Category Archives: Weight loss

Lifehack for Weight Loss: Imaginary Food

The easiest life hack for weight loss ever! Imaginary food. Image: Plate, Saucer, And Bowl © Brett Stoltz | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The easiest life hack for weight loss ever! Imaginary food. Image: Plate, Saucer, And Bowl
© Brett Stoltz | Dreamstime Stock Photos

This study is truly a case for mind over matter. The study shows that if you’re having a food craving, imagining yourself eating that food gives you the same level of satisfaction as does actually eating that food.  So if you’re at a party staring down a chocolate cake, and you imagine yourself eating and enjoying it, you are less likely to actually eat it.  Also if you do have a piece, you will be more satisfied by a smaller piece than you would be if you hadn’t imagined eating it. Talk about a life hack for weight loss!




Basically this means that imagining eating something is almost as satisfying to your body as actually eating something and the more you imagine eating it the less of it you are likely to eat.  Imagining eating something else doesn’t help.  So if you go to a party and have the choice of chocolate cake and chips, imagining eating the chocolate cake will give you some protection from the temptation of eating chocolate cake, but won’t protect you from eating the chips. Also the more you imagine eating it the less likely you are to actually eat it, so involving yourself in a nice long fudge fantasy can be your anti-fudge vaccine.

Please enjoy this food fantasy and lose weight.

Please enjoy this food fantasy and lose weight.

I think for a long time dieters have tried to never think of the foods they crave for fear that the cravings will get worse, but this study actually shows us that the opposite is true.  Daydreaming about the food you crave actually gives you some satisfaction, brings you some joy and makes that craving less. For once this is great news for weight loss!

For every dieter who is dreading this holiday season, just imagine those yummy Christmas cookies. Have a Christmas cookie fantasy date.   Go ahead and roll around in the cheese dip at the office party (um… in your imagination only.  In real life it doesn’t look good on your resume).  Imagine eating and loving whatever is in front of you right now and then either have a small piece, or move on to the next food daydream because hey – your imagination is your best life hack for weight loss and you’re helping yourself to weight loss success. Because science says so.



Benefits of Lemon Water for Liver, Gallbladder and Energy

We’ve discussed lemons for skin health and beauty, but what about the awesome benefits of lemon water for your liver, your gallbladder and even your energy? Not to mention the zesty taste! Lemon water has this sort of ambiguously detox-y reputation on the interwebs.  Seems like a lot of people like the way it makes them feel, most people seem to feel it does something related to detox but isn’t sure quite what, and some people claim it’s the cure-all. I’m not going to ever call anything a cure-all because every person’s physiology is unique, but there are some things that are pretty universally good, and as it turns out having a nice, hot lemon water in the morning is one of those.

The benefits of lemon water make this little guy a superfood. Thanks to Evan Amos for the great photo.

The benefits of lemon water make this little guy a superfood. Thanks to Evan Amos for the great photo.




The Actual Benefits of Lemon Water

Detoxify

  • The acidity of lemon juice makes it a much-used cholagogue for herbalists and even the doctors of yore (yore has to be one of my favorite words – I couldn’t resist a chance to sneak it in there). Cholagogues promote the discharge of bile from the system, purging it downward.  In plain English, that means that when you eat or drink lemon or lemon juice it stimulates your body to release bile into your intestinal tract to pass through into the stool. Bile helps you to digest fats that you eat, and it also helps eliminate cholesterol and fat soluble toxins.  This makes lemon water a gentle detoxifier.
  • Just as a fun factoid, if you’re not sure if something is a good cholagogue (the new word of the day), just taste it.  Cholagogues are usually strongly sour or bitter and you can feel that little salivary gland at the back of your jaw start to freak out.  Lemons are all over this!
  • Your liver does much of it’s heavy lifting overnight while you sleep. In the morning there can be a back-log of toxins from the night before that your body would love to eliminate. To do that it honestly benefits pretty greatly from both the water – especially warm water, and the lemon juice itself.
  • Lemon juice may even stimulate healthy production of both bile and stomach acid and it was used historically to do just that, although there isn’t research out there to support this use.

