Reset! Reboot! Lose weight! More energy! No more cravings!
Man oh man, are detoxes alluring. There are a million of them out there, but they all have the same basic premise: Follow a strict diet for x number of weeks, and miracle results will follow.
As a disclaimer, I know for people with food allergies/intolerances, detoxes are necessary. Also, some people do really well with strict rules about what they can and can’t eat.
But…. I’m not one of those people. In fact, for me, detoxes always did more harm than good. It took me years to get off the detox bandwagon and decide they’re just not for me.
Here are three reasons why I stopped f*cking around with detoxes:
1. Detoxes Drain Our Willpower
I know you don’t want to hear this, but if you can’t stick to healthy eating on a regular basis, how will you ever follow the bajillion rules of a detox? I say this with love, because I’ve been there. I went from detox to detox, thinking, “This will be the one that I can follow. This is the one that will give me what I need to stop going off my diet and lose the weight.”
Unfortunately, I never found that magic detox. In fact, all the rules of a detox (no dairy, no gluten, no grains, no sugar, etc…) can wear down your willpower if you’re constantly saying “no” to things on a daily basis.
2. Cravings Don’t Go Away After 30 Days
Detoxes will promise you that your palate will “re-set” and your cravings will go away.
Cravings are so complex. They are both biological and psychological, rooted in habit, comfort and emotions. They form over years and years of time. Three weeks of not eating sugar isn’t going to make your demons disappear.
3. They Encourage All-Or-Nothing Thinking
This is probably my biggest issue with detoxes. A lot of them will tell you that you have to start over if you make a mistake, because you’ve essentially undone any progress that you were making.
All-or-nothing thinking, aka perfectionism, is one of the worst things you can do for your health.
You would never tell someone training for a marathon that if they skipped a day of running, or ran one less mile than they usually do, that their work was for nothing, so they might as well just take a month off and start over when they feel like it.
The same goes with health. You have to be able to make mistakes, pick yourself up, and move on without going super off the rails.
In fact, learning to be imperfect was the most important piece for me to stop the yoyo dieting and craziness around food.
So Now What??
Detoxes are literally everywhere, and we can definitely be hooked into following one because of the results they promise.
However, when I remember that every detox I tried (literally) led to a week of me eating crap, I realized that it would be better if I could just figure out moderation first.
Here’s the thing… we often want to “detox” from the foods that we struggle with the most. So, by eliminating them, we never learn how to co-exist with them in a healthy way.
If you think you should eat less processed food, start cooking! And… if something comes up and you’re busy, let yourself have something pre-packaged.
If you want to drink a green juice, you don’t need to have a juice fast, buy a damn juicer and start experimenting with some juices and see how you feel. If you feel like you want to kill someone because you’re starving, eat!
If sugar is a problem, start reducing before you eliminate. Practice eating less of it (ex. 1 scoop of ice cream instead of 2) and pay attention to how you feel. If you “mess up” and eat more than you intended, let it go, and try to do better next time.
I had a psychologist who once told me, “We have to stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole,” and it took me a loooooong time to figure out that detoxes are just not a good fit for me. If you have found that you also cannot comply with one, no matter how hard you try, I want you to know that it’s not you, its the detox!
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve had success, or not, with a detox. I’d love to hear your stories!