The Diet Wars, Volume Two: The New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Detox
Every year, we all talk about it: New Year’s resolutions, weight loss, and getting fit. Just about everybody thinks about shedding the few extra pounds of holiday indulgences that are making their pants fit a little tighter. Some people are determined to make this the year they will wear pants they haven’t been able to fit in for years. And the current fad now is to “detox.” So what really is the best weight loss plan, or detox plan?
The most important thing to remember is what I have said before: there is no one single healthy diet that is best for everyone because different people will thrive best on different kinds of foods. To discover the ideal diet for you – listen to your body. You can learn a lot from books, blogs, and friends, but the most important test is the one done on yourself. Learn to pay attention to how you feel, physically, mentally and emotionally when you eat in different ways. This includes not just how you feel when you try something new or eat “well,” but also how you feel when you indulge at holiday parties or slip back into habits.
Eat to Feel Good
The real goal is to learn how to eat to feel good. After all, that IS why we eat, to feel good! But too often that means we eat something yummy – sugary, salty – and not nutritionally nourishing at all. But what if you chose to eat to feel good, not just for the seconds that the food is in your mouth, but for the hours, days, and years after? Too often people thinking of dieting as a necessary and temporary deprivation. But that always fails. Until you start eating to feel good and take the long-term perspective, you’re actually going to keep feeling bad.
The first step is to figure out what “feeling good” really means to you. Sure, just about everyone WANTS to “lose weight.” But very few people really want to lose weight more than they want to eat chocolate cake or potato chips. WHY do you want to lose weight? What is more important to you than food? How about being able to run around with your kids, or grand-kids? Maybe you really want to garden and not be sore afterward. Maybe you want to travel. What is it that you love that would be easier, more pleasurable, or possible if you were healthier? THAT is what you want to focus on.
How to Eat to Feel Good
The next step is how. There are lots of different plans out there, so look around for a plan that doesn’t over-promise (weight loss of more than 1-2 pounds per week is NOT sustainable, and is the perfect recipe for weight gain.) Only sustainable eating will really get you to your goal and keep you there. What you are developing is a long-term strategy for healthy eating.
“Detox” plans are the hot new way to market quick fix, short-term weight loss strategies. And when done right, they can jump-start the process of becoming healthier. Doing a “cleanse” that teaches you how to avoid all the chemicals and processed foods that are the staples of the standard American diet can quickly show you how much better you feel when you eat whole foods. What makes all the difference is what you do AFTER the cleanse or detox period is over. If you go back to your old ways, you will negate most of the benefits of the cleanse. But if you continue the process, and use it as a way to start new habits, then you are on your way to better health, long term.
If you want fast results and want to quickly break out of old habits and start new ones, choose BOTH a cleanse and the long term eating plan that you will start immediately after. However, make sure both focus on water intake and food, not pills. Cleanses that use pills and fiber are marketing gimmicks. Supplements can be beneficial to certain health conditions but are not necessary as part of a standard cleanse. If you want help picking the right program for you, or have specific health concerns that need to be addressed with a cleanse or food plan, it’s best to consult your naturopathic doctor.
To Detox or Not to Detox
Cleanses are not right for everyone. It can feel overwhelming to change too much too fast, and feeling overwhelmed usually leads to frustration which leads to sliding back into old habits. So if you prefer more of the “turtle” pace to life, simply start with the long-term plan. (And remember, the turtle does get there faster than the hare in the end!) Focus on consistency, and learning from the inevitable mistakes that will happen along the way.
No matter which style of getting healthy appeals to you, the most important first step is to focus on HOW and WHY you want to be healthier. Then figure out what kind of eating works for YOUR body, and stick with it. If you want help figuring out what is going to work best for your unique health situation and your personal goals, call us at Third Stone Health – we can help you!