here is a physiological phenomenon that occurs when you start a detox program or hard core cleansing diet. Its called ‘die off’ and it results from all the toxic bacteria literally dying off and entering the blood stream before they are processed and eliminated by the body. Essentially the elimination systems and organs that help cleanse our body of toxics and byproducts from digestion and other bodily functions are overloaded with an unusually level of these toxins as they die off en masse due to you removing their food source (e.g. sugars, alcohol, allergens, processed foods, etc).
During this die off phase of detoxification your body experiences headaches, flu-like symptoms, aches and pains. It is not a very pleasant process but it is a sign of healing and that you are on the right track to a healthier end stage. The discomfort can result in you giving up early and thinking it is all too hard or even that the symptoms are a bad sign that the diet is not working or even not good for you.
But if you can stick with the plan for 3-5 days, the massive die off of toxic substances can be processed by the body and you will start feeling the benefits of the cleanse.
I think any transformation or major change in your life has a die-off period – a stage where the pain of change seems worse that staying in the status quo. It can be easy to forget why you wanted to change when everything seems to be going to s#%%.
Change is uncomfortable. Maybe you will lose friends, maybe you will feel scared or out of your depth as you challenge yourself to a new level. Or maybe it will just feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew.
This is when the importance of having clarity about your goal comes to the fore so that you can regularly check back in with that desired end state. Reminding yourself of why you didn’t like where you were, and where it is that you are going.
If you are undertaking a substantial change in relation to your health it can help to be clear on two things. The specific goal – what exactly do you want to achieve. The desired feeling – what is it you want to feel when you get to the goal.
Going on a strict diet and exercise program because your doctor told you to it is probably not going to result in you sticking to the program. Going on a strict diet and exercise program because you want to experience the feeling of accomplishment and exhilaration of finishing the Kokoda Trail with your son is much more likely to result in sustained and consistent adherence to eating well and exercising.
When you have a clear goal and a clear idea of what the transformation will bring into your life, your motivation and ability to tough it out through the painful times will be greatly enhanced.
Lets not sugar coat the fact that change is tough and ingrained behaviours are hard to change. It is a lot easier to keep unhealthy habits and keep complaining about them, than to change them. Courage to step into the discomfort will change your life and I promise the discomfort won’t last forever.
Get support either from friends (be careful though, sometimes your friends won’t want you to change), like-minded groups such as Meetups or your gym, or from health professionals such as personal trainers, dieticians or a health coach.
Website: Happy Healthy Groovy