Expert advice: Why you shouldn’t detox and what you could try doing instead

-Nov 14, Hannah Hargrave , Nutrition -

Before you delve into a detox to deal with the over-indulgence this
festive season you may want to read why it might not be such a good
idea.

The season for good will, food, drink and parties is almost upon us
which means many women are planning their pre-Christmas detox
or plotting their January cleanse. But while you may think it’s “the thing” to do faddy detoxes may be more myth than magic.

Fit4mum‘s Melissa Lorch shares with Lumity the reasons she refuses to jump on the detox bandwagon and reveals what you can do to
have a fun party season, without dieting even coming into it.

Related: How to have clear glowing skin all through party season

What is a detox

Most women see a detox as a way to cleanse their body and get rid of
toxic waste – like too much alcohol, fatty foods and sugary treats.
Often their aim is to lose excess weight rapidly too and this is why
the detox usually last between a day and a month.

There are several different ways to detox. Some involve only consuming
raw fruit and vegetables, others cut out food entirely. There’s
drinking cayenne pepper and lemon based drinks and even ‘Dry January’ where you steer clear of alcohol is considered a type of detox.

Is detoxing a myth?

“Detoxing diet programs may well see you shift weight,” says Melissa.
“But at the end of the day that weight will come right back on not
long after you stop the detox.”

But what about the way a detox supposedly cleanses your body of all
those toxins?

“Your body does this all the time anyway,” she explains to Lumity.
“Everything from your skin, to your gut, to your liver and kidneys
continually detox the body. You don’t need to add special drinks or
so-called magic pills to your diet to get these results.

Of course there must be a reason women go back time and time again to
detoxes and insist they feel way better because of them. However
Melissa points out it’s not the lack of food, or spicy potion they’ve
been drinking eight times a day, that’s made them feel that way.

“If you cut down on drinking, put down the cigarettes, get exercise
and plenty of sleep you’re going to feel amazing. So why not just do
that? That way you are not depriving yourself either and are way more
likely to stick with the plan than if you cut stuff out entirely.”

Related: How to fall in love with exercise again

Because it’s true that detoxers often complain of feeling lightheaded,
dizzy, hungry and weak.

“It can actually be harmful to cut important nutrients from many of
these foods out of our diet, especially when they’re not even being
replaced with other foods. That’s lost nutrients our bodies need.”

Is an all fruit and vegetable detox healthy?

Many of the detoxes do promote eating lots more fruit and veg which is
a bonus, but it doesn’t mean you should ONLY be consuming them or
consuming one sort.

“You should be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a
day,” says Melissa. “So it’s brilliant to promote more of this. But no
single type can provide a miracle. Variety is the spice of life and
that goes for diet too.

“Along with all those healthy and vibrant vegetables you should have
wholegrain carbohydrates (because the right carbs are so important),
leans fish, meat – if you’re not vegetarian – and add beans and pulses
to your diet too.”

What works better than a detox?

It’s ok to treat yourself when your overall lifestyle is balanced. So
Melissa says rather than trying to quick fix your Christmas bad
habits, give yourself the gift of a healthier overall lifestyle all
year round and come next party season you can have a guilt and detox
free time.

“I always say it’s about EDIT, not DIET. Same letters different
approach,” adds Melissa. “If you lead an active lifestyle and have a
balanced, healthy and varied diet, watch your portions sizes and be
mindful about alcohol consumption you’ll feel so much better about
yourself. Everything in moderation is key!”

A diet detox might not do you much good but a digital detox can. See how switching off your phone and turning off the TV could give your health a boost and if the thought of Christmas is already stressing you out, try adding a little stress-reducing mindfulness to your life.

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