Hydrate

  • In addition to the lemon, there’s the water and the water is actually key to this whole thing.  Detoxification, which is essentially cleaning, requires water just like every other washing job you’ve ever done.  Have you ever tried cleaning the dishes without water? Washing the car? Yup. All hinges on water.
  • Let’s face it – we all struggle for that 8-10 glasses of water we’re supposed to get every day. With lemon water at least one of them tastes good!

Think More Clearly

  • There is a strongly established link between getting enough water and using your brain effectively. The mountain of research on this link for adults is huge and there’s even research showing clearly this link in kiddos.
  • Essential oil of lemon, which is the lemon smell released by the lemon water, is also shown to improve mood and cognitive performance in adults, so double whammy.
  • Triple whammy! The bioflavenoids in citrus fruit are also shown to boost cognitive performance including nobilitin and hesperidin.

Lose Weight and Boost Heart Health

  • A study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that drinking more water boosts metabolism by about 30% for both men and women.  That is incredibly helpful! The study went on to say that people who drank 1.5 liters of water per day burn an additional 17,400 calories over a year just through this one simple step. That’s a weight loss of 5 pounds, just by drinking water.
  • An additional study on the lemon detox diet showed that adding lemon detox drink to a low calorie diet actually improves the cardiovascular benefits of that diet.  They compared three groups, one eating a normal diet, one eating a calorie restricted diet and one eating a calorie restricted diet plus lemon water sweetened with maple syrup. Both low calorie groups lost weight, lowered their insulin and reduced their waist-hip ratios but only the lemon water group showed improvements in cardiovascular inflammation.

Get Your Antioxidants

  • Lemon water from the recipe below has about 22 mg of vitamin C, or 36% of your daily value. It also has small amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E.
  • Citrus bioflavenoids are an incredibly diverse group of compounds that are high-powered antioxidants and every day there is new research emerging for compounds such as hesperidin, quercitin, rutin, nobilitin and there are literally hundreds of others that have yet to be researched.

Boost Your Happy

  • Lemon essential oil is one of the scents most associated with elevated mood.  It is stimulating to the energy but not agitating – it remains calming to the nerves. In short, it gives you the happy.

Not only that but one of the best benefits of lemon water is that you can drink this, and also your coffee. It doesn’t have caffeine and so won’t conflict at all with that beloved morning ritual. Now – if you want to enjoy the health benefits of lemon water, here’s a fantastic recipe:

Lemon Water Recipe

Juice from 1/2 large lemon or 1 small lemon
Zest from the peel – just a few swipes will do
12-16 oz hot water (I prefer 16 to soften the tartness)
If you can’t tolerate the tartness then a little bit of raw honey

Mix it all together in your favorite mug and enjoy the lovely fresh smell, the tart wake-me-up taste and all those health benefits of lemon water. And no worries – you can still have a coffee or tea if you want without worrying about being over-caffeinated.



Grapefruit for Weight Loss and Blood Sugar

‘Tis the season for grapefruit and the season for weight loss, and happily there is an intersection here because research suggests grapefruit for weight loss is just the thing. I love it when research comes up with so many health benefits for one of my favorite foods! The humble grapefruit, aptly named Citrus paradisi helps people to control their blood sugars and to lose weight more quickly. Sounds like paradisi, right?

Grapefruit for weight loss and blood sugar and for deliciousness. By Evan-Amos - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41054604

Grapefruit for weight loss and blood sugar and for deliciousness. By Evan-Amos – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41054604

Grapefruit for Weight Loss:

A terrific study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2006 examined the effects of grapefruit on insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes, and weight. The study compared people that ate half a grapefruit before each meal, people who drank grapefruit juice before each meal, people who took grapefruit capsules before each meal and people who took a placebo before each meal. All of these people kept everything else about their diets the same so the grapefruit (or lack of it) was the only change.

Of these four groups the people who ate half a grapefruit lost the most weight in 12 weeks, averaging a loss of 1.6 kilos or just over 3.5 pounds closely followed by the people who drank grapefruit juice, who lost 1.5 kilos or just under 3.5 pounds.  The people who received a placebo (no grapefruit) lost very little weight; o.3 kilos or just over half a pound. This means the group that ate grapefruit for weight loss had better results with an otherwise equivalent diet as those who didn’t eat grapefruit.

