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Detoxes: Are They Really Worth It?

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Your body is a temple, and the last thing you want is for everything to come crashing down. 

It feels like you can’t open a magazine or blog without seeing an article on quick fixes for how to feel and look great. One popular health trend is detoxing, often referred to as spring cleaning for the body. The trouble with detoxes is that the process can often do more harm than good and instead of creating sustainable health improvements, it can create a crashing cycle that can alter your daily life.

Whether it’s because of advertisements or the power of word of mouth, detoxes remain a popular diet trend even though our bodies naturally perform the process of eliminating toxins. “If your goal is to detox your system, don’t waste your time or money,” says Michael W. Smith, MD, chief medical director for WebMD. “Your body is an expert at getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat. Toxins don’t build up in your liver, kidneys, or any other part of your body, and you’re not going to get rid of them with the latest detox wonder.”

Detox for Weight Loss 

The “rapid weight loss” detox pops up consistently near the end of the year, in the form of TV advertisements, social media stories and gossip around town. There are many different types of detoxes out in the world today, but the most common one is when a person fasts for a period of time limiting themselves to raw vegetables, fruit, fruit juices and water (L.D., 2018). 

The detox aims to take the person to new heights, working towards a more focused, energetic version of themselves. The challenge most people face when engaged in this diet is the lack of protein and support for maintaining their muscle strength. Detoxes that involve fasting can cause headaches, fainting, weakness, dehydration and hunger pangs (NCCIH, 2017). 

Life After the Detox 

In some cases, the person sees positive results with weight loss and improved energy after detoxing — exactly what the marketers said would happen. But shortly after completing the cleanse, old habits return and you’re quickly back to where you started before the detox. Some people even binge eat after a detox, causing them to gain all their weight back and feel crummy again.

Focus on Small Changes

Being healthy and changing a lifestyle can take a lot of work and dedication. There really aren’t any quick fixes that can make a change as significant as a detox diet promotes. If you're looking to lose weight or feel better overall, set small, manageable goals for yourself. For example, challenge yourself to have a healthy snack each day, like a low-fat or fat-free yogurt, or fresh, canned or dried fruit, or sliced vegetables or baby carrots instead of your regular bag of chips (NIDDK, 2012). Or go out for a walk or stretching session three times a week during your work break.

Another tactic is to ask yourself before eating, will this make me feel good after it goes into my body? If not, put it down. You never regret something you didn’t eat. A positive mindset and awareness of how your body feels will guide you in the right direction towards an optimally healthy lifestyle for the future.

You don’t need to make drastic changes to create long term change. You’ll find as you make small changes, you can create sustainable habits that make you look and feel healthier. According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, if you're generally healthy, concentrate on giving your body what it needs to maintain its robust self-cleaning system — a healthful diet, adequate fluid intake, regular exercise, sufficient sleep and all recommended medical check-ups.

Kelsey Holsten

About Kelsey Holsten

On and off the golf course, Kelsey Jo Holsten has a passion for striving to motivate those around her to do their very best. She is a PGA Golf professional with the Pebble Beach Company, college golf coach, barre fitness instructor and Bay Area actress. Before making her way out to California, Holsten spent most of her time in Florida working various PGA/LPGA TOUR events throughout the state at venues such as Tiburon Golf Club and Doral Golf Resort & Spa. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University in PGA Golf Management and continues her education at Stanford University. Holsten continues to work towards learning more about discoveries and successes in the sports industry.

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