Try These Alternatives Instead of Wasting Time Detox

By now, we all know that New Year’s “detox” and “dumps” do not cleanse or dump anything. Depending on which you choose, these are either erratic diets or pure pseudoscience – often a combination of both. And yet they still appeal.

Detox in 2021 could be cocktails and juices for a week, often led by a guru who makes big promises about how great you will feel after spending a week buying from them. Or it may be difficult to eliminate certain foods from your diet, such as those without sugar. Whatever the mechanism, these are all restrictive diets called self-care.

So let’s take a look at the reasons people keep coming back to diet reset and cleansing shakes. Their marketing (even if it doesn’t sound like marketing) definitely ticks the box for some of the things we want in our life, like a sense of control or an antidote to holiday fatigue. But there are ways to work towards those goals without starving yourself.

If you want more energy

The increased “energy” is often touted as an effect of detox diets, and it is true that some people experience a sense of heightened attention when they have not eaten for a long time. (People who practice intermittent fasting love to talk about it.) But it is a temporary condition, if it occurs at all, and goes hand in hand with less pleasant mental states. People who have been detoxed or rebooted often say they feel great, but then on their next breath they say something like, “It was really hard, but I got through it.”

For a more realistic way of getting more energy, look at what can make you tired. Extreme fatigue should be checked by a healthcare professional, but often “low energy” can be corrected in one of the following ways:

  • Sleep more and sleep better . Go to bed early, wake up regularly, and practice good sleep hygiene , such as not using screens or alcohol before bed.
  • Make sure you eat enough . If you’re on a consistent diet, or if the foods you eat don’t make up a well-balanced diet, simply better nutrition (more protein, more vegetables) can help you with your perceived energy level.
  • Check your mental health . Depression, anxiety, and other conditions can cause feelings of lack of energy. Have you been under a lot of stress lately? Do you finally need to find a therapist ?

If you feel disgusting or guilty about eating lately

All December celebrations often leave us in January when we are ready to cleanse our diet and habits. If you drink a lot, cutting back may seem pretty attractive; and if you’ve eaten a lot of holiday treats, a minimalist diet is probably for you.

But the truth is, taking a few meals off doesn’t really matter in the long run . You don’t need to swing the pendulum the other way, cutting out entire food groups. Try one of the following instead:

  • Just get back to normal . There are no more Christmas cookies (or you can feed them to your dog, freeze them for later, however you like). You don’t need to eat what you don’t want.
  • Find an environmentally friendly way to eat better . What small change could you make to improve your diet? Maybe you’re trying to get an extra serving of vegetables with every meal, or find recipes that you like.

If you want more fluid

It’s true that you’ll be damn hydrated if you drink smoothies, juices, tea, and lemon water throughout the day. Your body works better when it is well hydrated than when it is dehydrated, this is true. (Most of us probably already have a lot of water , but it doesn’t hurt a little more.)

The cool thing is that you can drink more water – or drink more liquid in whatever form you like – without depriving yourself of food. Just add liquids.

  • Drink plenty of water . That’s all, this is a hack.
  • Moisturize your skin . Do you know how people say your skin looks amazing when you are well hydrated? A moisturizer does this as well, and it does an even better job of moisturizing the outer layers of the skin.

If you like the idea that someone else makes decisions

Ready-made detox kits are popular in part because you get one box of everything you need to eat this week. Allowing someone else to make your decisions and shop is admittedly a huge amount of mental work taken off your plate.

But you can do it with real food too.

  • Learn to plan and prepare meals . Yes, this is more work on one day of the week, but then you can take food out of the refrigerator all week without thinking about it. If you live with a partner or roommate, you can even change your routine every week.
  • Ordering a food delivery service . Home Chef , Trifecta and Freshly , just to name a few, will bring you real food for a week at less than the cost of many detox treatments.

If you desperately want to be thin

Unfortunately, many people who say detox is just to “feel better” still take before and after pictures or mark their weight on a scale. If you are hoping to lose weight during a short-term diet, then this is possible. But that will backfire.

Rapid weight loss caused by a large calorie deficit isn’t just weight loss. Some of it is the loss of muscle mass that affects your health. And a large part of that, especially on a low-carb diet, is often water weight. The amount of water we hold in our body fluctuates from day to day and is determined in part by glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in our muscles and liver. If you eat low in carbohydrates, you will lose glycogen and therefore several pounds of water; but as soon as you eat a couple of high-carb dinners, it immediately comes back.

Even if short-term weight loss is a bit of a thrill, it is more than outweighed (for most people) by a quick recovery. So detox doesn’t help you here. Better to try one of these:

  • Find a diet that allows you to lose weight slowly and steadily . There is no “best” diet for this , but you can choose from a variety of eating regimes that will eat slightly fewer calories than you burn. If you have health problems, talk to your doctor or dietitian about how best to deal with them through diet.
  • Or just don’t . There is no law that says you need to lose weight just because it is January, or indeed for any reason.

If you just want the ritual to give you a sense of control

Often the most Instagram-worthy part of detox is a glass of juice, smoothie, or lemon water by the window on a peaceful morning. Can’t you see it and want to be there at this moment, enjoying a little self-care ritual?

Well, just like hydration, this is something you can do without giving up food at the same time.

  • Choose a morning routine that works for you . We have examples here, here, and here to get you started.
  • Create a non-food ritual . You may be able to do a diary , meditation, or other activity that matters to you.

If all your friends do it

To be honest, I think sometimes we do a self-improvement project not because of an inner desire, but because our friends or favorite celebrities are doing it. I fully admit that I fell into this trap myself, and I’m not even sure if it is a trap. Under peer pressure, I did things that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise; Sometimes I am glad that I did it, and sometimes I learned from my own bitter experience that something is not for me.

Again, you can find community without resorting to specific dietary restriction actions. Try an exercise-based activity or find an online community centered around a hobby you already enjoy or want to learn.

The bottom line is that meal replacement smoothies isn’t the only, or even the best, way to get more in touch with your body and your mental health. This can actually be a pretty awful way. So figure out what you really want and take smart steps to get the experience you want.


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