The next time you find yourself considering a diet cleanse, remember it may be your mindset that needs the reset instead. Let nutrition Expert Taryn Schubert remind us of the true detox we need in our lives.

“Detox” and “cleanse” diets constantly pop up, claiming to help you “lose X pounds in X days!” The weight loss claims of cleanses are true because you’re forcing your body into severe caloric restriction, so yes, you will likely lose weight. It is, however, not a healthy or sustainable way to lose weight with limited fat loss.  In fact, the weight lost on most detoxes and cleanses is typically a combination of water weight and muscle loss, with a small amount of fat loss.

The major problem with most diets is that they feed into the mindset that food is bad for us. It perpetuates the negative concept that we need to “cleanse” ourselves and rid ourselves of “toxins” that we accumulate, simply for eating and living our lives.

First of all, we have systems in our body whose entire purpose is to take out the things we don’t need: they are called our liver and kidneys. If those aren’t working properly, no juice cleanse will ever solve the problem.

The major thing that we need to detox: the notion that food is bad for you. Food is your body’s fuel. It allows you to keep living from one day to the next. There is no good and evil, there is only food. This idea that food is damaging to us, or should make us feel guilty or bad about ourselves is unhealthy. Your body needs micronutrients, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Eating food is not something you have to atone for.

This idea of “clean” eating that is currently all the rage originally came from a good place. The premise is to eat whole foods rather than processed foods. However, like with most fad diets, it has somehow evolved into something much more stringent than any diet should be.

There’s a saying I’ve seen around the internet – “You do not have to earn food. You are not a dog.” I like it and hate it at the same time. The first half is 100% right: you do not have to earn anything you eat. You need to eat to live, it’s not about burning so many calories in order to eat a meal or a snack.

It’s the second part that is troublesome. For myself and many of my friends who have dogs, we do not make our dogs earn their food. We feed our dogs because we love them, and we want them to be healthy and live a long life. Those are the same reasons you should feed yourself.

So instead of dedicating a week of your time to “detoxing” your body, spend those 7 days detoxing your mind. Start to heal your relationship with food. When you eat a meal, think about the way it will nourish your body and all the ways you will use that energy, whether it be for concentrating on the book you’re reading, recovering from your morning workout that morning, or laughing endlessly with your friends on a Friday night out.

The human body is a beautiful thing. Nourish it. Appreciate it.

Adapted from the original article.

Taryn Schubert, RD is a Los Angeles-based Registered Dietitian who helps people create healthy diets that fit their lifestyle. With her specialty in adult weight management and mindful eating, Taryn believes food should be a source of joy and nourishment, not “good” or “bad” in the way society perpetuates. Visit Taryn and begin creating your healthier relationship with food.