If you’re anything like me, every once in a while I feel like life has caught up to me and I need to slow down, reprioritize and spend some time focusing on my health. This is not a dramatic cleanse or purge but a simple, balanced approach to long lasting change.
Why Spring for a Total Body Reset?
I choose the spring because it’s a time of transition. For me, spring and fall feel like the starts of a new year. They are times for reflection and change and make it easier for me to adopt new habits. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) each season is paired with a dominant organ of the body – springtime is paired with the liver. The liver, in TCM is very susceptible to “stagnation”. This can happen by poor eating (…Christmas holidays), lack of exercise, and low mood/high stress.
To summarize – if you overindulged during the winter months, spend much of your day sitting, get a little depressed over the winter (many people do in the Pacific Northwest!), and have chronic stress then taking time to show your liver some TLC is a great idea.
Lifestyle Factors that Benefit from a Total Body Reset
- Poor diet habits or period of time of overindulgence
- Sedentary job or lack of exercise
- Low mood, seasonal affective disorder, or depression
- Chronic stress
- Depression, anxiety, mood swings
- Foggy bring, poor concentration
- Constipation or diarrhea (IBS)
- Inflammatory diseases (such as IBD or other autoimmune diseases)
- Gas, bloating
- Eczema, rashes, hives
- Hay fever
- Recurring ear infections
- Recurring colds and flus
- Joint pain, arthritis
- Blood sugar dysregulation
Why 30 Days?
The first reason is because I’m addicted to sugar. I love sweet treats and carbohydrates and have ever since childhood. There have been times when I’ve been able to let it go but it tends to sneak back in during times of high stress. Since I’ve kicked the habit before I know that it takes at least 2 weeks for me to get through the withdrawals! That’s why I dedicate a full month to making the strict dietary change. After that I know that I can start reintroducing foods and not feel compelled to lean towards grains and sugar to get me through the day.
The second reason is that it takes time for symptoms to resolve. I know by working with my patients that it can take at least 3 weeks for the inflammation to come down and digestive system to repair enough to start eliminating symptoms. This isn’t always digestive concerns (gas, bloating, heartburn, etc.) but it can also be anxiety, depression, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis), blood sugar dysregulation, and more. For me, doing a longer dietary elimination allows me to get in-tune with my body and let it heal.
30 Day Total Body Reset
Step 1. Dietary Changes
As a foundation I always start with nutrition. My goal is to remove inflammatory foods and anything that I have a known sensitivity to (in my case eggs and avocados) and I want to introduce nutrient dense, healing foods! One of the simplest to follow formulas out there is the “The Whole30” (no affiliation). The rules? No sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, and no processed foods. After the 30 days, I will slowly reintroduce foods to see how my body reacts. I call this a elimination-challenge and you can learn a ton about how your body tolerates specific foods.
Step 2. Move More
I can be a workaholic and forget to exercise as much as I should. My goal is to exercise every day. To accomplish this I use Do Yoga With Me for FREE online yoga classes and I’ve registered for an at-home fitness program created by a local personal trainer Tara Brunett (no affiliation) to keep me motivated! Plus it’s important to get outside. I don’t usually have a problem with that but if you do, I would also add a walk or hike a couple times a week as well.
Step 3. Ensure Proper Elimination
This is so important and it’s amazing to me how many of patients don’t have a daily bowel movement! If you aren’t, then food that you have consumed just sits in your intestines and ferments causing a lot of gas and bloating. Your body will inevitably absorb the by-products of that fermentation which adds to the burden on your liver. Ultimately, this creates more inflammation and dysfunction.
I don’t advocate the use of stimulating laxatives because they aren’t without risks with long term use. Often with steps 1 & 2 bowel movements will come easier for people because you’re eliminating food sensitivities, eating more fiber, and getting more exercise; but if they don’t then I would recommend seeking some medical advice from a naturopathic physician.
Step 4. Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is critical to allow the cells of your body to repair and restore energy. Good sleep improves our mood, cognitive function, and physical health and sleep hygiene refers to your bedtime routine. For my top ways to improve your sleep hygiene click here.