I’m talking about a whole-body reset, one where you take a step back and ask yourself, “What do I need to clean up in my diet?” 

Think of it as a little spring cleaning for your lifelong home: your body. Our bodies do a lot for us even when they don’t want to. They get up at the crack of dawn after we stay up too late binge-watching Hell’s Kitchen, they’re forced to digest ingredients they weren’t equipped to handle when we indulge in those special snacks, and they continue to work even when their muscles are tight from hunching over a desk all day. Our bodies put up with a lot, often without too much complaint, but when they reach their limit, you can feel it.

Here are three signs that your body needs a well-deserved break.

Your digestive system is a little sluggish

Are you feeling a little –ahem – backed up? Do you wake up with a heavy feeling in your stomach or notice that you are bloated? It happens from time to time, but when it does, it’s time to ease up on the processed carbs and increase the fiber. Ditch your breakfast muffin and make some plain oatmeal topped with berries. Make a bean chili for dinner or cozy up with lentil soup. Instead of snacking on processed treats during the day, focus on cleansing your digestive tract with whole fruits and vegetables, high in fiber and water. Speaking of water, make sure to drink half of your body weight in ounces until you notice that your digestive system is back on its normal schedule.

You are craving the wrong foods

Our brain craves the foods we put into our body, including the yucky ones. When we eat highly processed foods and sugar, we end up in a vicious cycle where we crave these foods consistently. Although harder to go the other way, when we fill ourselves with fresh whole foods, our bodies begin to crave them. Keeping an eye on your cravings is a good way to determine if you need a diet change. It doesn’t take long for your body to notice. A few days of clean eating can transform your health.

You lose motivation

Feeling like it’s hard to get off the couch lately? You start making excuses to skip your workouts, you begin to feel like the important tasks can wait, or you need an extra cup of coffee just to wake up in the morning. Feeling unmotivated could be a result of a poor diet; when we don’t physically feel our best, our mental well-being also suffers. The brain and body are closely connected and our lifestyle choices can affect more than just our digestive system.

Ready to clean house?

First things first; ditch the processed food. Instead of overwhelming and expensive detox grocery shopping lists, keep it simple and shop the parameter of the store first and save the middle aisles for last. The parameter of the store often contains your fresh produce, meats, and dairy. After you have filled your cart with the staples, you can then make your way through the rest of the store to look for your grains, beans, nuts, spices, and other items. Not sure what qualifies as a whole food? Anything that you can imagine growing naturally is a whole food. For example, you can imagine beans sprouting up from a garden, but it’s a little harder to imagine tortilla chips popping up from the ground. Next, keep your system hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. You should also eat fruits and vegetables with high water content including cucumber, lettuce, zucchini, cauliflower, peppers, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and peaches. Lastly, keep moving! Your digestive system benefits from physical movement. Even just simple stretching can get increase gut mobility.

A healthy digestive system is what keeps us going, is it time for a cleanse yet?