Diets, cleanses, and detox programs are all the rage each January. I know many of you are on the fence about whether or not to sign up for a detox or cleanse in the New Year, or whether or not the diet or program you decided to join is really right for you.
There are a few reasons why some programs are great and some are really awful, just as there are reasons why some programs work well for certain people, while they fail to work for others. Some cleanses and diets are meant to work with your lifestyle and your body to get you healthier for the long-haul, while others are designed for quick fixes and dramatic results that don’t quite last. The latter are the types of programs that usually work against you, causing more weight gain and poorer health overtime. Luckily, not all programs are created equal, and some actually work for you, to create lifelong health and wellness.
Here are a few reasons to help you decide if you should, or shouldn’t, do a detox, diet or cleanse program this year:
1) Dramatic Weight Loss: Depending on the type of cleanse, you may lose a lot of weight, or you may lose very little. If you are looking for rapid, permanent weight loss, a mainstream detox or cleanse is not your best bet. The programs that allow you to lose a great deal of weight are usually the types that are full-on detox programs – cleaning you out from the inside out. These are usually very restrictive and not manageable for the long-term. An example of this is The Master Cleanse, which feature lemon water, cayenne, and maple syrup for a set amount of days. There is no food allowed, so you limit calories and drop weight fast, only to gain it back as soon as you start eating, even healthy foods, again. Juice cleanses that last a few days and diets using smoothies as meal replacements will help you clear out your insides, but when you go back to eating heavier, yet healthy, foods, you fill back up. This doesn’t mean that juice cleanses are bad for you, because they can be quite good and a part of a well-balanced cleanse, it just means that they are for purifying and not for permanent weight loss. Huge, dramatic, permanent weight loss is not the thing to look for. In order to maintain any weight you lost with these restrictive diets, you would have to keep doing these practices for life, and that’s just not sustainable.
But small, healthy weight loss, that leads to more over time, is absolutely doable and achievable. A detox will help you drop the EXCESS weight that you carry around from over-eating, bloating, and backed up digestion. It should also teach you some healthy and simple new habits to help you sustain and maintain for the long-haul.
2) Easy fix: If you are looking for an easy fix to your health issues, a detox is not it, and no program that promises a quick fix is telling you the truth. Easy fixes usually mask the bigger issues and causes, and can backfire or cause your health to reverse back just as quick.
Think about those things that came easily to you – did you appreciate them as much as the things you worked hard for? That car you were given on your 16th birthday, did you appreciate it as much as the first car you bought with your hard-earned money? Probably not. And it’s the same way here. While we all dream about finding a quick, easy fix to our problems, they are rarely worth it. A cleanse can be the “fix” to your problems, but in order to make the changes last, you’ve got to work hard at them, learn new habits and techniques, and really appreciate everything that they bring into your life. It’s hard work, but it is worth every second of it.
3) Immediate Health and Wellness: Just like a quick fix isn’t going to happen, neither will immediate results. A detox or diet will put you on the right track to getting health and living with less stress, but much like weight loss, it won’t be instantaneous. It may take a few days to start to feel good, or even a few weeks, but that means you are tailoring your body into being healthier throughout a longer amount of time.
If you are looking for an instant reversal in your health, a good detox won’t do it. Instead, it will set you up for long-term, sustainable health and wellness. A cleanse or diet is simply a kickstart to the rest of your life. It is the intense learning portion that gives you all the tools you need to incorporate back into your moral routine, so you can live healthier and feel happier. So while you will feel better while on the cleanse, you’ll have to learn to use the tools or know when to ask for help after it is over. This is a good thing – it means you are making changes that will indeed last a lifetime.
If you are already in a program, take a moment to reevaluate it and see how it stands. Does it help you create slow,steady changes while you learn healthier habits? Or does it promise dramatic results, contingent on specific products and routines?
Until then, get started with this delicious and healthy smoothie recipe.
Mocha Buzz Smoothie:
Makes 1 large smoothie
1/2 cup chilled, brewed coffee (decaf or regular)
1/2 cup vanilla almond or coconut milk, unsweetened
1 tbsp carob, dark cocoa, or cacao powder
1 /8 cup raw cashews
3 dates, pitted
Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until frothy and smooth. If needed, you can also use honey or maple syrup to sweeten a bit more.
If you’ve ever been on a diet or cleanse, I’d love to hear about your experience. What did you love and what did you hate about it? Leave it in the comments below.