Every January, folks around the world commit to better health. Unfortunately, many gravitate towards fad diets and cleanses as their jumping off point. These diets make trendy claims about quick weight loss and detoxification. Those enticing promises are just enough bait to entice people to swallow the hook.
For this new year, I suggest a different, fresh tactic. Start simply by choosing real, whole foods and drink tons of clean water. “Whole” means food that has been processed or refined as little as possible (if at all) and is free from additives and other artificial substances. Taking this affirmative step will promote better awareness of eating habits and lead to a real, tangible lifestyle change.
Here’s a good way to think about it:
Whole, farm fresh organic eggs, not egg beaters. A fresh, juicy steak, not pre-packaged roast beef sitting on a shelf. Whole fruits like apples, berries and melons, not fruit snacks. Potatoes, not potato chips, dig?
Making a lifestyle commitment like this makes more sense than following a time limited trend. There is no “quick fix” to fitness and any weight lost is mostly water weight (and sometimes muscle.) At the end of the cleanse or diet, most folks fall back into their old habits, gain their weight back and experience high levels of frustration.
Ben Ballinger is president and founder of Ballinger Athletic Performance, Inc. and a certified trainer and performance enhancement specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He sums it up nicely:
“With regards to toxins and poisons within our bodies, the purpose of the liver and kidneys is to filter the byproducts of our metabolism of food and drink and excrete any toxins via the urine.” Ballinger says. “In other words, we have extremely complex organs that were developed by nature over hundreds of millions of years with the SPECIFIC purpose of detoxifying our bodies, so the idea that drinking some juice is going to do a better job than our own organs is ludicrous.”
I prefer to make the commitment to work towards a permanent lifestyle change. If you really need the extra motivation that a short program provides, choose a system that focuses on eating real, whole foods. There is a cleanse out of Massachusetts now called STRIP that is doing a tremendous job of educating and introducing these clean, fresh foods.
I believe that because we have endless information and data at our fingertips, we are no longer at the mercy of the flavor of the month diet. Thank goodness.