Column: Why should you consider a cleanse? | VailDaily.com

Column: Why should you consider a cleanse?

Ryan Richards
Make It Count

Dietary cleanses are underrated. Many wellness critics will claim that cleanses are unhealthy, unsustainable and are a waste of time and money. First of all, cleanses were never meant to be sustainable, and the health benefits are somewhat fuzzy. So the arguments against them aren't preposterous. Here's how we should really look at them.

The primary reasons why people choose cleanses like the Velocity Diet, the Master Cleanse, or other supplement-rich, calorie-restrictive dietary strategies is to lose weight quickly and to cleanse the body of "toxins."

I don't know anything about toxins in the body, but rapid weight loss is just fine with me.

Here's why this is good. Dieting to lose weight is a hard journey that takes extraordinary discipline and spirited self-control. As a former fat kid who lost 90 pounds during my adolescence, I understand this dilemma. Some will argue that rapid weight loss is unhealthy. I don't really know why that would be the case.

CATABOLIC STATE

Generally, the metabolism of humans is maintained in an equilibrium, catabolism or anabolism. An equilibrium state is when body weight is maintained, as food intake is equal to daily output. Anabolism is when food intake is greater than output, and body weight increases. Catabolism — the metabolic state preferred during cleanses — is when caloric intake is below output, and body weight decreases because stored resources are used for energy. For example, a 200 pound male who is 20 percent body fat will have 40 pounds of lard at his disposal for energy consumption. That's 140,000 fat calories, or 254 Big Macs, folks. Why would it be a bad thing to go on a radical cleanse for 30 days, to lose 20 pounds for example? He has the energy to spare and the discipline required to lose weight over a long period is unrealistic for most people. Don't worry, his metabolism isn't going to screech to a greater halt than if he took six months for the same outcome. The evidence is very clear on this.

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Anytime you put yourself in a catabolic state, your metabolism slows down regardless, so you might as well get it over with as fast as possible. By the way, the weight loss on a short cleanse doesn't have to be gained back; this is why I really like a cleanse every now and again.

HIT RESET

We have a serious obesity epidemic in our country, if you haven't noticed. The reasons are numerous, and it would require a document larger than the tax code to explore.

We are addicted to food, largely to cope with our problems. Processed sugar-laden foods are often the drug of choice for the addicted.

Why are cleanses useful for this? When you reset your body through a very restrictive, low-calorie cleanse, eating specific nutrient-dense foods diminishes your craving for junk food.

After a hard rewiring of the reward center in your brain, you often reset to craving healthy, whole foods. This is why you don't have to gain the weight back and you can maintain a healthy eating strategy for months afterwards.

Stay tuned and I will discuss specific cleanses and detailed instructions for those willing. Have a great week.

Ryan Richards is a fitness professional who has been keeping the Vail Valley strong for over a decade. You can find him at ryanrichards.com or 970-401-0720.