It’s almost the New Year, and you know what that means.
New Year resolutions.
Briefly scan your social media newsfeed and you’ll see articles and advertisements for detoxes and cleanses and “Lose fat fast!” promotions.
Glance at the cover of most magazines and you’ll see plenty of ways promising fast fat loss and a flat stomach in a matter of days.
Walk through a pharmacy or an aisle with vitamins and supplements and you’ll notice plenty of “kits” for detoxing and jump starting your health and fitness regimen.
They. Are. Everywhere this time of year.
And the temptation is real. I mean, who isn’t tempted by the promises of quick, drastic, noticeable results? Who would rather lose 15 pounds in a couple of months than in only a couple short weeks?
Regardless of the sexy promises, I still encourage you to avoid detoxes, cleanses, and other drastic approaches this New Year. Here are five reasons why.
1. Doesn’t really work as advertised.
As explained in the article What Happens in Your Body During a “Cleanse or “Detox”, a cleanse or detox is not some miracle that will flush out toxins from your body and instantly skyrocket your health. An investigation performed by Sense about Science in 2009 examined 15 commercial detox products and not a single one could name specific toxins, agree on a definition of what a detox really is, or provide evidence for their claims.
In that same article, registered dietitian Andy Bellatti stated:
” Nutrition and health is about the big picture. What you do for five or seven days out of the year is pretty inconsequential.
Rather than worry about ‘detoxing,’ people would be better off thinking about eating nutritious, health-promoting foods on a daily basis. Think leafy greens, beans, whole fruit, nuts, and seeds. The idea that six months of unhealthy eating can somehow be remedied by drinking nothing but green juice for 72 hours is erroneous.”
Don’t buy into the (unproven and sometimes expensive) promise that a detox or cleanse will make you healthier. It’s not about what you do one or two weeks out of the year – it’s about the BIG picture of what you do the majority of the time.
Related Article: 7 Reasons NOT to do a Sugar Detox
2. You’ll regain any weight lost once you return to normal eating habits.
Sure, you can lose a noticeable amount of weight (not necessarily fat) with a cleanse or detox, but as soon as you return back to normal eating habits, you’ll regain all that weight back.
Losing weight only to keep it off for a very short period of time is not a success.
Simply stated – once you end a cleanse or detox, you likely have no benefit whatsoever from that experience.
3. WARNING! You may feel like a H.A.M. (hot ass mess).
Ever been on a cleanse? You may have felt great the first day, but most people I know who have gone on a low-calorie detox or cleanse report feeling absolutely horrible after the first day.
Most cleanses are very low-calorie, so you’ll likely experience very low energy levels. And you can’t become the strongest, most awesome version of yourself when you feel like a H.A.M..
4. Cleanses and detoxes usually don’t set you up for long-term success.
Some detoxes and cleanses claim to help you “jump start” your health and fitness regimen, but I don’t think they help you achieve long-lasting results.
Too many people (perhaps even you) try strict diets, detoxes, cleanses, and other gimmicks year after year but never find something that sticks. This leads to diet-hopping and constantly searching for a miracle that just doesn’t exist.
5. Can create or exacerbate obsessive eating habits.
Because many detoxes and cleanses are an “all or nothing” approach and very strict in what you can actually consume, many people may develop, or increase, obsessive eating habits and binge eating behaviors.
What about 30 Day Challenges?
Not all 30 day challenges are created equal. While I don’t recommend things like elimination diets or detoxes, you can create a sane and simple 30 day challenge to jump start your New Year. But, please, pay particular attention to the sane and simple part.
Here are some 30 days challenges you may consider:
- Be physically active every day. You don’t need to do anything crazy – just do something every day for 30 days. You may strength train twice per week and then go for a walk for 10-30 minutes on the days you don’t strength train. Or you can engage in a fun physical activity. It doesn’t matter – just do something active every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
- Eat fruits and veggies every day. What’s better than detoxing for seven days with fruit and veggie juices? Eating fruits and veggies every day of the year. You can start simple by including a piece of fruit with breakfast and a veggie at lunch. Doesn’t matter how you do it – just do it daily. You can even try some of these protein-powder-free protein shakes and get a dose of fruits and veggies at the same time.
And if you like the idea of a 30 day challenge, like those above, do yourself a huge favor and only do ONE at a time. This way you can focus completely on that one thing, and you can do it daily until it becomes a habit. Admittedly forming this new habit may be challenging at first, but after a while, it will come naturally. THEN, after that becomes a habit, add something else to the mix.
Related Article: Why Most 30 Day Challenges Suck (and 3 That Actually Work)
You’ll be much better off focusing on ONE thing at a time instead of multiple things at once. “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one,” is a popular Russian proverb with a great deal of truth to it. Don’t overwhelm yourself – focus on creating ONE new habit at a time.
What You SHOULD Do
The New Year is almost here and you may be determined to make some changes and become the best version of yourself. But before you make any changes and embark on a new regimen . . .
The REAL question you must ask yourself: can what I’m planning to do be sustained long-term? Can I keep doing this next month? Can I keep doing this six months from now? Those questions, and your answers, are important.
If you should avoid detoxes, cleanses, and other rapid-gimmicks, what then is the answer?
As you probably guessed from the question posed about about long-term maintenance – one simple, beautiful word – sustainability.
Do you REALLY want to lose fat and improve your health?
Great! But hopefully now you’re convinced that a detox or cleanse isn’t the way to go.
Your goal should be to get the results you want, and maintain them long-term. To ensure that happens, keep things sane and simple so you develop sustainable long-term habits.
Those are your three powerful S’s.
You can’t achieve those with grueling, overly time-consuming workout routines and crazy diets or detoxes.
Please use the recommended articles below to get you going in the right direction.
You don’t need crazy cleanses, fads, gimmicks, or secret “miracles” to finally improve your health and achieve the physique goals you have. You just need to keep things as simple as possible. Please use these articles to start your New Year off right.
Redefining Fitness (or Another Stupid Fitness Article but You Should Read It Anyway) – to achieve and maintain results may mean doing things differently than you’ve ever done before. Join the Lift Like a Girl revolution and redefine fitness and become the best version of yourself.
The Diet That Has No Name (and Why It May be the Best Thing Ever) – want some simple, proven guidelines to improve your health and body composition that don’t require deprivation? Here you go.
7 Simple Steps to Lose Fat, Practically Without Even Trying – this is a great guide for losing fat the sane and simple way, and keeping it off long-term.
Exercise is Not Punishment for Eating and You Don’t Have to Earn Your Food – perhaps one of the most important articles on this entire website.
Apply the information in those articles and start your New Year off right. Here’s to developing sane, simple, sustainable habits and becoming the best version of yourself!
And one final thing – if you haven’t done so already, join the Lift Like a Girl revolution! Sign up to receive the newsletter below. You’ll also get a free gift (spoiler alert: it’s the Beautiful Badass Mini Course).