THE 21-DAY SUGAR DETOX DAYS 10-11 RECAP

I’m behind on sugar detox updates and the last couple days have been . . . interesting. I truly thought that after I got over the initial hurdle of the first week, I would not deviate from the program for the full 21 days. I envisioned victoriously completing the detox and slowly starting to add back in some healthy carbs after the 3 weeks was up, but as it turns out I did some, um, experimenting over the last couple days.

I refuse to call it cheating because this is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle, and one I intend to embrace once the detox is over. And I won’t say that I fell off the wagon because I made a very intentional decision to deviate from the program, not because I was craving something or feeling irritable. In fact it was because I felt like I was over the hump and on the upswing, not experiencing cravings and no longer always thinking about my next chance to eat (or my 5:00 glass of wine), and eager to get to my “new normal” that I decided that perhaps I didn’t need to wait until the 21 days is up to start incorporating some things back into my diet.

I guess I knew in my heart of hearts that it was too soon, that I need to give my body more time to adjust to this new way of eating, but at the same time I was anxious to move on. That’s how I roll. I was planning to start this detox on a Wednesday and went ahead and started two days early because I was raring to go. When I get an idea in my head, I tend to dive in and figure it will work out. I suppose there are worse character traits, right?

Thursday, Day 10

So anyway. On Thursday night, I opened a bottle of red wine to serve a guest and decided to have a small glass to be social. I was curious how it would taste, how I would feel if I drank it, and if I’d be satisfied with one glass or want more.

It tasted a bit odd, but I think that might be the varietal, not the fact that wine hasn’t touched my lips for 10 days. I’m finicky about my pinot noir, and it was a brand I’ve never had. At any rate, it was just nice to feel human again. That probably sounds odd, but the only time I don’t drink wine is when I’m sick, and being on this detox has felt a bit like I’m sick, what with the food and drink deprivation and the general fatigue and headachiness I’ve experienced.

I had no desire for more after my glass was empty so I put it in the sink and made myself an espresso — not because I wanted it as much as because the wine was making me feel sleepy and we were planning to go out that night and I wanted to feel more alert.

I felt fine. I was afraid I might feel shaky or dizzy, but I did not. Score!

That is the only deviation I made from the program on Thursday. I did, however, try my hand at making this lime mug cake because I was sick of having a variation of eggs for breakfast.

lime coconut mug cake

It was awfully tart, but I love how easy it is to whip up using the microwave. I will try it again sometime with less lime juice and perhaps some raw honey for sweetness. Also, looking back at her photo, I didn’t put nearly enough coconut cream on top. The cream definitely helped tone down the tartness of the cake. But just the fact that I was eating something labeled “cake” felt like a treat!

For lunch, I had tuna salad over mixed greens, and for dinner I had sausage and peppers. I also drank lots of water that day. So other than the wine, I was totally compliant with the program on Thursday.

Friday, Day 11

Friday morning, I woke up feeling fine. In fact, I woke at 4:30 am and got up for the day. My energy was back, I felt like myself again, and I was still feeling like I could go ahead and start transitioning into the primal/paleo lifestyle now, rather than waiting the full 21 days since it isn’t a huge change from the way I’m eating now anyway. I will just be adding in more healthy carbs from plant sources, some natural sugars, and a few indulgences like red wine and dark chocolate. Why not start now?

Ha.

I had my usual 2 cups of coffee, and for breakfast my husband made us some fried eggs. I knew I should have some greens or tomato slices with it, but I didn’t bother. My kids asked for a smoothie, so I agreed. I whipped up a peach/banana smoothie and as I sliced peaches, I popped one slice into my mouth. IT TASTED DECADENT.

I think if I’d stopped there, I probably would have been fine.

But then.

I tasted the smoothie to make sure it was alright before giving it to the kids.

No, seriously, I really did want to see if it would pass muster because I was experimenting and just tossing things in the blender. Plus, it was all healthy ingredients, right? Full-fat vanilla yogurt from a local farm, a fresh banana, a fresh peach, some coconut milk (full fat, of course). I took a few more sips and the kids drank the rest.

OMYGOSH you guys, you’d have thought I’d eaten a cupcake. About 30 minutes later, I started feeling light-headed and then extremely fatigued. I felt that way for a few hours. I really wanted to lay down and nap, and I might have if I hadn’t had an appointment with my daughter. It was not pleasant, and I knew it was that little bit of sugar (mostly natural – even that yogurt is sweetened with maple syrup) that was doing this to me.

SO WEIRD!!!!! I really did NOT expect to notice anything. It was just a bit of sugar, and it’s not like I had it on an empty stomach, either. I had no idea I would be THAT sensitive to sugar after this detox.

