For the next few weeks, we will be discussing some of the latest fitness trends that are filling our social media feeds and emptying our wallets! Like any fad (remember the thigh master or the 80's perm!) we look back and regret our decisions. How easily we were influenced to jump on the bandwagon! While our fashion mishaps may make us cringe when we look at old photos, our bad fitness choices can have more serious consequences.
I would like to start off by saying that I have been there. I can offer just as much advice from experience as I can offer scientific facts. As an athlete in a weight division sport, I have tried some crazy diets to make weight. I knew better, but I was always looking for an easier and faster way to make the weight. You mean I can "Lose 10 pounds in 3 Days" if I drink this juice...heck yeah, I will give it a try! All the meat and cheese I want and I will lose weight...um, okay! In the end, I always gained all my weight back plus a little extra. It was like my body was making me pay for being so ignorant and not taking care of it properly. So, to my body, I want to offer my most sincerest apology and my promise to you that I will never again try anything that goes against my education and better judgement.
Today, I would like to address all the Detox Diets and Juice Cleanses that are floating around. While they all vary, the basic premise is you lose weight and "cleanse" your body of dangerous toxins by drinking "nutrient-filled" juices/shakes. Hmmm...where do I begin.
Like many diets, you probably will lose weight with these "detoxing" juices. However, it is because you reduce your daily caloric intake, not because they contain lots of vitamins and are removing toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, once you complete your "cleanse" you will most likely promptly return to your original weight, if not even add a little extra to that number. Beware of the binge that almost certainly follows a period of starvation or elimination of food groups.
My biggest concern with these diets is the claim that it will rid your body of unhealthy impurities. Your body is incredible and it comes with its own toxin removal system! Don't get me wrong, detoxing does exist. It is a medical treatment for drug and/or alcohol addicts and those experiencing a buildup of dangerous metals. But, last time I checked, the doctors weren't giving these patients a mixture of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. Your body has its own filtration organ- the liver. The liver then sends processed wastes to other organs for elimination- the digestive tract eliminates solid wastes, the kidneys eliminate liquid waste, the lungs eliminate gaseous waste, and the skin eliminates waste in the form of sweat.
There can be an upside to these diets. You probably will feel and/or look better (although cranky and hungry) during the diet. This is often a placebo effect from looking thinner, therefore feeling better about yourself. But it also comes from the fact that you are no longer eating fried and processed food and avoiding alcohol and soda. You haven't "flushed" dangerous toxins from your body, you are just replacing your bad eating habits with good ones. You are also going to experience more frequent restroom breaks (for those of you that have tried these diets- you know what I am talking about)!
So, the concept of these diets do have merit, but they should come in the form of more long-term lifestyle changes. Replace your short-term "fixes" with a lifetime of healthier habits! Let me offer some proven long-term solutions to assist your body in the cleansing process.
- Drink more water
- Add more fiber to your daily meal plan
- Exercise daily (even if just going for a walk)
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
- Eat less processed food
- Eat more organic fruits and vegetables
To put it simply- your body detoxes itself. If your liver, kidneys, intestinal tract, lungs, and skin are not functioning- go to the doctor, not a diet.
Heaner, M. (2013). Detox Diets: Myths vs. Reality. IDEA Fitness Journal, 10(2), 58-61
Jennifer Nelson Mother Nature, N. (2014, May 9). Detox diets often do more harm than good for your body. Toronto Star (Canada).
Kay, L. (2013). Juice Cleansing: Smart Detox or Drastic Diet?. Pointe, 14(4), 50
Nisevich, P. M. (2010). What's the Deal With Detox Diets?. IDEA Fitness Journal, 7(2), 65-67.
Zuckerbrot, T. (2008). Detox dieting does more harm than good. Men's Fitness, 24(9), 36.
Say goodbye to that muffin top, spare tire, and beer gut. Say hello to your six pack! Love this workout!!
- 20 Rainbow Plate Presses (left, right is 1)
- 20 Torso Twists (left, right is 1)
- 20 V-up Reach Throughs
- 20 Pass Throughs (left, right is 1)
- 20 Reach Behinds (each side)