Skip the hype: Try a healthy cleanse
I can’t think of anyone, including myself, who doesn’t think to themselves on December 31: “I’m going to have a healthier New Year and get my body back in shape.”
Cleanses and detox diets are popular buzzwords in pop health culture and are promoted as a way to “power wash” the body and rid it of all the past year’s abuse. It sounds so nice, doesn’t it? Drink smoothies for 14 days and the body will be thin again and completely toxin free!
Unfortunately, that is not exactly correct or what actually happens. Although we should all be wary of the hype surrounding many of these “quick fix” diets, there can be a huge benefit to taking a ”body abuse break.”
So what do I think, and what do we support at the MultiCare Center for Weight Loss and Wellness?
We support breaking bad habits and starting anew. We support taking a time out and resetting the behavioral defaults. We completely support using a (healthy!) short-term technique but only to get on track for a long-term health goal. Why? For our mental and emotional health, we often need a break and separation from negativity to rethink and regroup. We use “time outs” for kids who are misbehaving. We use meditation to focus the mind and heart. So it makes sense to do the same for our bodies.
What I promote is a way to stop bad behaviors and start anew. Here is a solid, no quackery technique — a healthy cleanse, if you will — that you can use to help get you moving in the right direction. Enjoy. I am doing this along with you.
A short-term reset for long-term goals
First of all, we need to set out what our long-term goals are because this is the ultimate reason for doing this in the first place. The long-term goals I’m recommending you shoot for are:
- To eat whole foods rich and dense in nutrients to support the immune system at every meal. These are deep-colored vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- To decrease — if not eliminate — simple sugars, processed foods and excess alcohol. These serve no nutritional purpose, often come with loads of empty calories and can even cause damage to vital organs!
- To eat red meat and saturated animal fat that is found in most dairy products and cured meats very sparingly. Yes, this includes bacon. This supports the cardiovascular system and helps prevent chronic illnesses.
- To move over 50 percent of the day, have good flexibility and muscle strength.
- To manage and conquer stress, anxiety and depression.
An open-ended plan
Here is a healthy, three-step, “get back on track” plan. Whether you do this for 14 days or 30, use the time to reorganize yourself, your menus and your kitchen for long-term success.
- Take out: Simple sugars, alcohol, fast food, processed foods, red meats, stress!
- Put in: Deep colored vegetables and fruit. Legumes (beans, lentils), nuts, seeds, seafood and deep breathing.
- Move it: Increase your overall movement by 50 percent, sweat every day, and reach 10,000 steps or more.
Take out empty, unhealthy calories, put in healthy foods and behaviors and move your body all year long.
- Article: Stress reduction through deep breathing
- Phone apps for fitness accountability: Pacer, Google Fit, Sports Tracker, Strava, Endomondo, Charity Miles, Ingress, Sworkit, Spark People
- Mediterranean diet recipe apps: Mediterranean Diet Recipes, Mediterranean Diet, Spark People
- Center for Weight Loss & Wellness’s Director’s cookbook of the year: Dr. Andrew Weil’s Fast Food, Good Food
About The Author
Melanie Machado, RD, CD, is the medical coordinator for MultiCare’s Center for Weight Loss & Wellness, and is developing our new medical weight loss program. Previously she was the founder and president of Pacific Nutrition & Wellness.More stories by this author