By lunchtime, the lightheadedness and fatigue had passed. We went to our favorite natural foods store to pick up some groceries and grabbed lunch in their cafe. I wisely chose a bowl of chili. I also had a couple of tortilla chips that came on my daughter’s plate. They would have been organic, non-GMO, all that jazz — but of course, not paleo, primal or 21-day-detox friendly. But I was still telling myself, this is the way I will be eating for the long term. I want to be able to have one or two chips with my chili. But I do NOT want to go back to mindlessly scarfing down half a family-sized bag, drenched in salsa, with 2 margaritas while I watch TV. (I do this. Or did. ALL the time.)

(Not that there’s anything wrong with salsa, but I need to find a more nutritious vehicle on which to deliver it.)

I felt fine after lunch. I’m sure getting some protein into my system helped the sugar reaction pass. Happily, there were no obvious issues from the chips, and the rest of my day went smoothly.

For dinner I made these chicken stuffed sweet potatoes, a family favorite.

stuffed-sweet-potato.featured

I thought about the open bottle of wine and contemplated a small glass, but we were eating early so we could go to the high school football game where my son was performing in the marching band so I didn’t bother having any. I knew it would make me feel sleepy, and I’d been up since 4:30. And it just didn’t sound that appealing anyway.

YOU GUYS. This is huge. Normally I’d have one glass and then have another when I got home. Normally an open bottle of wine calls my name. Persistently.

But I realized that I really didn’t care about it, and I didn’t like the idea of having wine two nights in a row this early in my re-entry process. And I wasn’t entirely sure I was ready for the re-entry process, what with my sugar reaction early in the day. I knew the wise thing was to get back onto the sugar detox program for a few days and let my system settle down.

So we went to the game, and I bought a bottle of water and sipped it throughout the evening. This is my norm. I never get a soda or junk food at this type of venue, so there was no temptation there. Plus, after 11 days on this detox, the smells of carnival food were almost repulsive.

We got home, changed into PJs and powered up the DVR to continue the mini-series we’ve been watching about John Adams (I highly recommend it!) And the bottle of wine was still on the counter taunting me. Honestly, if it hadn’t been open, I wouldn’t have been tempted to open it, but it was, and it seemed wasteful to let it sit there. I think it was the experience that was appealing — having a glass of wine while watching TV with my husband — not the actual drink that sounded good to me. I thought, eh, one small glass won’t hurt.

So I poured it and took a sip, and it didn’t taste good at all. Almost too sweet. Again, I can’t tell if it’s this wine or if it’s me. Sometimes pinot noir is too sweet for me. But even the smell, which I usually love, was pleasant but not tantalizing. I took one more sip and dumped the rest down the drain. I got a glass of water and sat down to watch TV and never looked back. No desire.

YOU GUYS. That’s crazy. CRAZY!! Now, if I’d had my favorite white wine in the house, it might have been a different story. But I don’t, and for very good reason. I knew I didn’t need that around tempting me during this detox. So anyway.

I was also not tempted to grab a snack. I had contemplated Mary’s Gone Crackers and some raw grass-fed cheddar cheese (both acceptable on the detox) but I wasn’t hungry and didn’t really desire to snack. The water hit the spot.

WHAT??!! I know. So on to Day 12.

Day 12

Here we are. Today is Day 12. I feel amazing. My energy is back, my head is clear, and I’m not feeling any cravings or temptations. And also notable, my stomach just feels . . . not bloated, almost hollow, but not in an uncomfortable hungry way, just not full and bloated like it often is.

At this point, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the changes I’ve noticed in my body. I know this post is long and getting longer, but if you’re following this journey of mine, I suppose you’re not going to mind a few more paragraphs? (Those who aren’t, I’m sure are long gone by now, anyway!!)

I feel like no one wants to hear the “skinny girl” talk about her weight and body issues, but I have struggled with food addiction and compulsive eating my entire life and it’s no fun, no matter what your size. And when you’re my size, every 5 pounds makes a HUGE difference in how your clothes fit and how you feel. (I know I’m not alone, it’s just that sometimes I feel like it’s obnoxious to talk about these issues when other women struggle with overweight and obesity, and I don’t want to be insensitive to that.) But I feel like this is too integral to this sugar detox journey to not mention it. After all, it was my weight and bloated belly that was the final impetus for starting this program.

Not only was my weight out of control, but my body was taking on an entirely new shape. I realize you may look at my Daily Mom Style photos and think I’m exaggerating, but please remember that I wear shapewear, stand at flattering angles, suck in my tummy, and only post the good pictures! (I also use the airbrush feature in PicMonkey to make my skin look smoother, while I’m having a confessional, but I do NOT use the slimming feature. Pinky swear.)

