Stop – Please don’t hit ‘buy now’ on that New Year detox. Here’s why.

Happy New Year!

In case you haven’t noticed, the ‘New Year, New You” campaigns have already started and are in full force. As part of these campaigns you may see the word ‘detox’ more often then not and it may be quite appealing to think we could completely erase that past month by simply engaging in a week or two of strict perseverance. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want that? To be able to start the New Year with a clean slate, like none of those Christmas favourites even happened. To lose the ‘holiday weight gain’ and get our energy back.

But before you click ‘buy now’ there are a few things I’d love you consider.

Detoxes are only short term. Any benefits you may experience (and don’t forget the power of placebo) will only last as long as the detox. Detoxes are designed to be short term but It’s what you do most of the time that matters. So, take a look at what the detox programme entails. The stricter it is, the shorter term it will be and the more severe the consequences.

If you have been following me for some time, you’ll know that I once peddled detoxes myself! I’m not proud of that part of my career for a number of reasons, primarily because my goal is to support you with long term health and not a single detox I provided enabled that for my clients. I’ve learned so much since then!

Not only that, but these strict detoxes also played a big part when my own health spiralled because of the development of food fear and the consequences of that which only intensified with each detox done. (You can read more about that here)

So what are those negative consequences I’m eluding to?

· Do you ever find yourself binging on certain foods?

· Do you have intense cravings for sweet or salty treats?

· Do you sometimes feel guilty about what you’ve eaten?

· Have you ever labelled yourself as ‘addicted’ to sugar?

· Have you been on and off diets for as long as you can remember?

If you’ve said YES to any of these things you can thank not only detox diets but any diet that restricts the foods you’ve had these experiences with. Whenever we restrict or label foods as bad or ‘toxic’ as in the cases of detoxes it leads to many of the issues I’ve listed as well as in some cases leading to a full-blown eating disorder.

The more we restrict, the more we crave and the more we feel guilty for eating certain foods or for being a certain size, the more likely we are to turn to diets and detoxes once again and the cycle continues.

So, if you want to hop off this vicious cycle – the first step is to pause before starting your New Years detox or diet and asking yourself “where has this gotten me in the past?” and if you believe it worked, would you be needing to do it all over again?

Sadly, detoxes are nothing but a money making scam. I know, I’ve been there.

“But before you dust off that juicer or take the first tentative steps towards a colonic irrigation clinic, there’s something you should know: detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.”

The Guardian

I get it, it can be really alluring to think that some programme or product can flush out all those ‘nasty toxins’ from our bodies in just one simple sweep. But luckily, we don’t need any fancy product to do this. The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as you read this. Cool huh?

While our kidneys filter our blood and remove any waste from our diet, our liver processes medications and detoxifies any chemicals we ingest. Paired together, these organs make our bodies natural cleansing superheroes.

As for toxins in general, that’s a whole different topic – let’s just trust that our bodies know which ones we can keep around and which ones we need to get rid of. That’s the beauty of a functioning body.

Lastly, If you’ve done a detox in the past you may be thinking to yourself, “but I lost weight, it must work!” Of course, you did. Drinking nothing but juice and eating nothing but veggies and maybe some protein along with some form of laxative is naturally going to make you lose weight, but is that weight loss sustainable? And is it actually healthy? Weight loss/weight gain does not equate health and supporting you to be healthy and happy is what I’m here for.

So, what can we do instead?

If you feel your way of eating needs a boost consider adding in (within your means) rather than taking away. For example, I’m planning to add in a fish oil supplement this year because it’s something I know my body can benefit from .

Another change is that I have been enjoying High Protein Breakfast cereal in the mornings for breakfast because it tastes great and it’s got the protein of eggs without having to fry up some eggs, which I can’t stand first thing in the morning. Protein-rich breakfasts help to keep my belly happy and give me more balanced energy for my busy mornings. I’m also considering taking swimming lessons this year (yes ,you read that right, I can’t swim).

Is there something you can think of that you could add in to your daily life? More veggies? More variety? Experimenting with whole grains? Finding movement that you enjoy?

What about supplements? You may be asking. Are there supplements that can support our bodies? Sure, there are supplements that can support our overall health such as fish oil or a good multi but if that’s not within your budget or interest ,when it comes to supporting our body’s overall health and supporting your immune and natural detoxification systems, the basics still apply:

  • Move your body in ways you enjoy.

  • Please don’t smoke.

  • Drink moderately.

  • Enjoy a diet rich in veggies, fruits, protein, whole grains, fat and your favourite treats.

The only things you need to detox from in 2022 are the detoxes (and maybe toxic people).

If you’d like to learn a bit more about the science behind all of the above, check out my friend Cliff Harvey’s take on detoxes and whether or not they work. Read more.

And if you’re looking for a proven alternative to diets and detoxes forever… Check out The Experience – launching February 1, 2022!

Michelle Yandle is hosting The Experience group intuitive eating coaching

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