Detox and cleanse have become quite the buzzwords, but their meaning and varying protocols create consumer confusion. Questions like, “What is a detox?” “Why would I need to detox?” and “Is a detox right for me?” may have all crossed your mind at some point in time.
A good place to start is to assess areas in your lifestyle and common symptoms (you may or may not have been aware of) over the past few months to a year.
All too often, we attribute our pesky conditions and ongoing issues to aging or conditions that are normalized by our society. Yet, how often do you pause to really evaluate how you’ve been feeling lately and why?
Our bodies are complex systems, but some of the red flags it may have been showing you for months, could be ones you’ve dismissed or maybe even avoided acknowledging.
Check out the five areas below to find out if your body is toxic and in need of a detox. You may be surprised by what you discover about your overall health.
1. Your Tummy Is Giving You Trouble
While heartburn, bloating, gas, indigestion and other unfavorable digestive conditions may be common amongst U.S. adults, let me tell you that they are not normal. These are not symptoms that you should just “deal” with or expect as you age. Rather, if and when you start to notice any of these occurring daily, consider it a sign that dietary and/or lifestyle modifications may be warranted.
The complex systems that are naturally in place in our body are designed for many organs to help us detoxify daily and keep processes running smoothly. The liver, kidneys, skin, lungs, colon and other organs help complete a natural detoxification and removal of toxins (via urine, bowel movements, sweat, etc.). Yet, there are many toxins our body is not equipped to properly process. When our exposure to various toxins starts to exceed the amount we’re able to properly break down and excrete, the accumulation may lead to adverse symptoms.
In addition, our metabolism and overall health rely on our body to properly eliminate and excrete toxins and waste, so it can run efficiently and maintain optimal health. When you start to experience issues with digestion, this impacts your body’s ability to remove those toxins, and may instead promote reabsorption into the body.
To help alleviate these nagging (and embarrassing) digestive issues, consider a nutrient-dense detoxification program that aids both phases of the liver’s detoxification process and promotes more regular bowel movements. Assessing and tracking these symptoms before, during and after the detoxification program is essential to analyze changes and improvements.
2. Your Skin Is Unhappy and Unhealthy
As a dietitian, one of my all-time favorite success stories was hearing from a member who had completed the D.TOX℠ program and included “before” and “after” photos of her skin. The transformation in just the short 14-day period of how her psoriasis improved was incredible. Her arms which once were nearly covered in dry, red patches were well on their way to a smoother complexion that more closely matched her skin tone.
Rarely do most people associate the skin issues they may be experiencing with the internal health of their body. Commonly recommended remedies of topical ointments, prescriptions, etc. are typical go-tos that may help the symptoms of skin irritations, but they’re a Band-aid approach to a larger issue.
If you have been fighting the battle with acne, irritations, rashes, or even conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, it could be your body’s way of telling you it’s getting a bit bogged down by toxins you’ve been exposed to. Many of these skin conditions arise due to internal inflammation in the body. Until that is addressed, they may continue to be issues.
3. Your Weight Loss Is Stubborn at Best
Ever feel like you’ve tried it all and nothing seems to make the scale budge anymore? You may be exercising for hours on end and eating just enough to prevent your stomach from rumbling, but weight loss is nonexistent. Or even worse, weight gain has been a common occurrence.
Proper nutrition and daily activity are key to keeping metabolism running, yet to optimize metabolism and your body’s ability to burn fat, hormone levels also need to be balanced.
Many toxins we’re exposed to, such as pesticides, food additives, preservatives, pollutants and other environmental chemicals, are fat-soluble and reside in the body’s fat stores. They’re readily stored there as a way to prevent them from getting into the bloodstream and impacting organs.
Therefore, people with more body fat may have a higher toxin load. This may contribute to hormone imbalances and difficulty in losing fat stores. At times, our body may slightly resist losing body fat as a defense mechanism — to prevent these toxins from being released into the bloodstream.
Weight loss can be stubborn at times, and it may not happen as quickly as we’d like. But aiding our body’s ability to run efficiently — by decreasing our toxic load — can help jump-start metabolism and reset hormone levels.
4. Your Mood, Energy and Sleep Need Help
Are you one that sleeps decently throughout the night but, more often than not, relies on caffeine or a midday sugar boost? Or maybe you do toss and turn throughout the night, and are woken up nightly by a 3 am bathroom run. Fatigue, disrupted sleep, mood and energy levels can all be impacted by toxin load — and can potentially be a reflection of how much effort your body is putting into detoxifying itself.
These symptoms are many times consistent with the types of foods you may be consuming as well. Common offenders include sweets, processed and refined carbohydrates, caffeine, etc. While you may feel your mood and energy lift after consuming them, you’re actually feeding the negative spiral of fatigue, brain fog and interrupted sleep patterns.
You may have heard of the “gut-brain” connection, or that the gut is the “second brain” of the body. We’ve all experienced the feeling of getting the “butterflies” in our stomach, or situations that make us “feel nauseous.” This intricate connection between our gut and brain may play a role in how we feel emotionally (and mentally) when our gastrointestinal tract and other detoxification pathways are bogged down by toxins.
Following a detoxification program such as the Life Time D.TOX program — that includes getting adequate quality protein, avoiding inflammatory foods, reducing stress and minimizing exposure to toxins — may help the body properly release and excrete toxins, and get you on your way to better sleep, energy, mood and cognitive functioning throughout the day.
5. You’re Sick More Than You’re Healthy
Did you know that approximately 70% of your immune system lives in your gut? The bacteria that reside in the gut play a large role in your overall health, including your immune system. That’s why it’s critical to keep the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut and keep the bacteria healthy.
To put it simply, your gut health impacts your entire body. When the lining of the gut breaks down, it becomes more susceptible for particles and pathogens to enter, thereby disrupting the bacteria in the gut.
It may seem like a complex and rare chance for this to happen, but numerous things can contribute to the breakdown of the gut lining such as stress, a high-sugar and/or low-fiber diet, alcohol, excess toxins, and overuse of antibiotics and other medications. The “leaky gut” leaves the body more prone to infections, autoimmune conditions, colds and viruses, etc.
If you’ve consistently been experiencing colds or infections, and feeling like your immune system just can’t keep up most days, it may be because it’s struggling to get by. While a nutrient-dense diet and probiotic use are a few ways to aid the immune system, what your body may need most is help eliminating built-up toxins and rebalancing the good gut flora.
How many of the five areas above did you relate to? Surprised? Don’t let those symptoms continue to interfere with your health and fitness goals. By making simple changes in your nutrition and lifestyle, and implementing strategic, quality detoxification methods, you can start to make a positive impact before you know it.
Life Time’s complimentary 14-day virtual D.TOX program has helped thousands of people navigate through a healthy, science-based detoxification program. The weekly podcasts, meal plans, and online coaching support and education help guide you to a healthier you. Check out more details and sign up here for the next class starting this Monday, December 9.