This means eating grapefruit with no other dietary changes actually produced weight loss. Woohoo!




Grapefruit for Insulin Resistance and Blood Sugar:

All of the groups that had grapefruit also had significant changes in their insulin resistance.  This means that their blood sugars 2 hours after eating were better when they also ate the grapefruit (with an otherwise normal diet) than when they didn’t. So whether they enjoyed the fruit itself, the juice or even the capsules their blood sugar stayed within a more moderate level compared to those study participants in the placebo (no grapefruit) group. This means their bodies were moderating their blood sugar more effectively throughout the day, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.

Nutritional Benefits of Grapefruit:

In 1 cup of grapefruit (about 1/2 large or one small grapefruit) you are also getting 2 of your daily servings of fruits and vegetables and 4 grams of fiber. And if you haven’t heard me go on about fiber then click this link to read more because fiber is one of your best allies in the weight loss world. 1 cup of grapefruit is also providing 120% of your vitamin C and about 50% of your vitamin A.  In every way this is a win of a fruit! In North America our citrus fruits are at their peak from just before Christmas until early spring so now is the time to enjoy.  Conveniently it is also the time when we are most vulnerable for sitting around in winter hibernation packing on the pounds, so once again there is a happy symmetry to the universe. The ripest grapefruit for weight loss just when weight gain is at it’s highest. Thanks Universe! Just remember that whether you are eating the fruit or drinking the juice it does add calories overall so adjust the rest of your intake accordingly.  Also, grapefruit does interact with some medications so be sure to check your medicine cabinet and talk to your doctor if you’re unsure. Now I’m off to picture beaches and palm trees, thanks to Citrus paradisi.

If you would like to read the research abstract, it can be found here and the nutritional data for grapefruit can be found here.



5 Biggest Weight Loss Blockers

So many people struggle with weight loss.  No matter what anyone tells you, it is never easy.  There are always challenges and hardships because in order to lose weight you really do have to change the way you view food, time, yourself and your social habits.  Piece of cake, right? The problem is that in addition to changing lifestyle you have to worry about weight loss blockers. These are hidden things that get in the way of your weight loss goals, even when you’re doing everything right. Here are 5 of the most common.

1.  Sluggish Thyroid

Low thyroid function has become almost “normal” in our society, simply because it is so common.  Your thyroid determines your resting level of energy.  It is basically the gland that controls how fast your engine idles, and it does that via thyroid hormones.  If these hormones aren’t doing their job properly then the resting idle slows and you don’t burn nearly as many calories or have nearly as much energy to do things like exercise.  This makes low thyroid one of the biggest weight loss blockers. You could be at risk of low thyroid function if you have any of these:

  • Chilly, get cold easily, cold hands and feet
  • Tired, slow moving, slow thinking, sluggish feeling
  • Dry skin, dry hair, brittle or coarse hair, puffy looking face
  • Depression, lack of motivation, increased need for sleep

Of course the best thing is to have your doctor test your thyroid hormones, but many people experience symptoms of low thyroid, including weight gain or difficulty losing weight, when they are within normal limits.  Usually what that means is that your thyroid doesn’t have any major problem, but is slowing down enough to give you warning signals. These things can help to re-balance your thyroid and increase it’s performance:

  • Limit your soy intake – excess soy slows down thyroid function
  • Increase your iodine – either with a supplement like iodoral, prolamine iodine or kelp supplements or by eating more sea vegetables.  Your body can’t make thyroid hormones without iodine and the receptors for your thyroid hormones don’t work without iodine so this is really important.
  • Check yourself for wheat sensitivity, gluten sensitivity or celiac disease – dairy sensitivity can also be an issue. Un-managed sensitivities can wreak havoc on your thyroid.  If you don’t know how to check those things then read up on it here.




