On day 6 of our 31 Days of Acceptance campaign, we have guest contributor, nutritionist Sophie Bertrand sharing her thoughts on why we need to ditch the detox messages and diet fads that we’re surrounded with at this time of year.
So, the Christmas hype is over… we have probably overindulged on both food and drink over the holidays (and quite rightly so) but feeling like we need to get our bodies ‘back to normal’ after all the ‘treats’ we have allowed ourselves. But let’s think about this for a minute; what will you get out of a ‘detox’ diet or a calorie restricting diet, or even just a 3 day ‘juice cleanse’? I can confidently answer this question with the response ‘absolutely nothing positive’. Embarking on some sort of fad diet will most likely hinder your relationship with food and leave you feeling worse than when you started. Ultimately, fad diets are not sustainable. As a qualified nutritionist, I can tell you that there is no research that promotes a positive outcome in regards to the long-term effects of low fat, low calorie, restricting fad diets. In fact, the relevant research actually tells us that weight loss achieved by a non-sustainable diet will most likely lead to additional weight gain in the long run, thus causing you to be more dissatisfied with your body than before.
Why we don’t need to detox
Let me tell you why you should never use a ‘detox’ diet to lose weight. Your body actually has its own detoxing system called the liver! That’s right; you have designated enzymes that are designed to help flush out unwanted toxins from your body. The only advice I would give here is to drink enough water for your body to do so. The new recommendation for water
intake is 1.6- 2 litres a day. This may differ slightly depending on your size/weight and energy expenditure. What will also work much better than any detox diet is a well-balanced diet.
Make an effort to incorporate a variety of wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats into your day and your body will do just fine. Products such as ‘detox teas’ usually act as a laxative thus making you feel ‘lighter’. Moreover, as a nutritionist, I would never recommend a ‘detox tea’ a part of a well-balanced diet.
Why you don’t need to diet
The word ‘diet’ is often used in the month of January as it the most popular month for purchasing gym memberships and embarking on a new meal plan you may have come across online, in a book or in a magazine. You should know, that many of the ‘diets’ available to the public (such as ones published in magazines) are not recommended by qualified nutrition professionals. Unfortunately, it’s usually an ‘influencer’ or celebrity who is promoting their ‘amazing new diet’ that helped them ‘lose 10lbs in 2 weeks’.
Let’s think about this realistically. You go on a restrictive diet that results in significant weight loss in a very small amount of time. You see the results… now what? Where do you go from here? You cannot possibly carry on with a very restrictive diet plan as it is simply not sustainable and will most likely leave you with a complete lack of energy and other negative side effects. But if you go back to how you were eating before then you will probably put on all the weight you lost plus more because your body is so confused with the chaotic dieting it has been put through.
So,how about we look at sustainable food choices that don’t make you feel like you’re actually on a diet. A diet is perceived as something that is short term, usually something you go on to reach a weight loss goal. My way of practice takes a different approach to food in the sense that I promote a healthy body and a healthy relationship with food. If you focus on eating nourishing foods that are good for your health, you weight will fall into place on its own.
Throw away your scales
Your happiness and perception of your body should not be determined by the number on scales. Period. As individuals, we come in different shapes and sizes; that is what makes us unique. Furthermore, how can a number on the scales tell you whether or not you are in good health? If you are eating a variety of nutrients and consuming well balanced meals then the likelihood is you are healthy and you do not need to know your weight to justify that.
Of course, there are exceptions in which we may need to keep track of our weight however, our weight can fluctuate daily depending on water weight, time of the month etc. So try not to weigh yourself too regularly.
I have recently started working for Rhitrition Clinic founded by Leading Harley St Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert and we practice evidence based nutrition that promotes a non-diet way of living. We believe that building healthy relationships with food is extremely important, and Rhiannon’s first book ‘Re-nourish’ is an excellent demonstration of this.