The holiday season, with all its gluttony, has come and gone. But all that overindulging in food and drink can stick with you if you don’t hit the reset button. For many, January is detox month – a particularly good idea for bankers and other financial services professionals who need the healthy energy necessary to battle a busy first quarter.
There are likely dozens of different detox variations, some more intense than others. Below is the most simple formula, one that is safe for anyone who wants to clean out their system and feel rejuvenated for the New Year. If you want to try a more aggressive program, work with a professional, warns Dr. Laura Chan, a licensed naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist.
The most efficient way to get your body back to clicking on all cylinders is changing your choice of fuel. Cut out all foods that are difficult to digest, says Chan. Refined sugar, wheat or gluten products, dairy foods, alcohol and caffeine. If you’re a coffee drinker and your body is accustomed to daily caffeine, try switching to a green tea, she said. If you are a diabetic, make sure to use an insulin monitor to keep your sugar intake at healthy levels, she added.
A detoxing period of as few as five days can bring benefits, but 12 days of behavioral changes is most effective.
Change how you eat
It takes roughly eight hours for your body to digest the food that you eat. So you’ll need to leave more room between meals to allow your body to metabolize all the toxins you’ve accumulated over the holidays. Set a 12-hour window when you are not eating anything, Chan said. If you have dinner at 8 p.m., don’t eat breakfast until 8 a.m., she recommends. And don’t snack. This way, you can metabolize fat and other toxins that the body normally would hold on to.
This habit of creating a 12-hour window of not eating is also a good long-term solution to maintain a healthy weight level and memory, Chan said.
Push the fluids
But not just any fluid. Drink plenty of water, preferably with lemon that becomes alkaline in the body and further fights toxins while balancing pH, Chan said. Also, try drinking warm water – room temperature or higher. When you drink cold water, your body needs to work to remain at the appropriate temperature. You’ll end up wasting energy that can be used to fighting toxins.
Any detox program should include at least three days of exercise, Chan said, but you don’t need to go to the gym and lift weights for two hours. A 20-minute walk five days a week can do wonders.
At the end of the detox period, you should experience more mental clarity, better sleep and maybe even lose some of that spare tire that you added over the holidays.