It's January! New year, new you, and new goals to achieve. 

"This year I'm going to lose weight and get fit. I'm going to change the way I eat and exercise 5 days a week. I'm finally going to lose this extra weight once and for all"!

Sound like you?

You, and millions of others, are making the decision to get healthy this year. And good for you! Even though many new years resolutions end up fading out by March, the initial drive to get healthy is a huge component of how successful you'll efforts will be.  

You've also probably heard the terms "detox" and "cleanse" once or twice floating around out there as a method for kicking off your new years resolution to get healthier. There's juice cleanses, tea cleanses, supplement detoxes, and every system under the sun you can imagine all claiming to help you shed fat and get the body you desire. With the magnified health claims these systems provide also comes hand in hand with magnified financial costs as well. You have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of supplements, tinctures, devices or whatever else they're trying to sell you in order to fully "detoxify your body".  

Yes, the body can have a build up of toxins, especially for those who have been exceptionally hard on their bodies by eating high amounts of refined carbs, excess sugar, drinking excess alcohol and living under high amounts of prolonged stress. We can struggle with heavy metal toxicity, candida yeast overgrowth, parasites...Although the former cases are relevant, they aren't the real reasons why the majority of people run out to buy detox systems. What people generally cleanse for is to lose weight, and all the master cleanses out there claim to aid the body in cleansing and detoxifying, which buyers assume will help them shed pounds. 

I'm not against taking supplementation when it's needed, but let me save you a whole bunch of money before you rush out to the store or find a detox package online. You may get some benefits out of using a boxed detox system, but marginal at best. The body needs more than a series of pills taken for 7 days in order to run efficiently. For weight loss to occur, it's a fanciful notion to believe that a store bought cleanse or detox kit is going to do the trick. It's like taking a magic pill that solves all our health and body issues. Not a real thing. It doesn't exist. 

But there is a way that you can detox your body safely, without spending hundreds of dollars on supplements or suppositories. The body naturally has it's own ways and mechanisms of detoxing and cleansing. If the body wasn't able to do it on it's own, we'd all die from toxicity and liver failure. We know that the liver, skin, pancreas, gallbladder, colon, lymph glands etc all help in natural detoxification, but sometimes they need a little bit of a helping hand. This is normally where I'd sell you the one and only supplement or plan that would do this...for an all time low price of only $99.99 that is (insert sarcastic voice).

You can start to give your organs a helping hand with detoxification by incorporating a few simple practices, and by changing what you put in your mouth. To help cleanse your body of toxins and excess weight, you needn't look in a pill bottle, but you might need to buy some workout clothes. Here are some ways that you can successfully detoxify your body, lose weight and feel lighter without the use of at home cleanse kits.

1. Exercise

The best way to boost your metabolism, increase your energy and help your lymphatic system out is by moving. When you exercise you create an environment for your body to stretch, circulate and sweat. Your oxygen uptake is greater when you exercise and your digestive system works more efficiently when exercise is consistent. The skin is cleansed by the process of sweating which releases many toxins, and by reducing body fat, toxins that are stored in fatty tissue can be eliminated through cleansing organs. Exercise is essential to properly detox/cleanse your body. You can't take a handful of pills and expect anything to happen long term if you don't want to make the effort to get up and move.  Dance, walk, bike, do yoga, pilates, or light aerobics to help your body detox. Aim to move at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. And make sure you sweat!

2. Cut out all refined sugar and processed foods

Sugar and processed foods are damaging to your health and toxic to your body. They wreak havoc on the liver by contributing to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Sugar spikes insulin and makes the pancreas work over time causing insulin resistance, it down regulates dopamine receptors and can cause leptin resistance (the hormone that tells you you're full). Sugar is a toxin, even in the smallest dosages. Not only is it a toxin but it's addictive nature causes a myriad of health conditions ranging from ADD, ADHD, Alzheimers, Diabetes and cancer. Cutting out sugar, particularly refined sugars, as well as processed foods that most often contain high amounts of sugar (amongst other nasty ingredients) is the real detox. You want a real, legitimate, no messing around natural body cleanse that will guarantee weight loss and improve health, this is where you need to look. Sugar is the culprit and sugar needs to be taken out of the modern Westernized diet just like cigarettes were. Sugar is dangerous for your health and will make you sick over time. Look at what you're eating and get rid of pre-packed foods, frozen dinners, candy, cakes, chips, or anything that is full of refined sugar, carbs and trans fats. You could do this one step and you'd be over half way to detoxifying your body for life. This is not an overstatement, this is reality. Cut out sugar and watch your body and health change. get rid of one sugary product or processed food you eat on a daily/weekly basis each week. Keep adding on one more unhealthy product each week until you've built a habitual pattern of consistently eating healthier options.