2.  Hormone Imbalance

Your thyroid isn’t the only player in this game.  Unfortunately, all of your hormones play some role in metabolism, fat distribution and use, hunger, satiety and general weight management. This includes estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, adrenal hormones and hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin.  You may have these types of hormone imbalances if:

  • Your body shape has changed (like from pear to apple) or the areas where you are gaining weight are different
  • Your menstrual cycle (in women) or sex drive (both genders) has suddenly changed
  • You are seeing weight packing on around the waist, stomach and back
  • Your stress level has spiked lately or you’re not sleeping because of stress
  • Your blood sugars and triglycerides have been increasing lately

This isn’t a complete list, but it’s the most obvious signs. If this is the case work with your doctor or practitioner to get to the root of the problem.  Until you address the hormones the weight isn’t going to go anywhere.  Some simple things you can do to help begin to address any hormone problem naturally are:

  • Exercise – this is your great regulator and can decrease stress levels, change sugar processing and even help to balance your sex hormones.
  • Water – boosting your water intake helps your body to regulate hormones better and to detoxify them more effectively.
  • Fiber – increasing fiber allows the hormones that you eliminate via your liver to attach to fiber in the gut and actually be eliminated from the body – you can read more about it here.  Without the fiber you tend to pull the hormones back into your bloodstreams to be recirculated.
  • Balance your diet – reducing carbs, which are sugars and starches, will help your body to cope with your hormones far more effectively.  In the long-term this is one of the most effective things you can do for your weight. Eat frequently and every time you eat make sure you’re getting protein, fiber, low carbs and moderate fat.

3. Food Sensitivities

Eating a food you’re sensitive to raises your resting level of inflammation, keeps your body in a state of panic and makes it much harder to lose weight.  Part of the problem is that one symptom of the food sensitivity is a craving for that food (the food you’re sensitive to) that has nothing to do with what your body actually needs, or even hunger.  It’s literally an addictive response to the inflammation created by that food. The inflammation and the addiction both help you to pack on the pounds and act as huge weight loss blockers. Finding and eliminating your food sensitivities will not only help you drop those unwanted pounds, but also help reduce any symptoms you may be having.  Find out more about eliminating your food sensitivites!

Get rid of your weight loss blockers and find reasons to love your measuring tape again. © Ragne Kabanova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Get rid of your weight loss blockers and find reasons to love your measuring tape again. © Ragne Kabanova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

4. Check Your Medicine Cabinet

Drugs are among the guiltiest of guilty parties in the weight loss game.  Anti-depressants, steroids, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, and some anti-psychotic medications.  There isn’t really a test for this – just think about any medication changes you may have had in the 1-3 months before you started gaining weight.  There may be other drugs you can switch to that would give you the same benefits without the extra pounds, but sometimes there aren’t. Talk with your doctor about this one – sometimes you just have to try a few things before you find the one that’s right for you.

5. Poor Sleep.

If you’re not sleeping then you’re not losing weight.  It’s just a simple fact.  Poor or inadequate sleep causes an increase in hunger, more carb cravings, a decrease in the hormone that makes your body feel “full” and it slows down your ability to lose fat.  Basically this means that even if you’re doing everything else right, if you’re not sleeping then you’re going to have a hard time shedding the pounds. Sleep is complex and takes time and work to fix, but here are a few basic tips and if this isn’t enough, check out the sleep post:

  • Keep your bedroom DARK and restful.  No loud TV, block out lights and even LED lights.   Your body really is meant to sleep in the dark.
  • Try to begin “winding down” a couple of hours before you actually go to bed.  Dimmer light, quieter atmosphere, no work and calming activities like yoga, meditation, reading, journaling or cozy time with your partner are great for this time of day. Did I mention no work?  That includes the last minute email checks too!
  • Developing a sleep routine can be helpful, almost a sleep ritual.  This helps you get into the state of mind for sleep.
  • If you are having sleep problems that are more complicated then talk to your doctor or practitioner.  Sleep is a big deal and your health and happiness suffer in every way without it.

The biggest thing to remember with weight loss is don’t give up.  Sometimes it just comes down to finding that one key to unlocking your body and then the pounds just melt away.  I’ve seen it happen many times – one of my patients fixes their inflammation, their hormones, or their sleep and all of a sudden the pounds come off without any other changes.  Weight loss blockers can add frustration, create stress and keep you discouraged so if your weight isn’t moving then it’s time to look for the blocks. Just keep trying to listen to the signals your body is sending you!



