Avoid The Detox

The other day I was working at the fitness desk of the gym and admiring an awesome class that was going on.  The class is lead by a really fun instructor and despite the fact that I can’t hear what is happening, I can tell by how the trainer is working, that everyone is having a blast.  This particular class is a choreographed weight lifting session set to music.

A couple who I have noticed come in and lift frequently, stood and watched for a moment.  The woman stated that they couldn’t handle that class.  I smiled and said that I was almost certain they could do this class.  They lift all of the time!

“No.  Right now we are doing a serious detox diet and we both have zero energy.  We couldn’t even lift tonight.  It’s like we are in a fog.”  The husband pointed out that this is an amazing diet where they drink shakes every 2-3 hours for a week or two before Christmas.    But the downside is that they are foggy and exhausted right now.

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As a health coach, I am generally against detox diets.  This situation was an excellent example.  I’d like to share a few reasons why I feel detoxes should be avoided:

Any pursuit to improve your health should be a step towards permanent change:  When we do a detox, we are looking for a quick fix.  “Detoxes” and other diets are a way to rapidly lose weight.  However, once the detox or diet is over, and you go back to your normal every day ways, how do you continue to keep the weight off?  This is where yo-yo diets and weight fluctuations occur.  The best step to good health is a lifestyle plan.  When we aim to eat healthy and be active every day, we are making a step towards living well every day.

Losing weight shouldn’t make you feel like you are living in a fog or down right miserable.  The fact that these regular exercisers couldn’t get through their workout and acknowledged that they wouldn’t be able to get through a class is a major bummer.  Getting healthy and even losing weight should include a regular exercise plan.  Exercise increases our metabolism and is the best way to keep our hearts and bodies healthy.  Regular exercisers are less likely to have diabetes or cardiovascular disease.  Exercise is also essential for improving diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Food should be enjoyed in moderation.  Taking food off of the table is not a good way to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.  It is important to focus on eating a well rounded diet.  Using the MyPlate Guidelines is a great way to ensure that you are getting enough essential nutrients in your diet.

Did you know that the USDA no longer uses the Food Pyramid?  To make things easier we now follow the MyPlate guidelines.  Check out their website to get customized information for you!

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A healthy “diet” should give you energy.  Have you ever gained a few pounds and worked to lose it?  Did you notice that as you started to lose weight and get healthier, you began to sleep better, wake better, and feel better in general?  When we lose weight and get healthy in a proper manner, you should notice positive changes throughout the course.  Getting healthy should feel good.

When we detox we lose more than just weight.  Food is delicious.  It serves a wonderful part of our lives on a social level.  It also has a very important role for our bodies.  Not only is it the fuel that drives us, but it also contains essential vitamins and minerals.  No one food contains every single thing we need.  This is why we need to eat a variety of veggies, fruits, meat, and even dairy.  When we eliminate certain foods from our diet we have to be very careful to ensure that we are still getting these essential nutrients.  This is why vegetarians need to carefully construct their diets.  If you eliminate meat products from your diet, you need to make sure you are still eating necessary proteins, etc.

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Therefore, it is very difficult to find a “detox” that is still ensuring you are getting all of these necessary nutrients.  All of these vitamins and minerals seem very small but they form a powerful combination that keep our brains, hearts, and muscles functioning.  When we miss out on these, we are doing our bodies a serious disservice.

Long story short, the healthiest way to lose weight is a lifestyle change.  It doesn’t need to be drastic.  Small changes add up to make large impacts.  If you are not sure where to start look for help from a nutritionist, dietician, or health coach.  

What is your best kept secret for staying healthy?

11 thoughts on “Avoid The Detox

  1. This stuff makes me absolutely crazy. Your body NEEDS FOOD. If you’re that concerned about your body and feel you need to “detox” it, then maybe you should take a look at what you’re putting into it in the first place. The human anatomy is nothing short of amazing, and if you’re careful about what you put in, it will do what it was designed to do to clean out the crap. As long as the machinery is in working order, then there should be no need to detox anything. Or is this all just me?

  2. I always go back to a classic Bloom County comic (http://www.gocomics.com/bloomcounty/2014/08/22) where Opus the penguin wants to lose weight and Milo keeps saying “How about eat less and exercise more”, which is of course a repugnant thought to him!

    I actually tried a detox program back in 2012, tea, fruit, etc … ugh. I started Friday night, took the weekend off running, but by Monday when I went to run I felt exhausted and had to turn around within a half-mile of the house to hit the bathroom! THAT was it! Never finished, never wanted to try again.

    At that point I was really just starting to ‘get’ the whole ‘food is fuel’ (yes, at 46, better late than never) rather than a constant adversary. But I NEVER thought that ‘being healthy’ should look like ‘feeling like crap’.

    Also the entire concept of ‘detox’ is so nonsensical that it makes my eyes roll and head spin every time I hear it.

    I have tried to be more ‘chill’ about all of these fad products (*cough* Shakeology *cough*) that sell you a formula that you cannot just make at home and that therefore don’t teach you how to eat better. For me, anything that helps make you healthier and feel better is a good thing, though I tend towards the whole ‘eating real food’ thing (while also not dis-allowing myself any foods or food groups).

    I really have no clue what my point was anymore … probably just that I hate the concept of detox.

    My secrets? Here are two amazing, unknown treasures: “eat less and exercise more” and “food is fuel”

    With those two secrets, there is no limit to what you can achieve! 🙂

  3. This post has arrived at such a coincidental time, it’s laugh out loud brilliant.
    I am on day 3 of a 3-day juice ‘detox / cleanse’ whatever-you-want-to-call-it, and so far I’m finding that it’s nothing more than expensive and annoying.
    The only reasons I’m doing it are to see what all the talk is about, to say that I’ve done it, and to add something new to my life for this week (if you read my blog regularly you’ll know that I do something new each week of the year…)
    I can’t comment on weight loss as I’ll only weigh myself tomorrow after this all ends, but right now, I can honestly say that I would not recommend this to anyone.
    I just want a big fat old steak sandwich right now 🙂

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