Do We Really Need to “Detox” Our Bodies?
Let’s pretend that you have had a long weekend. You took off Friday (and, okay, Monday too) and spent those three or four days with the people you love the most, eating delicious foods and having your fair share of adult beverages. The weekend was fun, and you deserved every minute! But when the alarm clock goes off early to start the next work week, should you up the intensity of your workouts and embark on some crazy detox diet? After all, you are bound to have some of those less-than-healthy choices from the weekend lingering for a while in your body, right? Doesn’t it make sense to try and detox yourself of the excessive calories and alcohol? Society tells us yes… but we say no!
The Detox Myth
The belief that drinking cinnamon and lemon water for 7 days straight or the unidentifiable glass of green juice for two of your three meals a day will rid your body of excessive calories and fat and clean your organs is just that: a belief. And it is a belief grounded in zero scientific proof or evidence. We live in a day and age where we want results and we want them now. We want both ends of the spectrum: to indulge ourselves, eat anything we want, and party hard and then wave a magic wand, take a magic pill, or drink a magic detox drink and have our poor decision be undid, physically speaking.
As amazing as your body is, it is not a magic creature in a fairytale. The human body takes in food, recognizes the food as energy, and then uses it accordingly. If you need the energy (i.e. the calories) to fuel your activities, then that is exactly what the body does. And if it does not need the energy right then and there, it will store it to be used later. It doesn’t hold that energy out in limbo to wait and see if you drink a green juice to “flush it out.”
As far as getting rid of toxins, the body already has a solution for that. It is called the digestive system, and it is powerful. Through urine and bowel movements, the body excretes harmful toxins, waste, and by-products that could otherwise cause trouble and make you sick. Other organs help clear ‘bad stuff’ out too, namely, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver, and even skin. But calories and energy are not “toxins” and definitely not “bad stuff,” at least as far as the body is concerned, so the body isn’t going to be trying to get rid of them this way.
A Better Alternative
Okay, so then what can you do when you have over indulged and have been a tad bit over served? To start, drink as much water and hydrating liquids as you possibly can. It is no secret that alcohol makes you dehydrated, but indulgent weekends usually means a lot more salt in your diet than you may be used to, which further dehydrates you. Plus, all of those systems in your body that keep you living and functioning need water to continue doing their jobs.
A trick to helping yourself drink more water is to fill up a big jug or water bottle at the beginning of the day, then label it down the side at how much you should be drinking every few hours. It’s a steady way to make sure you reach your H2O intake goals!
Next is to get a good sweat in– but no need to over do it. We are bombarded with the false message that we need to kill ourselves in the gym to make up for the “bad” stuff we ate. But this just leads to being overly fatigued, a desire to further restrict our intake, and then just binging on garbage again.
Instead, opt for exercise that you enjoy. It should not feel like punishment! Sweat because it makes you feel good. Movement in general really helps aid in digestion and other important systems. It’ll help “get things moving,” if ya know what I mean. It can also remind you of how strong you are, and give you the boost of endorphins you might be needing if you are feeling a little down in the dumps about the way you look and feel.
Fill up on high quality nutrient dense foods like lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats. (None of this juice cleanse nonsense!) If you don’t get in the proper balance of food and nutrients, your body is just going to go into starvation mode and you are going to end up spiraling downward. Your tendency to overindulge again goes way up. Avoid this by keeping your serotonin levels in check with enough food in your diet.
A balanced plate also makes you feel better in general, which leads to a healthier attitude, demeanor, and being able to get more accomplished.
And finally, sleep. Getting enough rest ensures that you don’t wake up the next morning feeling tired, groggy, and behind. We tend to make poor decisions when we are tired because our bodies are craving quick energy sources to sustain us.
- 9 No-Sacrifice Ways To Bounce Back After A Ginge, Eat This Not That , Jan 13, 2015 ,
- You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy?, The Guardian Online, Dec 05, 2014 ,