Fiber for Gallbladder Sludge and Detoxification

Fiber is about the least sexy thing I could choose to talk about, but in terms of helping your body to eliminate toxins it’s at the top of the list and fiber for gallbladder sludge is essential. Especially helping to eliminate fat soluble toxins like hormones, bile salts and cholesterol residues that often make up gallbladder sludge. In fact, fiber is one of the key ways to help your body eliminate sludge from the gallbladder as long as it’s used correctly.

The Basics about Fiber:

Fiber comes in two varieties, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and  forms a gooey sponge in the gut that grabs toxins and also feeds gut bacteria.  Insoluble fiber is unchanged by water and acts as an irritant to the gut wall, helping it to move correctly. Insoluble fiber can also ferment in the gut and act as a food source for your good bacteria. In terms of fiber supplements that means if you mix it with your drink and can’t tell it’s there, it’s soluble.  If you mix it with your drink and it adds some texture or grit, then it’s insoluble.

Soluble and insoluble fiber have slightly different uses and functions in the body, but for the purpose of this article I’m not going to differentiate.  I just want you to get fiber and lots of it.




General Benefits from Dietary Fiber:

  1. Detoxification – As your body eliminates toxins in the liver they are excreted into your intestines in order to pass out in your stool.  Unfortunately that doesn’t always happen.  Often we reabsorb these toxins, sometimes on purpose as is often the case with hormones and bile salts (both frequent components of gallbladder sludge) and sometimes by accident. If there is fiber in your intestines the fiber binds to the toxin and will not let your body reabsorb it. This means fiber for gallbladder sludge, detox or weight loss (which is a kind of detox) is absolutely essential.
  2. Regularity – This is the part of fiber that most people know about.  It keeps your bowels regular and easy. This also is important for detoxification, simply because the more effective your bowels are, the more of the toxins from your liver are able to be released.  The slower your bowels are moving the more likely it is that toxins will be reabsorbed. Fight your constipation the simplest way, with fiber. Just make sure you drink lots of water every time you take a fiber supplement because without enough water they can cause constipation instead of relieving it.
  3. Hormone Balancing – Most people don’t know that one of the most important mechanisms of hormone balancing is elimination.  Hormones are just signals and in order to end that signal when we don’t need it any more, you eliminate those hormones just like you would a toxin.  If fiber isn’t there to catch the hormones in your intestine then often you will pull them back in to your blood stream in a misguided attempt at being thrifty – we are the ultimate hormone hoarders.  Fiber binds to hormones just like it does to bile salts and pulls them out of your body, helping to maintain your natural hormone balance.
  4. Blood Sugar Stability – This is tragically overlooked.  The simple act of adding fiber to a meal helps your body to more effectively regulate and moderate the sugars that are coming in with that meal.  Given that diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions, this simple step seems worth it.  Fiber supplements or fiber-rich foods like flax seeds can also be added to foods like mashed potatoes that have a high glycemic index to help to moderate their effect on your blood sugar.

    Lentils are great sources of dietary fiber and fiber for gallbladder sludge and other detox is absolutely essential. Picture from wikimedia commons, by Hohum.

    Lentils are great sources of dietary fiber. Fiber for gallbladder sludge and other detox is absolutely essential. Picture from wikimedia commons, by Hohum.

Fiber for Gallbladder Sludge

Fiber for gallbladder sludge is almost essential.  When you’re working on eliminating the sludge it’s always a coordinated effort of liquefying bile, increasing bile flow through the gallbladder to flush the sludge out, and fiber to grab the toxins from the sludge and pull them out of the body so you don’t end up having to detoxify them back through the gallbladder. For more about the other steps of eliminating gallbladder sludge see this article as well as these helpful steps towards boosting liver performance. Fiber is essentially a large floppy molecule that acts like a sponge, catching the toxins that are released and holding on to them so that your body can’t reabsorb them.  Fiber itself isn’t absorbed into your blood, it stays in your gut so it’s only available for use if you’ve eaten it recently – you can’t stock up the way you can with some vitamins and nutrients.  For that reason fiber with every meal is important.

