All you ever hear about detoxing is how hard it is and how you have to go without. And it’s kind of true. The first few days, especially the first time you ever do one, can suck. Big time. The first time I did this, I was almost comatose by 3pm the first afternoon. I was on the couch with a headache at lunchtime and barely made it to pick up the kids. I went to bed at 6pm and woke up 13 hours later. I suffered brain fog for the next two days, to the point where I’d come to, finding myself sitting staring into space but having no idea how long I’d been there.
But … then it all went away. I slept soundly, through the night without waking, for the first time since I could remember. I didn’t flag in the afternoon. I was eating less and in the kitchen less. I lost weight. I felt happy. I stopped worrying. Magic!
Doing a detox is not about deprivation. It’s about nurturing and nourishing yourself. It’s ultimately about being selfish and admitting you want to feel and look the best you can. That you want to be healthy and have energy and vitality. It’s about dedicating the same time and effort to yourself that you do for everyone else. The process of cleaning up your own diet is about putting yourself front and centre. You can’t avoid looking after yourself when you clear the decks in this process. It forces you to pay attention to how you feel, to your body and what it’s telling you.
And that point is strategy number one for completing a detox: think about the process as doing something for you. Picture in your mind how you want to feel, how you want to look, how you want to be. Feel empowered that you can do this, and that you’re doing something that’s just for you.
Then stop thinking about what you’re missing out on. Every time you load up on salad or veggies, really look at what you’re eating and think about how it’s nourishing your body. Get a big smug about it. Why the hell shouldn’t you feel a bit bloody clever for doing this? Really concentrate on kudos, every time you eat.
Make sure you eat! This is not about starving yourself. Don’t skimp at mealtimes, especially breakfast and lunch. If you feel peckish, eat something – don’t let it go or think you’ll wait, because you’ll end up ravenous and be more likely to cave in. Or feel sick.
Drink water and lots of it. The point of a detox is actually to let your body have the time and space it needs to clear out a back log of toxins. Water is going to help the flush go faster. Toxins moving through your body won’t make you feel flash, so drink up and everytime you do, repeat: Flush damn you, flush!
Make large batches of food. Cook once, eat two or three times. Have those soups and salads in the fridge all the time, especially in the first week when you can feel like crap and not enthused about being in the kitchen at all.
Bend the rules if you have to. Last year I ate porridge for breakfast every day, even though oats are not gluten free. As far as I was concerned, they were still healthy and it was easier for me to have them as that’s what the kids and I ate and had done since they were babies. Last year my wedding anniversary was also in the middle of the four weeks, so I gave myself the night off because my husband had booked a flash restaurant and I wasn’t going to miss it. I still had a healthy meal, but I also had a cocktail, glass of wine and dessert. No biggie.
And finally and above all, be kind to yourself. Expand the month to be about more than just food. Commit to also caring for and nurturing yourself. Take baths, take walks, take a rest if you need to. If you’re struggling, just do what you can.