- Perspective by Bahram Akradi -

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It’s detox season — but why let the benefits stop with your body?

A profile picture of LIFE TIME founder Bahram Akradi

Some call it a detox craze. Others consider it a health imperative. Either way, there’s no question that there’s been a surge of popular interest in detoxification regimens over the past decade.

It makes sense: The standard American diet is full of refined flours and sugars, artificial chemicals, preservatives, and other troublesome ingredients our bodies don’t know how to put to good use.

And then there’s the incredible array of potentially dangerous chemicals that persist in our environments and in a variety of household products that many of us use daily.

It’s true that our bodies were designed to neutralize and eliminate toxins, and in an ideal world, they’d be able to manage that task quite handily. But our current environment presents our bodies with an unprecedented density and complexity of toxic compounds, some of which can’t be easily expelled.

Dealing with that toxic onslaught presents our bodies with a serious burden — a burden that taxes our immune system, undermines our metabolism, and reduces our overall vitality.

I’m not much for fads, but given how pervasive toxins have become in our food supply and environment, I’m all for giving my body a break when I can.

That’s why, even though I eat pretty clean most of the time, I still make a point of doing a whole-body detox at least a couple of times a year. Spring, in particular, is a natural time to give our bodies a fresh start.

In past issues of Experience Life, we’ve recommended a few very good, safe, and sensible detox programs (see ELmag.com/detox). So if you’ve never done a detox regimen before, and if it sounds intriguing to you, I suggest that you give one a try (barring any prohibitive health conditions, of course).

There’s no need for you to fast or subsist on juice, either. Doing a detox is mostly just a matter of eliminating all processed, heavy, and potentially irritating foods and drinks from your diet for a number of days, and instead, taking in mostly fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, adequate protein, and pure water.

For many people, that’s all it takes to give your body the nutritional support it needs to rid itself of toxic burdens and to heal accumulated damage.

Typical benefits? A marked increase in energy; a reduction of symptoms like puffiness, stuffiness, bloating, and digestive distress; clearer skin and eyes; and even clearer-headed thinking.

There’s another sort of poison-purging detox that might do you just as much, or even more, good.

All of this can do great things for your body, and it’s likely to lift your spirits, too. But even if you’re not interested in going down a physical toxin-clearing path, there’s another sort of poison-purging detox that might do you just as much, or even more, good.

I call it “emotional detoxification.”

The emotional-detox method doesn’t call for you to adjust your eating habits (although, interestingly, that can sometimes help). What it requires, at its core, is a thoughtful, intuitive review of where in your life you are accumulating sour feelings, holding onto fears and resentments, or making harsh judgments about yourself and others.

It requires a willingness to let go of the limiting attitudes that are weighing you down, and an authentic interest in replacing them with more empowering and rewarding beliefs (for more on that, see Pilar’s column).

Another emotional-detox technique that can deliver wonderfully transformative dividends is taking an “integrity inventory.”

Where in your life are you living out of integrity with your guiding values and priorities? Where are you giving or spending more time, energy, or money than you really have to spare? Where are you saying one thing and doing another? And where are you resisting being your best, most authentic self?

Being willing to honestly explore these questions can help us identify huge repositories of bottled-up energy just waiting to be put to better use. They can also dislodge the little lies we sometimes tell ourselves without realizing it.

That’s important, because being out of integrity in any area of your life guarantees you a non-stop source of stress and toxicity. And until you clean up the messes you have created with yourself and other people, you won’t ever feel entirely healthy.

However you approach your spring-cleaning opportunities, one thing’s certain: Both your body and mind will thank you for your cleanup efforts.

Bahram Akradi is the founder and CEO of Life Time Fitness.

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