Feeling the need for a major detox? The holidays are full of joy, gifts, family and great food. One of the downsides is that the food isn’t always the healthiest. Between the weather getting cold and traditional holiday recipes, we tend to indulge in a lot of heavy, fatty and calorie dense foods that may leave us feeling sluggish.
Not to worry! This is only temporary and a safe detox can help you get back on track and feel better.
What is Detoxing?
Detoxing is a way of stepping away from certain foods and flushing your body with lots of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. When people detox, they usually cut out certain fatty or processed foods. There are many kinds of detoxes out there but it’s more important to listen to your body than to follow a celebrity detox routine. After all, everybody has different dietary needs and those needs should be met first. Some detoxes can actually increase things like fatigue because they don’t meet an appropriate daily calorie count. The focus of a detox should be to increase water consumption and increase how much nutrient-dense food you’re eating, not to cut back calories.
When setting out on your detox journey, you should take your physical activity into account. Working out and moving tends to fall to the wayside as the holidays roll around and that’s totally understandable. The holidays are crazy and we tend to spend more time taking care of others instead of ourselves. A detox period is a great time to take back the time we need for ourselves. Increasing movement and getting into a good workout routine can help you see even better results at the end of your detox.
How Do I Detox?
Detoxing can be a little difficult to understand when you try and put it in a box. When people talk about detox teas and ‘flushing’ things out of your body you need to be mindful about what these things are trying to achieve and who might be trying to make money off of it. Your body is a miraculous machine and has a process to flush out the everyday toxins that enter your body. A detox should be more about kicking bad habits and setting up healthy routines.
There are certain detoxes that can help reset your body and your cravings, however. One of the best things you can do for yourself in the new year is to cut out overly processed foods, especially sugar. Avoiding sugars can honestly feel like a detox. You might feel yourself becoming sluggish at first as your body gets used to functioning without the quick bursts of energy provided by sugar.
Ways to Make Detoxing Manageable
You will find yourself craving these kinds of foods more intensely. Eventually you will feel better, but removing your body's dependency on highly processed foods can be difficult. Trading out processed foods for healthier, nutrient-dense foods will become easier over time and after you feel like you’re over the hump, you can start to reintroduce those foods you love in smaller, less frequent quantities.
Increasing the amount of exercise is also a great part of a detox! Getting into healthy exercise routines can help us break out of the cycle of feeling tired because we aren’t moving. It is scientifically proven that we have more energy the more we move. It is very likely that over the holidays, you put a halt to your exercise routine. Don’t worry! Instead of feeling guilty about it, take this time after the holidays to get back on track. Set achievable goals and strive to work towards them at your own pace. This isn’t about ‘winning’ or being the best at something, it’s about loving yourself and giving your body and your mind what it needs.
Eating right and exercising are incredibly important in a detox, but we can’t ignore our minds. We tend to be very in tune with our physical body, but ignore our brains. Clearing your mind and making space for yourself mentally is a part of detoxing. Exercising helps improve brain function and also helps combat brain fog. Journaling is another easy way to take time out for your mental health. Whatever you do, make sure that you are not neglecting your mind!
At the end of the day, detoxing is something that is very personal and each person’s detox will look different depending on their body's needs. Make sure that you sit down with your doctor and talk about any drastic changes you plan on making to your diet or exercise routine. They will know if anything you’re doing could be possibly dangerous or have adverse effects based on your personal medical history.
Why Should I Detox?
This part is the shortest because there isn’t a single answer. Some people detox to lose weight, some people detox to try and eat more veggies and some people detox because they think they might feel better over all. Every reason is personal, but the most important thing is that you are doing it for yourself and you’re doing it for your health. Many people detox to lose weight, but keep in mind that detoxing doesn’t have to be about weight loss! A lot of people detox to get rid of the urge for sugar, bread and other highly processed foods. Some people do it because they’re trying to eat more veggies and less meat!
There are as many reasons to detox as there are people. Losing weight and looking great in that outfit is all good and well, but it’s more important that you feel happy.
A Different Kind of Detox
Although the standard definition of a detox is a body detox, other types of detoxing have become popular, including spiritual detox, relationship detox and digital detox. Of course, there isn’t a supplement or anything you can take to make those types of detoxes happen, but they may do a world of good for your mindset and mental health. Here’s a quick tour of what they actually entail:
Signs you need one: Feeling bored, negative, depressed or anxious much of the time.
How to do it: Begin with short ten minute morning meditations and increase as you can sit for longer, take a daily 15 minute walk or begin to write for 20 minutes a day. Start keeping track of your self-talk and begin writing down your goals and short term actions to achieve them. Take stock of bad habits and people and situations that are causing you the most pain. Consider online therapy.
*but if those bad feelings turn into thoughts of self-harm, seek emergency care, text: 686868 or visit www.crisistextline.ca
Signs you need one: Whether it’s one relationship or numerous ones that are causing you to feel stuck and not growing, It may be constant fights, lack of joy in doing things together or the feeling that you’re not on the same page with goals and the future.
How to do it: Begin by taking away some of the busy parts of your life. See where you can cut or say no to things that don’t enhance your days. Then plan time together. Promise to unplug together, but don’t expect magic and fireworks the first time. Reconnecting is a process, but counselling may be helpful. Time apart can also be beneficial, particularly if you can find a retreat or other type of self-care getaway.
Signs you need one: You’re wasting too much time on your phone, you’re feeling unfocused, feel a bad habit of holding your phone and needing to keep scrolling, have gotten into the habit of comparing yourself to others on social media, had issues with bullying or getting into online fights and dead-end debates.
How to do it: Take it slow at first with short-term breaks. Disconnect necessary functions from your phone (buy an alarm clock rather than use your phone) begin by waking up without using your phone for the first hour of the day. Note how you feel. Make a new bedtime habit that involves leaving your phone in another room before bed. We know, it’s hard. But just think of all the free time you’ll have. Can’t be without your phone? Try deleting social media apps for a week and see how you feel without them.