Recently, I was in a waiting room listening to a conversation about doing the Lemon Cleanse. I’ve heard it called other names but, this is the one where you drink water with lemon, honey and cayenne pepper. As a personal trainer this conversation was incredibly frustrating to me. If I hadn’t been called out for my appointment I would have jumped in with my two cents. Although maybe it was better I didn’t get the chance!
The two women who had tried cleanses were significantly overweight which means they are probably not doing what they should to take care of their health on a regular basis. The thing that was so frustrating to me is that they’re talking about this cleanse as if it’s the solution to their issues with their health and weight. The truth is that no cleanse in the world is going to solve the real problem.
It’s not that there is anything necessarily wrong with doing a cleanse or a detox. They can be a good way to jump start your fitness program. They can help you break your current bad patterns of eating. They can help to get you ready psychologically for a new way of living. They immediately remove all the junk from your diet and reduce your calorie intake.
The problem is not with the detox itself, although I’m sure some of them are not good for you. The problem is the misunderstanding and the misinformation that tends to surround these cleanse regimens. People think that the cleanse is doing something magic to their bodies, cleaning out all the bad stuff and making them pure and healthy. They think the ingredients in these cleanse concoctions is a magic elixir with super healing (and slimming) power.
The only reason a cleanse does anything of the sort is that when you follow it you immediately eliminate all the junk from your diet. If you simply began eating a healthy diet, that would do exactly the same thing. So, it’s not what you take in on a cleanse, it’s what you’re NOT taking in that makes the difference.
Studies have been done on whether these cleanse/detox diets work. What they found was that they do not help the body rid itself of toxins any faster than it would normally do anyway. The effect of a cleanse is the same as eating a healthy diet. Once you stop piling on the toxins your liver can actually clear your system and not get backlogged by all the junk you normally ingest. Just to be clear, by junk I mean over processed foods, fried foods, excess sugar and salt, trans fats, etc.
Health and fitness is a life long endeavor. A cleanse can be a good way to kick off a new healthy life style but, you cannot stay on a cleanse long term. Also, know that punctuating and unhealthy life style with an occasional cleanse does you very little good. You have to live healthy MOST of the time in order to get any real benefits.
Instead of wasting your time on the latest detox fad, educate yourself about what healthy living means. Learn how to eat a healthy diet. Learn how to cook healthy meals. Learn about exercise and start moving. Healthy living is the only cleanse you’ll ever need.