Following up from my last post on ‘Detox – What is it and is it needed?’, I would like to share some thoughts about strict diets before you decide to jump into one.
I have never been a big fan of any type of ‘diets’, especially when it is done in a strict way and/ or out of the blue. This mindset is usually the one that drives many of our impulsive decisions and leads us to self-deception. Diets that are done without enough understanding and support can sometimes lead us to dark places. Like any other lifestyle change programs, detox diets need to be done carefully so we don’t cause any harm to our mental, physical and emotional bodies.
Things to consider about strict diets
Most diets are in some way or another restrictive, but there are levels of restriction and we need to make sure we keep on track of our physical and emotional health. Here are a few things you should consider when starting a detox plan:
- Calories/Nutrients Deficit
In strict detox diets, it can be very common to consume less calories, vitamins and minerals than our body needs. This can not only decrease our metabolism but also an imbalance in our hormones which in turn leads to more stress and poor food choices.
Good detox plans should supply all of the important nutrients that your body needs while also cutting out the chemicals, junk and added ingredients that it has. Following a few easy guidelines and incorporating some detox foods into your diet is the best way to optimize your built-in detox system and supply your liver with the tools it needs to clear out toxins efficiently.
- Food Restriction and the Guilt Cycle
When the body is starved of food it responds by reducing the rate at which it burns energy (the metabolic rate), this can result in overeating and binge eating behaviors that can lead to feelings of guilt and failure for not following the plan ‘properly’. This might, in turn, create even more hyper vigilance around food, as well as create more unnecessary mental and physical stress.
- Dissociation from our Body
Yes! we can easily dissociate from our body as we, unconsciously, don’t want to feel our hunger or feelings of discomfort for not eating what we want. This leads to a compete body-mind disconnection instead of finding the alignment we are seeking for.
More things to consider…
Detox can be extremely beneficial if done right, but we need to make sure we do it in a realistic and progressive way (check out my last article). But even when progressively done, it is still important to consider a few things before jumping into a detox program:
- ‘Detox’ does not equal ‘No Food’
Detox does NOT mean we consume less or no food. It actually requires quite sometime in the kitchen as most of your food will come from vegetables!! This requires creativity and time in the kitchen… If time and discipline will be a hindrance for you, think twice.
- Rest Time
Detox will make your body and mind tired and will need more rest. If you are in the midst of a project, life transition, stressful phase, etc., it is maybe not the best time for a detox.
- Mental Health
If food has always been delicate topic for you, I would not recommend doing any type of food programming. This can reinforce your sense of powerlessness around food choices and consequently an increase in the sense of guilt and shame that can be harmful and unnecessary. Be gentle and kind to yourself while you work on different areas of your life. You do not want to add another stressor in your life.
Detox can be extremely beneficial for many different reasons, but it is really important to consider your current life situation and get a personalised assistance from a practitioner who can help you with a tailored plan. It is also important to consider your availability of time, energy and current mind state.