebrity juice diet or a master cleanse, you will find that they require you to eliminate a massive amount of food – possibly even all solids. This will leave your body short on essential vitamins, minerals and macronutrients like protein. Stunting your nutrition will only make it harder for your body to function at its best, not easier.
Instead of drastically reducing the nutrients available to you, focus on giving your body just what it needs. Cut out the junk food, drink lots of water, and fill up on vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, lean proteins and whole grains. These will ensure that your body cleanses itself naturally and that you aren’t giving it any additional burdens to cope with.
• You may slow down your metabolism
Many cleanses involve an extremely low calorie intake, which can tell your body to slow down the metabolism in order to conserve energy against what it interprets as a shortage of food. This means that once you go back to eating regular foods – even if you eat more healthfully and mindfully – your metabolism will be slower than it was when you started and it will be harder for you to lose weight but easier for you to gain.
Instead of trying to trick your body or give it far less than what it requires to function in a healthy day by trying a cleanse or detox, focus on establishing healthy eating habits. Develop a strong and positive relationship with your food. Don’t lean on it like an emotional crutch. Allow it to nourish you and give yourself the time to find out how to do this without skipping out on flavor. Soon, you’ll discover that your favorite meals are also the ones that your body will thank you for.
Skip Trying a Cleanse in Favor of Healthy Habit Building
If your diet recommends that you start trying a cleanse or detox product or strategy, consider that a red flag. Unless your doctor recommends this type of strategy, it’s more likely that you’ll cause strain on your organs and fail to benefit your weight management efforts. If you’re already determined to make some changes in order to improve your clean eating and nutrition benefits, work on building healthy eating habits.
Gradually improve the nutrient density and quality of your foods. Try new things. Choose better options for what you already know you like. Don’t try to do it all in one weekend. Unlike the unsubstantiated promises behind trying a cleanse, enhancing your diet over time as a lifestyle has proven benefits to both health and happiness.