On a really strict detox diet? Maybe you finished your first whole 30, did the paleo thing, added vegetable juices, or just got rid of all desserts for a month. Congratulations! You’re almost there. However, if you’ve been counting down until the end just so you can binge on all of your old habits, you might want to reconsider.
Why we cleanse
If you've revamped your diet for a month, or a week or two, you're probably noticing the effects. Many people report improved digestion, more energy, looser-fitting clothing, and brighter skin. This is because being conscious of what we eat is one of the greatest things we can do for our health and when we're healthier, we feel it. Many physicians, trainers, and health coaches enjoy putting their clients on detox diets that involve eating a certain way 100 percent of a given time period. This is because we know the previously listed results will get you hooked. You see, we want you to WANT to eat this way. We want fruit to taste so sweet to you that your taste buds no longer crave doughnuts. We want you to notice when you feel exhausted rather than feeling exhausted all the time and thinking that it is just your lot in life. We want your stomach to feel great after each meal, so that when you eat inflammatory foods, you notice the ramifications. It's a trick in the industry that I'm proud of pulling.
You miss your treats; we get it!
Hopefully your detox diet has inspired you to want to live a lifestyle full of clean foods, but the all-or-nothing approach is hard for most of us to maintain. A great way to live with balance is to eat your clean foods 90 percent of the time and enjoy something outside of the clean-eating constraints 10 percent of the time. This can be a cocktail with your friends, a decadent dessert on date night, or even your favorite takeout while you snuggle up with your favorite weeknight TV show. The important thing here is that you want to maintain your current state of health. The cheap pad thai is not worth giving up your new glowing skin and flat belly.
How to transition properly
1. Don't binge.
This is important. Resist the urge to unlock the cookies you previously hid from yourself, order a pizza, and swallow a six-pack all on your own. If those things were making you feel terrible before, they will feel even worse now that your body is not used to them. You'll end up bloated and loathing your decisions, which negates all of the positive mental effects that you built up during your detox.
2. Choose your timing.
Remember the 90-percent-of-the-time thing? Well, this is especially important coming off of a detox. Using this mindset immediately will set you up to continue with your newfound healthy lifestyle for an extended amount of time. Indulge in the goodies when it's worth it. If you really missed bread, go to your favorite bakery and take home a warm loaf of the best bread money can buy. Then have one (or two) slices with your salmon and broccoli dinner. If you missed chocolate, don't just grab a bunch of Halloween candy. Go split a dessert from your favorite restaurant, or better yet, make brownies at home from scratch. Indulge when the quality is worth it while maintaining your healthy habits most of the time.
3. Eat tons of veggies.
You know all that energy you feel? Most of it is because you're finally getting the nutrients you need, most of which come from vegetables. No matter what you do, continue to keep a variety of vegetables as your dietary staples. This will keep your body functioning properly and make it easier for it to detox those occasional treats you may have now. If you order a pizza, eat a salad while it's on the way. Your belly will thank you.
4. Drink tons of water.
Most detox diets include instruction to drink more than your typical water intake. This is because water helps us to flush out any excess toxicity. This is still true and even more necessary now that your diet may not be 100 percent clean. Drink up and flush it out.
5. Pay attention to your bowels.
Our guts control everything in our body. If introducing new foods leads to constipation, diarrhea, or strange looking poo, those foods may not be the best food for your body. Now that your body has cleansed, your bowels should be at their best, so it's much easier to spot the foods that don't agree with you and continue to avoid them. Doing this will help the effects of that detox diet last and have you feeling amazing for the long run.