Weight loss has become almost a taboo topic in the wellness industry. Way back when, in the early days of the Clean Program, the word “detox” wasn’t exactly a household term and the closest thing to a “detox” program were cheesy weight loss schemes that promoted a rapid, unhealthy drop in pounds that would come back (and then some) once you stopped the diet.
In order to separate Dr. Junger’s revolutionary detoxification program from these lose-weight-quick schemes, we developed the simple refrain, "the Clean Program is not about weight loss, and it’s not a weight loss program." However, as many cleansers know, the products and protocols of Clean (such as probiotics and our Daily Shakes) do, in fact, benefit those wanting to shed excess weight. Many people come to the 7-Day and 21-Day Clean Program interested in losing a few pounds because, the truth is, for most people, the cleanse is a great way to support healthy weight loss!
Clearly, we’ve come a long way since 2008 -- green smoothies can be found on almost every corner, the field of functional medicine is growing and so is awareness of the importance of detoxification and digestion. So we’re ready to come "clean" about weight loss!
What is Healthy Weight Loss?
What is healthy weight loss? Generally speaking, we consider a healthy rate of lasting weight loss to be slow and steady, about 1-2 pounds per week. Clean will never advertise that you can “lose 21 pounds in 21 days.” For those with more pounds to shed, we see the cleanse as a wonderful way to kickstart a long-term weight loss plan with clean, whole foods and healthy lifestyle habits.
Healthy weight loss goes beyond the old school mantra of calories in versus calories out. We’re looking at a number of factors like blood sugar balance, hormone support, and anti-inflammatory nutrients to help your body find balance, naturally release extra weight, and keep it off!
Step #1: Beat Bloating
Ah, the dreaded belly bloat. Even for someone who may not have many pounds to lose, a bloated belly can feel and look heavy. Making simple changes in your diet like eating slower, chewing well, and eating smaller portions can keep that belly flat. Incorporating easy-to-digest whole foods, and beneficial bacteria or digestive enzymes will also reduce bloating.
Step #2: Boost Metabolism
Increasing your metabolism can help the body to use calories more efficiently rather than storing them as fat, and encourages weight loss. Support a healthy metabolism by adding in thermogenic foods, exercise, regular meals with whole foods rich in fiber and protein, and drinking plenty of water each day.
Step #3: Stick to easy to digest foods
Easy-to-digest whole foods are less likely to cause bloating and constipation. This helps the body to absorb key nutrients easier and keeps waste moving. Once digestion is in order, the body can easily lose weight. Stick with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and protein to improve digestion and elimination. If you are chronically constipated, try a fiber supplement along with Eliminate for improved bowel movements.
Step #4: Try Food Combining
Take the idea of easy-to-digest foods one step further by giving food combining a try. Food combining principles deem that some foods don’t digest well together, causing more bloating and discomfort. Streamline your digestion by eating protein and starches separately, or, at the very least, fruit on its own.
Step #5: Pay Attention to Portion Sizes
In a supersized society, it’s no surprise that we’re used to portions that are much too big for our actual caloric needs. Adjusting your intake by choosing smaller portion sizes can leave you satisfied with your meals, without the extra calories linked with indigestion and weight gain. Start with a smaller serving of your chosen meal and only go back for seconds if you're truly hungry.
Step #6: Stay Hydrated
It's been said before but drinking eight glasses or more of water each day really does help with almost every aspect of your health, including weight loss. Staying hydrated prevents constipation, reduces appetite, and can even increase the number of calories we burn, so drink up!
Step #7: Calm Cortisol
High levels of the stress hormone cortisol are linked with stubborn belly fat, inflammation, and weight gain. You can reduce cortisol levels by cutting caffeine, avoiding processed foods and refined sugars, and focusing on healthy ways to manage stress.
Step #8: Manage Stress Levels
Stress is a regular part of everyday life, but that doesn’t mean stress has to get the best of us. Regular exercise, healthy foods, sleep, and just having fun are all powerful tools in reducing stress and encouraging weight loss.
Step #9: Sleep
Restorative sleep is crucial for stress management, happy hormones, and healthy weight loss. Studies have shown that even one night of sleep deprivation can make you hungrier and more likely to overeat the next day.
Step #10: Move It to Lose It
Exercise burns calories and fat, boosting metabolism while building and toning muscles. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than other tissue, so we continue to reap the benefits of a workout throughout the day. Regular movement is also very effective for stress reduction and regulating hormones, making it an all-around winner to support weight loss.
Step #11: Detoxification
To support our liver which can be hindered due to a lack of necessary nutrients and/or sheer toxic overload, our bodies place toxins in a protective layer of fat. Detoxification may be necessary to lose stubborn fat. Cleansing provides the body with the nutrients it needs for optimal liver functioning while reducing toxic load. This promotes the breakdown of excess fat and weight loss.
Step #12: Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones can influence our moods, our skin, our energy levels, and our weight. If you find yourself in a situation where you are “doing everything right” with your diet, exercise, etc. and weight is still not budging, it may be time to check in with your doctor to get your hormone levels tested. A hormonal imbalance like low functioning thyroid or excess estrogen may be to blame.