07/22/2010 03:47 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Ashton: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Cleanse

Since Ashton Kutcher is giving up on his master cleanse with five more days to go, maybe maple syrup and cayenne pepper wont be flying off grocery store shelves everywhere. However, this brings up the question: are cleanses good for you? Before volunteering for a week of irritability, low energy and hunger, ask yourself three simple questions:

QUESTION ONE: What does this cleanse mean?
If the purpose is to lose weight, then there is something about a cleanse that actually highlights and affirms a mantra of "I'm not good enough the way I am." Ironically, affirming low self-worth in this way can lead to self-medicating with food. This approach focuses on the what's wrong and not the what's right in you. This is engaging in a DIET. Since the overwhelming majority of diets fail, it is very unlikely to achieve any lasting success. For people with binge eating disorder and bulimia, starving yourself for all or part of the day can actually INCREASE the likelihood of binging. And for people with a history of alcoholism and addiction, hunger is one of the four triggers taught in Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.

QUESTION TWO: Do I have a plan?
Always keep in mind, failure to plan is planning to fail. If you are symbolically giving yourself a fresh start with a cleanse and will engage in a new way of eating (not a diet) through the supervision of a doctor or nutritionist, then a cleanse may be a great way to make a strong start. Through supervised planning, begin adding different foods to test your body's reaction to dairy, gluten or meat and gather helpful information in this way. However, the overwhelming majority of most people have no plan when going on cleanses. Set your goals. Keep notes. Consult a professional for accountability, planning and information.

QUESTION THREE: How can I achieve my goals?
Instead of focusing on the what's wrong with you and all the things you have to take away, focus on what you want to ADD to your life. In terms of weight loss and health, you will go F.A.R. by eating foods that are:

FRESH -- focus on increasing fresh fruits and vegetables (highlighting a mantra of "I'm choosing to engage in healthy eating, and I'm good enough.") as opposed to focusing on what you're taking away.

AVAILABLE -- keep these fruits and vegetables close: in your home, your work fridge, and when you travel.

READY TO GO -- Buy pre-packaged fruits and vegetables or pre-cut them and put them in individual baggies so when you come home from a long day at work, you have something to reach and nosh on instead of opening that bag of cookies.