The average American eating the “standard american diet” (or SAD diet) gets between 12 and 15 g of fiber daily.  The recommended daily allowance is 25 g and if you’re working on detoxification, weight loss or gallbladder sludge then it may be  a good idea to get even more than that. Spreading fiber out through out the day so that there is always some in your gut to bind to toxins is extremely helpful. Also as you’re increasing the fiber in your diet it’s extremely important to increase slowly and to add water proportionally because otherwise fiber can be constipating, which is pretty much the opposite of what we want.

For the next week try to count the grams of fiber you take in on a daily basis just to see where you are starting from.  If your fiber intake is too low then one of the best things you can do is add more high fiber foods into your diet or even a fiber supplement if you can’t add the foods.  I try to shoot for anything between 30-50 grams daily.  I don’t always make it, but I always try. Foods like nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and dark chocolate (woohoo!!!) are all high in fiber. Fiber for gallbladder sludge and any other kind of detoxification is absolutely essential.



HELP! Weight Loss Stopped and I Don’t Know Why.

I can’t begin to tell you how many of you I’ve had in my office literally sobbing your eyes out because you’re doing everything right and you were losing weight, but weight loss stopped.  It’s a horrible feeling to feel like you’re “failing” at weight loss. Things were going great – the pounds were steadily coming off and then all of a sudden everything stopped moving.  A few weeks went by and things kept not moving.  Eek!  This is when people  freak out.

I want you to take a deep breath, and relax.  You are doing awesome.  AWESOME. This is totally normal.  It’s just that your plan for how things are going to go and your body’s plan for how things are going to go are two really different things, and they have to be because your body’s number one priority is keeping you alive. Believe me, that’s a really good thing.

Losing weight is not just a matter of digesting a few fat cells for your body.  It’s a big deal!  Say you lose 15 pounds.  For the “average” person (arbitrarily picking 150 lbs as average) that’s 10% of their body weight.




Weight Loss Stopped – What Is Really Happening?

Take a look around your living room or your office or wherever you happen to be sitting right now and picture taking 1/10th (that’s 10%) of the stuff out.  So if there are 10 pictures on the wall, take out one.  If there are 10 pieces of furniture, take one out.  For every 10 books, decorative items, pillows, etc… take out one.  So, for everything in the room, for every 10 pieces of everything, one piece has to go. Seriously.  Once you’ve done that take a look around.  If your house is anything like mine, taking out 10% of everything makes it look like a gap-toothed jack-o-lantern.

After I take 10% of everything out of the room, then I have to take some time to re-organize.  I’ve got to move stuff around and sort through what’s left to make the room work again.  Your body has to do the exact same thing with weight loss – it’s got to re-organize.  So if weight loss stopped it’s probably because your body has a bigger priority at this moment.  Did you know every pound of extra fat has about a mile of extra blood vessels supplying it?  Eek! Your body has to do something with all of that too, because frankly in the grand scheme of things it’s more important to circulate your blood effectively than it is to meet your weight loss goals.

Weight loss stopped? It's because your body has to take the time to rearrange the furniture.

Weight loss stopped? It’s because your body has to take the time to rearrange the furniture. Looks good, right?

Losing weight isn’t a quick and easy process for your body – it’s actually tremendously hard work and takes a lot of shifting of hormones, blood vessels, musculoskeletal support, inflammatory levels and toxins.  Weight loss in real-life is different from what you see on TV and if you don’t remember about that then read through this to remind yourself. If you’re hitting a plateau in your weight loss, and weight loss stopped suddenly, that is completely okay.  In fact, it’s great!  It means that you have lost enough that your body needs to move stuff around so just let it happen and keep doing what you’re supposed to be doing.  The weight loss will start again – your body just needs to take a minute to collect itself.

So, It’s Normal That Weight Loss Stopped – How Long Until It’s A Problem?

If after 6 weeks you’re still stalled out, then talk to your practitioner or whoever you are working with to lose the weight. In that case there may be something blocking you like a hormone issue, a detox issue or a food sensitivity – if you aren’t familiar with weight loss blockers take a look at this. But seriously let your body have six weeks before you freak out and every day keep reminding yourself that your body is a beautiful thing that is doing it’s best every day to keep you alive.  Your body wants you to be happy and healthy and whole.  It’s changing everything in the background so that you can be healthy and wonderful and then move on to the next phase of weight loss.

