To Detox or Not to Detox?
I’m upset by my holiday bloat! But I’m thankful I’ve already lost 3 pounds. How did I do it? Here are some things to consider when deciding how you should lose your “2011 pounds” to help you get 2012 off to a healthy start…
A new client shared a familiar story with me. Sarah, who has struggled with her weight for years, had just spent a week at a health spa, successfully losing three pounds. But within a few days of returning home, she had gained all of her hard-earned weight loss back – and more. She felt so desperate, she was considering a 21-day “cleanse,” but was fearful severe dieting might backfire again and wanted my advice.
Her fears were well-founded and illustrated the most frustrating dilemma of dieting: Weight loss is exhilarating, prompting a series of biological benefits which make you feel great, but too often the results are fleeting.
This struggle has been going on as long as people have been looking for quick-fix, formulaic diets. In the 1970s, it was carb-counting with Atkins or Scarsdale. The 80s brought us liquid diets (remember Oprah and Optifast?). In the 90s, low-fat diets were the rage. Then we came full circle with low-carb diets returning in the 2000s and the modern equivalent of liquid diets – “cleanses” and “detoxes” – back today.
But the challenge remains the same: You cannot “diet” forever. At some point, you must transition from the “diet” to an eating plan and lifestyle which maintains your weight and health.
Sarah said it would be such a relief not to have to think, or make choices, and so rewarding to lose weight quickly. I completely understand the temptation here. And these factors do make weight loss with a liquid diet easier for many people. But I encouraged Sarah, “Ask yourself: Will the weight loss stick? Yo-yoing can be demoralizing.” Though I agree it is better to try something than to stay overweight, unhealthy and feeling miserable.
If you decide to go all the way and try a “cleanse” or very low calorie diet plan, you probably will lose weight. It’s a fact: when you eat fewer calories than you burn, weight loss is a consequence. And even a liquid cleanse, if short term, shouldn’t be harmful. (Though some people experience negative consequences: constipation, nutritional deficiencies, headaches, depression/irritability, hair loss, and a lowered metabolism.)
But since by definition this is temporary, be prepared to transition slowly to healthy eating (go too fast and you’re liable to gain a lot of water weight).
A second option would be to start with the healthy lifestyle that you would be transitioning to. Lose weight in a sustainable way so that when you’ve lost it, the good habits are in place. I probably don’t need to tell you this is my choice, and it’s successful for the majority of people.
Based on studies of successful weight loss maintainers, here is what you should do to keep weight off once it is lost:
Living at a spa impractical? Okay, create a “Home Spa” to JUMP-START 2012 and feel as good, if not better, than you would being on a liquid “cleanse.” To re-create the Health Spa experience, Do…
Minesweep for Calorie Bombs – Banish any “risky,” fattening or unhealthy foods from the house,
Hit the Ground Running – Start Every Day with Physical Activity. Don’t even think about it! Before checking email, taking phone calls, or applying make-up (I know – I’m horrible!), get out the door for a walk, jump on your home treadmill, go to bootcamp or to the gym,
Eat Breakfast Every Morning – Preferably at home, so you’re not tempted by the bagel-the-size-of-your-head at the office. Skimping on breakfast usually backfires and causes over-eating later,
Sleep at least 7 to 8 Hours – Sleep disturbances are correlated with weight problems,
It Takes A Village – Spend your time with like-minded people and avoid people who will sabotage your goals. This is an important feature of being at a spa which makes it so easy. If your spouse or friends are not on board, it will be difficult to stick with any plan,
The Battle of the Bulge is Won at the Margins. Sweeping Dietary Overhauls are Impractical and Don’t Work Over Time!
Making the Transition
(If you opt for the modified fast or cleanse)
Start by slowly incorporating healthy carbohydrates into your diet until you get to at least 160 grams daily (3 servings of dairy or calcium-fortified soy, 5 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, 4 servings whole grains)*
Week 1: Add a high fiber, whole grain cereal and milk for breakfast
Week 2: Add two or more fruits as mid-morning and afternoon snacks
Week 3: Add two slices of whole grain bread for a sandwich at lunch
Week 4: Add a yogurt snack
Week 5: Add a couple of high fiber, bean-based vegetarian meals to your week
*add carbs back too fast and you risk gaining a lot of water weight
This may not be considered a genuine “cleanse” but that’s good! It contains real food you can actually chew…Delicious, satisfying, loaded with nutrients and naturally fiber-rich, for natural “cleansing!”
For more fabulous tips and simple, effective ways to lose weight,
buy her book, Diet Simple!