Let’s face it: Cleanses can be a real challenge. It’s so easy to get excited and romanticize your upcoming detox, but the reality is that it’s easy to lose motivation, struggle, or give up altogether. Cleansing can be lonely, especially since it usually requires you to alter your normal social schedule, which is often centered around food and drinks with friends.
So whether it’s your very first cleanse or your 20th, it’s important to plan ahead, choose the right program, and set yourself up for success. Here are nine ways to guarantee you’ll make it through—no matter how challenging it seems:
1. Buy your groceries ahead of time.
We all know the rule "never shop when you’re hungry" and this definitely applies to your detox. There’s no need to subject yourself to the bread aisle if you don’t have to, so get organized and do all of your grocery shopping before day one. You will thank us later!
2. Time your cleanse strategically.
The first week of December—when your schedule is likely filled with holiday parties and your co-workers are bringing in freshly baked goods—is probably not the best time to detox. Be strategic and don’t allow your program to overlap with any major events or holidays.
Our favorite times to cleanse? Springtime. This is a transitional period when we move from more inward to more outward-facing energy. A cleanse will make you feel lighter, more vibrant, and more energized—perfect for the spring sunshine and warmer weather.
3. Be flexible.
If you’ve failed to complete a cleanse before—it might be time to evaluate the program itself. Flexibility is the key to success! Look for a cleanse that allows you to choose the foods you want—within cleanse guidelines, of course—so that you’re not suffering from cravings or undernourishment.
The Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman Cleanse is a great example of a program with built-in options. Although you take supplements throughout the day, you are encouraged to eat the whole foods you want for lunch and dinner, which means you can choose your favorite sustainable protein, local produce, and whole grains and get cooking!
4. Set clear guidelines and stick to them.
The best time to decide what your cleanse guidelines are is before the cleanse beings. Adjusting the rules in the middle is a recipe for disaster and often leads to all the rules quickly flying out the window. So familiarize yourself with the guidelines before you start, write them down, and stick to them as well as you possibly can. You’ll be proud of yourself when you make it through without any changes!
5. Plan some cleanse-friendly social outings.
Not all social outings have to revolve around food and alcohol, even though it can sometimes feel like that when you’re on a cleanse. But don’t isolate yourself! Invite friends over for a movie night (healthy snacks provided by you) or plan a specific activity like hiking or bowling that will keep you from feeling lonely and give you a much-needed energy release.
6. Focus on foods you love.
It can be easy to spiral into negative thinking, especially if you’re constantly daydreaming about all the foods you can’t eat. That’s why it’s important to focus your mind and energy on what you can enjoy on your cleanse. Appreciate all the amazing fruits and vegetables you get to enjoy and savor your meals—knowing that the foods you miss will likely be back in your life in no time.
7. Announce your intentions.
It can be tempting to keep your cleanse to yourself, but usually it’s better to make your plan known to your friends and family. Explain your goals and intentions so everyone understands why you’ll be saying no to certain foods and activities. This way, no one will show up at your door with chocolate chip cookies or try to convince you that wine and cheese night can’t wait until next week.
8. Don’t go it alone.
So many activities are fun to do alone—but a cleanse is just not one of them. Having a motivated partner (or small group) can really keep you motivated and foster a sense of community. That being said, it’s important to pick the right person or team. Having your motivation partner give up after two days might not be the best strategy.
The Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman Cleanse programs have community start and stop dates (the next one is May 8—sign up here!) that automatically give you a group to cleanse with and share your struggles, celebrate your triumphs, and support those around you.
9. Celebrate your success.
When you finish your cleanse, don’t forget to relish in your success! It’s a great idea to write down some of the physical changes you’ve experienced: Do you have more energy? Did you lose weight? Has your brain fog finally cleared? It’s important to remember how good you can feel. This will cement the feelings of accomplishment and positive physical symptoms in your mind and will make you more likely to succeed the next time around.