Diet? Detox? Is this really a thing that your body needs or just a fad?

Detoxing and Dieting through January

Diet and detox, whether that be giving up alcohol, going vegan or extreme juice diets are very popular in January after all the excesses of Christmas.
Last night we watched (yet) another programme about detox, diets and if they work. This time it was “Diet Secrets and How to Lose Weight” over on Channel 5. It was actually quite interesting as they went through various different regimes from vegan to juicing.

Professionals discussed what they thought the benefits of “detoxing” were. Overwhelmingly, they seemed to discredit the diets. The idea that drinking lemon juice in warm water first thing in the morning was ridiculous. One doctor laughingly said that if you had to kick start your liver everyday you would be dead. Your liver and kidneys look after you 24/7. Juicing came under scorn as something that ended with you removing the important fibre to be left with a sugary drink that would be unsatisfying and leave you hungry.

Channel 5 were discussing the impact of crash diets and whether they worked in the long term. Although there were varying opinions on whether crash diets worked most of the professionals questioned did agree that they didn’t work in the long term. In short most agreed they were not the healthiest longterm option.

There were also differing opinions on whether fasting diets could help with type 2 diabetes with some saying it could reverse the affects of early stages. Andothers saying that unless it changed the way people ate overall, they would go back to it anyway. Frankie Essex completed the 5:2 diet on the show. At times she seemed to struggle and her 1kg loss at the end hardly seemed worth the effort.

5:2 Diet

I did the 5:2 diet a number of years ago after Michel Mosley’s programme Eat, Fast and Live Longer and actually found it quite easy. The main advantage I found was that it didn’t have a big impact on the rest of the family and I didn’t have to think about what I was eating particularly. This was majorly important to me as I had struggled to lose the baby pounds and had two young girls to consider. I didn’t want them to build up a negative self image (or of me).

So I simply chose to go for a run in the morning of my fasting days so no one saw me skip breakfast. I always eat afterwards and they would then be at school by then. I chose to have my calories in an evening meal, so for me I fasted all day until around 6pm. I would then have a smaller meal than usual and those were the nights we were especially healthy Being summer helped a lot as we could have salads more. As it was only 2 days a week I did Monday and Tuesday that way it was over and done with before I could put myself off

Diet Tips

Drink water – you’ll be amazed how often you are thirsty more than hungry. Distraction – Don’t spend all day looking at the food you can’t eat. Go out for a walk, be busy at work Marmite! – A tablespoon in a cup of hot water was lovely. I found I got headaches without it. Just 1-2 cups on a fasting day. Take Note – when you feel it’s hardest, write down why. Is it because other people are offering you biscuits or because you are genuinely hungry? Stick to it – If you set certain days, stick with them. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

Long Term

Personally, I lost 1 1/2 stones over 6 weeks taking me down to my ideal weight. A great success! The 5:2 diet had a big impact on me mentally. I changed the way I was eating overall and so am pleased to say 6-7 years on I have kept the weight off. What was the difference? I realised complaining that I put on weight easily and didn’t eat a huge amount wasn’t going to change anything. I changed the size of my plate and asked Steve to serve dinner. I have a habit of plating up everything cooked. He was also under the instruction, I had to have less than him but more than the children. Think of this in the three bears kind of model!

I took a proper look at my eating and exercising habits. We are an active family, with us all enjoying various sports on a regular basis. So why wasn’t running doing anything? Maybe it was the cheese and wine I felt I then deserved on a Sunday after a long run. When I really looked at it, I was eating more because I thought I could. Which leads to my other issue… I’m exactly one foot shorter than Steve. Yet I was eating the same sized portions.
The answer everything in moderation! Balance is the key. Have a look at your plate and see how yours differs from the one below. I really don’t think crash diets are the answer but they can be a wake up call. It’s not about which diet you do, it’s about finding what works for you. Treat yourself to a slice of cake occasionally just not every day. Eat less but eat well.