05/13/2016 Mind-Body Health
The energy during and soon after completing a cleanse can be quite euphoric, but it's common to revert back to unhealthy habits after a cleanse. What is the secret to maintaining that post-cleanse glow? Here are six practices that will inspire your future self to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The feeling during and soon after completing a cleanse can be quite euphoric. Abundance of energy, better digestion, clearer skin, and restful sleep are just a few of the many benefits experienced. Though, if you’re not on a regimented routine of healthy eating, this euphoria may dwindle when you return to your daily life. We all want to feel this euphoria every day—not just during a cleanse. So what is the secret to maintaining that post-cleanse glow?
It’s common to revert back to old unhealthy habits after a cleanse, which perhaps in the past may have led to a lackluster life. A lot of work goes into maintaining and completing a cleanse and the last thing you want is to end up back in the same place you were before, which prompted you to do a cleanse in the first place. Unfortunately, there is no tonic or magic pill you can take that will restore all that was gained during a cleanse. However, here are some mindful approaches that will help educate, empower, and inspire your future self to make better lifestyle choices and maintain the vigor, health, and happiness you deserve.
1. Understand the Bigger Picture
Your body is a highly intelligent, complex system that is constantly responding to the needs of the body, one of which is the elimination of toxins. In Ayurveda, there is the idea of digestive fire, or agni, that drives metabolic systems in the body and includes the digestion of thoughts and emotions. When your agni is strong, you absorb only that which is most nourishing and expel the rest, whether it’s food or experiences. Maintaining a strong agni is key to ensuring good health and happiness. Over time the constant barrage of environmental toxins, processed foods, and day-to-day stress we are exposed to, can be taxing on the body and lead to an accumulation of toxins, causing various psychological and health issues.
Cleanses or detoxes are one of the most effective ways you can rebuild your digestive fire in order to restore vitality. The energy gained after a cleanse is the result of the body finally having the space to rest and repair itself. Often people feel extremely tired during a cleanse, which seems counterintuitive, but in reality this means the body is doing some deep cleaning as it works to remove toxins. Understanding this bigger picture will help you on the path toward creating a sustainable, healthy lifestyle inspired by your cleanse or detox.
2. Take It Easy
Just because your cleanse has ended doesn’t mean your body has stopped working to remove deep toxins still making their way out of the body. Also, there might be some emotions that are still tender and need some time to process. Take it easy on yourself. Don’t feel the need to jump back into vigorous exercise or activities even if you feel like you can take on Mt. Everest. Allow time and space for yourself to fully integrate the past few days or weeks of your cleanse. Incorporating light yoga or walking in nature is very helpful when transitioning into a more active lifestyle. Keep in mind that as soon as people know you are no longer on a cleanse, there will be invitations to various social gatherings, and if it doesn’t feel like the right time for that just yet, honor what you feel and decline if you must.
3. Trust Your Inner Wisdom
One of the most powerful lessons you can learn is how to align with your truest nature by listening to your own innate intelligence. You must not only listen, but take action toward what it is you are trying to accomplish. By doing a cleanse, you are clearing away some of the muck that has been causing low energy, stagnation, etc. Where things were uncertain before, perhaps now there is more clarity. This is the perfect time to take advantage of the “lightness” that has been created and start practicing the art of listening to your intuition when it comes to making healthier choices for yourself in the future.
A very simple exercise is to place your hands on your solar plexus—the area above the navel and below the heart—and ask yourself, Does this feel “yum” or “yuck”? Simply observe what comes up. You might not feel anything at first, but with practice there will be a distinct difference between nourishing choices and unhealthy ones. There is empowerment in this, and with empowerment comes the strength to keep up the healthy lifestyle and joy for life you desire.
4. Day-After Writing Exercise
The day after a cleanse ends, there is often a distinct feeling of “well, that was great, but now what?” To help transition into your regular lifestyle and not lose touch with the benefits of the cleanse, use the day after to journal or write down thoughts, images, and feelings that are on your mind. Use the following questions to help prompt you:
- What inspired you to do the cleanse?
- What were your goals?
- How do you feel now?
- What did you experience while on the cleanse?
- What is your vision for yourself moving forward?
Notice words or phrases that stand out for you and circle them. Refer back to them periodically to remind you of the state of being you are working toward or wish to cultivate every day. Write them on your mirror as daily reminders. A fun exercise is to write a letter to your future self, talking about how you felt during the cleanse. Feel free to give your future self a pep talk, too. Store it with a reminder to open it in three weeks, or whatever date you choose.
5. Maintain a Simple Diet
It’s very important to ease back into a more diverse and complex diet. The longer the cleanse, the more time you must allow to reintroduce certain foods. Your digestive system has become accustomed to a clean diet and you might have noticed the disappearance of certain cravings you used to have. When your body is functioning optimally and satiated, there is no need for cravings. Continue to support your system and stoke your agni by eating whole foods as much as possible. If you were on an elimination diet, each week incorporate a food item and notice how your body responds to see if there are any sensitivities.
To support your diet during this transition, menu planning and prepping are vital for ensuring you are eating whole foods, or foods that have been processed or refined as little as possible. This includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. It’s helpful to have a cookbook or recipes ready before your cleanse ends so you can immediately begin planning. One of my favorite cookbooks is by Andrew Weil, M.D., called, True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure. Pinterest is another source for finding exciting recipes that incorporate whole foods.
6. Create Your Daily Routine
In the ideal world, there would be no need for cleansing. In fact, Ayurveda discusses the importance of creating a daily routine that encourages elimination of toxins and techniques to rejuvenate the body and mind so that each morning you wake up feeling restored. Here is an example of a daily routine:
- Wake up with the sunrise
- Meditate and journal
- Eat breakfast with awareness
- Bathe and prepare for the day
- Eat largest or heaviest meal during lunch
- Walk after eating to aid digestion
- Meditate in the late afternoon or after work
- Eat a light dinner around 6 or 7 p.m.
- Walk after eating to aid digestion
- Minimize intense mental work after dinner
- In bed with light off around 10:30 p.m.
You can use this routine to guide the creation of your own. Think back to your goals or intentions for wanting to do the cleanse and incorporate them into the routine. Your routine will change depending on what’s going on in life and you will simply adapt. Write it out and post it on the fridge or put it in your calendar. In general, people respond well to routine. Before you know it, this will become a healthy habit—and you definitely want more of those in your life.
Each time you do a cleanse it will help you understand how you function when in a state of balance so that when you go back out of balance, you will know that you don’t have to stay that way. You now know it is possible to feel full of life and have the energy to fulfill your desires.
So remember, take it easy, trust your inner wisdom or power, take some time to write, create your daily routine, and proceed with living life to the fullest. It’s OK if you slip up here and there as you transition back into regular life. And if you end up eating that moist chocolate cake, take the time to truly enjoy the deliciousness of it.