With summer weddings, parties and events looming around the corner, many people look to crash diets and extreme measures to ensure they look their best, fast. However, we all know the dangers that come with cutting corners in health and wellness because after all, how much can really change in only a week and a half?
The good news though is that you can achieve positive change to your energy, body and mind in that short amount of time, if you do things the right way! The reason why this works is because many of us may be practicing two, three or even four of these wellness actions on a regular basis – but how many of us are doing all ten every day? When we consistently incorporate all of these steps into our daily routine, it works like a surprising power burst for our cells, metabolism and mind and helps us to remind ourselves of the best version we can be.
10 day cleanse for weight loss, detox, better skin and a better you
1. Eat more real food
We all know that we need to cut down on the junk food – nothing you haven’t heard your mother say over a thousand times. However, eating real food has a multitude of health benefits like being the most effective detox, and that are realised pretty quickly, including giving us more energy, better skin and a healthier digestive tract within days.
Real food means food that looks like what it should when it came from the farm – produce in its natural form, grass-fed, free-range meat and poultry and raw or organic dairy.
Easy ways to incorporate whole foods into your diet include snacking on an apple or banana mixed with organic Greek yogurt instead of your daily pack of crisps, as well as always ensuring that your meals have a balance of greens, meat and vegetable starch.
Another advantage of eating real food is that you get to eat a higher volume of food and feel fuller for longer as compared to nutrient-empty, hyper-palatable processed foods – not to mention it naturally boosts your immune system.
2. Drink a gallon of water a day
Yes, you read that right – a gallon of water a day (or 3.8 litres, or 128 ounces).
Sounds excessive? Perhaps for the long-term, but for the short-term we have ten days to kick start our body to the best version ever. Chances are you are already lightly-to-moderately dehydrated throughout most of your day. If we want to see quick improvements, we will have to saturate our cells with hydration.
Hydrated cells means support for a faster metabolism and more energy. Preventing fatigue is also a way to avoid the signs of dehydration, and better, cleansed skin – encouraging that supple, glowing skin that layers of make-up try to conceal.
How can you go about drinking this much water? Easy! Set a reminder each hour for eight hours, where you get up, take a walk and get two glasses of water instead of one. Not only will this get you up from your chair, it will also ensure that you hit your water target each day.
Just because you need to rehydrate doesn’t mean you have to drink plain water for the next ten days. Any of the following liquids are fine as well:
• Herbal teas – if it must be sweetened, try adding a little raw honey
• Lemon water – water infused with lemon, mint and cucumber
• Flavoured carbonated water without sugar or other chemicals
• Iced herbal teas – again, if it must be sweetened, try raw honey.
3. Sleep at least eight hours every night
The average adult should be getting a minimum of seven hours per night, though eight is preferable. Many of us operate on a regular basis with much less sleep than this, and perhaps you even consider a seven-hour night a lay-in for you. If that is the case, your body is crying out for more sleep. Or, you get to bed so early but toss and turn all night that you battle signs of insomnia and don't even know it.
Your body uses sleep to process the day’s learning, saving memories and weeding out insignificant information. Sleep also allows your body to rest while it busily goes to work repairing injuries, decreasing stress levels and prepping your body for the next day. Lack of sleep means lack of concentration, focus and slower metabolism.
If you have been chronically sleep-deprived for more than a few months, you may find it difficult to actually sleep for eight hours. And that’s fine. The important practice to start getting into a better sleep routine is to actually spend more time in your bed – i.e. plan to go to bed as if you were going to sleep for eight hours. Turn the lights down or off, read a light fiction book or listen to quiet meditation music. Even if you only get your usual six hours of actual sleep, you are starting to train your body for ‘sleep’ time with this ritual.
4. Exercise at least four times over the ten days for an hour each time
Ideally, you want to be incorporating weight-training three to four times a week into your exercise regime. Weight lifting, generally shied away from with the average gym-goer, has a number of benefits, including better muscle tone, less flab and secondary skin-tightening effects, which help to decrease the appearance of wrinkles. Weight lifting will change your body shape for the better and improve your strength and balance in everyday life as well as tone those wobbly bits like cellulite.
