I was going to call this post ‘5 Ways to Survive a Detox’ but realized that sounded rather negative and not at all inspiring. I mean, who wants to survive anything unless it’s a near-death experience like an avalanche, and while the idea of a detox/period of “clean” eating may sound like a near-death experience to many, the reality is it can be a great opportunity to unload all sorts of c**p, both literally and metaphorically.
I don’t mean to sound preachy, but truly, if you can embrace a detox, letting go of some of the comforts and shortcuts we afford ourselves just to ‘get through’ life, can be a revelation. Who hasn’t needed that glass of wine, or two or three, after a long work week? Or that
piece bar of chocolate at 10pm at night after the kids are in bed? Or grabbed a nutty Kind bar instead of eating lunch because you’re just too busy to find real food to eat? We’ve all been there, in fact, that’s where some of us, including me, live most of the time.
What I’ve come to realize as I let go of those props, crutches, call them what you will, is that without them it becomes much easier to assess how I really feel, both emotionally and in my body. Is my gut painful because I have some serious affliction?! or just because I keep filling it with irritating foods? Am I really a tad down, or is it just that I’m not getting enough deep, quality sleep? Strip away the irritants and you will have a much clearer picture of what’s going on.
I have come to love January as the month when I can finally set down my magic wine glass – the one that refills itself every night through December holiday gatherings – put myself back on the hook and be responsible about what I’m eating (I know that eating dairy irritates my skin, yet I did it for a month solid in December) and renew my goals around health and fitness. This year I am going to do my first (and likely my last) duathlon. I have a partner, we are signing up for a race and we’ve started to train! I’m pretty excited. Running and biking have never been my thing, but that’s okay. It’s good to do something new.
Okay, I promised you 5 tips to help you thrive on a detox, so here goes:
- Pick a plan that suits your lifestyle. Don’t do a vegan one if the idea of giving up meat makes you panic. Don’t do a juice only one if you have an active, energetic lifestyle (actually don’t do one anyway, they spike your blood sugar and you don’t lose weight, but that’s another story). I love to cook, so I have picked one that is full of great recipes – that way it feels like a fun experiment in the kitchen, not a period of deprivation. I am doing this Clean Program one by Dr Junger.
- Grab a buddy. There’s masses of research that shows we are more likely to be successful – in all sorts of things – if we pair up with people in the same boat. From AA to running clubs, this notion really works. The Clean program is offering a host of free support: from qualified counselors on Facebook, to the community asking each other questions through social media, and weekly calls with Dr Junger. And this stuff is all free! Crazy. If you want to join, you can ask for an invitation here.
- Stay immersed and take it one day at a time. It’s really easy to fall out of the practice of good eating and living. Find videos on YouTubes, borrow books from friends, go to yoga, talk to your buddy. For now, don’t hang out with your gourmand friends.
- Don’t forget to detox your mind too. Keeping a daily journal tracking how you’re feeling. Noticing the connections between your moods and other factors like sleep, exercise, etc, can be very helpful in joining the dots. Journaling also helps to put aside toxic thinking like stress over a co-worker or friend: write it down, set it aside, move on.
- Reward yourself, but think of new treats. At the end of last week, a loooong week, my typical Friday night go-to would be eating out (lots of bad fats, flour, sugar and goodness knows what else) with a couple of glasses of wine. I started to fantasize about doing this on a long drive home from a meeting, then I caught myself. I imagined what it might taste like to drink wine (it had been 10 days) and realized that wasn’t what I wanted, plus it would negatively impact my sleep. Noticing my achy shoulders and lower back, it dawned on me that what I really needed was a massage, so I booked one and it was just what the doctor ordered.
I am hoping (see, it’s hard to make a solid commitment!) to stay on this cleanse for at least 21 days. It’s been 11 so far and the rewards (clearer skin, better digestion, deep sleep) are starting to show. Happy January!