Many of us diet and detox/cleanse to lose weight and succeed in the beginning, but are unable to maintain the loss in the long run. The problem is not many of us understand what our bodies need to shed the pounds and keep them off or even know the difference between diets and cleanses, which is why majority of us are unable to lose weight and keep it off.
Diets usually consist of strict meal plans, lowering calorie intake and restricting junk foods, carbs & sugars. Adding these restrictions shocks our bodies, which isn’t a bad thing if we continued to live by set restrictions. The problem arises once we begin introducing the foods we eliminated, our ability to disgest set foods has significantly weakened, therefore making it more difficult for bodies to process and breakdown. In addition, most of us think once we shed the weight we can go right back to eating the way we once did, but that is not the case.
Now, let’s talk about cleanses. Cleanses are meant to help detoxify our blood and reset our bodies by riding them of toxins. Detoxing allows our organs to rest, restore and repair themselves, so that they can function at optimal levels.
Basically, detoxification means cleansing the blood. This is done by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin. However, when these systems are compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and the body is adversely affected.
Much like diets, cleanses do restrict foods and usually consist of fruits, vegetables, juices, shakes and water. Some cleanses incorporate herbs, teas and supplements into their meal plan. The importance difference is that cleanses last for a short period of time, they vary from 3 days to 4 weeks, cleansing for any longer than a month has the potential of shocking our organs and weakening our tolerance in disgest anything other than the foods suggested. It is important to note that cleanses can cause dehydration, therefore it is critical that we implement all vital nutrients such as fats, fiber and protein; unlike diets, cleanses are not concerned with calorie intake, rather it is about choosing the cleaner options.
Statistics show that approximately 95% of people that lose weight through dieting will regain the weight in 1-5 years. As mentioned prior, temporary meal plans may shed the weight at first, but can actually lead to diet-overeat or diet-binge cycle. Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt explains in this TED talk,
The key is focusing on a healthy lifestyle instead—exercise, activity, healthy habits—and mindful eating (eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full, strictly), as in eating when you’re hungry or when you need to, and being aware of what you’re eating and how long you’re eating while you dine.
Rather than eliminating foods from our diet completely, we should focus on creating a healthy eating lifestyle consisting of mindful eating. We should never cut out something from our diet that we are not willing to live by, it is important to maintain consistency with our choice of foods. It’s fine to have cheat days here and there, but for the most part we must consciously choose the healthier alternative. A friend of mine offered the 80/20 rule as a way of thinking in terms of living a healthy lifestyle, meaning 80 percent of the time we choose the healthier option and 20 percent of the time we have the freedom to choose the less healthier alternatives. If we implement this rule, it doesn’t require such a commitment and lifestyle change. We can still enjoy the unhealthy options while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and steady weight loss that will stay off. In addition, it makes cleansing a whole lot easier.
In closing, diets are pointless as the weight loss is only temporary, cleanses are helpful and needed for boosting organ function; but, ultimately the key to healthy weight loss is making cleanier and healthier choices without completely restricting our diet from certain foods.