Anyway, over the past year, my middle has become larger and bloated. Not only was my stomach protruding but I was also getting thicker up around my waist. I had gotten to the point where I would look at myself in the mirror, my bloated gut and expanding torso, and think, I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS MY BODY. It was just surreal.

I’ve always had a bit of a muffin top from child bearing and a carb heavy diet, but I no longer looked like myself and it was getting depressing.

As of this morning, I’ve lost 8 pounds.

Yes, that’s a lot on my frame, and a lot for only 11 days, but today I weigh what I have weighed most of my adult life. This is as far as I can tell my body’s natural happy weight. (I believe we all have a weight at which our bodies will naturally settle if we eat reasonably.)

I have also taken measurements. I have lost 1/2 inch in my chest, 1 inch around my belly, 1/2 inch in my hips, and 1-1/2 inches around my waist. I can feel it in my clothes, and I can see it in the mirror. Now I look in the mirror and think THAT IS MY BODY!! I HAVE MY BODY BACK!!!!

In fact, I said that out loud last night while doing fist pumps. Don’t worry, no one was watching. Ha!

Honestly, I think I look even better than I did before — because not only has the extra weight come off, but without the sugar and carbs, I don’t have any bloating at all. Just a bit of post-baby flab that is my trophy and will probably be there forever. (Moms of the world unite!)

I had become used to sitting in a car or at my desk or on the couch watching TV, and looking down to see this protruding belly pudge that always kind of grossed me out. Even before my recent weight gain, I had it to a lesser degree, because of my carb-heavy diet.

I’ve always carried my weight in my middle and eaten a carb-heavy diet, so it’s just something I had assumed was part of my natural body shape. But now I am more evenly proportioned.

Now, I look down, and there’s nothing. It’s not that I’m looking for it. It’s that I look down and do a double take because, OMYGOSH, where did my belly go!???

It is surreal.

So what now?

I don’t know.

One voice in my head is saying to get back onto the sugar detox program and see this thing through and then transition into a primal/paleo way of eating and living.

Another voice in my head is saying, we’re good. Go ahead and make the transition. Just take it slowly and be sensible.

Of course we all know I do nothing slowly. Ha!

So I guess I’m going to play it by ear. I may make some exceptions to the detox plan from here on out, but I’m going to consider myself still on it, and keep counting the days and writing updates.

I still have another few pounds I’d like to lose to be at my ideal weight, which will give me some leeway to fluctuate as I introduce carbs and sugars (only healthy ones, I HOPE!!) back into my life. And I definitely want to give my body time to adjust.

You may be asking . . .

What the HECK is Paleo/Primal, anyway? And what’s the difference?

I discovered an awesome new website this morning, and they have an excellent page about what it means to eat Paleo/Primal and the difference between the two. They also have a ton of primal/paleo recipes I cannot wait to peruse.

From Primal Palate:

What is the difference between Paleo and Primal?

‘Primal’ generally refers to Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint way of eating which is very similar to Paleo, but allows some leeway with certain types of dairy and has fewer restrictions on saturated fat intake. Throughout this book, we use “Paleo” and “Primal” as interchangeable terms. Generally speaking, the Paleo Diet is a high protein, moderate fat diet, and the Primal Blueprint is considered to be a high fat, moderate protein diet. Many people who follow this way of eating consider the terms to be one and the same. How ever you personally decide to “title” the ancestral diet that you abide by, both stem from the core principle of eating the foods our bodies were designed to eat: plants and animals.

What types of food are included in the Paleo diet?

We eat a wide variety of meats, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Colorful Fruits and Vegetables, Healthy fats from coconut, avocado, pastured fatty cuts of meat, grass fed butter, olive oil, and some nuts and seeds. The options are endless, and our plates are always filled with something new and interesting to challenge our palates!

Which foods do you avoid?

All Grains, Pasteurized dairy, Soy, Legumes, Refined Sugar, and Alcohol

I am planning to lean towards the Primal way of eating because it allows moderate amounts of both red wine (hooray!) and good quality dairy (cheese and heavy cream are two things I do not want to give up, and they don’t seem to bother me so I plan to enjoy them in moderation.)

So for those of you wondering what I hope my diet to look like when I’m done the sugar detox, there ya go!

If you made it to the end of this post, give yourself a cookie! Or, um, a sweet potato! LOL.

Seriously, though, I know many of my readers don’t care about and are put off with all this diet talk. But if my journey helps even a few people feel better and find peace with food, I’m willing to share.

Have a LOVELY Labor Day Weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!