Why Detox?

Milk is made from seeds at Kamalya in Koh SamuiThe word Detox has taken such a battering by the media over the past few years that there is more negative connotation and myth associated with it, than the wonderful vitality and rejuvenation it can bring to your health. A good detox program can literally be the start of a new lease on life and the essential first step down the path of long-term wellbeing.

Put simply, to detox means to give your blood a good clean, which has a profound and positive effect on your liver, kidneys, and every other organ of your body. Our blood accumulates toxins (more than it can filter out) from both external and endogenous (internal) sources. External toxins come into your body through poor diet, drinking too much alcohol, coffee and tea, stress, poor sleep, exposure to environmental toxins (pollution) and taking drugs… among other things. Endogenous sources are usually a result of hormonal or chemical imbalances, and by-products of the bacteria in our digestive system. Often excess endogenous toxins are a result of exposure to too many external toxins.

When your blood contains too many toxins it compromises every cell in the body. As a result your health pays a price… and ultimately your hip-pocket does too.

I remember the very first Detox program I did, and that intense feeling of being 100% healthy at the end. I had spent a week at The Farm at San Benito, Batangas in the Philippines (www.thefarm.com.ph). At the end of the program I had crystal-clear eyes, my skin was glowing and my energy levels were at an all-time high. My usual Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms were no more, and I had never felt so vibrant and healthy in my entire life. I remember thinking everyone should experience this feeling. Nirvana!

And yes, I confess that a medically supervised Detox program in a beautiful Spa environment, with food and juices prepared for you is a great way to Detox. However, I also believe that with enough motivation, commitment and advance preparation you can complete a very effective Detox program in the comfort of your own home.

So, taking the best bits from some of the wonderful Spas around the globe, expert advice from a number of highly regarded naturopaths and nutritionists, combined with my experience, I have created the Get Clean Get Lean program.

Before you embark, think about why you are doing this program. Is it to re-energise? Lose weight? Undo some of the damage done over the holidays? Or to kick-start a new, healthy lifestyle? Whatever your reason is, write it down. When temptation rears its ugly head, come back to the why you are doing this. I’m sure the reason why is much more meaningful to you than any temptation that may be put before you.

Also think about your end goal. Write that down too. How will it feel to achieve that goal? And what is your reward? Come on, we all need a deal sweetner! A little motivation to keep us on track. What will you reward yourself with (other than health and vitality) at the end of this program? Make it good… you deserve it!

My Get Clean | Get Lean program

Don’t Mess with My Metabolism

WORD: KRIS ABBEY

There is quite a bit of debate (for lack of a better word) around calorie-restricted or very low calorie diets (VLCD). Sure, restricting your calories will help you loose weight, but really cutting back on calories (below 1200 per day) is not the answer… especially for long-term results!

Creating Humps

When it comes to losing weight, the general rule of thumb is to expend more energy than you consume. Although this works for most of us, others fail to shift that fat even when they follow the strictest diet. The reason is simple. You cannot outsmart your body! As soon as you restrict your calorie intake, your body is awake to this and begins to ‘economise’ its energy expenditure. It effectively goes into Starvation Mode and tends to spare the fat stores, rather than use them up – the opposite of what you want!

When you finally can’t beat your body’s cry for food (particularly of the fast, energy-providing kind), off you go on a feeding frenzy, and binge until your heart’s content. Unfortunately, your body protects against another starvation and, rather than converting this food to glycogen and storing it in your muscles for immediate use, it thinks ahead and stores it as fat… a bit like a camel storing fat in its hump for a trek across the desert. Low calorie diets tend to encourage this kind of yoyo dieting, resulting in bigger humps than when you started!

What is Metabolism?

Your metabolism is a complex and finely tuned process. Every day, scientists learn more about how your metabolism operates and how different foods can affect it. The simplistic explanation for how your body metabolises fat is this: Your body’s first source of energy is from the blood glucose circulating in your blood, followed by the glycogen stores in your muscles. Once these have been depleted, your body looks to fat to supply its energy.

Some foods can actually increase your metabolism, getting to your fat stores quicker, and these are the foods you want to eat on a regular basis!

What is Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)?

You need a minimum amount of energy to maintain function of your vital organs, such as your heart, lungs, brain and nervous system, liver and kidneys, whether you are awake or asleep. This energy requirement is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the amount of energy you burn without moving or eating. It should not be confused with your BMI (Body Mass Index), which is a calculation to determine your ideal body weight for your height.

