I know I’m not the only one who has binged on alcohol or junk food right before starting a clean-eating program, cleanse or detox. You feel you have to enjoy it now while you can, so might as well spend the weekend binge-eating and partying it up before your cleanse starts on Monday, right?
The problem is, you’re setting yourself up for a much harder detox with severe or sudden withdrawal symptoms. You will wake up on Monday unprepared mentally, physically and logistically for a cleanse which is supposed to be rejuvenating for your body and mind, not stressful.
Furthermore, after eliminating accumulated toxicity from your mind and body during the cleanse, it’s likely you’ll feel different emotionally and physically, so you’ll need to take some measures to slowly ease yourself out of a cleanse.
Whether you are simply eliminating one thing from your diet for awhile, doing a 21 day sugar detox, quitting coffee, doing a juice fast, or a primal seasonal cleanse, here’s what you need to do before and after your detox.
Preparing your body for a cleanse
Slowly decrease your intake of the foods/drinks you will eliminate during the cleanse
Example: Coffee – The killer headaches that come from caffeine withdrawal are enough to put you off ever doing a cleanse again. However, if you slowly decrease your caffeine intake in the days leading up to your cleanse, your headaches will be greatly reduced than if you went from drinking 5 coffees a day to suddenly none. Instead, have one less cup of coffee each day for several days leading up to the cleanse.
Example: Sugar – Sugar is more addictive than cocaine, so it’s rarely something that you can quit cold turkey without withdrawal symptoms such as severe irritability, intense cravings and illness. Slowly decrease the amount of sugary food you eat in the few days to a week leading up to the cleanse.
Eat light and healthy the day before your cleanse starts and get a good night’s sleep
This will get your digestive system ready for the detox, your taste buds ready for nourishing foods, and your body feeling calm and relaxed about making changes.
Preparing your mind for a cleanse
Make a list or chart detailing your plans for the cleanse
List the foods and drinks you want to avoid and another list of the ones you want to introduce. Include any lifestyle changes you plan to make, such as daily meditation, yoga, saunas, colonics, earlier bed time, etc. Put this list up somewhere where you will see it every day, such as on your bedroom mirror, refrigerator or above your work desk.
Think and talk positively about your upcoming cleanse
In the week leading up to your cleanse, get excited for it. Look forward to the break you are giving yourself. When you talk about the cleanse to yourself and others, use a positive attitude and positive language. Focus less on what you are eliminating (sugar, alcohol), and more on what you are adding (healthy food, relaxation). By the time the cleanse starts, you will be in a good mindset for all the positive changes.
Preparing your home and lifestyle for a cleanse
Stock your kitchen with goodness and throw out the crap
Fill your fridge and pantry with the healthy foods that you want to eat plenty of during your cleanse, and throw out any foods that you won’t be eating during your cleanse. It’s really not worth keeping that box of chocolates for after the cleanse, as they will only tempt you to no end! Throw it all out, or give it away.
Give yourself time before the cleanse starts to buy any supplements, detox teas, oils or herbs you want to use.
Clear the clutter and create coziness
If the cleanse makes you feel irritable, tired, unwell or emotional, the last thing you will want to do is tidy or clean. So clear general clutter and make any simple adjustments at home that will create a cozy, comfortable environment where you will feel like chilling out and nourishing yourself during the cleanse. A cluttered house = a cluttered mind.
Clear your hectic schedule
Again, you may feel worse before you feel better, as your body adjusts to the changes and eliminates toxins. So schedule into your cleanse plenty of down-time and home time for you to rest and rejuvenate. This is not a good time for work deadlines or projects needing great mental focus. This is not a time for grueling workouts, late nights or demanding social engagements. Give yourself a break from your hectic life, and your body and mind will not only better cope with the cleanse, but reap much greater benefits.
Coming out of a cleanse
Schedule yourself enough down-time to reflect
If possible, don’t rush straight back to anything that will cause you stress. It’s common at the end of a cleanse to feel different emotionally, as you’ve cleared out toxins that have weighed down your body and mind. So give yourself enough time and space to process these feelings.
Ease yourself back into any intense physical exercise
If you were already doing some sort of strenuous or aerobic movement before the cleanse, take your time getting back into it. For example, start at low weights and add more each day after the cleanse. Or start with very short periods of aerobic activity and increase your time by 10-15 minutes each day after the cleanse.
Start regular movement if you weren’t doing it before
Regular exercise or movement will help you continue to control your cravings, de-stress your body, and expel those toxins effectively, well after the cleanse is over. Find what type of movement you will do regularly and plan to start it right as your cleanse finishes. Try walking, living room dancing, climbing the stairs to your office, or taking a class at the gym or fitness studio.
Evaluate how the cleanse went and what to change for next time
On the last night of the cleanse, or the day after, sit down and think about your cleanse.You might even want to write down some things like:
What was most challenging?
What was easier than you thought?
How did you feel, mentally and physically?
What did you learn about health and yourself?
What do you want to continue doing in your daily life?What would you like to do the same or differently in your next cleanse?
Remember that change takes time and practice
Ideally, you would continue to eat a healthy diet, live a less hectic life, and nourish your mind and body as much as possible. But don’t beat yourself up if you slip back into some bad habits after the cleanse is over. Change is best when it’s gradual, and doing a cleanse at least every season will help you to gradually make positive diet and lifestyle changes that will be part of your life forever.
Receive our FREE Seasonal Cleanse Manual each season simply by joining our tribe as a free member! It includes step-by-step instructions for each phase of the cleanse, allowable food lists, sample menus, symptoms to be aware of, and ways to vary the cleanse for beginner, intermediate and advanced cleansing.
Have you ever done a cleanse or detox?
Before & After a Detox or Cleanse: What You Need to Do – March 2014