Happy 2013! It’s the beginning of a new year. Full of hope, promise and many, many, New Years resolutions to lose weight and get healthy. A detox is a great method to re-set your body and mind to allow it to do what it was intended to – be an efficient, magnificent system that has boundless energy, experiences great joy, with strong defenses to to ward off illness. I talk more in-depth about what is meant by “detox” is a previous post. Over the past several years, I have done 14-day detox 2-3 times a year using the Wild Rose Detox kit. It’s a great system based on clean whole foods and detoxing/cleansing supplements, but it can be quite harsh for first-timers. I have also used detox-type diets to help heal inflammation from a sports injury and inflammation from food sensitivities. This year I’m doing a 30-day detox of my own design, starting with a 10-day vegan detox designed by the fantastic team at Joyous Health. I have done many detoxes over the years, each one brings with it a unique experience. Here are some tips to get the most out of your detox journey.
1. Set a Clear Intention – Your “Why”.
For most, simply “loosing weight” or “getting fit” isn’t a long lasting motivator to maintain lifestyle changes. Think about how peak health can improve your life. You may want: More energy and stamina. Control over your allergy symptoms. To get fewer colds. Reduce chronic pain. Manage depression and anxiety. But the real question you have to answer for yourself is WHY. Why do you want more energy? Or to loose weight, or be pain free? How will having more energy, less pain and less illness improve your life? What will you be able to accomplish with by reaching your peak level of health? Get a journal. Write it down. Be as detailed as you can, this will create a strong connection to your WHY. Read this every night before bed or first thing when you wake up. I’ve known some people have created a personal mission statement of their “why”, and tapped it to their bathroom mirror so they can recite it out loud every day, might sound cheesy and over the top – but it works.
2. Believe that you are worth it.
At the risk of sounding like a advertisement for women’s beauty products, this is such an important part of making and sticking to positive lifestyle changes. I don’t notice this as much with men, but many women really struggle with putting themselves first. Women are evolving, but it’s still a large part of female socialization to be pleasers, and a lot of women struggle with making their health a priority. The bold truth is this: no one else can take care of your health but YOU. No one is going to take your hand and give you a magic pill that will help you loose weight, increase your energy and improve your outlook. Yes, partners/spouses and family are important, but you are much better parent, friend and lover when you are healthy, vibrant and happy. Make yourself a priority. Schedule it, and work your self-care into your life as you would any other very important thing in your life.
3. Get Your Home Detox-ready.
Unless you have super awesome will power, it’ll do you good to get rid of all the “not allowed” stuff in your kitchen. This includes all junk food; chips, cookies, ice cream – anything that will tempt you during your detox. Then, stock up on detox friendly foods such as brown rice, raw almonds, green veggies, quinoa, lentils, and the list goes on. Detoxing doesn’t have to mean punishingly plain boring foods, in fact, so many detox-friendly meals are exploding with flavour! Open up your spice cupboard – spices not only add flavour, but many of them are superfoods, such as turmeric and fresh garlic, key ingredients in delicious and warming curries. Consider planning out your meals, a meal plan is convenient as you can plan the items you’ll need for the week ahead which saves money and time and will prevent any “cheating” .
4. Buddy Up.
It always helps to feel like you’ve got company when you’re embarking on a new challenge. Ask a friend or family member to join you. Having someone walk with you on this journey, is not only comforting, but will definitely help with your accountability, this is true of any lifestyle change. Hiring a professional for regular follow-ups is also another way to increase adherence to a new program and ensure long term success.
5. Dress Up Your Water.
Drinking a lot of water is important during a detox. For most gentle detox’s filtered water from a Brita or Mavea is just fine. You may choose to decide to use distilled water depending on the type of detox. However, since distilled water is devoid of any minerals, it’s best used for short periods only. I personally love drinking plain water, but I know a lot of you out there find water “boring” which makes taking in the necessary amount of water difficult. Here are some great detox-friendly ways to dress up your water:
- slices of lemon
- slices of cucumber
- slices of orange and a few crushed fresh or frozen cranberries
- muddled fresh mint leaves, with lime and a few drops of liquid stevia (think mojito!)
6. Clean up your sleep.
Proper sleep is an important part of every day health. It helps reduce anxiety and depression, turns on the body’s fat-burning metabolism, and is when our bodies restore and regenerate which is especially important during a detox. Sleep hygiene is a widely researched topic with more information than is intended for this post, but here are a few helpful tips to ensure quality 7 to 9 hours of regeneration.
- Avoid caffeine at least 4 hours before bed time, this includes coffee, black tea, matcha, and for some even a mild green tea too late in the day can prevent a restful sleep.
- Establish a pre-sleep ritual. This could include reading a book, doing a relaxing yoga routine (like yoga nidra), or having a warm bath or shower. Establishing pre-sleep ritual at least 30 minutes before you get under the covers helps you shed the days hassles to properly unwind, relax and get the mind and body for sleep.
- A cool, well ventilated bedroom (not too cold) is the most conducive to a good, uninterrupted sleep.
- The darker the better. If you can’t afford to get good black-out curtains or blinds, try a sleep mask.
7. Get a move on!
A detox will by it’s nature, stimulate the movement of toxins out of the body, through the bowels, urine and through the skin (yes, you may break out a little if this is your first detox, – but it will pass and make way for beautiful glowing skin!!). Unless you are on a detox that is severely restricting calories, you can still stick to your regular exercise routine. Regular movements of the body i.e. “exercise” help to stimulate all organs and systems of detoxification. Yoga is especially great during a detox as it focuses on the breath, increasing oxygen to all cells in the body and is not as taxing as say, a high intensity interval training workout. Yoga also has the additional benefit of quieting the mind allowing you to be more present and focused.
I wish you all an abundance of love, happiness and health in 2013! xo