The facts and fictions on detoxes

Fit & Training door roos-aduagyei

One week juicing, only drinking detox teas and living off of soups. Detoxing is hip, hot and happening. You can find articles on almost any fitness blog you visit about all the different ways that you can detox your body. Often, this is done after a period of eating a lot of unhealthy food. But does doing a detox actually make sense? Or will the kilos that you lose just come piling back on afterwards? 

I'd like to begin by first saying that everyone should do what feels good for them and what they are comfortable with. If a detox works well for you, feel free to do it every now and then! We are not telling you what to do, but simply taking a closer look at the benefits of detoxes. Most of the time, the promises are too good to be true. Losing 5 kilos in a week is nice, but not when you'll gain double that amount one month later. There are a lot of facts and fictions circulating about detoxing and that's what this blog is about. Time to take it under the microscope.

What is a detox?

Doing a detox cleanses your body from toxins. This can be done in many different ways, but some detoxes are more effective than others. A detox can also not only cleanse your body, but can also affect you mentally. You will feel naturally rejuvenated after a juicing cleanse since you've spent an entire week long only drinking green monsters. A detox can be pretty tough when you're not used to eating so little (or nothing). Headaches, nausea and a bad mood can also be some other effects of a detox.

During a detox, your body only gets just the necessary amount of nutrients that it desperately needs to function. This means that there will be a drop in your blood sugar level. Your body tries to combat this by releasing glycogen, which is a sugar that is mainly stored in your liver and muscles.  It also has a lot of water bound to it, and this is one of the reasons why you'll probably lose a few kilos during a detox. Unfortunately, it's not fat, but moisture!

Misunderstandings about detoxes

There are many misconceptions about detoxes. They're not completely crazy, since most of the things written on the Internet aren't completely baseless. Here are a few facts and fictions about detoxes at a glance:

"I'm getting rid of my toxins through a detox" - FICTION

Unfortunately, this isn't true. Our body, the liver specifically, is luckily very good at getting rid of toxins by itself. You don't need any detox diet on top of that. It won't really help with getting any of the toxins out of you.

"After eating unhealthy for so long, a detox is a good idea" - FICTION

It would be great if this one were true. That would mean that the 5 kg that came on during the Christmas holidays can fall right back off with the help of a juice detox in the first week of January. If only... Sadly, the effects you get from eating unhealthy foods can't be cured with a detox. The excess fat and sugar have already been stored in your body before you even think of starting a detox.

"With a detox, I can improve my strength and health" - FACT

This is only a fact, if you are aware of the products you put into your body. Most people who do a serious detox will improve their diet afterwards, because they understand how good it is to eat healthy. Only then will you improve your strength and your health with a detox. It's a handy tool to make you aware of all the products you put into your body, but a week detoxing will not make sure that you never get the flu again. Unfortunately..

“A detox is the perfect way to switch up your lifestyle” – FACT/FICTION

This statement can actually pass as both fact and fiction. This is because it's not the same for everyone. It is  not always possible for anyone to turn their lifestyle completely around in a day. Through a detox, you'l be aware of all the trash that you put into your body every single day.  If you do a detox where you are don't eat any sort of sugars, for example, you will probably feel uncomfortable in the beginning. This lets you clearly see how dependent you actually are on sugars. It's not the most pleasant way to find out, but it's definitely effective. It would naturally be a shame if after going through a detox, you go back to your unhealthy habits. That's also why people become more conscious about what they eat and drink after doing a detox. This is not a scientifically proven fact, but is is how it usually goes for fanatic 'detoxers'.

As you'll probably notice, your mental state is the most important part of a detox. Your body can detoxify itself just fine, but sometimes it can use a helping hand. That's what makes this harsh treatment convenient. You deprive yourself of everything that is unhealthy and focus only on healthy food. It is then very important to be a little strong on yourself. After such a time, it is naturally not the idea that you go straight into unhealthy snacks. You'll have to slowly build up to this to ensure that the kilos don't come right back on.

Experiences from the Fit Girls

Fit Girls Laura and Anna have previously spoken about their experiences doing detoxes. You can read about their experiences here.  Something that Laura shares with the readers that are willing to give a detox a try: Prepare for the end of the detox. After the week is over, everything will be up to you. It's a good idea to plan in advance what you're going to eat and drink after the detox is over. That way, it will help to reduce the risk that you'll fall back into your unhealthy habits. Laura also finds this a very suitable way to kick a sugar habit. For example, after going 2/3 weeks without sugar, it got easier to keep going without it afterwards.

While Laura was very excited about the detox, Anna wouldn't do it ever again even if the world was ending. "The detox forced me to deny myself a lot, and I noticed that this was going to backfire eventually. I stopped on day 6 and I ate looooads of food that day. I felt very weak and stupid afterwards. A few days later, I was thankfully able to look at it as a positive experience. I now know how important it is for me to have a balanced diet. All or nothing is not my thang!"

And there you see it again: to each their own. Personally, I would never try to do a detox, but many Fit Girls do take on detoxes regularly to have a fresh new start. Read and research intensely before beginning a detox. Like I said before, it can be very hard to eat so little.

Have you ever undergone a detox? What were your experiences with it?