Tuesday, September 8, 2015

4 Benefits of a "Cleanse"

I recently lost 20 pounds using the Take Shape for Life program. In this program, I eat 5 Medifast replacement meals and 1 Lean and Green meal daily. Once I reached my goal, I began transitioning to a whole foods diet, and that's where I am.

It's not a traditional cleanse or fast, but I'm not a big fan of those, frankly. I'm of the opinion that my digestive system detoxes my body perfectly well. However, it is similar to a cleanse in that I dramatically changed my diet for a few weeks.

I didn't give up dairy or gluten or soy, but I did alter the proportion and amounts. I ate more salads in those weeks than I did in the year prior.

Now that I'm at my "fighting weight" and I'm starting to eat "normally" again, I can see several benefits I gained through changing my diet so drastically.

4. Broken habits. I used to get hungry for lunch, but not know what to eat. So I wouldn't eat anything, and then my hunger would build, and then I would pig out on junk food. On Take Shape for Life, I eat every 3 hours, no matter what. Now I plan ahead and eat something even if I don't want to because I know that's the healthy choice.

3. No cravings. I didn't give up gluten or dairy or soy: those ingredients can be found in many of my meal replacements. But I didn't crave them either. If I wanted chocolate, I could eat a Medifast brownie as my meal. I didn't crave pizza at all, and I love pizza. Eating high quality food in balanced proportions (each meal replacement is high in protein) eliminated any messages of desperation or hunger.

2. Body awareness. I've always heard about insulin crashes after eating something sugary, but I'd never noticed it. After a couple of weeks, one day I cheated and ate a giant chocolate muffin. Within the hour, I crashed and I noticed it! I realized that cheating was truly not worth the bad physical consequences.

1. Emotional awareness. I've always been an emotional eater. And I've also been hungry most of the time. Since I am hungry two or three times a day, it's hard to tell if my desire to eat is purely emotional, or a mix of emotion and hunger. Being in control of my hunger meant when I got the urge to eat emotionally, I knew the desire was all in my head. I was able to identify even more clearly the stress points in my daily routines.

What benefits do you see in a cleanse or detox?

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