Happy New Year! You know what that means - New Year resolutions. Last night at the gym it was full of new members – starting the year with the greatest of intentions. Have you started this year with a bang?
Briefly scan social media newsfeed and you’ll see articles and advertisements for detoxes and cleanses and “Lose fat fast!” promotions. Look 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. And the temptation is real - who isn’t tempted by the promises of quick, drastic, noticeable results? Who would rather lose 5 kilos in a couple of months than in only a couple short weeks?
Regardless of the promises, I still encourage people to avoid detoxes, cleanses, and other drastic approaches this New Year.
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.
Nutrition and health is about the big picture. What you do for five or seven days out of the year is pretty inconsequential. That’s 1.3% of the year.
Rather than worry about ‘detoxing,’ people are 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 flawed. 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.
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.
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 try strict diets, detoxes, cleanses, and other gimmicksyear after year but never find something that sticks. This leads to diet-hopping and constantly searching for a miracle that just doesn’t exist.
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.
Below I have put some 30 days challenges you may consider instead in January, which are more realistic and healthy to strive towards. After the 30 days are up - why not try a different one?
Some ideas to try every day for 30 days:
• Be physically active every day. You don’t need to do anything drastic – just do something every day for 30 days. You may do resistance training twice each 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 like a dance class. 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.
• Give up one naughty treat. Try swapping your afternoon chocolate for a handful of nuts or a couple of satsumas. By breaking the habit of ‘needing’ something sweet in the afternoon you will find that you actually function better with some healthy fats that are good for brain function. I’ve given up chocolate for 30 days. It means that I have a great excuse to say no rather than, ‘ok, why not’.
• Drink more water. You’ve heard this from me a lot. Drink more. You will feel better, function better and crave less sugar. Check with me or your doctor if you have any heart, kidney or blood pressure issues before upping your water.
• Change ONE thing 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.
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.
Your goals must stick to three simple S’s:
Let me know if you need more help setting or achieving your goals in 2017. I’d love to help!
Have great week and speak soon.