The Drinking Detox. If you're not ready to change what you eat, you might start by changing what you drink. Many experts (and smart dieters) will tell you that the easiest way to lose weight is to give up alcohol either permanently or for a short time. Booze provides no significant nutritional benefits, it's full of calories and it may cause you to eat more junk food. For many dieters, simply saying no to alcohol is the best way to detox the body, sleep better at night, boost energy levels, and slim down.
"A smoothie with only fruits and fruit juice is essentially dessert!" Rebecca Lewis, in-house R.D. at HelloFresh, tell SELF. Smoothies can definitely be a healthy meal option, provided you're using vegetables in addition to those fruits, and high-protein, high-fiber ingredients like almond milk and chia seeds. Unfortunately a lot of smoothies (especially store-bought varieties) tend to pack in sugar. In fact, a small size at common smoothie stores like Jamba Juice can often contain more than 50 grams of sugar. To be sure you don't end up with a total gut bomb, consider making smoothies yourself. Or double check the ingredient list at your favorite shops and supermarkets.
“Alcohol may lower inhibitions, which could make you more likely to reach for unhealthy foods,” says Keri Gans, RD, Nutritionist, and Author of The Small Change Diet. Anyone who has tossed back a couple of margaritas and some chips and guac at happy hour can relate! Save the booze until after your reboot. “Once you’re firmly back on track, if you want to reintroduce alcohol in moderation, go for it,” she says.
Then, as instructed, I lined up with the others and waited my turn to be “drummed”. A musician beat a rhythm on a percussion instrument while moving it up the front of my body and down the back – close, but not touching my skin. My understanding is this was meant to improve the alignment of my chakras, a component of self I don’t totally grasp, but am more than willing to offer up for re-structuring. The drumming ended, and as I paused before the next step – a meditative walk – I noticed the outer aspect of each of my hips burned, as though a fire spread across them. The fire pulsated, intensified, simmered, then disappeared. Coincidence? Psychosomatic effect? Bug bites? I can’t say for sure, but it felt significant.
But Lauren’s qualifications go much further than utilitarian tools and sensible words of advice. She has a special magic that alleviates pressure and pain that can come with these jobs. Her compassionate, yet no-nonsense demeanor settles my nerves and fills me with confidence. The garage I had deemed untouchable became manageable as we moved through it together.
Even though nutrition’s role in detoxification is an emerging science and the specifics of what foods aid detoxification most (and how) still is under way, Genuis urges nutrition professionals, including RDs, to stay abreast of the research on this subject and use their nutrition expertise in a clinical health care team approach to address the complete picture of patients’ health, which he says includes assessing toxin exposure and aiding efficient detoxification processes.
This highly toxic environment, argues Mary Purdy, MS, RDN, an integrative medicine nutritionist, is in large part why the human body needs assistance with a natural process it’s been performing on its own for centuries. “I am well aware that our bodies are equipped with a system to eliminate the daily toxins we produce as well as some outside toxic compounds to which we are exposed daily,” she says, “but in this day and age, we are overloaded with toxic compounds—from pollution to pesticides to the myriad of chemicals in our household and personal care products as well as the plasticizers used in everyday food and nonfood items, the dozens of additives, preservatives, and other chemicals in our food.
In between meals, go ahead and have a snack. "When you go too long in between meals without eating, it is difficult to go into your next meal in control and avoid overeating,” Julia Levine Axelbaum, R.D., L.D., Bariatric Dietitian at NewStart Clinic, tells SELF. Of course, you'll want to be thoughtful about the kind of snacks you opt for. She explains that those that are high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates will give you the energy you need to get through the day and keep you satiated from one meal to the next. On the other hand, those that are high in refined carbs and sugar will give you a sudden blood sugar spike that will eventually cause you to crash and feel even more tired.
Finally, there’s the economy. Survival in the hypercompetitive, globalized economy, where workers have fewer protections and are more disposable than ever, requires that we try to become faster, smarter, and more creative. (To this list of marketable qualities I’d add one with a softer edge: niceness, which the gig economy and its five-star rating system have made indispensable to everyone from cabdrivers to plumbers.) Anything less than our best won’t cut it.
And Ian K. Smith, M.D. agrees. Dr. Ian is a Harvard graduate, founder of the SHRED Lifestyle, and the author several best-selling diet books. He explains that the liver, kidney, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal system remove toxins that accumulate in the body. But following a detox diet full of natural foods can enhance the body's ability to cleanse. He adds, however, that dieters should make no assumptions about health when choosing a detox diet. "Detoxes have gotten very trendy, and many of them are unhealthy and quite dangerous."
Knight, who favors the shouty, super-caffeinated tone of a spin-class instructor, calls herself a “bestselling anti-guru.” She is particularly proud of the best-selling part, and it’s easy to see why her approach appeals. The phrase THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU takes up two full pages of her first chapter. She agrees with Storr that what is wrong is society, or, rather, the “random, stupid obligations set forth by society—whether to be nice or thin or to act submissive or sane.” Sanity seems not to be an entirely random or stupid social obligation, but never mind. Knight’s point is to encourage her readers to embrace themselves as they are, warts and all, and to help them do so she proposes strategies like “mental redecorating” (recasting one’s weaknesses as strengths), embracing pessimism (to be pragmatic and set realistic expectations), being selfish (advocating for one’s needs), dwelling on the thought of death (to maximize happiness while alive), and “breaking free from the Cult of Nice.” Knight is happy to demonstrate the latter. “You have to stop giving a fuck about what other people think,” she tells us.
Sure, you don't know what you'll be in the mood for later, and will you even be hungry? Yes, probably. After all, increased snacking is one reason behind the rise in calorie intake over the past few decades, according to a 2011 study in PLOS ONE. "When you leave your office to go find something, that's when bad choices are made," says Schapiro. "That's when a hot pretzel, bag of candy, or donut can look very appealing." Make sure your desk (or fridge) is stocked with an emergency stash of snacks, like Greek yogurt, individual packs of nuts, dried fruit, and nitrate-free jerky.
Some still consider fasting -- in any form -- to be "out there." "When I review diets that are not based on science, the question I ask myself is: Would I feed them to my family? In this case, the answer is a clear no," says Susan Roberts, PhD, chief of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and a professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Boston.
I challenge you to set aside 30 minutes and do all those nitty-gritty tasks you’ve been meaning to do, all at once. First, this prevents you from multitasking later on when emails are rushing in while you’re trying to do your work. Second, it forces you to tackle those things that make you cringe—things that, once they’re done, will make your life a heck of a lot easier.