3. Meditate

The world is so fast paced that most people barely find the time to breath, let alone sit and meditate. Meditation though isn't about sitting cross legged like a monk and chanting ohms for an hour. Meditation is about allowing your body to sit still and focusing on your breath. It's about still your mind in the midst of chaos, even if for only 5 minutes. Meditation helps you relax, focus and get grounded. You can meditate by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath, you can spend time in thoughtful prayer, or you can try to clear your mind so you think of nothing. Meditating creates an environment for relaxation and helps to flush out stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. By breathing deeply, we increase our lungs abilities and the strength of our heart. We let go of stress and we welcome peace. This is a great physical, mental and spiritual part of cleansing. Sitting still, being at peace and breathing. Try it yourself. 

Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Inhale deeply through your nose slowly for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds and exhale slowly for 4 seconds. Repeat this 10x focusing on your breath. 

It's so easy to get caught up in the worries and cares of the modern world and forget all the good there is in life. Allow yourself to sit still and meditate on all the wonderful things you have instead of worrying about what you don't.  

4. Drink more water/ Drink less alcohol

Water is one of the best things you can consume when you're aim is to stay healthy and cleanse the body. Our body is largely made up of water and we need it survive. Without water, we would die within days from our body shutting down. Water is a natural cleansing agent as it helps to flush out your system. Because toxins are secreted in urine and feces, the more water you drink, the more efficiently your digestive system will work. Alcohol is toxic to the liver, one of the main organs that aids in detoxification. If the liver is full of toxins, you have a major issue on your hand. Too much alcohol is hard on your liver and hard on your body. The best thing you can do to naturally detox your system is to cut back on alcohol consumption and drink more water. Aim to drink at least 3 litres of water a day and cut back your alcohol consumption to 2 glasses a week. 

5. Sleep better

People go on a detox because they want to "reset" their system, and more often than not, lose a little weight. You can eat the cleanest diet, drink water everyday and make sure you exercise, but if your sleeping patterns are out of sync, your overall health is going to suffer. During sleep, the body has the chance to regenerate and repair itself. Without adequate sleep, the body cannot function properly and immunity will be compromised. Research has shown that people who don't get adequate sleep also tend to over eat and be heavier than those who do get a full nights rest. Sleep trumps everything and sleep should be one of your top priorities. Of course this is easier said than done for parents who have infants or small children, shift workers or people who are on medications that can cause insomnia. Whatever the case may be, strive to get at least 7 yours of restful sleep every night. if you want to stay healthy and lose weight, look at your sleeping patterns first and foremost. Sleep better and your body will thank you in more ways than one. 

6. Eat a predominantly plant based diet  

By eating a predominately plant based diet, you inevitably include more fibre. Fibre is one of the most important nutrients you can get and you should strive for no less than 25 grams of fibre per day. Some studies say that we should be consuming up to 100 grams of fibre per day! Fibre helps in so many different areas of the body, but in regards to detoxification, fibre helps you to stay regular. Because the colon is one of the organs responsible for detoxing, if you're backed up, you are going to store some pretty nasty toxic material. If you are having issues moving your bowels, you can try to detox your system with colon cleansing kits, but you won't be fixing the root cause of why you're backed up in the first place. Eating excessive meat or dairy can be hard on the digestive system and cause constipation. Stress can cause irregular bowel movements, travel, antibiotics, certain conditions... More fibre and healthy fats help to push waste out. If you are having digestive issues, try to incorporate more healthy fats to lubricate your system, and more dietary fibre from whole food sources to push waste out. Cut back on meat and dairy consumption, and of course, drink lots of water! The perfect recipe for gut health :)

You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on at home cleansing or detox kits in order for you to naturally detox and help your body do the job it's designed to do already. Just following these 6 tips on a long term basis will help your body naturally detox and shed weight. Let me know what you do to help your body naturally detox and what's worked best for your journey! Happy New Year and all the best!

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