Can You Do A Detox If You Want To GAIN Weight

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Written by: Kat Gal

There are many reasons people go on detoxes and cleanses: gaining more energy and mental clarity, remedying health issues and losing weight. While losing weight is one of the main motivating factors for many, it is not true for everyone.

If you are like me, you are not looking to lose anything, but rather, hoping to hold on to what you have. But if you are on the smaller side, underweight or just hovering the normal range of BMI, you can still benefit from a detox.

Are you one of those who simply want to maintain their weight or even need to put a few pounds on? Can you still do a detox without losing weight?

Yes, you can. Let’s look at the issue closer.

Important note:

Please, seek medical support before starting a cleanse if you are:

  • Losing weight for no apparent reason without trying
  • Your weight loss or low weight is due to a serious and/or chronic health condition
  • You are dealing with an eating disorder
  • You are experiencing anything alarming or unusual 

Losing Weight On A Cleanse

Weight loss is not only the main motivating factor, but is also a natural side effect of being on a detox cleanse. Your body knows exactly what it’s doing when it’s fueled properly. For some people, detoxes simply lead to increased health and no weight loss at all. In other cases, it leads to some or extreme weight loss. It depends on your personal situation.

During a cleanse, because your body is getting rid of toxins, the weight you release is most likely weight that your body actually needed to release. If you’ve started your cleanse underweight or at your ideal weight, after your cleanse, you will likely be putting back on some pounds, presuming you will be eating adequate calories and supporting your body’s needs.

These post-cleanse pounds will be healthier, less toxic and needed pounds. Your body will find its healthy and happy weight if you feed it and treat it properly; start trusting it.

But what if you start losing too much weight or don’t want to lose even a temporary pound?

If you are already very underweight or your health is compromised, it is possible that a drastic cleanse, such a juice cleanse or 100% raw food cleanse will be too much for your body.

If you are worried about losing too much weight, there are different ways to help your body to detox gently without a full-blown juice or raw food cleanse.

The following 11 tips will help your body to detox gently yet effectively:

1. Start your day with lemon water. Add the juice of one lemon to 16-32 oz of warm water and drink it first thing in the morning. It not only re-hydrates your body, but also helps to flush out toxins, cleanse your digestive system, stimulate your liver and empty your colon, allowing your body to function properly.

2. Dry brush. Your skin is your largest detox organ. Dry brushing stimulates your lymphatic system and helps the release of toxins through your skin. It is a practice you can do every day before your shower whether or not you are on an actual cleanse.

3. Exercise. Getting your sweat on and pumping your lymphatic system is cleansing for your body and is great for your overall health. Choose something you enjoy. If you are afraid of losing too much weight, make sure not to over-do it, 20-30 minutes a day is enough.

If you are looking to gain weight and losing weight is not an option, it is the best for now to stick with more gentle exercises, including light walking, yoga (gentle yoga, not power yoga or hot yoga!), pilates, stretching, easy bike rides, or light swimming.

4. Count your calories and nutrients. Normally, I am not a fan of calorie counting. However, if you are losing weight without wanting or needing to and are surprised about it, it is the best to look at your calorie intake. When switching to a whole foods or raw food diet from the standard American diet or starting a cleanse, undereating is a common mistake that people make.

Some are surprised that they are eating as little as 800-1200 calories without realizing it. Plugging your food intake can not only help you see whether or not you are undereating, but can also help you create a meal plan with the necessary amount of calories.

Cronometer is a great app that helps you see your micronutrient intake (vitamins and minerals) along with your macronutrients (proteins, carbs, fats) and calories. Seeing your micro-ratios can also help you modify your plan – adding in new vegetables or fruits – in order to make sure your body is meeting its needs and is therefore, able to cleanse, heal and function at an optimal level.

Counting your calories does not need to become a daily habit, only until you get a feel for it. A holistic health coach or nutritionist can also help you along with this process.

5. Add green juices and smoothies to your diet. Even if you are not on a juice cleanse, adding raw juices and smoothies to your diet is incredibly healthy and cleansing. They both boost your nutritional intake, allowing your body to function optimally. They are great for breakfast, lunch and as snacks.

If you are not looking to lose weight, but want to do a more strict cleanse, it is a great idea to incorporate smoothies with more fiber-rich foods, like dense fruits (bananas, mangos, papayas) and healthy fats (avocados, nuts, seeds). Incorporate coconut water into your diet as well for added electrolytes and calories.

6. Up your fiber. Fiber is absolutely necessary to your diet, helping to keep your digestive system moving along properly. If you are looking for a more gentle cleanse without weight loss, you may want to eat a partially cooked dinner with steamed vegetables, like sweet potatoes, legumes (such as beans and lentils) and pseudograins (like quinoa and amaranth). These denser foods are higher in calories than a juice or a raw salad, but they are also high in fiber, helping proper digestion and elimination.

7. Eat sea vegetables. Sea veggies, such as dulse, kelp, wakame, kombu and bladderwrack are super healthy for you. They clear excess build-up in your colon, help clear mucus out of your body, reduce swelling and inflammation, pull heavy metals out of your system and nourish your thyroid gland.

Some sea vegetables – like chlorella and spirulina – are available as pills and powders to add to your smoothies or to take with water. You can add sea vegetables to your salads, soups, stews, noodles, rice dishes and basically anything else.

8. Use spices and herbs. Spices and herbs are superfoods with long lists of benefits. Most of them are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal along with various other medicinal effects. Using a variety of spices and herbs is not only cleansing and healing, but will also make your dishes more exciting. If you are struggling to eat enough to keep the weight on, spices may be a way to go to make your dishes more exciting and more desirable.

9. Go raw til dinner. If you have difficulty keeping the weight on, or want to gain weight, it may not be the right time for you to do a complete juice, smoothie, or raw food cleanse. Mix it up. Stay raw until dinner, or until lunch. Drink smoothies and green juices and eat large salads throughout the day, but incorporate cooked foods into your dinner or even your lunch, including baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, steamed veggies, beans, lentils and pseudograins. They are still healthy and cleansing, but also more dense and higher in calories.

10. Snack. Snacking is not forbidden on a cleanse at all, especially if you need to gain weight. The point of a cleanse is not to go hungry, but to clean up the toxic mess in your system and create health instead. Choose organic, whole food options, instead of packaged and processed junk foods. Snack throughout the day on fruits, veggies and raw dips, nuts and seeds. You can drink your snacks in the form of coconut water and smoothies.

11. Breathe. Your lungs are one of your main detox organs, making breathing even more necessary and powerful than you think. Your lungs remove toxic gases like carbon dioxide from your blood at each exhale and replace it with fresh oxygen with each inhale. The more deeply your breathe, the more effective this cleansing process will be. Not to mention that deep breathing is also calming and relaxing, making it a great way to reduce stress and to improve your mental health.

Following these 11 easy steps should help your cleansing and healing goals without compromising your weight.

Is it difficult for you to gain or to maintain your weight? Do you have tips for others in the same shoes? What has worked for you to gain weight in a healthy way? Share your tips in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

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Kat Gal

Kat Gal

Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
Kat Gal
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