The annual number one resolution of all time is to lose weight and get healthy. After indulging in festivities from November to January and enjoying all those sugary food and drinks, those pesky extra pounds have probably found your waistline. Participating in a 21-day detox program allows your body to rest and recover from the everyday stress and toxins we put in our bodies, especially after the holidays! Making sure your body is properly detoxifying is crucial. Detox helps with weight loss, increased energy, eliminating inflammation, normalizing digestive function, improving sleep, and reducing joint pain, headaches, and other chronic disease symptoms. The body is amazing in what it does to keep us healthy and energized. Our body has a complex detoxification system that constantly works to process and clear out the plethora of toxins that we intake every day. Think of a detox like an oil change. Your car won’t function optimally and efficiently when its oil is old and sludgy. Your body’s major detoxification organs, such as your liver, kidneys, colon, and skin, function in the same way. Like any type of filter, if not maintained, will eventually clog and the detoxification process backs up. Health problems such as acne, migraines, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue, and digestive problems arise or become exacerbated through the backup and build up of toxins.

Detoxification involves dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce your toxic burden and improves your elimination processes. Avoiding chemicals from food and other sources, as well as reducing or eliminating consumption of packaged foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs takes stress off your detox organs. Additionally, daily exercise, drinking adequate amounts of filtered water, and increasing fiber in your diet will help improve your detoxification process.
Participating in a 21-day detox program at least every 6 months allows your body to rest and recover from the constant stress of an overflow of toxic burden. During this time, many people are able to identify and eliminate specific chemicals and/or foods that cause inflammation and immune imbalances in their body, resulting in increased energy, weight loss, normalization of digestive function, more restful sleep, and a reduction in pain, headaches, and other chronic disease symptoms.

There are hundreds of different detox programs available to consumers via the internet and home detox kits, some of which may not be safe or adequate as a cleansing protocol. A licensed health care practitioner trained in nutrition and detoxification, such as a naturopathic doctor, can determine a safe, detox program for you. Additionally, people with less than perfect health should be screened before beginning a program to determine if detoxification is safe for them and if so, must be monitored by a doctor throughout the detox program.

Joining a group detox program has the advantage of accountability and support throughout all the stages of a detox program. Studies have indicated that people who detox in a group are much more likely to follow-through an entire protocol and report better results. If you’re like me and had a little too much fun during the holidays, you will see me in January, enjoying my detox, shedding those extra pounds, and fulfilling one of my new year’s resolutions.

Author: Dr. Sonja Fung, ND
Dr. Sonja Fung is a primary care holistic doctor and co-owner at Live Well Clinic.

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