The bottom line is: go easy on your body.  Go easy on yourself.  Breathe and let this whole process unfold the way it’s going to – it doesn’t have to look exactly like you thought it would for it to be going exactly right. Sure, weight loss stopped – now thank your body for it because it’s busy keeping you alive.  Your body is making sure your heart, lungs, hormones, neurotransmitters and everything else are keeping up with the process. Your body is taking care of a whole lot of stuff that keeps you moving on a daily basis and it’s really important to honor that process and allow your body a little room when it needs to reorganize the furniture.



Lifehack – The Bad Habit Reset Button – Fasting.

Don’t you wish you could just hit the button for a bad habit reset?  I do.  Especially right after the holiday season when I feel like I’ve eaten my weight in butter and “treats” (which are clearly not “treats” when you eat them constantly).  Sometimes it’s other habits or life areas that are struggling.  It could be that work hasn’t been going well, it could be that a relationship is rocky, it could be that I’m cultivating all kinds of bad habits I don’t need.  Whatever the reason, it’s nice to know that there is a reset button out there.  You heard me right, there is a way to hit the reset button – thank God for small miracles.

Fasting is the fastest bad habit reset button out there. Picture by © Brett Stoltz | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Fasting is the fastest bad habit reset button out there. Picture by © Brett Stoltz | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Hitting the reset button means taking a break from normal, but unfortunately life is full of obligations, so we can’t always up and fly to Tahiti, no matter how much we might need it.  What this means, is that we need a way to do it ourselves, at home, using things we have on hand and it needs to actually help us to break cycles.

The best reset I’ve ever found is a fast.  I know that’s not what anyone wanted to hear because “fasting” is right up there with “Chinese water torture” for lots of people, but those people probably haven’t tried it.  I’ll talk more about quick fasts in another upcoming post, because they are also one of my favorite life hacks, but in this case we’re looking at something different.  This is a little bit longer.  I’m not talking about Messiah-style 40 days, I’m talking about 3-5 days that are all about you.

Here’s how you do a fast for a bad habit reset:

  1. Choose the right time. Just a hint, if there is a massive deadline in the middle of it, it’s probably not the right time.  Pick a time where you can actually focus on getting in touch with you, getting to know your body, and taking out the trash in every sense of the words.
  2. Make a little space in your life. There isn’t any problem working during a fast, but if you can it’s nice to reduce your schedule to half days or to take a day or two off during your fast to give you a little bit of time for extra sleep, self care and cleaning house (which I always want to do when I’m fasting – I think it’s an external mirror for what is going on internally).
  3. Choose Your Type of Fast. During the fast you can either do all water plus the miracle drink (if you haven’t heard me talk about it before I’ll go over that in the next step), or you can mix freshly juiced veggies and fruits in.  I find that the all water and miracle drink is actually a little easier for me because the veggie juice pushes my body to detoxify too quickly.  Typically if this is the first fast you’re trying, then stick to 3 days and keep it simple. If you’ve fasted before and know your body can handle being really pushed to detox then maybe add in the veggie juices. If you choose to use veggie juices make sure they are actually juiced by you or right in front of you (not bought pre-packaged) and that you get 3-4 cups of the veggie juice throughout the day.  Also make sure they’re mostly veggie with just a touch of fruit or carrot for taste, but that the bulk is good green veggie.
  4. Make Sure You Get Enough Water! This is probably the most important thing, because without the water it’s hard for your body to clean house internally!  8-10 glasses per day is a minimum. When I’m fasting I set a timer every hour and alternate between the miracle drink one hour and water the next.
  5. Drink the Miracle Drink. People laugh when I call it the miracle drink, but it’s because they haven’t tried it.  This is such a great detoxifier and energy boost.
    1. 1 tbsp raw organic apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is my favorite),
    2. honey to taste (no more than 1 tbsp please)
    3. 8-16 oz hot or cold water depending on how strong a flavor you like.  During a fast have this 3-4 times during the day to help your liver keep moving.



