Firstly, what exactly is a 'health reset'? Well, it can mean different things to different people. When I say 'health reset' I'm referring to altering lifestyle and dietary choices to optimise your health, improve energy levels, clear brain fog and generally to make myself feel really good. Most of my friends and family already think I'm pretty healthy, which is true for the most part. But just like everyone, I sometimes eat too much junk food, drink too much wine and don't exercise as much as I'd like to. Here's what I notice in my own body after a few weeks of too much alcohol/processed foods and too little movement.
- Lack of motivation. Instead of finding ways to better myself and my business, I binge Netflix and wonder why I'm so tired. I also don't feel as motivated to cook and end up eating more packaged foods than I would usually consume.
- Decreased energy levels. I fight it hard to get out of bed in the morning and get going and I sometimes need to nap in the afternoons.
- Changes in my mental health. As someone who has dealt with mental health issues (anxiety and depression) since being a teenager I'm very aware of when my mental health is struggling. This appears in ways like low mood, generalised sadness, excessive worry about EVERYTHING, and a fixation on the future in a negative way.
- Lack of overall life satisfaction. This probably ties in with the mental health aspect but I thought I'd add it again. Life just seems a little bit harder.
So after a few weeks of not being able to shake the above issues, I start to analyse my lifestyle choices and low and behold, I'm drinking more than I'd like and eating more processed foods and not moving my body regularly.
WHAT DOES A HEALTH RESET INVOLVE?
My first action I take is pick a day to start a little 30 day health reset. When that day arrives, I make specific dietary changes based on my own health requirements. Here are a few ways I 'reset' my health.
- No alcohol. Given our relationship with alcohol in Australia I know this is hard for most people but you'd be amazed at how good you can feel when you cut it out completely. Even for those people who don't drink often, removing alcohol completely will add a whole new dimension to your health.
- No processed foods/refined sugars. Basically, if it comes in a packet, I won't eat it. It does take a lot of preparation but cooking everything from scratch is worth it. I opt for a predominately paleo style diet that has more of a focus on fresh fruit and vegetables and less on the meat aspect.
- Exercise regularly. I usually exercise 2-4 times a week as it is but I do notice that I'm not eating well and drinking too much that I might only make it to the gym twice a week and I'll do the bare minimum. When doing a health reset, I aim for a minimum of 4 sessions a week. To keep it interesting I'll do 1 x pilates reformer class, 1 x HIIT/ABT class, 1 x cardio session (5km run) and 1-2 x strength sessions using a program designed for me by an exercise physiologist.
- 8 hours of sleep. I do this anyway but it's I know not everyone is fanatical about their sleep like I am. I encourage patients to be in bed by 10pm and then get up around 6am if schedules permit.
- Avoid foods that personally cause issues. For me, thats dairy and gluten. Dairy makes my acne a bit worse and gluten can cause some digestive complaints. I would highly recommend seeking the advice of a nutritionist or naturopath when selecting specific foods to avoid. It's not a one-size-fits-all prescription.
3 REASONS TO DO A HEALTH RESET
- Improved energy levels. I usually notice this on about day 7. After a week of eating really well and avoiding alcohol I can definitely notice an increase in energy and it feels great!
- Better sleep quality. This one can take a bit of patience to see the benefits but I usually notice in week 2-3 that I'm falling asleep easier and staying asleep throughout the night.
- Increased motivation to exercise and make better health choices in the future. The first week can sometimes feel like hard work but once I hit the 7 day mark my sugar cravings have almost disappeared and I feel more excited to move my body.
And here's 2 extra reasons just because.
- Increase in libido. Not kidding. This takes a few weeks to show but I do notice that because I have more energy and I'm feeling a lot better in my skin overall that my libido improves a lot.
- Better skin! For me, this is a massive motivator to do a health reset. I have suffered with hormonal adult acne for years and I always notice an improvement at the end of the month.
I could go on but you get the idea. Remember, the above information is general and shouldn't be used to treat specific conditions. If you think a health reset could be beneficial, it's always best to discuss it with your health practitioner. Or come and see me for a nutritional medicine consultation to see how we can tailor the reset program to suit you.
- Pubs.niaaa.nih.gov. (2019). Sleep, Sleepiness, and Alcohol Use. [online] Available at: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-2/101-109.htm [Accessed 15 Sep. 2019].
- www1.health.gov.au. (2019). Department of Health | Physical Activity. [online] Available at: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/phy-activity [Accessed 15 Sep. 2019].
- Psychology Today. (2019). Alcohol and Sleep: What You Need to Know. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/sleep-newzzz/201801/alcohol-and-sleep-what-you-need-know [Accessed 15 Sep. 2019].
- Al Selaiti, R. (2015). Acne Vulgaris and High Glycemic Load Diet. Bahrain Medical Bulletin, 37(4), pp.251-252.
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Paleo diet: Eat like a cave man and lose weight?. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182 [Accessed 15 Sep. 2019].
- Tuso, P. (2013). Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets. The Permanente Journal, 17(2), pp.61-66.
Disclaimer: I am a registered Acupuncturist/qualified nutritionist and this blog reflects my own personal opinions and research. It should in no way be used as a means to self diagnose and it is my responsibility as a health practitioner to recommend that you seek out a professional who is legally qualified to diagnose and treat your condition.