Something like five years ago I remember myself stuck in a never-ending cycle of going out til late, socializing too much, carelessly having one too many cocktails more often than necessary at parties and drifting through life fully living in the moment. While this life philosophy may be fun for a short period of time, for example in your first year of university or when you just got a divorce, it certainly shouldn’t become a habit, that is of course if you want to be healthy and beautiful for many years to come. Let’s face it, for a woman looking young, vivacious and beautiful isn’t exactly the last thing on the priority list! It is easy for some of us to get caught up in this YOLO lifestyle, because it does suck you in like a black hole, and the best way to change something is by doing a long-term detox!
To me this decision came one day after coming back from another spontaneous weekend trip for pleasure. Suddenly I had a realization: I am slowly killing my body, my beauty and my mind. Time to put some breaks! So I did a wonderful little detox that has changed my life forever. And no, I am not a spokesperson for any particular brand of a detox program, I just simply changed a few destructive habits and cultivated some new ones, which is all you really need to jump start the new and improved YOU.
Here is what I did!
Personalized diet. I devised a 21 day eating plan for myself that I knew I would stick to. I am not a nutritionist or a dietician, but having a basic knowledge of what are good foods and what are bad is enough. You can’t go wrong eating fruits and vegetables and good quality lean meats and fish! Personalizing it to myself was the key to my plan’s success. I would not be able to stick to one of those crazy diets that requires you to drink only liquids and not have any solid foods for days. That’s just insane! Or another bizarre diet I recently read about, that requires you to eat only baby food. Yep, not for me. I wouldn’t have the will power to cut out all the sweets either, as I have a serious sweet tooth, so instead I allowed myself to eat a few little pieced of organic black chocolate. This way I actually stick to my plan, don’t cheat and feel empowered for actually following through with it.
Quit smoking. First of all smoking is soooo yesterday! It isn’t even fashionable anymore, and you can no longer enjoy a cigarette in majority of the places by law. So if you still smoke, it’s time to quit! I was a social smoker for a number of years, a habit I enjoyed at a time but wanted to get rid of. I used to think it was so glamorous to sit on a patio drinking a cappuccino in my big sunglasses while having a cigarette. Now I know there is no glamour is smoking, only bad breath, dull skin, yellow teeth and quite possibly premature death from lung cancer. So I quit cold turkey and never smoked again! How I did it? I decided not to quit just cigarettes on its own, but to quit everything harmful for this 21 days period. So I didn’t have any alcohol, caffeine, fatty or fried foods, junk-foods, bad sugars or salts, processed foods and when you are eating this healthy all of sudden you develop new disgust to cigarettes. I simply stopped craving them!
This brings me to my next point: Avoid EVERYTHING unhealthy, as mentioned above. This is only hard the first three days, and then once you pass the 3 days threshold it gets easier. That is why it is important to get some healthy treats handy, which you won’t feel guilty for eating. I would just snack on fruits, I’d make fruit salads with honey or low fat yogurt and if I really had to have something “bad”, I’d reach for my black chocolate stash or eat a cookie, but only the very healthy kind (sugar free, glutein free, etc.).
Drink lots of tea! By lot’s I mean sipping on tea all day long, which would end up being at least 5 cups a day. This habit I’ve kept for long and do this every day. I drink loose leaf green tea during the day and switch to Dandeloin, chamomile or mint decaf tea towards the evening. Let me tell you, it is GREAT for your metabolism! It helps to move things fast, and anything you eat just doesn’t stay, keeping you light, thin and non-bloated. Mint in particular is known to help avoid bloat.
Exercise! That’s a given, I don’t need to tell you why you need to exercise, especially if you are trying to better yourself. If you can do it every day during this 21 day period, then do it, even if only for 30 minutes a day. Remember, part of the reason of doing this detox is to cultivate new habits, and it is scientifically proven that it takes 21 days for a new habit to stick. Plus you will lose weight, tone your body and feel fantastic!
Avoid all celebrations, birthdays, parties and going out! I am not asking you to turn into a nun or become a loner and a bore for the rest of your life! Do it only for 21 days, or even just for 14 days. This was the hardest part for me, because being around people is fun. The reason for this is to avoid any chances of you having alcohol, and we all know it is almost impossible to say no to a glass of good wine at a dinner or a party! And if you cheat even just once, you will easily get off your track. You will be surprised how much energy you will have and how much clearer your brain will be, just after one week of absolutely no alcohol. In addition you will lose weight at an extra fast speed, because we all know that alcohol helps you to put on pounds!
Spend the detox period productively! I cannot even begin to tell you how good you feel about yourself when you are doing only productive things, with absolutely no procrastinations, TV watching, sitting on FB with no point etc. Better yet, include a FB detox into this program, because we all know it can also be toxic for our well-being! This Mind-Body detox really works best if you have a project keeping you busy, or you are working a lot, or learning, or studying for exams – anything other than things that you do for pure pleasure. It may feel like a self imposed torture, and it is in a way, but the results will be astonishing! Any beauty or spa rituals you do during this time also go into the “productive” category, so spend extra time doing face masks, learning about your skin type, educating yourself on healthy ways of looking young, getting spa or at home spa treatments, etc. In one word: treat your body like its Taj Mahal! You will come out of your “rehab” period more disciplined than ever, with a newfound confidence that you can do anything, with new creative ideas, looking better than ever, feeling great, happy, proud of yourself and reborn!
Reflect! This was another key part of the success of my detox. I would spend every single day during the detox period writing something in my journal. You will be surprised how this simple daily ritual can bring out to the surface so many things that you did not know about yourself, or did not want to face, all sorts of hidden fears, anxieties, dreams, thoughts, inspirations, ideas, emotions, creative urges. You may even discover your true calling in life! Keeping an every day journal is like a free therapy, you just have to get started and then the process will flow. Just don’t stop writing or typing, and type anything that comes to mind. Moreover, think about how interesting it will be to read all this 20 years later!
After I was done with this detox, I was at my best body ever, super fit and toned, my skin was glowing, my hair was shiny, I had so much energy that I didn’t even know what to do with it! I was inspired, empowered and excited about everything. My brain was clear and I just knew exactly what to do. Oh and it was the most heavenly experience to finally have a glass of red wine again! There are no strict rules when it comes to this cleanse. The trick is adjusting it to yourself and sticking to it, but without cheating, because only then do you feel truly good about yourself. Feel free to share any good detox ideas with me here or by email, I always love to try different ways of self improvement!