How To Detox To Lose Weight And Gain Energy


Clare Kelway DIHom BCHN®

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Struggling to lose those extra 15 lbs. hanging around your belly? Just can’t seem to lose weight no matter what diet you follow or how few calories you consume. Today I am going to show you how to detox to lose weight and gain energy. These weight loss strategies will teach you the link between stubborn weight gain, digestion, and detoxification.

Your toxic burden

You are not releasing your toxic burden.  And today, this toxic burden is great. Exogenous toxins include wildfire smoke, exhaust fumes, poor air quality, contaminated foods, radiation, pesticides, and pharmaceutical drugs. We are also creating our own toxic burden from within called endogenous toxins. Stress also creates toxins. Bacteria, parasites, fungi, poorly digested food, and our own internal metabolic processes also cause stress.  

If your body is working efficiently, it is a wonderful self-cleaning detox machine with a metabolism that releases toxins and absorbs nutrients. 

Clogged detoxification pathways

However, when the foundations of our health are off balance, our detoxification pathways become clogged and it is just like a blocked sewer in your home. It needs unblocking which takes focused attention on the foundations of your health especially your digestive processes. This is needed in order to detox to lose weight. Your body is constantly looking for ways to downregulate the toxic burden and detoxification is the process of clearing these toxins from your system. 

14-day weight loss cleanse

Perhaps you can see why a 14-day weight loss cleanse will not resolve the many unpleasant toxic symptoms you may be suffering from including hormonal hot flashes and extra pounds of belly fat (Klein & Kiat, 2015).

In fact, a 14-day cleanse could actually make your symptoms worse by moving toxins from one part of your body to another or even converting them to worse toxins. So let’s explore how you can, by focusing on digestion, detox to lose weight and therefore improve your health and wellbeing. 

stomach pain

Focusing on digestion

Digestion is a north-to-south process, beginning in your brain. Consequently, you smell and see food and digestion before you even take your first bite.  This north-to-south process goes from brain to mouth all the way to your anus. It is intimately involved in detoxifying your toxic exposure. 

Digestion breaks down your food in order to absorb nutrients and fuel your body. However, even if you are eating a wholesome nutrient-dense diet, this doesn’t mean you can detox to lose weight if you can’t digest these foods.  

So focusing on digestion is key to getting your detox pathways doing the self-cleaning work they are designed to do. Only then will you be able to absorb nutrients and transform fat-soluble metabolites into water-soluble metabolites for extraction from your body. 

How poor digestion causes a toxic environment

Poor digestion can cause your body to become a toxic environment. This includes low stomach acid, poor bile flow, and enzyme production, liver toxicity, and large intestine dysfunction.  Poor digestion clogs the detox pathways. Specific amino acids such as methionine play a critical role in detoxification. Methionine is needed to run the sulfation pathway of detoxification. Poor fat digestion clogs your lymphatic system and as a consequence, your liver pathways. The bile is the river by which toxins are removed from your body via your small intestine. Good bile flow is needed for detox to lose weight.

Your intestinal tract has several functions in detox:

  • Checks food for invaders
  • Detoxifies poorly digested, fermented toxins 
  • Filters food and intestinal bacteria in the small intestine
  • Gets rid of toxins and other unusable substances through bile in your poop

Digestion and detox for weight loss

Proper detox is stress-lowering and creates a parasympathetic response. Being in a parasympathetic state allows for better digestion (Cherpak, 2019)  and a healthy liver.  The two go hand in hand.  

eating while stressed

How often do you find yourself eating too quickly because you’ve got to hop on a business call or drop the grandkids at soccer practice?  We may even not really be aware of what we are eating at all.  

Carbohydrates are partially digested in your mouth.  Mindful eating which includes chewing your food up to 20 times is a daily habit that is one of the most basic of health foundations.  Why spend thousands of dollars on health and fitness gadgets when you could just practice slow and mindful eating? 

Your liver is your #1 detox organ – detox for weight loss

Your liver is your #1 detox organ. It takes toxins out of your bloodstream and makes them harmless to your body.  Digestion and blood sugar dysregulation most directly impacts liver function. Your liver processes EVERYTHING that enters your bloodstream from the air you breathe, the food you eat, and what you put on your skin.  The liver makes up between 25-50% of your body’s lymph (Chung & Iwakiri, 2013)).  

Once toxins enter your liver, they are combined with bile as they move through your gallbladder and then into your small intestine. The toxin-filled bile then enters your large intestine, where toxins are neutralized and eventually pass out your body via your poop. 

healthy liver

An excess of adipose tissue such as those 15 lbs. of belly fat that has crept up on you harm your body’s ability to detox to lose weight.  Adipose tissue stores toxins like heavy metals, petroleum (even from your beauty products), and other harmful chemicals (Skidmore College, 2017).  

In order to release these toxins, your liver and metabolism must be able to convert fat-soluble molecules into water-soluble molecules. This then releases these molecules from your body via urine in your kidneys and poop from your bowels.  