If you are interested in knowing your BMR, it can be calculated after fasting for 12 hours (to avoid increases in metabolism due to digestion of food). The best time to do the test is first thing in the morning after having naturally fasted during your sleep. Knowing your BMR allows you to establish a baseline, which is useful if you’re trying to lose weight or increase your metabolism through good nutrition and regular exercise.

What Can Cause My Metabolism to Slow Down?

  1. Ageing. As you age, your metabolism naturally slows. However, more research is showing that this decline has less to do with the ageing process and more to do with the fact that we become less active as we age. Reduced physical activity equals reduced lean muscle. Lean muscle is the furnace your body recruits to burn calories and maintain a quality of life that is both energetic and healthful.
  1. Thyroid Function. Certain thyroid imbalances can impact your metabolism. However, you would be surprised by how many people visit the doctor claiming thyroid-related weight issues, only to find their thyroid is perfectly normal. The culprit tends to be overeating, one of the main causes of metabolic slow-down.
  1. Dieting. We’ve already covered, but without making to fine a point of this, please eat sensibly and nutritiously – starving yourself is stupid!

What Can I Do to Increase My Metabolism and Burn More Calories?

Here are two ways you can supercharge your metabolism:

1. Regular Exercise

No surprises here! Physical activity has a profound effect on your energy expenditure. The great news is that you can increase your metabolic rate by 10 times during continuous ‘big muscle’ activity, such as resistance training, cycling, running, fast walking, tennis, swimming. Under normal circumstances, physical activity accounts for 15% to 30% of your total daily energy expenditure.

2. Eating Particular Foods

Eating food increases energy metabolism in two ways. The first results from the energy needed to digest the nutrients and fibre in your food. The second relates to the activation of your nervous system to stimulate your metabolic rate. The effect of just eating can add to energy use by 10% and reaches its maximum effectiveness within one hour after eating.

And believe it or not, there are foods that speed up your metabolism and take short cuts to your fat stores, helping you lose weight.

Read: Fat Burning Foods!

My Top 10 Weight-loss Tips

What you eat and drink will have a massive impact on your health. If you want to lose weight, and keep it off, you need to include a nutritious and varied diet for life. There are a lot of mixed messages and conflicting information regarding nutrtiton however, there are a few golden rules that always ring true.

Look and feel great!

1. Drink 8 glasses of water each day – Even more if you exercise and/or drink tea, coffee, alcohol or soft-drinks. (And if you do drink soft drinks… why? They are nasty!)

2. Eat a healthy breakfast with protein – such as:

- Muesli or porridge with nuts, seeds and fruit

- Eggs (not fried or drowned in Hollandaise) with low GI bread such as sourdough or spelt.

- Fruit, nuts and yoghurt.

3. Cut out refined sugars on 5 of the 7 days. Refined sugars are lollies, cordial, soft drink, cakes, bsicuits… you know the crap I’m talking about. Also, eat less processed foods. The more Human Intervention (HI) gone into a food (i.e. the more processed it is) the less likely it is to be good for us.  Fresh is best. Eat low HI.

4. Reduce alcohol to no more than 2 standard drinks per day. And try to have a few alcohol-free days in a week too.

5. Eat 5 serves of veges everyday, and at least 3 of the serves should be raw. Preferably, seasonal, local, organic and whole fruit and vegetables.

6. Try and have a FRESH vege juice 5 out of 7 days a week. If you’re feeling devilish add some greens (spinach, parsley, wheatgrass or lettuce).

7. Don’t skip a meal – you’ll get hungry, crave something bad for you, and then binge.

8. Eat low GI where possible:

- Swap white bread for wholegrain or sourdough

- Eat raw, unprocessed cereal over packet if possible

- Eat basmati or brown rice over white

9. Include Protein at every meal (lean meat, fish, nuts, lentils, eggs, white cheese).

10. Snack wisely – Fruit, cheese and crackers, hummus and crudites, nuts, salad, good bread and olive oil, vege or fruit juices are all good snacks… Snacking is where you can consume loads of additional calories you don’t need. Manage your calorie intake based on how active you are. If you’re active you burn more calories, so exercise certainly helps with weight loss.