Before you step on a scale, you must first make sure it is balanced to ensure you are measuring from the same reference point every time. When it comes to how we eat, we should apply the same concept. If we zero out our diet once a year, we create a healthy baseline that affects how we eat for the remaining eleven months. This can be accomplished by dedicating one month annually to “detox” our diet, eliminating all alcohol, dairy, wheat, and refined sugar for the entire month.
If this sounds too daunting, select three of these four to remove from your diet. Over time our consumption of sugar, processed foods, and alcohol gradually creeps up.
A well-intended single square of dark chocolate somehow evolves into eating the whole bar. When did one glass of wine turn into two or three? With time we develop a tolerance and our general satisfaction with quantities is more difficult to quench. Additionally, we become psychologically attached to our habits and adopt supporting internal dialogue like “Eating sweets gives me the energy I need to get through the day,” or, “I need a glass of wine at night to relax after a stressful day.”
When we remove sugar and alcohol from our diet, we learn that we don’t really need them like we once thought.
During the detox you will learn to replace old habits with new, healthier ones. For example, rather than reaching for a piece of candy, treat yourself to a fresh apple. Or instead of a glass of wine, go for a 10 to 15 minute walk to unwind in the evening.
Temporarily taking out alcohol, wheat, dairy, and refined sugar naturally leads to eating more fresh, whole, unprocessed foods and drinking more water.
With the one month detox, you will inevitably boost your intake of vitamin, antioxidant, and fiber-dense foods while decreasing consumption of sugar and processed food products. Eating fresh foods works well with the body’s metabolic systems, supporting overall health and weight loss.
When you begin the one month detox you may experience strong cravings for the first 7 to 10 days. You might even feel worse (tired, grumpy and sluggish) before you feel better. However, you can be certain that the good will outweigh the bad. Most people experience improved energy, sleep, complexion, digestion and weight loss within the first two weeks and emerge from the detox feeling better than they have in years.
After an entire month without these foods and drinks, you will take greater pleasure in them and feel more satisfied with smaller amounts, making moderation easy. Your new, healthier habits will serve as a foundation for the remainder of the year.
Make this one month detox an annual ritual and neither your diet nor your weight will ever veer too far off track.
- Julia Blanton is a nutrition, fitness and wellness coach. An avid runner, she keeps a health blog at www.juliablanton.com.