Q: Thank yo so much for having this site/blog! I am a “thick” sista who is now rolling over into the “fat” category. I am having SO much trouble eating healthy, etc. As I start my “lifestyle change”, I plan to use your site regularly. One question though, how do you feel about detox and colonics? I hear they are great to start out with and soemtimes do on a regular.

This topic makes me nervous.. I’m not going to lie.

The very last thing I did before I gave up on dieting completely was the master cleanse… so while I’m not particularly or personally familiar with colonics, I’m familiar enough with the master cleanse and know that it felt like a damn colonic.

Whenever people bring up detoxes and colonics, I’m always curious. Why are you interested in a detox?

If the answer is weight loss, I’m not interested in continuing the conversation.

Let me make a few things clear.

1. You can lose mass on a detox like the master cleanse. If you are someone who was 300lbs, living off of processed foods and eating almost 3000 calories a day, and you go to a 1500 calorie-a-day liquid diet, you will lose weight. If you do the sea salt flushes every day and drink the teas, you will poop. Let me repeat that. You. Will. Poop.

The bathroom was my best friend and worst enemy. The number of times I spent bent over with stomach cramps on the toilet because the flushes and teas were wrecking shop within my insides… amazing stuff.

2. You will absolutely lose muscle mass on the master cleanse. The very thing that feeds muscle – protein – is not included in the daily intake. So you’d be walking backwards.

3. You can, in a nutshell, consider this a liquid manifestation of the twinkie diet. Seriously. It is another diet consisting of enough calories and sugar to keep you from feeling completely miserable, but because there’s no actual nutrients in your daily intake (even supplements are discouraged), you will feel like crap.

And really, that’s the important thing, here. You will feel like garbage. You will be more vulnerable to illness because as there are no nutrients pouring into your system like when one eats cleanly, the body cannot heal itself or properly protect itself from disease. A healthy diet consists of a vast array of fruits and vegetables, because those are the things that are most intended to help our bodies heal themselves. If you are intentionally depriving yourself of that for the sake of weight loss? You’re sacrificing your insides for your outsides… when in reality, if you treated your insides properly, your outside would fall in line.

As far as the actual detoxification process? The “cleansing of your colon?” You wouldn’t need to do it if you didn’t skimp on the fiber. And I mean, fiber from food. Not drinks or sea salt flushes or teas. A body that has a regular stream of fibrous foods combined with water flowing through it does not need to detox. It will do it on its own. The body has taken thousands of years to learn how to detoxify itself. It doesn’t need you starving it in order for it to make detoxification happen.

But what if you know your eating habits have been poor? What if you know you have all kinds of goo trapped within your intestines and want to clean it out? Eat more fibrous foods! Drink water! Trust me, you don’t have to torture yourself by gorging out on silly lemonade mixtures to clean yourself out.

In fact, let me tell you a little story that I still, to this day, find hilarious. I was trying to make myself a raw vegan (raw vegans don’t add heat to their food) strawberry quinoa salad one day, and instead of heating my quinoa to cook it, I soaked it in cold water until it softened. Let’s just say that as far as fiber goes, this was the most potent thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. Most raw vegan dishes have that effect.

Are there people who have lost weight doing the master cleanse? Yes. I know that there are tons of people who’ve done youtube videos talking about “Look how my tummy went down!” Yes, because you were, literally, full of crap before you started. (This is why, when I talk about building a flat tummy, I talk about getting enough fiber.) I know there are people who were more hopped up on the fact that they couldn’t eat to recognize how rude or lethargic they were feeling. I also know there are lots of people who don’t know enough about their bodies to tell me what’s best for me and mine… so recommending a detox to me sounds wayyyyy off the beaten path.

There are detoxes that aren’t starvation, I get it… but you absolutely must remember that any way you lose the weight is the way you’ll keep it off. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life eating nothing but fruit. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life eating nothing but vegetables. I for darn sure don’t want to spend the rest of my life subsisting on maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. There’s so much more beyond all that, that I’d rather learn how to navigate life eating with a default understanding of what works best for me instead of going into this cycle of detoxing, slipping back into old habits, detoxing again… having to avoid or cancel engagements because food will be there that I don’t want to tempt myself on, or going to those events and failing at trying to not eat anything there… only to guilt myself in having to detox longer… and then think less of myself for not being able to “do it.” That’s… not wise, to me.

My experience with the master cleanse was interesting. It’s not my intent to be hypocritical, it’s my intent to explain that I’m in a position where I now know better. All the things that the master cleanse did for me – ridding my body of the gunk piled up from processed foods – are things that can be done with a cleaned up diet. Not only that, but I wouldn’t have needed the master cleanse to “rid my body of gunk” if I was eating enough fiber and drinking water instead of juices and punches.

I know that “skinny” is serious enough business for some women that they’re willing to sacrifice actual chewable food in order to obtain it… but I’m not. Seriously – I’m only willing to go so far to lose weight, and I’ve lost well over 150lbs thus far. In fact, at this point in my journey – considering the way I’ve learned to love food without guilt and without blame – there’s no way in hell I’d give food up for “skinny.” (And since, as I mentioned, there’s no actual ability to build muscle on a detox… it’d definitely be “skinny,” not “fit.”)

In short… don’t do it. No, really. I know that my “in short” paragraphs usually wind up being another hundred words.. but that’s it. You don’t need a “lead in” to clean eating. You can start eating clean at your next meal. Don’t do it to yourself.