health

Nervous about 'bikini season'? Please don't juice cleanse. Ever.

Juice is good. But good when you combine it with FOOD.

by NATALIA HAWK

I know that it’s already the end of October.

I know that the weather is heating up and the Christmas decorations are starting to emerge in shopping centres.

And I know that you might be starting to panic about the fact that in a few short weeks, you might be spending a fair bit of time in swimmers and, well, not much else. And I know that you might be seeing fad diet ideas and detoxes pop up all over the place, promising you a “perfect bikini body!” if you are happy to hand over several hundred dollars of your hard-earned cash.

But please, please please: do not put yourself on some kind of liquid cleanse.

I’m seeing increasing amounts of ladies signing up for ‘detoxes’ that involve things like drinking no more than four juices a day, or three milkshake-y things a day, or similar.

The claims are tempting. The companies tell you that you’ll lose weight, that you’ll cleanse your entire body, that your skin will be more beautiful and your hair will be shiny and amazing, and that you’ll have more energy than ever. And it’s so easy! All you have to do is consume no solid food. For five days or however long they encourage.

But nutritionists generally agree that there is nothing good about doing a liquid cleanse.

Green smoothies are great. But make sure you eat, too.

And if you’re thinking about doing one, here’s exactly why you shouldn’t:

1. You won’t get the nutrients you need from only-liquid meals

Especially if you’re veering away from fresh fruit/veggies and towards the meal replacements that are full of artificial colours, flavours in sugars, in an attempt to make them somewhat palatable.

2. You’ll become obsessed with food and far more likely to binge

Because you’re not allowed food, it’ll be all you think about. You’ll sip on your third juice in a day and daydream about nothing but chicken nuggets and cheesecake. When you are finally allowed to eat again, you will gorge yourself on ice-cream and then remember you are only supposed to be eating GREENS, DAMN IT.

3. You’ll lose weight but put it right back on

If you are looking to lose weight, liquid diets are not the way to do it – because they’re not a sustainable method of healthy eating. You might lose water weight, or muscle weight (because you’re probably not getting much protein) – but you’ll put it all back on again once you start eating.

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s also worth considering that you might not lose weight at all. I consumed nothing but soup and ice-blocks for two weeks in February because of a bug – I didn’t lose a kilo. My body recognised I was starving and clung onto every gram for dear life.

4. You’ll be tired. All the time.

Since liquid cleanses slow your metabolism, you’ll feel tired all the time. A friend of mine – who wishes to rename unnamed – did a juice detox for five days and said that she was exhausted after walking home from work every day, despite the fact that it was only 3km. “I was spacey, headachey and I couldn’t concentrate on anything,” she said. “They encouraged you to keep exercising throughout the detox but I couldn’t even remember how to work my email inbox.”

5. Your body already has a detox system in place

If you look after it – with good food and exercise – it’ll happily remove toxins for you. Thanks, kidneys.

DON’T DO IT

6. You might have bathroom issues

Depending on the type of liquid diet, you’ll either be able to look forward to either diarrhea or constipation.

7. You do not need to conform to society’s expectations of what ‘beautiful’ is and make yourself absolutely miserable by attempting to lose an obscene amount of weight in a short amount of time

Because you are already beautiful. I promise. The end.

And if you really, really, really, really want to try a detox because you’re just not feeling very good, health-wise? Bit bloated and icky in general because you’ve been eating Monte Carlos for lunch every day for the last week (whoops)?

Try eliminating one or two things that make you feel particularly crappy – alcohol or caffeine or processed food or soft drink or chocolate – and up the fruit and veggies, the lean proteins, the healthy oils and the water. Don’t deprive yourself of too much, don’t obsess over calories, and try to be a little more active.

I guarantee that you’ll be happier and healthier and you won’t even have to take out a second mortgage in order to afford it.

Happy days.

00:00 / ???