Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

How to reset your diet the right way.

While we regularly hear about diet ‘detoxes’ and a growing range of fasts, cleanses, juices and detox programs, it is important that we do not get too caught up in the hype, simply because few if any of the claims made by such programs are proven, realistic or even true. 

The human body does not need to be ‘detoxed’ – the kidneys, liver and immune system generally do a very good job of getting rid of the nasties on a daily basis. There is not one product or nutrient that holds the answer to any health issues that may develop and the human body is made up of a complex, intricate system of cellular metabolic functions and processes that we are unlikely to ever understand 100%.

In saying that, what we do know about weight loss and diets in general is that when individuals get immediate results they are more likely to continue with a new regime, and a relatively strict period of healthy eating can result in a quick drop on the scales. For this reason, adopting a brief period of time in which natural, whole foods are consumed with the goal of ‘cleaning out’ your diet while helping us to drop a few kilos is not a bad thing. In fact, anything that reminds you how much better you feel when you are eating well can only be considered a good outcome. The key is to know how to kick start your diet the right way.

1. Commit for a brief period of time

Generally speaking, there is no issue with eating only fresh fruits and vegetables for a short period of time, say 3-5 days. After this period of time, the nutrients the body requires to function optimally including protein, iron, zinc and calcium should be reincorporated in the diet. Extreme diets that encourage fasting or eliminating a number of food groups for long period of time are associated with a number of issues including reduced metabolic rate and for this reason are not advisable for the vast majority of active, busy people. For this reason committing to a diet detox for a week or less, a time in which you have no social engagements and can keep 100% focused on your nutrition is the key to success.

2. Base your meals around fresh fruits and vegetables

A diet detox does not need to be complicated, it can simply be a few days of eating only fresh unprocessed foods. The simple goal of basing all of your meals for this time around fresh fruit and vegetables – soups, salads, stir fries, smoothies and juices will seriously load your body full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, help to eliminate the body of excess fluid and help you drop a kilo or two without skipping meals or drinking only juice. 

3. Drop the snacks

Generally speaking we eat far too much, far too often, rarely feeling hungry in between our meals. Shifting our dietary pattern away from eating every couple of hours to leaving 4-5 hours in between meals so we get really hungry is an easy way to kick start our metabolism and get into the habits of eating balanced, filling meals 3-4 times each day. Stopping snacking also automatically eliminates a number of processed, high carb foods from our daily diets including crackers, muffins, milk coffees, biscuits and snack bars.

4. Drink only water

Another simple way to reset your diet is to focus on drinking a couple of litres of water each day along with herbal teas in place of your regular caffeine rich drinks and high sugar juices and smoothies. Not only is this an easy way to significantly reduce your calorie intake, but focusing on optimal hydration is an easy way to get your digestive system working efficiently and looking and feeling at your best each day. 

5. Limit your eating hours

Modern life not only means that we eat all the time, but we eat across a particularly large portion of the day, sometimes eating breakfast as early as 5 or 6am and dinner not until 8 or 9pm at night. The issue with consuming food over an extended number of hours each day is that the body is programmed to have a number of hours without food to control the hormones that control fat metabolism in the body. Ideally we need at least 10-12 hours overnight without food, yet some of us have as little as 6-8 each day. The result is that we tend to store more fat than we should be and rarely feel particularly hungry, rather eating when others are eating, or when we can.

Limiting the number of hours we eat food each day has not only been shown to help optimise the hormones that control fat metabolism and also supports a controlled calorie intake and supports weight loss. All you need to do is consume your final meal by 6 or 7pm each night and then not eat breakfast until 8 or 9am to create the overnight fasting effect in the body.