Ah, the holidays are upon us. While some of us are polishing off the last of our Halloween candy, others of us have moved on to hoarding recipes for cornbread-stuffing and pumpkin pie… then comes the Christmas cookies and egg-nog, not to be out-done by the champagne cocktails with-which we toast to bring in the new year…
Most people indulge during the holidays. They just do. And most people feel bad about it afterwords. They just do! Enter “detoxes” designed to flush out the body of toxins and waste that accumulated during our Holiday Bender.
I believe in detoxing. One of the things I love about Lithe Foods is the Lithe Foods Three-Day Detox. Why? Because it does detoxify the body and can jump-start weight-loss, but in a psychologically healthy way! You still eat meals, you still get dessert (praise the Lithe Gods! Dessert!). The program does not follow a deprivation model—meaning it does not cut out FOOD, it just provides you with the purest, cleanest form of it! Of course, Lauren could have created a three-day juice cleanse without batting an eyelash. But there is a reason that she did not. As you will read in the following post, juice cleanses, for some, can be dangerous: medically, emotionally, psychologically, and otherwise. . .
I’ve heard Lithers freaking out about the Lithe Foods Holiday Vacation (Oh My God, Becky, did you hear!?...) While I will choose to wait ‘till 2014 to get my Detox on, I am aware that many of you will not. I am also aware that the Holidays, although meant to be joyous, are not always so happy. Whatever our vices may be, they tend to intensify during times of stress, and for many of us, the holiday season is extremely stressful. It’s important to keep all of this in mind so that we are able to make healthy decisions.
For these reasons, I thought it might be meaningful to post some excerpts from a recent interview I did for Redbook Magazine Online regarding my thoughts on all-juice cleanses, weight-loss, and how these elements can contribute to disordered eating. Check out the following post for a peak into my discussion with Sunny Sea Gold, freelance writer and author of Food: The Good Girl’s Drug. As a woman in recovery from her own eating disorder (Binge Eating Disorder, commonly referred to as BED), Sunny’s questions where playfully curious yet honest and caring. I really enjoyed my work with her and hope you enjoy it too.
Image of Lauren Boggi at the Pogust Holiday Party December 2012 via Stuart Goldenberg
I've wondered whether juice cleansing could be a form of anorexia for some people -- basically being able to deprive themselves of food, but in a "healthy" context. What are your thoughts on that possibility?
Yes, but I don’t think it necessarily starts out that way… Take the non-pathological person who seriously wants to drop some pounds: while refusing to eat food for 3 days straight would likely not fly with those around them, calling it a “cleanse” makes their behavior seem more legitimate and socially acceptable. In this case, the person, like you said is “depriving themselves of food but in a ‘healthy’ context.”
How does a Juice cleanse become unhealthy?
It’s a slippery slope because when one does this type of strict cleanse, they will likely see results—this can act as reinforcement for one’s efforts (i.e., when the outcome of a behavior is positive, this increases the likelihood that this person will engage in said behavior again). Further, they might receive praise from others (“you look great! Did you lose weight?!”…. “Oh wow, I really admire your self-control, you are so disciplined!), which further reinforces one’s juice-fasting efforts, and makes them—you guessed it-- hungry (pardon the pun!) for more. So they do it again… and again…
Is it possible for someone to abuse a juice cleanse, as they might a drug?
Yes. Juice cleanses are to be done sporadically, and in isolation. Juice cleanses go wrong when they aren’t used properly. For example, someone may follow a juice-cleanse regimen for a prolonged period of time to lose weight or they might do several shorter cleanses within a short period of time to lose substantial amounts of weight.
OK that makes sense. What else? When does it become pathological?
Someone goes on a three-day bender of eating and drinking whatever they want, followed by a three-day “cleanse” to counter-balance the “damage” they did. It may be seen as a quick fix and might be appealing to someone with that type of lifestyle. BUT it becomes “pathological” when an unhealthy habit is formed: It could quickly turn into detox, then retox, then detox again pattern. This is not unlike the binge/purge cycle of Bulmia Nervosa: consuming a large amount of calories in one sitting and then “purging” the body of said calories through a variety of means. It’s the same underlying cycle regarding impulsivity and loss of control followed by compensatory mechanisms to restore one’s sense of control and emotional peace.
So why do some people try a juice cleanse and emerge just as mentally healthy pre-cleanse, while others may fall into a full-blown eating disorder as a result?
It has to do with the person’s goals, coping skills, and personality factors. Many people will do a cleanse as a way to lose weight but really it’s supposed to be a springboard for weight loss—a kick-start to a healthy and balanced low-calorie diet. But people don’t get that and instead see this as a quick fix: they do the cleanse… and of course they lose weight—much of which is water weight—and the body goes into starvation mode; then they resume their normal eating habits (and most likely indulge a bit as a ‘reward’) and not only do they gain the weight back, but they might even gain additional weight which might compel them to adopt unhealthy habits in efforts to “re-lose” the weight in addition to that which they gained post-cleanse. They think to themselves “well I thought I was going extreme by doing this intense & expensive three day cleanse but not even that worked so I guess I need to go even more extreme!”
