How To Detox The Right Way Without Feeling Like Crap
The Debrief: Most 'detox' regimes actually put your body under more stress - here's how to do it right
Detox is a type of diet/lifestyle you may follow for a set period of time in order to rid the body of all your sins (toxins). You may wish to detox in order to lose weight or to improve your skin, boost your immune system or simply feel more energised.
It’s a nice idea but, unfortunately, the idea that you can ‘extract’ the toxins from your body is rubbish. In fact, most ‘detox’ regimes actually put your body under more stress and make it more difficult for you to achieve your ‘detox’ goals.
However, good news everyone! The body is already designed to ‘detox’ for you. Organs such as the kidneys, the liver and your skin are continually doing this process already. What you need is to do to help them out is to make some big old changes in order to help your body recover from your Christmas/New Year rampage.
1. To improve your energy levels/skin/weight/sleep, you need to: kick sugar into touch
Sugar is the easiest form of energy for your body to use. Sugar provides a short-lived energy peak and then, half an hour to an hour later, a slump. This can cause an addictive need for continually eating or drinking sugar as each energy slump drives you to want more.
To combat cravings, you have to ‘work out’ your willpower. Cravings are essentially emotional eating: you don’t need the food, you just want it. So each time you want something sugary, then time yourself for 10 minutes before you can have it. This is about enough time for your body to realise that you actually don’t need it.
Well, cutting the sugar out is pretty easy, right? Cakes, biscuits, sweets… oh, it will be hard, but you can avoid them with a bit of willpower. What isn’t so easy is avoiding the hidden sugars in drinks and so called ‘healthy’ foods. Here are a few examples which may shock you:
Coconut water – 3 teaspoons/serving
Soft baked strawberry cereal bar – 2 teaspoons/bar
Strawberry and banana smoothie – 4.5 teaspoons/small glass (200mls)
Vegetable juice – 2 teaspoons/glass
Start getting into the habit of checking EVERYTHING! This may be a bore at first, but after a while you’ll start to learn what’s in your food without having to check, and the great energy levels you get will be enough of a motivator to keep you going.
2. For energy/skin/cravings, you need to: hydrate
After a heavy party season of alcohol, your body will be more than a little on the dry side. Alcohol is actually a drug, and it affects your body by tricking it into peeing. Sounds weird, right?
Your body has an an in-built system to know when you’re over or under-hydrated. When you’re over hydrated, you pee, and when you’re under-hydrated, you don’t. Alcohol stops this from happening and instead you pee when you’re under-hydrated, causing you to become dehydrated (hence the massive headaches).
So give your kidneys (one of your body’s natural detoxing systems) a little help and drink two litres of fluid a day. This can be a combination of tea/water/sugar-free squash or herbal tea. You may even need a little more if your pee continues to be darker than the colour of straw.
3. For an energy and weight loss boost, you need to: move
This is an old and boring message (sorry), but guys, you have to get moving. Really you should be doing 30 minutes of exercise a day. This may sound a lot but there are 24 hours in the day and if you can’t spare half of one, then you really need to take a look at how you value things.
The half an hour you take out each day will help you get more done in the rest of the day as you’ll simply have more energy. Being fitter will also allow you to get over colds and flus quicker. So get walking/gym/swim/tennis/stairs – plan it in and get it done.
4. For an immune system boost: sleep
The Christmas/New Year combo takes its toll on your body: late nights, alcohol, bad diet habits and stress all result in night after night of awful sleep. This WILL affect your immune system, and unless you want to start 2016 with the flu, you need to take some action.
Ideally, you’re looking for eight hours’ sleep a night, EVERY night. So set yourself a bed time around half an hour before when you need to be in bed and stick to it. Get a good, relaxing routine going, such as reading a book or taking a hot shower to get you into the sleeping mode.
5. For an unnecessary, pain-in-the-arse diet to follow (for no reason at all): go lactose- and wheat-free
Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in milk and wheat is used to make foods such as bread, pasta and biscuits. There are such things as lactose and wheat intolerances but these are VERY rare, so please don’t go diagnosing yourself.
These foods are actually very good for you and by taking them out of your diet you risk not getting enough calcium, fibre, protein and B vitamins – and actually, the reason you felt really ‘heavy’ after that pasta bake was because you just ate too much.
You may also want to know that if you truly have an issue with wheat, then your GP won’t be able to diagnose you if you’ve already removed it from your diet.
So, don’t overindulge in your meals and if you think you may have a lactose or wheat intolerance, then please see your GP.
Follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirstencrothers
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