Diets, Detoxes and Cleanses

Recently, I had a good friend comment on my Facebook question as to what you all wanted my next blog topic to be.  Fittingly enough, her suggestion was to discuss what diets work and don’t work, and I’m throwing in detoxes/cleanses in the mix too.  It is a fitting topic because Girls Gone Strong had just posted that week, an article written by a doctor, in which she explains detoxes.  I will link you to that article below.  Let’s start with that topic first:

DETOXES/CLEANSES

The article I read pretty much summed up why I never did a detox.  Your body naturally detoxes for you everyday.  Your liver is the detoxing organ, that’s what it is there for.  If you want to make life easier on your liver and “cleanse” yourself from eating a lot of processed, chemical-laced foods while on a weekend vacation or something, by all means avoid a few things for a week.  These “things” to avoid, according to Dr. Brooke are:

  • Packaged foods
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • DO eat high quality meats (organic, grass fed) — protein is key to the detoxing function in your body.

And that is all you simply need to do.  No green juices or cleansing packages.  Furthermore, detoxing is not a jump start to fat loss, as many feel it is.  If it makes you feel better to decrease on eating “junk” and do the aforementioned steps for a week, by all means.  You will likely have more energy and feel ready to get your workout on at that point.

DIETS

A diet is simply the food that each person consumes everyday. For example, a nutritionist may deem your “diet” to be healthy, too dense in calories, not enough calories, too  much processed food, etc.  That is because that nutritionist is simply assessing the food you put into your body everyday; that IS your diet.

But the word diet has taken on a life of it’s own in our modern day society.  People say “I’m on a diet.”  “I need to get on a diet.”  “I’m on the Atkins diet.”……..those things make me cringe.  What they mean to say is likely, “I need to alter my diet so it better fits my health and fitness goals.”  That is more appropriate (in my opinion).

I could go ON and ON and ON about this topic.  It’s one I struggle with from time to time — I’m only 5’4″, but I have the portion control of an Olympic athlete, chowing down thousands of calories in one day if I’m not diligent.  No joke.

BUT, a diet is what you eat.  If you are tempted to try the Atkins, South Beach, Paleo diet, etc. just make sure it is something you will SUSTAIN over time.  It’s great to lose weight on a certain gimmick diet in just a few weeks/months, but if you are going to gain it all back once you “get off that diet plan”, was it worth it?  I can think of at least 3 people right now who went on the South Beach diet who have since then said, “I lost so much weight BACK WHEN I was on the South Beach diet for my wedding.”  Case closed.

Fad-Diet

Simply, try to change eating habits, little by little, not all at once.  I’ve gone from cooking “usually” to cooking dinner every night to now pre-planning and cooking meals for the week.  That was an evolution over time for me. Also, in 2008, I freaked out about trans fats and eliminated them for the most part (sometimes they creep up in the ingredients list of something unsuspecting).  I used to drink diet sodas every day — now it’s a weekend “treat” for me.  All of these various habits were changed for the better over the past 5 years.  I didn’t do it all at once.  I’m still changing some habits.  It’s nice to focus on one habit at a time, however.

Bottom line, there are ways to have a healthy diet and not restrict yourself from pleasurable foods.  Seriously, eat the cake, cookie, fried chicken or pizza every now and again.  It’s okay to do that.  For real.  Gimmick diets are something I highly recommend staying away from.  And I’ve tried extreme and strict eating.  Sure, I was lean, but I wasn’t as happy.

And here is that fabulous article I referenced earlier, in regards to detoxes: http://www.girlsgonestrong.com/detox-diets-demystified/

I hope I helped bring some clarity to some of you — if you have any thoughts on this blog, please share your feedback in the comments section.  I love to hear from you!

~Melissa*

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