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Menopause and detox for weight loss

This is where many menopausal women’s weight issues arise because the metabolism is not converting fat-soluble molecules into water-soluble molecules to detox to lose weight. A 2 week cleanse is not going to correct this process. Sadly, the word detox has become synonymous with marketing-driven quick cleanses. 

Each of the 2 liver detox phases is nutrient-dependent.  Food feeds your liver the nutrients it needs through the blood in order to complete the detox process.  If the right nutrients aren’t available to your liver, toxin elimination from metabolic processes can’t happen. 

Your body is constantly breaking down molecules like hormones and restructuring them to get ready for elimination.  Your liver has its own set of detox enzymes to break down these molecules and it uses both pathways to do this. 

Phase 1 detox pathway

The Phase 1 detox pathway uses enzymes from the Cytochrome p450 family to break down toxins into intermediate and sometimes even more toxic metabolites.  (Nutritional Therapy Association. (n.d.)) 

Sometimes during the breakdown process, the chemicals created are very toxic.  Your liver produces free radicals during Phase 1, so it’s really important that it has access to antioxidants to neutralize these free radicals. 

If you drink alcohol, drink coffee, smoke, or take recreational drugs or prescription meds, your liver has to really increase Phase 1 activities to keep up with detox. 

Phase 1 detox is designed to make toxins water soluble in order to enter phase 2.  Many times, this process fails due to a lack of nutrients or lack of antioxidants. 

Phase 1 nutrients needed for detox include: 

  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12
  • Beta-carotene
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Folate

Phase 2 detox pathway

Phase 2 detox pathway focuses on reformulating or conjugating water soluble phase 1 metabolites.  It does this by using 6 different pathways that complete the breakdown of toxins and remove them from your body through bile, poop, and urine. 

Phase 2 nutrients needs for detox:

  • Amino acids – glycine, glutamine, cysteine, methionine, and taurine. Cysteine, methionine, and taurine are sulfur-containing, which is really important for glutathione production (Pizzorno, 2014). 
  • Vitamins B5 and B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Folate


Glutathione is known as the “mother of detox nutrients”. It is made by your liver specifically for both phases of detox.  Six phase 2 channels further break down water-soluble molecules from phase 1 and bind them (conjugate) to certain protein molecules for removal from your body.  Your kidneys are just as important for this process as your liver. This is often forgotten in a quick liver cleanse process. What happens if your kidney pathways are clogged?  If phase 2 isn’t happening properly, concentrated toxins re-enter your bloodstream.  This can cause a whole host of health problems including food intolerances. 

Detox and leaky gut

Detox for weight loss depends on a healthy gut mucosal lining (Shimizu, 2012) meaning that you are not suffering from a leaky gut and you are maintaining a healthy microbiome balance of the precise bacterial and chemical environment.

How to improve your detoxification pathways

Improving your detoxification pathways begins with eating a nutrient-dense, diverse, whole-foods diet. This is the best way to support your body’s digestive detoxification processes (Hodges & Minich, 2015). 

What nutrient-dense foods to eat for weight loss?

nutrient dense foods to eat

Healthy fats especially essential fatty acids (omega 3s and 6s) to support Phase 1 such as oily fishes – wild-caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, and grass-fed pasture-raised meats. Also consume healthy fats such as olive oil, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil that will put less stress on your liver and help your cells to dispose of waste correctly. 

Lots of phytonutrients such as berries and dark green leafy vegetables, beets, endive, cucumbers, garlic onions, artichoke, and sprouted seeds. 

Eat high-quality protein such as pasture-raised, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, and pasture-raised eggs, as fresh fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and citrus fruits high in vitamin C to support the Phase 2 amino acid and sulfation pathways.

You may need some additional supplementation support in order to get your digestion working better.

Who can help you with improving detoxification?

Working with our team can help you determine what foods and supplementation will get you the wonderful healthy results you are seeking.  Don’t continue to suffer and spend money on futile 14-day cleanses. Detox to lose weight and gain energy with our team’s help who is properly trained to help you dig into the foundations of your health and put together a bio individual plan specifically designed for your needs.  


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Clare Kelway Experienced Functional Medicine practitioner specializing in natural health solutions.

Clare Kelway

Functional Medicine Practitioner

Metabolix Health Clinical Director, Clare Kelway BS DIHom HHP BCHN® is recognized as an expert in functional metabolism. She is a  Functional Medicine practitioner with decades of experience in natural health solutions.  She specializes in optimizing your metabolism, hormones, and gut health. Her own health turnaround in her 30s led to her career in functional medicine. She is the Founder of Metabolix Health, a virtual functional medicine practice in Erie, Colorado. A lifelong learner and researcher, her passion is helping clients reverse their health issues in the simplest way. She is a candid, direct communicator who clients often refer to as a “breath of fresh air”. She champions their journeys and says her reward is watching her clients restore their health and regain their vitality for life.