Okay, so this was a new one for me. It seems half of the population now do ‘dry January’ but it’s my birthday in January so I’ve never been up for it. I would do February instead because it has less days!  But this year I didn’t just give up the alcohol. After 3 years of learning about hormones and hormones disruptors, I decided that I should look into giving some special attention to my liver. Why? Now that I know how important the function of the liver is, I realised that after 46 years of being ignored, it was about time I gave this organ some TLC.

I am aware that our bodies have built in detoxification systems to deal with internal waste products and external toxins, but I wasn’t aware of just how many external toxins we put into our bodies every day.  I’m talking pesticides, modern air pollution, unfiltered water, exposure to plastic EVERYWHERE, processed food, medication, chemicals in household products and beauty products. I had also been on a course of steroids during my second pregnancy which had prompted me to go through this.

I didn’t do any mad juice diet and I didn’t do it to lose weight. For three weeks I didn’t drink alcohol or caffeine, I ate organic foods only, changed my beauty products, supported the liver with milk thistle and a good multivitamin, supported the gut with kefir (a natural probiotic), had hot baths with Epsom salts and I tried to reduce STRESS! I slept like a baby, got a slight headache for the first few days, experienced illuminous wee (from the B vitamins apparently) and experienced the after effects of eating beetroot (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve done it!)

And I was shocked to find that, being an avid fitness fan, I didn’t feel like I wanted to do any strenuous exercise. This was difficult for me. I teach five exercise classes a week and needed energy to teach! But I just listened to my body. I didn’t have to work too hard on the spin bike or in my other classes. It was a choice. On the days that I felt energetic I would allow myself to do intense exercise. But mainly I practised yoga, walked, meditated, sweated it out in the bath.

So, my advice on exercising if you are detoxing:

 Stop The Stress. Sweat It Out.  

  • Rest-based activities. Do 3 or more rest-based activities per week, preferably more, such as walking, tai chi, yoga with no more than 2 intense exercise sessions per week.
  • Walking is key.  Walking, the slow relaxing kind, is one of the only forms of activity that simultaneously lowers stress hormones and sensitizes the body’s insulin.  It is essentially a hormonal reset button, because it relaxes, restores and reboots the hypothalamus and pituitary command centre.  Aim for 10,000 steps a day on your detox.
  • Take it easy. This means planning plenty of rest, recovery and relaxation time. This includes all the known activities that lower and counter-act the impact of high cortisol, and other stress hormones. Think slow relaxing movement (like tai chi and restorative yoga), meditation, massage, social connection, laughter, spa time and hot relaxing baths (with Epsom salts), shower or sauna.
  • Pause. Take the hurry out of life. Take time away. Spend quiet time. Reduce exposure to noise, light and stressful stimuli like the news. Pause is about sitting quietly, watching the birds. Or listening to classical music while slowly sipping tea. Or taking an afternoon nap. Leaving your phone and computer for two hours while you hang out in a relaxing bath tub.

Take the opportunity to really listen to your body and enjoy it!  Happy de-toxing and let me know how it goes for you x