  6. Support Your System. If you have any icky feelings while you’re detoxing – this could be headache, grouchiness, mild sick feeling, bad breath, brain fog or a slightly hungover feeling – the do a little extra detox.  Anything that makes you sweat will help, so saunas, steam rooms, hot yoga, or hot baths are great.  Naps work well too.  In general make sure you’re giving yourself extra time for sleep
  7. Be Ready for Emotional Detox Too. Your body isn’t just taking this chance to get rid of the physical junk and bad habits.  There is emotional junk in there that needs to come out, and better out than in.  I love to journal so I use that as a tool to help process whatever comes up, but use whatever tools you like.
  8. Restart Your Life With Consciousness and Intention. This means that you should take some of this time to think about what you actually want in your life.  You’re resetting for a reason here. What do you want emotionally?  What do you want professionally?  How do you want to take care of your body?  What sort of food plan would you like? This is a great time to break bad health habits and restart with a clean slate.
  9. Simple Foods For Your Reentry Meal. The first meal you eat to break your fast should be simple and clean foods – preferably heavy on fruits and veggies, light on lean meats and even lighter (or not at all) on grains.  If you need a grain, choose something that is a cleaner grain like rice or quinoa.  You can eat as much of this fruit and veggie meal as you want, but make sure you’re not just jumping out of a fast into a large pizza because that’s not exactly the reset we’re looking for.

    Fasting is so much easier when you drink enough water. Adding lemon to your water is great to help support your liver through a fast. © Johanna Goodyear | Dreamstime Stock Photos

    Fasting is so much easier when you drink enough water. Adding lemon to your water is great to help support your liver through a fast. © Johanna Goodyear | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Is It Really Hard to Fast?

Surprisingly, no.  It’s almost shockingly not-hard. Almost everyone I’ve done this with is hungry the first day, and then pretty fine for the rest of it.  Occasionally I’ll have someone who is a really fast detoxifier and by day three they feel kind of icky, but most people are just fine. There’s a lot of nostalgia about food because let’s face it – part of eating is the joy of eating that has nothing to do with physically needing food.  But seriously, if you can get through day 1 with it’s hunger then you’re good to go.

Is Fasting Safe for Anybody?

If you have insulin dependent diabetes or severe hypoglycemia then it is necessary that you talk to your doctor and possibly even have in-home supervision while you fast because it can be dangerous if your blood sugars fall too low. Also it’s not a good idea for pregnant or nursing mothers because the demands on your body are already considerable – we don’t need to ask it to do more right now. Also if you have a chronic condition then it’s best policy to talk with your doctor about it.

What Results Will You See?

Fasting is tremendous for your body – it’s essentially a break from the hard work of metabolism. You can expect:

  • Weight loss – 5 to 10 pounds is normal in 3 days.
  • Energy – nobody believes me, but usually your energy is awesome during a fast. Better than normal.
  • Good sleep – everyone thinks the hunger will keep them up. Never seems to happen.
  • Mental perspective – it’s a lot easier to see the bad habits you’ve gotten yourself into when you’ve got a little distance from them. Even if that distance is just a couple of days that are different.
  • Losing Those Food Cravings – 3 days is plenty of time for the food cravings to just fall off.  Your body doesn’t actually want to live on sugar, but if you’ve been living on sugar then you don’t know that.
  • Spiritual benefits – fasting has been used by most faiths in most cultures globally to bring spiritual clarity and discipline.  I’m not an expert on this by any means, but I’m guessing all of those people aren’t wrong.
  • Anti-aging – you may not be able to tell in the moment, but by fasting you’re actually slowing down your aging process. Awesome.

Short fasts of 3-5 days are a great way to clean house, lose weight, and one of the easiest bad habit resets in the book.  After a fast – especially if you can make it through 3 days – most people have lost their sugar and starch cravings and loosened up their bad habits. I suggest doing 2-4 per year  to help keep you healthy, happy and vital.  And did I mention that it’s strongly anti-aging and actually slows the aging process?  The research is entirely clear on this point.  Regular fasting both extends life and slows aging.  Yet another great reason to hit the bad habit reset button!