Okay, so Day 21 was yesterday, but I just got this email in my inbox today with this cute button because I started a day before I was supposed to and my email updates have been off throughout this entire program.
I honestly feel like I’ve been on this journey for months, not 3 weeks. I would be lying if I said it was easy. But if you can make it through the first 10 days, you’re home free. My husband has not been as dedicated to sticking to the plan as I have, and he is still feeling tired and hasn’t experienced the weight loss I have. Which is weird for him — the guy has metabolism in spades. But I really think you have to go all in if you’re going to do this right and retrain your body to be a fat burning machine and not a sugar burning machine — and all that goes with it (increased energy, increased focus, and all that.)
If you’re considering The 21-Day Sugar Detox, here is my advice.
Plan. Plan your detox for a time when you have a good 10 days with no social functions, no travel, nothing to potentially derail you. The first 10 days are the worst, and you don’t want to make it any more difficult on yourself than you have to.
Prepare. Rid your kitchen of potential pitfalls, and stock up on groceries and recipes before starting. Even making a couple meals ahead, if you’re that kind of organized person, can be very helpful once you’re in the detox because there is a lot of food prep involved. This program is rooted in a real food, paleo/primal diet so there are no packaged meals or bars to go along with it. You have be willing to cook, and you will need a lot of fresh ingredients so it’s best to have a stocked kitchen when you start out.
Go all in. If you’re looking to change your eating habits gradually, this is not the program for you. It is just fine to take things slowly, eliminate offensive foods from your diet gradually, but if you’re doing the detox, you have to be prepared to go all in. I did start making some calculated exceptions after I got over the hump, but I did not deviate at all from the program until I could tell that I’d totally beaten the sugar and carb cravings and trained my body to burn fat rather than sugar, the way we were intended.
Elicit support. If you can, find a friend to do it with you. Ideally, have someone in your household doing it with you. My husband embarked on this journey with me, bless him. Even though he wasn’t quite as committed as I, having him pretty much doing it with me helped a ton — especially in the beginning when I was more tempted to quit.
Keep busy. I always find it helpful to keep myself busy when trying to “diet” or deny myself any of my favorite foods. The more time you have to think about what you’d like to eat, the harder it is. My hardest days were the weekend days when I wasn’t working non-stop and had some time to veg. That’s when I typically snack, and that is when I found myself tempted to get derailed.
Reward. Giving myself little (non-food related) rewards along the way was helpful. I didn’t talk much about this, and I didn’t really do it intentionally, but I did some shopping on the darkest days, and one day I treated myself to a manicure for no reason. That helped my mood immensely. Whatever works for you, think ahead to some rewards that might help you stay motivated or fun things you can do to distract yourself from what you’re missing, and plan to reward yourself for staying true to the program.
Celebrate. Tonight we are going out to dinner at our favorite restaurant. We haven’t avoided eating out entirely while on this detox, but we have had to be very careful when dining out not to sabotage the program. Tonight I plan to be sensible, but I’m looking forward to more freedom in ordering. Dining out is one of our favorite activities so this is a perfect way for us to celebrate.
Going forward, I plan to stick pretty close to a primal way of eating in our home (read yesterday’s post if you want more information on that) but when dining out, I will allow myself small indulgences from time to time. Like maybe french fries or main dishes with sauces that may not be 100% free of added sugars. I do plan to steer clear of desserts and cocktails made with juice and sweeteners (and of course anything with gluten.)
So it’s official. I did it!!
Not perfectly, no. But I feel like I got out of the program what was intended. I can honestly say I have beat the carb/sugar cravings. I feel great. I have more energy than I’ve had in years. I feel like my moods are more stable, although my family may beg to differ, ha! I am still a woman, of course, and hormones rage on… sugar addiction or no. The best part is, I’ve lost a total of 10 pounds as well as one inch from my bust, hips and belly AND a full two inches from my waist. Be gone, middle-aged middle!!!!
While being healthier and kicking sugar/carb cravings was definitely the point of the sugar detox, my weight was the impetus for doing it. I was at the point where I had to either buy a new wardrobe or do something drastic about my eating habits. I know I was touting the real food philosophy, but I had gotten very lax with it. Now I feel like I’m back on track, but even better than before because now I don’t have the cravings to contend with. I’m sure I will have to do this again at some point, but for now I’m feeling quite victorious.