I’ve tried my fair share of detoxes and cleanses over the years and I never felt the limitless energy that people always claim to have. And don’t even get me started on the promised weight loss.
Even if you do lose some weight, it tends to go straight back on as soon as the detox/cleanse is over. Many of these programmes include a fasting component, which perhaps explains why intermittent fasting (also known as time-restricted eating) sometimes gets a bad rap.
But please don’t confuse the detox-type fasting – usually a short-term extreme one-size-fits-all approach – with IF, which is a sustainable lifestyle choice that you work into at your own pace.
What is a detox?
Detoxes are intended to eliminate toxins from your body. They often involve being limited to drinking vegetable or fruit juice, smoothies, herbal teas and water, in addition to fasting. Sometimes they’re combined with special supplements and even enemas, colon cleanses or laxatives.
Some people report feeling more focused and energetic on detoxes, but it’s hard to say whether this is because of the detox, or because they’ve eliminated the usual crap that they consume. And maybe they’re getting more vitamins than usual?
The idea is that your digestive tract will heal if you give it a break, and this will have a knock-on effect of healing all sorts of other ailments. All I can say is that it never worked for me, as far as I know. There was really no way of measuring my success, other than how I felt. And I definitely didn’t feel better.
According to the Mayo Clinic in the US, there’s no reliable scientific evidence that detoxes actually eliminate toxins from your body. The Cleveland Clinic also points out that your body is perfectly capable of self-detoxing, if you live a healthy lifestyle and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
Our digestive tract, liver, kidneys and skin are responsible for breaking down toxins for elimination through urine, stool or sweat, it explains.
Personally, I’m glad that I found intermittent fasting because I never plan to do a detox or cleanse again if I can help it.
Intermittent fasting, healing & menopause
While our bodies are designed to get rid of toxins and heal by themselves, intermittent fasting (IF) is a great way to support and possibly make this process more efficient. In case you don’t know about IF, it’s a pattern of eating where you only consume food during a certain “window” of time during the 24 hours in your day. You decide the timing as well as what you eat during that window. In other words, you are 100% in control.
When you fast, it triggers something called autophagy, the body’s way of “recycling” damaged cells and generating new healthy cells in their place.
I hear extraordinary healing stories from intermittent fasters all the time – everything from people being able to stop or cut down on their heart and diabetes medicines, to old scars and skin problems totally disappearing, to reversing metabolic syndrome (which often manifests as obesity, insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides and high blood pressure).
That’s not to mention some of the benefits that I’ve seen that are specific to perimenopausal and menopausal women, including:
- reduction/elimination of hot flushes (flashes) & night sweats
- sleep problems improving
- weight loss
- anxiety/mood swings settling down
- energy levels increasing
- brain fog/memory improving
- blood sugar levels regulating (no more mid-afternoon crashes)
- sugar & junk food cravings reducing
- digestive issues resolving (better gut health)
- joint and muscle pain diminishing
- plantar fasciitis disappearing
To be clear, I’m not guaranteeing that these things will happen to you, and they certainly won’t happen overnight. But I do know people who have improved all of the above issues.
A little more on weight loss…
Many people get drawn into detoxes/cleanses, and intermittent fasting, because they’re looking to lose weight. That was the case with me.
I can’t repeat this enough: people often come to IF for the weight loss, but they stay for the health benefits.
Just remember, the internal healing will always take place before the superficial weight loss, so don’t be disheartened if the weight isn’t coming off straight away.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a quick-fix diet. It’s about living a long life full of vitality. Sometimes it takes a while to get out of the diet (and/or detox) mindset, which is usually looking for an overnight miracle.
Of course, we want to look better, but feeling better and being healthier in the long-term is pretty damn important. It’s worth being patient for – you can achieve your weight loss goals with IF, too, but it takes time, consistency and commitment!
I’d love to hear how you feel about detoxes in the comments below… Yes? No? Maybe? Never again? And if you’re an IFer, do you do detoxes and cleanses in addition to IF?
P.S. If you’re trying to tackle hormonal weight gain and reduce your menopausal symptoms, why not join my next Fasting4Menopause Kickstart Programme? It’s fun and I’ll teach you all of the hacks you need to know to become a successful “IFer”! Click here for more info and to join my waiting list!