On the other hand, do you think it's probably okay for someone who really has no eating disorder tendencies to try a cleanse if they're curious?
Definitely. The most important thing is to educate your self, and have a good understanding about yourself. What makes you tick? What triggers maladaptive coping behaviors? If you have struggled with disordered eating, it’s probably not a good idea for you to introduce a rigid diet into your life because that would trigger all kinds of thoughts and behaviors that aren’t good for you.
Regarding juice cleanses, I choose to remain completely neutral. I am not saying that you should do them, and I am not saying that you shouldn’t do them. For some people, doing a juice cleanse can be the beginning of a beautiful journey towards better health, totally! I am only saying that, like adopting any diet or lifestyle change, you educate yourself.
Any advice for those of us who are curious to try a juice cleanse?
Let me first say that I am no expert in juice cleanses! Nor do I possess advanced knowledge in nutritional counseling! If you want to try it, do your research so you know what you are putting your body through, because it is a shock to the system and should only be done per the directions of the company supplying the cleanse in conjunction with a consultation with your physician. Set realistic expectations. If you want to try it, make sure the reasons for which you are doing it are healthy.
What is the WORST piece of weight loss advice you have ever heard?
Such a good question! I have definitely heard many things, but the sad part about that is most of the things, no matter how disturbing/ grotesque etc. they may be, do work to some extent other wise they wouldn’t have been expressed to me. I choose not to comment on that or repeat these kinds of things because that makes those tips available to others. It’s so easy for things like this to be taken out of context and used for evil instead of good! Even though most people would see those things and laugh or cringe, someone who is not well, psychologically, would see or read that and think “oh. I’m going to try that!”
Article via Redbook Magazine Online & image of Lithe Food's Cashew Milk Mini via Lauren
Check out Lithe in Japan's Nikkei Woman (April, 2013). We've had it translated:
A “Flying” Exercise that Ups Girl Power.
The Lithe Method (an art that creates a flexible body) is a workout that uses a Higher Power Band System to incorporate cheerleading moves. Currently popular in the US, it has been featured in women’s fashion magazines including VOGUE and LUCKY, as well as women’s fitness magazine SHAPE.
An exercise that targets “trouble zones” like the waist and calves, the workout is popular among a wide age range of women 18 – 65 years old, but most popular among women in their twenties, thirties and forties. “There are even 2-3 brave men that show up to classes” (founder, Lauren Boggi), but the majority of the students are women.
On how she founded the method, Boggi says ‘I was looking for a workout that was fun and creative that yielded results, but couldn't find anything that met my needs. So I used my cheerleading experience from USC, a school that is well known for American Football, and created the “Cardio Cheer Sculpting” Lithe Method.’
“Cardio Cheer Sculpting” incorporates all three elements: 1) Cheerleading inspired aerobics; 2) Cardiovascular exercise that shakes the muscles; 3) Strength training.
“Lithe is not only fun and incorporates feminine movements, it is also intense and competitive. It is a full body workout. The cardiovascular aerobic exercise burns the fat and creates a lean and flexible body, so the results are two-fold—you can expect to lose weight as well as sculpt your muscles.
Basic cheerleading moves include: “V’s” --Raising both arms in a 45 degree angle creating a “V” shape; the “Touchdown”--raising both arms straight up; the “L’s”--raising one arm up and reaching one arm out straight to your side, creating 90 degree angle or “L” shape; kicking; balancing poses; stunts; and dancing. These are all incorporated in the workout. ‘To motivate students, we also cheer “We love it!,” “Hey!,” “Yeah,” and other things during the workout, like we do in cheerleading.’
This method utilizes the Higher Power Band System, created by Boggi. “By using this system, we can incorporate cheerleading stunts like flying in the air, so in this way, we can achieve things that other workout methods could not.”
There are three types of bands: one you hold with your hand, ones that wrap around your wrists and ankles, and one with a special handle. The blue bands that you use with gloves are geared toward beginners. You attach a 5.4 kg – 6.8 kg weight and increase resistance, burning fat with each move. When you remove the weight, you can fly higher by adjusting the force of your body weight.
One session is divided to into three parts to work out the core, the lower half , and upper half of the body, so that in the whole hour you get a full body workout. “We always incorporate new moves and use small props so students won’t get bored.”
There is talk of possibly including Japan into Lithe’s future international expansion. “I don’t think there is anything more American than cheerleading. It’s so fun, I feel Japanese women would love the workout too.” Currently, other than the workouts, Lithe offers “Lithe Food” and exercise wear “Lithe Wear,” with plans for further lines.
Images of Lithe Instructors via Dom and Lither Veronique Hooper via Lauren
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