If there's one thing that mamas have in common, it's our least favorite 6 letter word: STRESS. It's inevitable. We have a lot on our plates, we wear a lot of hats, and we can juggle more things than the clown you hired for a birthday party.
We're always looking for things that will help us feel our absolute best! Because, really, if mama isn't feeling her best, the household isn't going to be running at optimal speeds. So when we heard about a program designed to help our minds and bodies find optimal health, we knew we needed more info.
Our friend, Dr. Zarya Rubin, MD of Wild Lilac Wellness, is sharing the details of her 5-day health reset. Zarya is a Harvard-educated physician, an integrative health & wellness coach, and a proud mama. So if her credentials alone don't impress you, read on to learn more about a 5-day reset and how it might just help you break the stress cycle once and for all.
5 Reasons for a 5-Day Reset
Dr. Zarya Rubin, MD of Wild Lilac Wellness
I see you there, Weekend Warrior, Resolution Maker, Stressed-Out-Mom looking for a magical “Easy Button”…
A new year (or a new decade) is the classic time to seek out a fresh start – we make New Year’s resolutions, we get gym memberships; we try to reinvent ourselves in an effort to achieve our goals. Sometimes after too many holiday parties, Xmas cookies, champagne toasts and living on take-out, our bodies don’t feel like they are in peak form. You might feel extra fatigued from all of the family visits, bloated, hung over, off your exercise routine, overwhelmed from the kids being home from school and just wishing like you could flip a switch and…start over.
While we aren’t laptops or iphones with a “power down and restart” button, there are simple ways to give your body and mind a chance to reset and find rhythms, eating habits, and daily practices that serve rather than sabotage your journey towards optimal health.
WHAT IS A RESET?
Also know as a “detox” or a “cleanse,” a reset is a limited time period with habit shifts that can include adding specific foods, eliminating certain foods, and a range of exercise or other wellness and self-care practices. While historically resets consisted of juice fasts, grapefruit diets and other questionable practices, most current resets incorporate things like Clean Eating, sugar detoxes, dry January or going plant-based or vegan. The opportunity to try new foods or diets, eliminate foods that may be causing distress, and implementing other healthy behaviors like movement and mindfulness can all be part of a reset.
HOW DOES DIET PLAY A ROLE IN HEALTH?
Studies have shown us that diet is connected to various health outcomes and the risk of chronic disease; diets that consist primarily of processed and high glycemic foods (aka the Standard American Diet or SAD diet – I swear, I didn’t make up that acronym) are linked to diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. On the other hand, diets that are plant-based, with an emphasis on healthy fats and whole grains (think Mediterranean Diet), are associated with longevity and lower risk of a whole host of chronic illnesses. Eliminating foods from your diet that can be pro-inflammatory such as gluten, dairy, and sugar can also have a positive impact on a number health conditions, attention and concentration, the gut microbiome and even certain autoimmune diseases.
When it comes to mental health, associations are less clear cut but are starting to emerge and are truly eye-opening. Links between our diet and our microbiome, gut health, and brain function, including mood, depression, anxiety, ADD, and even the development of Alzheimers are changing our entire perspective on the impact of the food we eat.
We also know that stress itself can raise cortisol levels and disrupt digestion, cardiovascular function, and impact immunity. The foods we eat can in turn create stress on the digestive tract, alter hormone levels and overall energy levels. So there is this complex bidirectional relationship between the foods we eat, the stress we experience, and our resulting overall health and well-being. Enter a reset to break that cycle.
WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM A RESET?
Anyone who is looking to make a change, whether it is incorporating healthier eating habits, doing more home cooking, cutting back on sugar, or finding time for more self-care, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, can benefit from a reset. The beauty of a 5-Day Reset is that it is a short period of time, a manageable commitment, and yet most people see tangible results that may inspire longer-term healthy habits and behavioral change. Often resolutions fail because they are too large in scope – people try to go from couch potato to hitting the gym 5 days a week, when a more realistic goal might be 10 minutes of daily stretching. Once those incremental changes are made, that opens the door to go further and deeper.
Women in particular are often suffering from multiple forms of chronic stress stemming from managing a job (inside or outside the home) a relationship, as well as something called “the mental load” which is sort of a running list of all the things that need to get done, from taking the laundry out of the washer and putting it in the dryer, to remembering to buy eggs, to scheduling that pediatrician’s appointment, to ordering those lightbulbs that are still sitting in your cart on Amazon. The running tally and list-making (especially late at night when you’re trying to fall asleep) can be exhausting and take a toll on your ability to be present and experience peace of mind.
I know the toll chronic stress can have, because I’ve certainly been there myself. As a former physician at a prestigious academic center, I suffered from burnout and stress-related illness. Later, after the birth of my daughter and the enormous stress new motherhood can bring, I developed autoimmune disease, GI distress, chronic sinus issues, and worsening anxiety. I knew major changes had to be made in the way I approached my diet and the stress in my life. I was already eating a pretty healthy diet by most standards, but I cut out caffeine, cut down on alcohol, and really made an effort to reduce sugar, dairy and gluten. After doing several different resets and detoxes myself, I saw the power they had to heal as well as calm down my nervous system. Most of all, the inclusion of a daily meditation practice and more physical exercise totally changed my path. I ultimately switched careers and went back to study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became a certified health and wellness coach, specializing in helping smart women break the stress cycle and reclaim their health.
Here are five more reasons why a reset might be right for you:
You’re looking to make a fresh start in 2020, but don’t know where or how to start. We all have lofty goals, but actually implementing them and figuring out what to switch out can be confusing and actually induce stress. A tried and true program run by an experienced coach can provide that support and guidance to make those changes a reality.
You’re curious about Clean Eating. You’ve heard about the hype, but what exactly is this “clean eating” trend and could it be right for you? Clean eating isn’t that complicated; it’s essentially an approach that focuses on unprocessed, whole foods, plant-heavy, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains. Dairy, gluten, sugar, and alcohol are often left off of clean eating plans as they can trigger inflammation and internal stress. Once people try clean eating, they often find that it is a lot less restrictive than many other ways of eating that are also trending these days (Whole 30, Paleo, Keto) but yields fantastic results in terms of overall health and well-being.
You want a quick fix. While I don’t really believe there is such a thing as a shortcut when it comes to health, a reset is certainly one of the best ways to see significant benefits in a short amount of time. Participants often report weight loss, more energy, less brain fog, better skin, less GI upset, deeper sleep and a calmer mind. It’s a great way to experiment with changes that you might then choose to implement for a longer time period and see how that works with your body and your lifestyle.
You love a cheering section. While you could choose to do a reset like Whole 30 or try Keto on your own for a period of time, the beauty of doing a reset in a group setting is that you get the support of a coach and of other women like you who may be struggling with similar challenges. There is strength in numbers and accountability in shared goals that just doesn’t happen when it’s you and your fridge and a lot of temptation. I offer my participants a private online Facebook group and lots of daily support and even 1:1 coaching with me.
You want to break the stress cycle. Deep down you know that your current stress levels are not sustainable. You can’t keep getting mad at your kids or your spouse. You can’t keep getting every cold and flu going around. You want to experience more joy in life, more peace, more calm, but you don’t have a lot of time, energy, or money to do it. A reset might just be the perfect way to shift things and break the cycle of chronic stress, poor eating habits, and suboptimal physical and mental health. It’s only 5 days – what do you have to lose?