From the master cleanse to the cranberry fat flush diet, detox diets and programs are more popular than ever. With claims ranging from weight loss to increased energy to clearer skin and more, it's easy to see why so many people are interested in detoxing. But how do you know if your detox program is working? The signs can be both obvious and subtle, so pay attention to your body! And make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any detox program.
How to Tell if Your Detox is Working
First, you need to establish a baseline. For a week or two, write down your food intake, bowel movements, energy level, skin condition, headache incidences, and anything else of note.
After starting your detox, continue to keep this journal. Has anything changed? Whether the changes seem desirable or not, any notable change is likely a sign that toxins are leaving your body.
Some results of toxin removal are wonderful, such as weight loss, so weigh yourself before, during, and after your detox to note your progress. You may have darker urine or more frequent bowel movements as well.
Other signs are less pleasant, but can be positive in the long run: You may have more headaches, body aches, fatigue, and skin flare-ups. While not enjoyable at the time, these issues sometimes crop up when toxins are released and circulate through your body before making their exit.
If you're cutting out caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and carbs as many detox diets do, you may experience initial cravings for these foods and substances, which is normal. After a week or two, your cravings might decrease -- another great sign that your body is becoming less toxic.
Continue to pay attention to your body after your detox. How are you feeling? Ideally, your program creates a springboard for a healthy long-term change rather than a quick fix.
A detox program isn't a substitute for taking regular medication. If you have heart disease, cancer, thyroid or kidney disease, or are pregant or nursing, you should only consider detox under your doctor's direct orders.
The best way to keep your body toxin-free is to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and a good night's sleep.
Talk to your doctor before attempting a detox diet
If you experience any serious side effects, call your doctor immediately