Detoxing and cleansing is all the rage. You hear all the time how you need to detox from sugar, carbs, caffeine… even dopamine?? But if they’re so great, why isn’t my detox working?
How Does Detoxing Work?
The general idea behind how a detox or cleanse works is that you fast for a specific period of time, and then follow a strict diet immediately following the fast for a set number of days.
I actually am really in support of a well done detox.
The liquids phase after gastric bypass can be considered a type of detox, certainly.
One of the signs you might need to detox, according to this article by John’s Hopkins Medical Group (check out the article to get their full details), is that you can no longer lose weight.
Detox diets are great. But what if they don’t really work for you?
Why Isn’t My Detox Working?
Your detox isn’t working because you are likely experiencing general adaptation syndrome, and need a different kind of detox in order to get the traditional detox working again.
You’re following the rules to a “T”. In fact, you even DRANK the detox tea.
But all you got was a bunch of trips to the bathroom, and a visceral reaction to everyone’s super helpful advice on why you’re doing it wrong.
I bet your detox isn’t working not because of you, or the way you’re doing it.
There’s probably something entirely different going on here.
General Adaptation Syndrome and Your Pant Size
General Adaptation Syndrome was defined by Hans Selye of McGill University in the article Nature, published in 1938.
We’ve had this information for 83 years… that kind of makes me frustrated, to be honest.
Anyway, he did a study on lab rats and found that when the body is exposed to long periods of stress, it gets used to the stress.
Isn’t that a good thing?
No. Because stress releases cortisol into the body.
What Is Cortisol?
Cortisol is the hormone that is released when you are stressed. It is the same hormone that regulates your weight loss.
Cortisol can be your friend or your foe.
When you are in danger, cortisol will give you the boost you need to sharpen your senses to get to safety. This is the flight, fight, or freeze response with which we’re familiar. It can be really helpful when we need it.
But it’s not like we can just flip the switch, and then flip it off again. It’s one of those amazing things our bodies do without our need to interfere.
But when we remain in a state of fear, or stress, cortisol continues to be released.
Why Isn’t My Detox Working Because of Cortisol ?
Your detox isn’t working because of cortisol because when you have been exposed to it too long your body burns less of the calories in the food you’re eating as energy and stores more as fat reserves.
When you live in your fears, cortisol is heightened and you become resistant. That’s what Selye found in his study with the rats.
More specifically, you’re body becomes more efficient at burning fewer calories to create the same amount of energy.
And the crazier part? His study also found that if you are FASTING (you know… before that detox?) while stressed, this will cause your body to burn all those foods you eat at a more efficient rate.
So, here’s why you’re detox isn’t working.
Go eat something, and de-stress first.
Then, try your detox again when you’re not in a stressful place.
When Cortisol Is Blocking Your Weight Loss, What Can You Do?
Cortisol is a roadblock to weight loss because it is the hormone that actually regulates how much weight your body will lose. If you have high doses of cortisol, the battle for weight loss is not in your favor.
So, let’s tip the scales back toward you by increasing your knowledge on how to reduce your cortisol levels. Hopefully, without medication.
How To Naturally Lower Your Cortisol Levels
- Find something you love, and do it – hobbies are awesome, especially when they are active hobbies. But, knitting a sock will decrease your cortisol levels if you really find joy in doing that.
- Laugh out loud – whatever makes you laugh out loud, for real, none of this online LOL stuff. Belly laughs are the best thing. Whatever that is for you, do that.
- Avoid Caffeine – the stimulation is what we’re trying to avoid. Caffeine is a stimulant. Avoid it.
- Regular exercise that you enjoy – having fun is important while you are active to reduce cortisol, because if the exercise stresses you out, it’s better to sit and read a book. You need to laugh.
- Follow your nighttime self care routine and get to bed regularly – self care should be it’s own weight loss diet. Seriously.
- Set boundaries around the toxic people in your life – I love people, and I think of myself as a people person. But sometimes, I wish I lived alone on an island. Since that’s not a reality, I have to manage the relationships in my life. Managing them can cause me to be stressed out, so I have to put really firm boundaries around how those relationships affect me. It’s not easy.
- Hang out with your pet – animals don’t judge. And that decreases the stress. You can talk to them, and they will neither talk back, nor offer unsolicited advice.
When Fear Gets In The Way Of Fun
Sometimes, though, there is this part of you that cannot release the grip on the cortisol.
I think it happens when there is too much of it present for too long. You get so used to it, that when it starts to disappear and things start to feel better, you freak out.
By you, I mean me. I freak out. And find the thing to create fear around in order to bring back my old friend, cortisol.
I just did this the other night to my husband, in fact. Sorry, Tate.
Too much cortisol can actually cause depression, anxiety, and real-life mental illness. So, whatever it takes, we need to get control over it.
One of the ways I do this is through conquering my fears. I’ve listed how I know best to do this below.
5 Steps To Overcome Your Fears
The best ways to eliminate your fears in life is to prepare as if the worst case scenario (outcome) of your fear will come true tomorrow.
Once we have prepared ourselves (financially, emotionally, mentally, physically) we can set down those fears, and stop carrying them around with us all of the time.
2. Stop Time Traveling
I’ve done my fair share of time traveling… back to the past, to relive the wrong choices I’ve made. But all I can do is watch myself repeat them, again and again. Maybe do a little berating of myself in the process…
This is where depression takes root, when we unpack and live in the fears that have occurred. If I don’t see the warning signs, I’ll lose my ability to get out of the time-warp.
When I worry about the future, and anticipate the fears to come, I figure out the worst case scenario, and then I unpack there. I live in the fears that haven’t happened yet.
And then, I experience anxiety. I am not figuring out a solution I can do in the present, all I am doing is creating the outcome of which I am most afraid.
3. Follow the Good, General Advice You’ll Probably Find Everywhere:
*Take deep breaths
*Get enough sleep
*Talk to a friend
*Scream into a pillow
3. Take Necessary Medications
Oftentimes, when I’ve spiraled so far downward into my time-traveling episodes, I can no longer use the general advice for getting out again.
I need to go to a doctor and get some professional help. Citalopram (Celexa) is what I take, and it lowers the cortisol levels in my body. It’s amazing.
Once I have that tool, THEN I can follow the general advice listed above. It will work once I have some help.
And continuing to use that advice is what maintains my healthy cortisol levels.
4. Remember and Reflect
Remembering and reflecting is very different from time-traveling. When you’re journaling regularly, you can go back and read about what happened. The actual hard evidence of what happened, not the hazy generalized memory of what happened.
Then, reflect and think on how you could better prepare for if this were to happen again in the future.
5. Do not obsess
Obsession is another path toward time-traveling. Pick a moment to remember and reflect, and set a timer if needed. In the time allowed, you will think on what happened and plan what a positive scenario would have required.
When the timer is over, let it go. Until your next scheduled remembering and reflecting moment.
These moments are often referred to as meditation, but that sometimes only happens once we understand how to stop time-traveling.
The Best Detox Diet For Weight Loss
So, by now you’re well versed in the best detox diet for weight loss: The Cortisol Detox Diet.
Get it out of your system first. Never go into a detox stressed out. Take your medication, if prescribed.
Be really intentional about this, because we’ve known for over 80 years now that stress causes diets to fail. Cortisol is both friend and foe.
Get your fears in check, and avoid depression and anxiety – and more importantly, mental illness.
You can do this!
Don’t stress over it, though.
Happy Weight Loss <3