Whether you want to lose weight, gain more energy, clear up your skin or just generally feel better, chances are you’ve come across some sort of detox program. Most of the time they involve a restriction of certain foods, alcohols, sugars and some come with pills, powders or tinctures to speed up the process. But here are 10 ways to detox without changing your diet that may even make a more significant impact on your health goals.
Detoxing is essential to help reduce the build-up of waste products and chemicals in our body from daily exposures to things like beauty and skincare products, processed or conventional foods, household cleaners and just straight up toxic people. For those wanting to lose weight, not detoxing at the same time can perpetuate the yo-yo dieting that a lot of people struggle with.
Related article: No More Yo-Yo Dieting.
Here are 10 Ways to Detox (without changing your diet)
1. Lymphatic Massage
Lymphatic massage is a great way to get the circulation going. A sluggish circulatory system leads to things like swelling, cellulite, spider and varicose veins, headaches and low energy.
Good times to do this are in the mornings, right before a shower/bath or before exercise. Some prefer to massage right before bed as it helps them unwind, but I recommend the former times as it also stimulates the sloughing of dead skin cells which may have you washing your linens a bit more often (then again, one of the best feelings is crawling into bed with freshly washed sheets – am I right!)
Always dry-brush, starting at your feet using a good brush with firm, natural bristles and begin massaging with gentle sweeping motions, overlapping as you move upwards. Be sure to brush toward your heart (e.g., when you get to areas like your neck, chest, shoulders, and armpits, you’ll want to sweep in downwards.) Wash with warm soap and water after use and air dry.
For best results, practice lymphatic massage twice a day and see how you feel after 30 days.
2. Go for a Walk
Exercise stimulates blood flow, improves circulation, helps to reduce stress and surges those feel-good endorphins. You don’t have to join a gym, yoga or cross-fit to start an exercise program. Just going for a 15-20 minute walk every day will kickstart your body’s detox pathways. If you can work up to a small sweat or elevate your heart rate during that time, even better!
Emotional baggage is one of the most significant blockages to success when detoxing. Depending on the extremity of your detox program, there may be a lot of shit that comes up you previously thought was buried or that you never quite adequately dealt with. This is a time when the pen really is mightier than the ashwagandha.
Writing down your thoughts, feelings, frustrations, joys, and gratitude for what is going on in your life is an incredibly powerful way to release emotional weight and cleanse your mind. The physical act of writing, words used and the style of writing will change quite significantly as you go through the detox. Looking back on old journal entries also acts as a good motivator for where you were and where you are now. I love the 5 Minute Gratitude Journal, it’s an easy and fast way to jot down some positive thoughts, increase motivation and send out some good vibes.
Yea – breathe! Remember in grade school when we learned about oxygen and carbon dioxide? We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, ring a bell? Ever notice how people sigh and breath faster when they’re stressed out? This is a way of your body subliminally detoxing excess waste build up in cells due to stress and inhaling blood nourishing oxygen.
A better way of tapping into this breathing detox without inducing stress is to practice slow, deep breathing a few times a day. In through the nose and out through the mouth for a minimum count of 5 breaths at 5 seconds each. Close your eyes and focus on your breath imagining breathing in good, healing energy and exhaling negative thoughts or feelings.
5. Clean Your House
How much junk, garbage, trinkets, knick-knacks and old papers do you have lying around? When was the last time you went into those couch crevasses or bottom drawers? It’s time to get rid of the things that no longer contribute to a happy and healthy life.
There’s no need to overwhelm yourself with the “Monica closet” (Yea, that’s a Friends reference!) Start small. Go through one drawer, one cupboard or one closet at a time and chose 5 things that are not serving a purpose to you anymore. If you can donate, recycle, sell or gift any items to keep out of landfills even better. Schedule a day in your calendar to do this and make it a priority. Your home is a physical reflection of you. What are you holding on to? How are you treating your body, mind, and spirit? Where is your sacred space?
6. Switch to Natural Cleaning Products
Have you ever taken a look at the back of your cleaning bottles? Notice any toxic warning labels, and most actually indicate ‘corrosive’ materials used. How many of you actually use gloves when using these products? These corrosive/ dangerous materials are being used on our dishes, glasses, pots, pans, and utensils on a regular basis. Exposure to these chemicals on an ongoing basis can build up in our systems and lead to reproductive issues, thyroid imbalances, inflammation, and carcinogenic cell mutations.
There are so many resources for natural, DIY cleaning products that work wonders in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom it really is incredibly easy to swap. Baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, citric acid, and soapberries are 5 staple items that work wonders in the household.
7. Friends or Frenemies?
Support is everything when it comes to detox, life changes and times of need. Having people in your circle who genuinely care and love you can make all the difference. This friends-audit can bring on some tough decisions – who is actually supporting your journey and who is bringing you down?
Did you recently quit smoking or drinking and your friends are taunting you? “Just one, you used to be fun” or have you recently changed your diet and now hear the “too bad you can’t eat this, it’s so good” comments? Cleansing the toxic people out of your life will not only improve your health, mental well-being and self-worth, but it will also allow openings for more positive influences.
Instead of being dragged to the bar, making friends at your local smoothie joint or health club will reinforce positive behavioral changes and keep you on track with your health goals.
Turn off the TV, put down your phone and take those earbuds out. Pick up a novel or coloring book and settle in for a few hours. Use your imagination, creativity and the silence as a way to connect with yourself. Constant distraction from our own thoughts and imagination dulls our energy, sense of self and stifles growth. Allowing your energy to flow freely opens up new pathways for growth and development and in turn, removes blockages that hindered your creativity.
Sometimes we can get wrapped up in our own pile of garbage that we don’t appreciate the things we have. Volunteering for a shelter, pet rescue or the elderly can help us realize the things we’re grateful for. Eating a bit of humble (detox)pie allows you to take a step back and examine the things that matter the most, leading to a ‘life priority’ detox, shall I say.
10. Positive Self-Talk
There is only one YOU in this world, at this time (quantum physics aside). It’s so easy to wrap yourself up into the things you shoulda, woulda, coulda… The past is gone, and the future isn’t here yet, so stay in the moment right now and make a positive step forward to where you want to go and who you want to be. There’s something to be said about ‘faking it until you make it.’ Next time you’re hard on yourself, take note and say the opposite, out loud. You don’t have to believe it at first, just start saying the opposite of what you’re thinking about yourself when the self-destruction pattern starts kicking in. Removing toxic thoughts patterns is probably the most powerful and beneficial detoxification tool you will ever need.
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