Is there such a thing as summer detox?

Summer is just around the corner and we’re business planning and looking forward to our well-earned holiday and getting into a pair of shorts. With that in mind, and with an air of last-minute desperation, we’ll do anything to try and get themselves into the best shape of their lives with only a few weeks to spare.

Rather than taking this goal seriously, researching options, calculating a realistic plan, people will look for quick-fix shortcuts instead.

First and foremost, if losing weight is your goal, then with fitness and nutrition, the best approach is the slow and steady one, taking your time to find a training plan that works with your lifestyle and simply stick at it! If offered, we’re sure a large proportion of the population would take a “magic pill” that would be a quick fix to get you into shape, rather than spending hours training and staying disciplined.

Sadly, if these pills really existed, everyone would be walking around looking ultra-fit. Big fads are the ‘in thing’ at the moment as are supplements like detoxes, fat binders or carb blockers and accessories like waist trainers. All of these options promise great results and are promoted heavily, but many of the above are not only ineffective but can actually be harmful as well.

Our advice is don’t get sucked into these false claims that companies, even some big brands, make about their products. To achieve a more sustainable goal, with longer results and achieving safe fat loss, you simply need to be caloric deficit. At a basic level, this means you must expend more energy than you consume. This can be achieved through one of three ways, either eating less, exercising more or a combination of the two. We would suggest probably adopting a combination of the two for most people.

To achieve a more sustainable goal, with longer results and achieving safe fat loss, you simply need to be caloric deficit

There are a few big problems with these detox diets, which we want to address. The main reason for going on one is they make huge unbelievable claims. For example, you’ll lose 10lbs of fat in a day. People at the stage where they desperately want/need to lose weight might see that and go with it, almost as a last resort, drinking ‘meal replacement drinks’ instead of a balanced meal plan. Yes, they might work in the very short term, but as soon as you finish this ‘cleansing’ you put all the weight back on, and often more as you are so relieved to be eating again.

This tends to be as a result of you bringing your metabolism right down as a result of barely consuming any calories, then when you go back to eating as normal you will put on more weight as your body reacts accordingly to the new level of food intake. We all need to invest more time into looking after ourselves long term, rather than yo-yo dieting when we realise something needs to be done.

Detox by juicing. You could simply live off ‘meal replacement’ juices all week, but it won’t make you happy or is sustainable

The conclusion is, these diets simply aren’t sustainable. Everyone gets super-excited if they’ve managed to shed 5 lbs in their first week on their new diet program and spread the word, encouraging their friend that it’s the solution. But, we need to look at it on a more long-term basis. If you lose 5 lbs the first week, put on 1 lbs the next, then lose 2 lbs the next, levelling out in the fourth week, you’ve not come very far in the month and probably won’t be as happy at the end as you were in the first week due to a lack of calories or decent food.

However, would it shock you if we said you could be in a small calorie deficit all month and lose 1 lbs every week, so you’re down 4 lbs a month, whilst still eating most of the things you enjoy. Doesn’t that sound more realistic? And spread this out over 3 months and you’ll see some noticeable improvements, but without feeling miserable at the end of it.

Now we know that everyone is different and wants to do things their own way, but next time you’re contemplating buying a new detox cleanse, think about it first and see if there’s a more sustainable approach you can take.


About Author

Olly is the Short Motivation fitness and training advisor. He is a level-3 PT instructor, specialising in TRX and kettlebell instruction, and manages his own gym in the United Kingdom.