One of the biggest mistakes people make when detoxing is failing to transition back to normal eating gracefully, which can lead to extra weight gain and feeling sluggish far too fast.
There’s an incredible amount of information when starting a detox but far less on how to get back to eating normally, without sabotaging all the great work you did.
These eight steps will ensure you maintain the extra vitality, strength and clarity you gained while on your detox, so you feel fantastic for as long as possible.
1. Start small.
While there is a strong temptation to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet to celebrate your successful detox, you’ll be especially hard-hit after you complete a detox. Whether you completed a liquids-only detox or a whole-foods detox, your digestion just got the royal treatment!
Overloading your system will send your body into red alert, potentially leading to extra weight gain and digestive distress. For the first week after your detox, take care to eat light and small, but frequent, meals with plenty of fresh foods like smoothies, blended soups, warm soups and massaged salads, which are really easy on your digestion.
2. Adopt your favorite part of the detox as part of your long-term plans.
For example, if fresh green juices and smoothies were a part of the detox, then aim to have at least one per day to continue the positive effects of the detox. If you started salads and love them, then continue to make in your everyday life by taking them to work for lunch or serving alongside your meal at night.
3. Plan for success!
Make a plan to maintain the best parts of your detox (even if it’s just a smoothie a day) by making a shopping list, setting a grocery day and programming it into your calendar or phone as a reminder. I set a reminder on my phone each day, telling me what I’m having for dinner, so I’m not standing over the fridge starving each night and ready to gorge.
4. Stay hydrated!
Too many people forget to drink water and then go for food instead. During a detox, we’re often flooding our system with hydration, so stick with it since your cells love it!
5. If you eat animal products regularly, reintroduce them gradually, in small quantities.
Eat small portions of animal products in combination with fresh foods like salads, since the fiber helps to move these heavier foods through your digestive system with ease.
I recommend starting with soft-cooked eggs, then responsibly sourced small fish like sardines and shrimp, then salmon and gradually include organic, lean, grass-fed meats like chicken, lamb and beef, if you choose to eat these. Consume a digestive enzyme to help digestion if needed.
6. Practice stimulus control.
This means, if you don’t buy junk food at the store, it’s hard to eat it at home! If you get cravings to buy junk persistently, ask yourself why and journal about your cravings, but don't buy things you know you don't want to eat!
7. Before you say “goodbye” to the cleanse, take five, 10 or 20 minutes to ask yourself why you started the cleanse in the first place and why you've maintained it.
Get a pen and journal out to write, or email to yourself, a description of why you started the detox, what you gained from the detox and what parts you want to continue to maintain after the detox. Setting this intention to yourself increases your odds of longterm success.
8. Have fun!
Don’t take it all too seriously. If you do fall off the wagon and go to that all-you-can eat buffet, jump right back on the next day, forget about it and make a plan to include healthy eating, longterm. Avoid thinking you’ve “ruined” something (because you haven’t!), so keep that smile on your face and take action.