There are many types of diets to choose from, so what’s so special about detox diets? First of all, detox is short for detoxification. The goal is to detoxify, or clean out your body. That’s why you will also hear about “cleanse” diets, which mean pretty much the same thing.
There is not one single detox diet, but many. They do, however, share some common traits. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this type of diet.
Detox Diets and Weight Loss – When you hear the word “diet” you usually assume that it’s a weight loss plan. There’s nothing wrong with this, as many people have this goal. Indeed, if you are overweight this is something you should be focused on for health reasons.
Detox diets, however, are not necessarily about losing weight. Even when you do want to shed some pounds, a detox diet usually has broader goals as well. When you cleanse your body, you aren’t simply trying to get skinnier -you’re improving your health by getting rid of harmful toxins.
So people who are skinny, fat or somewhere in between can all benefit from a good detox diet. It should help to normalize your weight, but this is only one of the goals!
Energy and Well Being – Conventional diets don’t necessarily make you feel better. Some may actually drain your body of essential nutrients. Detox diets, however, are designed to make you feel better in every way.
One caveat is that there is sometimes a short period of time when you feel worse after starting a detox diet. That’s when your body is learning new habits. To put it bluntly, you may be addicted to certain unhealthy foods. In this case you may experience a type of withdrawal when you start eating healthier. This isn’t a bad thing, though it’s uncomfortable.
Youthful Complexion – Detox diets are good for your whole body, including your skin and hair. This makes them great for giving you a younger and healthier appearance. This isn’t to say that you can start a detox diet on Monday and look 20 years younger by Friday. If you stick with the diet for a while, this might happen though!
Emotional Benefits – When toxins are removed from your body, you feel better mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Unhealthy foods such as sweets and other junk foods tend to wreak havoc with your blood sugar and brain chemistry. So when you detoxify, you are less prone to mood swings and depression.
We aren’t saying that a detox diet is the cure for a serious emotional disorder such as clinical depression. It can, however, help balance out your emotions.
These are just some of the potential benefits of a detox diet. Before you go on one, however, you should do a little research. You want to find a program that’s right for you. Just because it has words like “detox” or “cleanse” in it doesn’t mean it’s great.
Fasting and Detoxing
There are different types of detox diet plans. Some are very short term, such as various types of fasts. These can help you cleanse your body every so often, but you should be careful if you’re not accustomed to fasting.
Start out with a short fast of no more than 2 or 3 days. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids and not doing anything too strenuous. A juice fast is good for this, because you’re getting some healthy nutrients and not starving yourself.
You should not try to use fasting as part of a weight loss strategy. You will probably lose weight after fasting, but then you will gain it back again when you return to your normal diet. The objective of a fast is to clean out your body; the temporary loss of weight is only a byproduct of this.
If you attempt to use fasting as a weight loss tactic, you are moving in the direction of a starvation diet. This is not detoxing and it’s not healthy!
Long Term Detox Diets
I suggest having the goal of finding a moderate, long term detox diet. This means eating in a healthy yet reasonable manner -hopefully for the rest of your life! Rather than try to gain some dramatic results in a short time, think of this as part of a larger plan to transform your life.
I’m not saying that short term detox diets, including fasts, can’t be beneficial. Yet they aren’t going to help that much if you normally eat an unhealthy diet. In other words, you can’t binge most of the time and expect to make up for it by fasting or detoxing every so often!
Exercise and Lifestyle
Diet is only one aspect of a healthy lifestyle. While the focus of this article is on detox diets, you also can’t ignore the importance of exercise. Regular exercise if vital for good health, as more and more research indicates. Exercise is great for detoxifying your body, and this goes hand in hand with a healthy diet.
You don’t necessarily have to join a gym. You don’t need to engage in activities that you hate. All that’s necessary is to engage in regular physical activity. This can be walking, sports, hiking, riding a bike, swimming, playing tennis or anything that you like.
You should also get as much physical activity as possible in your normal, everyday life. Try to walk more and rely less on cars, elevators, escalators and so forth. When you have free time, get outside and so something rather than being a couch potato!
Rest and Releasing Stress
Sleep is another crucial factor in a healthy lifestyle. This is also important for detoxifying your body. If you don’t get enough rest, you are putting your body under stress, which is definitely not good for your health.
Speaking of stress, this is an often unrecognized source of toxins. We can even say that all toxins are a type of stress. Yet right now I’m talking about stress in the usual way -getting tense, upset or feeling negative emotions.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough rest can help you feel more balanced and reduce stress. Yet if stress is a problem for you, it’s essential to take a close look at this and find a solution. You may have to change your outlook or the way you interact with others. If you cannot do this on your own, you should look into counseling of some kind.
Detoxifying Your Life
This has been a general overview of what detox diets can do for you. I haven’t tried to push any specific diet, but rather discussed why this type of diet is worth considering.
Hopefully, you will also understand that no diet on its own can transform your life. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but you are really better off if you take steps to improve things in all areas of your life. That way, you will get the maximum benefits from a detox diet!