As the holiday season comes to a close, getting on the scale may be a daunting adventure you’d like to avoid. If your favorite skinnies or trusty boot leg jeans are feeling, well, a little… snug… it may be tempting to jump on the detox bandwagon. But before you do, let’s look at some options.
What is a detox diet?
Detoxification in the context of alternative medicine consists of an approach that claims to rid the body of “toxins” – accumulated harmful substances that allegedly exert undesirable effects on individual health in the short or long term. Detoxification usually includes one or more of: dieting, fasting, consuming exclusively or avoiding specific foods (such as fats, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, juices, herbs, or water), colon cleansing, chelation therapy, or the removal of dental fillings.[Source: Wikipedia]
But in plain English, “a detox diet can be summed up as a low-calorie, primarily liquid diet that has the goal of cleansing the body.” [Source: Moores]
Is it really good for you?
In short, we think no. These crash diets can often upset blood sugar, potassium and sodium levels in the body. Because most of these diets contain very little protein, it can be difficult for the body to rebuild lost muscle tissue. [Source: Moores]
Extended detoxing, more than three days, can actually rob your body of
vitamins and nutrients.
Potential side effects include low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and nausea.
Like any “quick fix” weight loss diet, you are likely to gain the weight back, and possibly more, when you go back to your normal eating habits.
What should I do instead?
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is changing your diet if you want to stay on course. Making small changes over time is the best way to alter your diet and exercise patterns and stay on course for a healthier lifestyle. Today is a good day to start!
Have a sweet tooth? Dark chocolate wants to be your friend. The coco phenols in dark chocolate have been linked to lowering blood pressure. Keep calories in mind though — a100-gram serving of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 531 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Start incorporating healthier food alternatives. Substituting a yummy salad for a higher calorie meal can be just the kick start you need. Be careful what you add – calories can sneak into your bowl quickly when you start adding things like cheeses, croutons and high calorie salad dressing. Pile on those veggies and protein – your body will thank you!
Try out a new form of exercise. Mixing up your work outs or exercise regimen can keep things fresh and fun. Too cold to go outside for a walk? Try out a new yoga program at home or pick up some weights and do a few reps while watching your favorite TV shows.
Catch up on some rest. Your body needs time to recharge for both mental and physical reasons. Sleep can affect growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
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