I have mentioned in a few posts that I did a self-managed detox to help me balance out my hormones and lose weight, and promised to share more about it, so here it goes….
Before we get started I need to take care of a few housecleaning items (you know how it is :).
- I am not a detox expert; this is based off my own experience, research, and healthcare knowledge
- I did A LOT of research before I started my detox
- I consulted with my registered nurse friend before, during, and after my detox
- I did a mild month long detox
- Please consult a physician before making drastic changes to your diet – a severe detox is not something you want to mess around with by yourself
Now that we have that out-of-the-way we can get started. I knew I had some hormonal imbalances I was dealing with, and I knew there really wasn’t any medication available that could help (note: I did have low thyroid levels, but they were just barely low, and didn’t really warrant medicinal treatment – medication can be helpful for severe hormonal imbalances, but that wasn’t the case for me). I was 1 year postpartum with the following symptoms:
- I couldn’t lose weight – no matter what I did (I list this first, because this was by far my most frustrating symptom)
- I kept waking up in the middle of the night wide awake – for no reason – even though my baby was sleeping through the night.
- I had low energy levels
- I had irregular and heavy menstrual cycles (something I had never dealt with in the past)
- I was always craving sugar and simple carbs
- I still felt like I was 6 weeks postpartum – I described it as the postpartum cloud never leaving
- I was very emotional – my poor husband (he’s a good guy for putting up with me)
- I was depressed (I will talk about my postpartum depression in another post)
I knew something had to change. I was at my breaking point, and it was started to affect me as a wife and mom (my two most important roles). I started doing a lot of research on natural ways to balance hormones. I read multiple books, articles, and blogs and came to the conclusion that a detox maybe a viable option. I also went to see an acupuncturist (for postpartum depression and hormone balance). I consulted with the acupuncturist about a self-managed detox. He gave me some ideas, and I decided to give it a try. I decided to try it for one month and then re-evaluate. I also came up with the following guidelines:
- I did not want to deal with severe digestive issues, enemas, or herbs that are supposed to aid in digestion during a detox. I didn’t know enough about the herbs to trust them and I wasn’t about to give myself an enema. My nursing brain didn’t think either option was a good idea. In order to avoid these I was careful about the amount of raw produce I consumed, I used other detox methods (detox bath, lots and lots of water, sauna, etc). If my stomach started to bother me I cut back a little bit on the produce I was consuming.
- I cut all grains from my diet.
- I cut out all animal products except eggs, salmon, and goat cheese.
- I cut out all sugar (except for fruit) and processed foods.
- I ate as many fruits and vegetables as I wanted.
- I started the day with a green juice (I found a good deal on a Breville juicer).
- I did not allow myself to go hungry. I made sure I was eating throughout the day.
I wish I could say the first 3-5 days were hard, and after that, I felt great…but realistically, I would say the first 3 weeks were hard (really hard). I thought, if I see another piece of lettuce, I am going to throw up…but I stuck with it (detox symptoms, salads, and all) and toward the end, I started to notice things improving.
My body was starting to crave the green juices that I loathed drinking every morning (they seriously taste awful, and the taste didn’t get any better, but my body loved the flood of nutrients), I didn’t feel hungry all the time (I am pretty sure my leptin receptors had been a little bit sluggish [more on that later]), I didn’t depend on nuts and nut butters for comfort foods as much, and I genuinely felt better.
Once the month was over I can honestly say I felt better, it’s important to note that I didn’t lose any weight (I was eating a lot of caloric dense foods)… BUT it didn’t cause a huge mental breakdown. I could feel my body healing and knew the weight loss would come with time (and it did). I actually decided to quit weighing myself at that point, and successfully went 9 months without getting on the scale.
After the initial detox, I started adding foods back into my diet. I added high-quality grains, small amounts of chicken (I ate very little animal products for a while.
Meat didn’t make a big appearance back into my diet until I started fine tuning – that came about 9 months later), dark chocolate, and natural sweeteners. Slowly my symptoms started to go away, the weight started to come off, and I started feeling like myself again. It was the most liberating feeling!
In conclusion; don’t I think a detox is for everyone (of course not – everyone and every situation is different), but it did help me. It allowed my body to heal after a stressful pregnancy and difficult postpartum recovery.
It also taught me how well the body responds to adequate nutrition. I did my detox in conjunction with acupuncture treatments (some do them in conjunction with chiropractic treatments – neither is necessary), which I do think helped speed up my healing process.
My symptoms were relatively mild, and I was lucky to be able to get to a point where my body could start healing on its own. I know some that have had more severe symptoms and were very successful with a more aggressive detox (they had a professional managing their detox).
I added examples below of what I ate before, during, and after my detox, and you can compare them to how I eat now (if you wish). Please remember, these are just examples of what worked for me.
Before my Detox
During My Detox
After my Detox
Have you ever done a detox? What was your experience?