5 Things You Must Do Before Jumping into a Detox

by Lexi Petronis

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If you've ever considered a juice (or not-just-juice) cleanse, there are actually lots of things to think about before deciding to go for it. And, speaking as someone who has tried out plenty of cleanses before (and is, in fact, logging day three of a just-juice cleanse right now--what can I say? I like guinea-pigging when it comes to writing about health!), these tips from Marissa Vicario, a board-certified health coach and healthy-living expert (who helms Marissa's Well-Being and Health blog) are especially interesting.

1: Why do you want to do it? Before you decide to embark on a cleanse, says Marissa, give some good thought as to why you want to. "Hopefully, it's not because it's trendy or all your friends are doing it," she says. "If you want to drop 10 pounds fast for an upcoming vacation or 'undo' drinking and sugar binges, you'd be better off consistently exercising and sensibly cleaning up your diet for long-term weight loss and health since most of the weight lost on a juice cleanse tends to be water weight and muscle." Plus, she says, there are people who shouldn't do juice cleanses: anyone with certain health conditions or on certain medications, women who are nursing or pregnant, or anyone with a history of eating disorders.


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2. Think about the after. "A juice cleanse isn't a quick-fix for poor eating habits," Marissa says. "One of the purposes of any cleanse--whether it's all juice, juice and food, or something else--is to kick-start healthy-eating habits. It's important to set this intention going into it and think about how you'll proceed afterward." Have a plan in place for what you want to achieve, post-cleanse. "Do you have the knowledge and support you need to successfully cultivate a healthy lifestyle, or will you go right back to your old habits? If the latter, any benefits you'll gain on the cleanse are few and far between," she says.

3. Know your body. Only you know what goes on during the course of your day. "If you're someone who has a demanding schedule or intense workout routine, and you don't have plans to adjust your lifestyle accordingly during the cleanse, then you might want to consider putting it off until you can," she says. "Likewise, understand and listen to your body and the signals it sends. Psychologically and biologically, some people don't react well to such extremes."

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4. Research, research, research. "There are many different types of cleanses out there, from all-juice, to juice and food, and more," Marissa says. "Decide what type is right for you, if any, and know what to expect going into and coming off of it. While well-intentioned, some companies that offer cleanses don't always provide this type of preparation, so make sure you're not jumping into the experience blindly."

5. How do you want to feel every day? Lots of people say that an all-juice cleanse makes them feel focused and energized. But those benefits don't last forever. "Decide how you want to feel on a daily basis, then make the consistent choices that will get you there," Marissa advises. "Know that feeling your best is available to you every day by eating well and taking care of yourself." If you start feeling that an all-juice cleanse isn't just right for you, Marissa says you can also hit the "reset button" on your diet with whole, natural foods, drinking green juices and smoothies daily, and eliminating refined sugar, alcohol, red meat, and dairy.

Have you ever done--or considered--a cleanse?

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