When we think of the word detox in relation to our health, images of green juice and kale automatically spring to mind.
But a true over all health detox is about so much more than cleansing and fasting. It’s not a quick fix and it’s not so extreme that it you’ll endure it for a week and then slip back into unhealthy habits.
Here is what we believe are the best ways to give your health proper detox this year.
Stop focusing on just your weight
Yes we know that everyone has some pounds to lose after Christmas and we absolutely agree that it’s a great idea to slim down to your ideal weight (more on that later) but there are other more important health issues you need address first.
When did you last have a check up at the doctors? You know that sore back/dodgy knee/funny clicking noise your hip is making? Get it looked at! We tend to under-estimate the impact these little niggles have on our lives. Aches and pains that don’t go away after a few weeks are not normal and you shouldn’t solider on. Whether it’s an osteopath or a physio you needs to see, make the appointment asap. If you’re not sure quite what is wrong then your GP is your first port of call and they can point you in the right direction. Or if, as is so often the case, you can’t get an appointment for weeks try out the amazing new online doctors service The Push Doctor for an online consultation where you can speak to a qualified doctor with in minutes. It’s not a free service but if you need a prescription in a hurry or a more convenient time then it’s the perfect option.
And when was the last time you had a smear test? If you don’t know then make booking one a top priority. What about a skin check too? Even if you are super careful with the sun screen now, it’s thought that 80% of the sun damage we will receive in our lives happens before the age of 18, but it can take years for the effects of this to be visible on our skin. Having a mole check at least once a year is a very good idea. The Mole Clinic has clinics all over London and can offer appointments within a few days. Like so many things, if changes are spotted early they are much more likely to be treatable.
Also consider a full health MOT or ‘well woman check’. They won’t be available on the NHS but can booked through BUPA or many private hospitals. There are plenty of options in central London, many on Harley Street. Googling what is available in your local area is a great start but if you’re not sure which doctor or clinic to go to ask your GP and they will definitely be able to advise you.
Setting aside just a couple of hours to really invest in your health could make a massive difference to your wellbeing in the long run.
Be honest with yourself and schedule realistic exercise
So in our heads we are going to do three HIIT work outs a week, two pilates classes and sign up to the local half marathon. In reality we are never going to find the time to do all that even if we retain the will to.
In our opinion the key to a successful fitness regime is planning. Gone are the days when we could wake up and think ‘you know what? I fancy going for a run’. Spontaneity fell off a cliff the minute we got jobs, had kids and realised that time for ourselves was a precious and rare thing.
Ring-fencing time in your diary is the key. Only you know when it will work best – whether you are a morning person who can fit in a work out after dropping the kids at school, or prefer an evening class on the way home from the office. Maybe it has to be the weekend so that your other half can watch the kids.
Whatever type of exercise you like, just make sure you put it in your diary and let anyone who needs to know in on the plan.
And if money is involved then pay up front. Nothing is more likely to make you commit than £40 an hour to a personal trainer going down the drain!
We can’t tell you what work out will suit you best, how much you will enjoy it or quickly you will get in shape – that’s down to you. But we can tell you that forward planning and strict scheduling makes all of the above a whole lot more like to happen.
Do you really need the body of a 21 year-old?
If the answer to that question is yes then great go for it. Eat as clean and lean as you can and never let a Lindor pass your lips. If you are the kind of person who can truly give up sugar/wheat/dairy etc then we admire you and respect your choices but they are not ours. We want balance. We live and swear by the 80/20 rule. What this means is that 80% of the time we eat very healthily, and I do mean very. Tons of fruit and veg, lean meats, nuts, seeds, pulses, whole grain – you name it and we are eating it. This makes us feel great and we enjoy making nutritious food for ourselves and our families.
The other 20% we eat whatever the hell we like. A croissant with a cuppa, desert in a restaurant, popcorn and a coke (I know that’s total blasphemy isn’t it?!) at the cinema. And we enjoy these things because they are treats not staples. But we don’t tell ourselves they are treats because then we would obsess about them. We simple know that if we want to look and feel our best then we stick to the super healthy the majority of the time. And it’s not exactly a hardship – unprocessed, healthy food tastes so much better.
I was recently in America and on the first morning I couldn’t wait to have pancakes and maple syrup with bacon on the side. By day three the novelty had totally worn off and I was back on to my usual breakfast porridge, fruit and nuts.
And back to the point about the 21 year-old – unless you are one, you’re kidding yourself if you think you can actually look like one. We believe the key is looking the best you can for the age you are and a healthy diet will do that for you. Your skin will glow, your waistline will stay trim and you’ll have loads of energy. Isn’t that more important that being super skinny?
If you’d like more ideas on how to eat well then check out some of these books – The Lean for Life Cookbook, Eat Nourish Grow and Deliciously Ella Every Day. We love these amazing foodie gurus who give us endless mealtime inspiration. Or if you’d like a bit more help then enlist the services of the Detox Kitchen who will deliver healthy meals to your door daily. Just please make sure that you have a few Lindors too – life is too short not to.
To drink or not to drink?
No alcohol is good alcohol. The experts tell us this all the time and our heads certainly agree the morning after the night before. The weekly recommended limit for women has recently been reduced from 21 to 14 units a week. We’re not going to bore you with how much that means in real terms because you know all that already, but safe to say it isn’t a lot.
So we know that it’s not that good for us (the negative impact booze has on the nation’s health is clear to see) but it goes back to the old adage ‘everything in moderation’ – like the 80/20 rule we apply to our diets.
We have never been big drinkers, but we like sharing a bottle of wine with our husbands on a Friday night, having a cocktail on the beach on holiday and dancing around our friend’s kitchens till 2am after the prosecco has been flowing. This is the 20%. The fun and happiness it brings to our lives is worth the occasional hangover.
But it is not every night of the week. Excessive drinking has become a normal part of every day life for so many women and it’s extremely dangerous. Celebrating a birthday or a romantic dinner is a reason to open a bottle of wine, just getting home from work or putting the kids to bed is not.
Everyone manages their alcohol consumption in different ways but for us, not really drinking in the week at all and making sure we don’t go above a few glasses on the average weekend seems to work – birthday parties, weddings and the like are obviously exempt from this!
We can put up with the sore head once in a while but not so often that we know it’s doing us serious, long-term harm. And from time to time we abstain completely just because we feel like it. Whether it’s dry January or any other time of the year, we feel our bodies and minds thank us for a few booze free weeks.
Seek advice and consider new options
Pop into your local health food store and have a chat to them about supplements. Or go one better and book an appointment with a nutritionist. Tell them how you feel and what you think your needs are and they will offer plentiful advice on the changes you can make to your diet and what vitamins you should be taking.
For example did you know that in the UK we are all chronically deficient in vitamin D? Nope neither did we till an amazing nutritionist told us, now we take a daily dose to keep topped up. In our opinion a great diet can only go so far and a little extra help will give you the necessary boost in areas where you need it most. For guidance on where to find an accredited nutritionist take a look at the British Nutrition Foundation’s website.
Focus on your own goals
Maybe you want to lose weight and tone up. Or is this the year you plan to get pregnant and want to give yourself the best chance and your baby the best start. It could be that you want to push your fitness boundaries by completing a triathlon or climbing Kilimanjaro. The goal itself is irrelevant really, what matters is that you find something you want to achieve in relation to your health and make sure you take positive steps to making it happen.
It might not be this year that you reach your target, unfortunately life doesn’t’ always work out that perfectly, but at least you will be working towards something that will enhance your health, wellbeing and overall quality of life. Combine this with the other suggestions on our list and you are well on your way to a complete health detox – and not a juice diet in sight!