Detox effects - what to expect, and how to cope


So what kind of detox effects can you anticipate? If you make a serious effort at a detox diet - which should ideally last for at least one month - you will definitely notice lots of positive effects. In particular you can expect to experience...

- Weight loss

- Clearer skin

- Improved energy levels

- Better resistance to infection

- Improvement of dark circles under the eyes

- Less furry tongue and better breath

- Improvement in yeast infection (candida)

Such detox effects are always hugely advantageous and well worth aiming for, but before you reach these outcomes - depending on how toxic you are to start with - you might have some negative effects of detox to contend with first. Sometimes referred to as a 'healing crisis', the early days of a detox diet - especially anything severe and intense like a juice fast - can be very challenging. Symptoms can include...

  • Headaches
  • Feverand muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea and cramps
  • Constipation
  • Cranky or changeable moods
  • Nausea/ even vomiting
  • Skin rashes, spots or pimples
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Sleep interruptions
  • Thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Dizzyness and light-headedness

If you already suffer from health problems that you intend your detox diet to address, you may find they worsen temporarily - such as migraine, skin problems, or sinus pain. Years spent loading the body with toxins are not going to be undone overnight, your body needs time and patience to heal. Rest, drink lots of water and gradually your healthy state will be restored. If your toxic load has been high - you are accustomed/addicted to daily caffeine, alcohol or nicotine, a highly rich and refined diet, or toxic medical treatment - the reaction may be more severe and prolonged. You are withdrawing from addictive substances, and it simply takes time to get them out of your system

Detox effects have been likened to pouring fresh clean water into a silted up stream... at first glance the stream may look fine because the silt has settled, like the toxins deeply embedded in your body cells, but the fresh stream stirs it all up. The stream runs cloudy and dirty, just as osmotic potential causes the toxins to leach from your tired old cells and join the body's normal pathways of excretion. As they pass through body on the way out the negative effects are inevitably revisited. Eventually the toxins are washed away - the stream runs fresh and clear again.

As well as resting and waiting it out, detox effects can be helped by a calm and patient approach. Plan the timing of your detox for late in the week, so that you can spend the typical danger time between the 3rd and 5th days away from the working week and being as antisocial as you need to be. Try some gentle exercise, even if your energy levels are low - some stretching and yoga will accelerate the passage of toxins through your body and out, and make you feel more positive and energised, and a walk will connect you to fresh air and the natural world. Exercise in any form will also help with disordered sleep, as well as promoting weight loss.

If your detox reaction is severe and unmanageable, ask yourself if it's worth decelerating the detoxification process slightly to ease it off - one or two heavier meals might help.

Remember that many of the symptoms above are also potentially signs of serious illness. if you have any doubt at all, see your primary care provider for the all clear and to make 100% sure they are not being caused by a medical condition that needs treatment.

Some people find keeping a journal is therapeutic and diverting. Write about your symptoms and feelings but also project into the future about what you want to achieve, why you are doing this and what you hope to gain from your weight loss and detoxed state.

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