Cardio is also an important part of a balanced exercise routine. Cardiovascular fitness includes steady-state cardio such as walking or jogging on the treadmill, riding a bike or swimming, as well as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT has been shown to increase muscle mass, improve all-day fat-burning and provide cardiovascular benefit.
Make sure you rest and recover your body after gruelling exercises to ensure your muscles are taken care of!
5. Avoid alcohol
Though red wine has some health benefits like reducing the risk of more serious health issues like heart disease and stroke, for the purpose of these ten days we want to avoid alcohol in order to ensure that we don’t promote any dehydration, affect our new sleep routine or bloat unnecessarily.
As a note, when you are reintroducing alcohol to your diet after the ten days are completed, observe if your energy levels or sleep are negatively impacted. This is a good way to confirm if alcohol is affecting your metabolism or sleep recovery.
6. Practice mindfulness and gratitude
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine promotes feelings of peace and contentment. Mindfulness can be as simple as noticing the feeling of the chair beneath your body, enjoying the sunset or noting the texture of the steering wheel under your fingers. Mindfulness means being present in the moment, which allows us to avoid dwelling on the past or becoming anxious of the future. Mindfulness decreases stress and improves decision-making, both key assets in this generation of instant communication and messaging.
When we remember to be grateful for the big and small enjoyments in life, we remember to acknowledge the positive and focus on how fortunate we already are, rather than on what is missing from our lives. Choosing three things to be grateful for everyday invites more positivity, and improves self love and abundance in our lives.
7. Journal, colour, draw, doodle each day
When was the last time that you doodled? You know, what you used to do in your notebook back in high school when you weren’t paying attention to the teacher?
Surprisingly, it has been found that doodling, drawing and even colouring (adult colouring books, anyone?) has been shown to not only decrease stress, but improve innovation – something that we start losing when the pressures of daily life wear on us without an outlet for creativity. Some people find journaling not only therapeutic but also a method to bring about self awareness.
8. Enjoy nature
Communing with nature is a fantastic way to ground ourselves, decrease stress levels and improve our mood. Getting real sunlight, taking a hike or strolling on the beach promotes mindfulness and living in the now. This allows time for reflection and introspection, both which regularly get pushed to the side in our hectic day-to-day lives. Planning a nature getaway with others is also a wonderful way to connect with loved ones.
9. Take a tech break
Nowadays, we are immersed in instant messaging, email pings and the repetitive demands for our attention. Taking a break from the tech, buzzes and rings, gives our overstimulated brains a break from the constant multi-tasking and attention-grabbing notifications.
Don’t be alarmed, however, if you become anxious or uncomfortable without your phone or tablet in immediate reach. That is totally normal for this day and age. As we become more attached to our mobile devices, they become a part of our daily lives. Just looking at our phone screens releases a small amount of dopamine, a hormone known for producing that ‘happy’ and ‘contented’ feeling. In order to continue getting this ‘hit’ of feel-good dopamine, we constantly look at our phones, sometimes only leaving a few minutes or even a few seconds in between checking the screen again.
How long the tech fast should be depends on your level of ‘addictedness’ and the expectations around your responsiveness. Taking a weekly 6-24 hour ‘break’ from technology (plus or minus your kindle and TV) may feel strange at first, but then you begin to unwind from the constant screen flashes and actually focus on living your life. Physically placing your phone in a different room or cupboard during this time helps to prevent the temptation to ‘just’ have a quick look.
10. Tell at least one person a day that you love them
Nothing is worse in this life than regret. Letting others know how much they mean to us gives us a valuable reminder of our humanity and interconnectedness to each other. Human beings, after all, are social creatures.
Sometimes it’s easy to become oversaturated with the negativity and mindlessness portrayed in the media and frivolous entertainment, forgetting that all-in-all, life is a beautiful experience, to be cherished individually and shared with our loved ones.
Practicing all of these ten habits may not be feasible to do every day for the rest of your life. However, trying these awesome action steps for ten straight days will guaranteed, make you fresher, healthier and better looking. Enjoy!
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