Monthly Archives: May 2013

To cleanse…. or not to cleanse…

juicesIs it just me, or is there something about juice cleanses EVERYWHERE lately? The news, Facebook, Instagram… You name it!

I have to be honest, I’ve never really understood the benefits of these things. They seem short-term and a bit extreme for my liking. As one of my dear friends points out, chewing the food you’re eating is a large part of the satisfaction of the meal. I like it when my belly feels full, the food is tasty and I am satisfied for a few hours after. The only time I will “drink” a meal is a morning protein shake.

But I’ve been seeing information on detoxes and cleanses everywhere, so I thought, maybe I’m missing something… So of course, I did some research.

While there is a lot of contradictory information out there on whether to cleanse or not to cleanse, juice or not to juice, overall there are some benefits and some things to be careful about.

Benefits

It Actually DOES Cleanse! – Did you know that the average person holds 5 – 10lbs of toxic old matter in their intestines??? Feasting is the only way to get rid of it. Doing a juice cleanse gives your digestive system a break, allowing your body to use the excess energy to clean out old matter from your small intestine.

Rapid Nutritional Intake – Juice hardly requires any digestion. Nutrients get absorbed by your body incredibly quickly, leaving you feeling energized and rejuvenated.

Increased Vitamin and Mineral Intake – Let’s face it… We all struggle with getting the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. A juice cleanse can help you to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables (and associated vitamins and minerals) you take in daily. You can pack a looooot of veggies in a juice glass!

Juicing Right

There are some potential risks with juice cleanses, so nutritionists say to keep an eye on a few things.

1)      Use Only Organic Fruits and Vegetables – There is an increased risk that you may consume unwanted chemicals if you’re juicing with non-organic, genetically modified produce.

2)      Watch Out for Chemical Pesticides – When you juice, any chemical pesticides will be ingested in much higher quantities. Most organic produce is treated with organic, natural pesticides, but not all. Make sure you double check.

3)      Don’t Exceed 3 Weeks – for best results, nutritionists recommend doing a juice only cleanse for no more than three weeks and then resuming a nutrition rich, clean and organic diet that incorporates fresh juices to amplify vitamin intake.

4)      Cleanses Are Best for Generally Fit People – While there are some weight benefits associated with doing one, if you’re overweight and considering a juice cleanse, speak to your doctor first. Most overweight adults have an unstable glycemic index making a juice cleanse a bit too extreme for their bodies.

What’s in your juice?

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When you’re trying to get fit, throw away the scale!

scale

“What???!! Not the scale??!!! What do you mean throw away the scale??!!”

This was my immediate reaction when I was first told this by a fitness guru friend. As someone who is obsessed with and motivated by measuring my performance against objectives, the idea of throwing out the scale when I’m trying to achieve certain fitness goals is like driving blind-folded.

But, as counterintuitive as it may seem, I have learned that it is definitely the best thing you can do for yourself. Next to making the decision to get fit, of course. Here’s why…

The Problem With The Scale

Fat and muscle weigh approximately the same; however muscle takes up less space. So it’s not uncommon for your weight to plateau or stay much the same as you begin your fitness regimen. You may even gain weight as you build more muscle than fat.

Then there’s the issue of water retention – a particular challenge for us women, especially during our cycle. This alone can make our weight fluctuate anywhere from 3 – 5 pounds.

Discouraging if you’re weighing yourself regularly, right?

Better Alternatives

There are plenty of better alternatives to measuring your progress against your fitness or weight loss goals.

  1. BMI or Body Fat Test – Most gyms will offer fitness tests to their members on an annual basis for a nominal fee – often even for free. This is a great way to measure your progress over time looking at the change in body fat percentage.
  2. How Your Clothes Fit – I don’t know about you, but the first way I can tell that my fitness regimen is working is by how my clothes fit. They start to feel loose and look more flattering. You can even use a pair of jeans that don’t fit to help you measure your progress.
  3. Visual Inspection – As I progress with my fitness plan, I often start to literally see my body looking tighter and more defined. It’s gradual, but oh so satisfying… Taking pictures throughout your progress is also a helpful way to see how your body is transforming.

How do you measure your progress against your fitness goals?

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