Realistically become a healthier you this year

If a detox, cleanse or diet is a part of your New Year’s resolution, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

© Dirima, Adobe Stock

“Detox,” “cleanse” and “diet” are among some of the most common words to appear in New Year’s resolutions.

But more often than not, we are our own worst enemy—making dietary changes that are too drastic to sustain.

Rather than finding easy, quick solutions to large problems, Judi Samuels, master personal trainer and certified nutrition and wellness consultant for Sport and Health Clubs discusses what small steps you should be taking if you want to make a long-term lifestyle change in 2018.


“When [we] talk about having a detox, [we] are talking about ridding [the] body of toxins,” Samuels explains. “The body is always doing this, but we are not able to get rid of all of the toxins we ingest.”

Toxins can come from the foods we eat, the beauty products we use and even the very air we breathe. So to cut back on the level of exposure that you can control, Samuels recommends that inflammatory and toxic foods such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, dairy, gluten, alcohol and soy should be limited or removed all together.

“The first step to a detox is eat[ing] super clean,” Samuels says. “This [won’t be] a quick fix, it does very little for the long run, but it sets you up to make healthy choices in the future.”

According to Samuels, eating clean means stripping your diet of processed food, fats and carbs for one week and replacing meals with lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. After the weeklong detox, fats and carbs should be slowly reintroduced, Samuels warning that permanently excluding said foods beyond one week is neither healthy nor sustainable.

However, note that it is important to listen to your body as you add back some of those ingredients. If you are feeling sluggish, getting headaches or experiencing other negative side effects, that item is probably best left out of your day-to-day meals.


“A cleanse is a temporary strategy to accomplish a single goal,” Samuels says, warning that the fad products we often see on TV don’t do all that they advertise. “The gut contains important hormones—serotonin and dopamine—[and] you can mess it up by doing strange things. It’s important not to do anything drastic.”

If you hear about a new cleanse, make sure you do your research to understand both the benefits and risks. Samuels suggests adding lemon to room temperature water in the morning, but warns that this action alone won’t solve all problems.

“[People hear] one bit of information and extrapolate it into something larger. For example, lemon juice is great, but it can’t be your whole regimen.”


Whether you are body building, looking to lose weight or have a medical concern, different diets can help you achieve your goals.

“People equate the word diet with ‘restrict,’ [but] diet isn’t a four-letter word, it’s your eating lifestyle,” Samuels says. “Think about how you eat and why. You need to think about the purpose of your eating lifestyle. It doesn’t need to stay the same all of the time.”

A simple way to supplement a healthy diet is by adding probiotics, vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil and a multivitamin. A nutrition expert will be able to direct you to the right brands, products and amounts, but Samuels personally advocates for options that are organic, non-GMO and made in the United States.