Be honest: When you hear the word “detox,” what’s the first thought that comes to mind? Juice cleanse? Fad diet? Total hoax? That’s what I used to think, too. In fact, I used to scoff at the idea of following any sort of detox protocol, thinking, “we have organs to do all that.” And I was right – and wrong. Yes, we have entire organs whose main job is to help us detox harmful chemicals, excess hormones, and even cholesterol out of our bodies. The problem is: they’re overburdened. Modern life throws so much at us that it’s hard for our detox pathways to keep up. Which is why following a detox lifestyle is so important. And I’m excited for you to learn the nine benefits of a detox lifestyle so you can get started today!
But first: What is a Detox Lifestyle?
I coach my clients through three steps toward adopting a detox lifestyle:
- Remove as many toxins as possible: strive for BETTER, not perfect.
- Optimize your detox pathways: help them do their job.
- Promote autophagy: the next level of healing your body can do.
When you can consistently do these things, you will tune into the benefits of a detox lifestyle!
Remove as many toxins as possible
I refer to “toxins” as anything our body sees as foreign or harmful. These include:
- Processed foods (if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, your body probably doesn’t want it)
- Harmful chemicals (including pesticides and herbicides sprayed on conventionally-grown produce)
- Excessive substances such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and even over-the-counter medicines
- Refined sugars
Honestly, this is one of the most manageable steps in incorporating a detox lifestyle because this mainly involves swapping one product or food for another.
Optimize Your Detox Pathways
You have six detox pathways in your body. They know what to do to help rid your body of harmful substances. But they are overwhelmed and bogged down by our modern way of life. Incorporate habits like these to get the benefits of a detox lifestyle:
- Deep breathing
- Dry brushing
- Drinking plenty of water
- Eating fiber-rich foods
Autophagy is the process by which your body cleans out dead cells, old organelles, and damaged DNA. Promoting autophagy in your body is a great way to reduce inflammation and the chances of many chronic diseases. It’s also an important step in detoxing. How do you do it? One of the easiest ways is to fast for at least 17 hours. This is as easy as finishing dinner by 6:30 or 7 pm and not eating again until noon the next day. If you don’t currently follow a fasting protocol, and this sounds extreme, ease your way into it. (I promise you won’t be messing with your metabolism!)
One caveat to fasting for women: it’s important to time your fasting lengths to your cycle. But that’s a topic for another article. 😉
How to Know if You’ll Benefit from a Detox Lifestyle
Here are nine symptoms that are common signs that your detox pathways are clogged, and your body needs help detoxing:
- Fluid retention: Your lymph system helps carry toxins from your cells to your urine and blood for removal from your body. If you’re puffy, your body is holding on to excess toxins.
- Skin breakouts: Your skin is a transfer organ for toxins. If you have common breakouts and rashes, that’s a sign that toxins are trapped.
- Digestive problems: Another pathway for toxins to be removed is through our bowels. If you have irregular bowel movements (too many, not frequently enough, or not a solid consistency), that’s a sign that you are not clearing toxins efficiently.
- Increased body fat: Your body is smart and wants to protect you at all costs. When it can’t clear out all the toxins (primarily environmental toxins), it will store them in fat cells to keep them from damaging other organs.
- Poor energy: When your body is fighting hard to remove toxins all day, it’s hard to have excess energy for other things. Keeping your pathways clear frees up energy elsewhere!
- Easily agitated: Stagnant lymph can lead to blocks in your nervous system.
- Waking consistently between 2-4 am (especially if you’re hot): This is a tell-tale sign that your liver needs some support.
- Feeling “hangry” between meals: Your blood sugar is out of whack, and you are not metabolically flexible.
- PMS symptoms, including lumpy breasts that swell with your cycle: Your liver is responsible for filtering toxins (of course) but also excess cholesterol and estrogen from your body. And your liver will prioritize those more harmful (often foreign) substances over natural molecules like hormones, which can lead to an accumulation of estrogen in the body.
If any of these sound familiar (and I’m guessing they do), then it’s time to incorporate more detox habits into your lifestyle!
Benefits of a Detox Lifestyle
Once you get into the groove of making detox a lifestyle, you’ll start to see improvements like these:
- Feeling less puffy
- Clearer skin
- Better gut health and less bloating
- Sustained weight loss
- Increased energy
- Improved and more stable mood
- Better sleep
- Metabolic flexibility
- More tolerable/easier cycles
Remember, just because something is common does not mean it’s normal. Women get so used to feeling crappy that they forget how vibrant health can feel! Living a detox lifestyle is an excellent way to feel great in your body – no matter your age!
How to Get Started
I’ve created a free guide that walks you through five easy detox habits you can incorporate into your everyday routine – plus eight more advanced strategies.