Now that we’re on the cusp of summer, it’s prime time to think about getting into shape for the beach. Whether you’re hitting the gym more, switching up your diet or simply applying self-tanner to look like you fit in on the sand, a cleanse might be a good starting point for your perfect beach body. Going on a cleanse sounds much, much easier than it actually is, though, and especially so if you’re a first timer. To help girls (and guys) everywhere succeed when going on a pre-summer cleanse, we’ve put together 10 rules to follow for amazing results – without quitting 12 hours in.
1. Choose a cleanse you can actually stick to. If you’re a first timer, we’d advise against the Master Cleanse (otherwise known as the method Beyonce used to get into shape for “Dream Girls”). Choose a cleanse that includes solid food, like a fruit and vegetable cleanse. By minimizing the work that your digestive organs need to do to process food, your body will have energy for other things, like actually waking up in the morning without coffee.
2. Psych yourself up for three days before you start. This is as much of a mental battle as it is a physical one, so if your mind isn’t prepared, your body will likely fail. Three days before you’re set to start, think about the positive effects the cleanse will have on your body, and prepare yourself to be eating all clean, healthy foods and drinks.
3. Rest up. Think of your body like a fuel tank: if you’re putting in less fuel, you’re going to have less energy – especially during the first few days of a cleanse. This is not the time to be working 16 hour days or running marathons. Make sure you’re getting eight hours of sleep a night and you’re not overexerting yourself during the day.
4. Keep hydrated. You should be drinking eight glasses of water a day on a regular basis, but up your water intake while you’re on a cleanse to about two liters per day. Not only will your body function better, but you’ll also be clearing out any toxins you have in your body.
5. Exercise gently, but don’t go overboard. We’re talking gentle yoga or pilates, or taking an afternoon walk in the park. Just because you’re resting doesn’t mean you should be a couch potato, and your body should still be moving and stretching while you’re on a cleanse to keep things functioning properly. Plus, you won’t go into such shock afterwards if you keep exercising during your cleanse.
6. Eliminate any temptation in your pantry. And cabinets. And desk drawers. And fridge. It’s best to do this a few days beforehand, like when you’re grocery shopping for the week, so that you’re already rid of any processed or fatty foods by the time you’re on the cleanse. If you’ve got a ton of junk food but don’t want to throw it out, offer it to friends or bring it to your office and share with coworkers. When the temptation isn’t even there, it’s much easier to avoid cheating on your cleanse.
7. Plan activities during your free time. Consider this: how many times do you just eat because you’re bored, not because you’re hungry? If you’re anything like us, the answer is something along the lines of “all the time.” Plan to be busy for a good portion of your day so that you don’t binge just because you’re bored. Our favorite trick: paint your nails when you’re free so that you have to wait for them to dry before you can snack. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to think about why you’re eating before you do something you’ll regret.
8. Brace yourself for side effects. Depending on your regular diet, a cleanse may be a complete shock to your system. Eliminating coffee and sugar from your daily diet could cause headaches, nausea and more, but if you stick with the cleanse past the first few days, you’ll absolutely begin to feel better. Your body needs to detox from caffeine and sugars, but once it learns how to create energy on its own again, you’ll be able to sustain a full day without a latte.
9. Reduce your stress while you’re on a cleanse. We know this one can be tough, but the best suggestion is to start a cleanse on a weekend when you know you can relax without stress. After the first couple of days you’ll be able to handle stress again, but a high anxiety level while you’re not able to emotionally eat and you’re experiencing a headache is just setting you up for failure.
10. Don’t run back to pizza and cheese fries once your cleanse is over. Yes, we all love them, but if you spend a week eating clean, fresh foods to get into shape or make your body feel amazing, it will go into complete shock if you go back to greasy, fatty foods with no nutritional value afterwards. In our experience, though, you won’t even want to eat processed foods after a cleanse. Your body becomes used to the natural, clean foods that it should be consuming and won’t want to go back to the junk food. We know it’s hard to believe, but you’ll see for yourself if you decide to go on a cleanse!
Image via iStock
More Diet and Fitness Tips From Beauty High:
Fitness 101: The Ultimate Guide to Looking Great on Spring Break
Getting Rid of Cellulite: The Best Skin Firming Products to Use
4 Key Ways to Change Your Diet For Clear Skin