Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Experience On The 21 Day Sugar Detox

I've finished my 21 Day Sugar Detox diet. I'll summarize here how well I followed it, how I felt on it, what I learned and how I plan on eating now.

How well I followed it: The first week, my motivation level was high to stick with it 100%. I followed the week one meal plan pretty much exactly.

Our trip to Tennessee for the Thanksgiving holiday was during the second week. My first day in Tennessee was the first time I fell off the wagon a bit. During those three days we were there, I stuck to the plan about 75% of the time. For the most part, I stayed away from all the bread, biscuits, dinner rolls, etc., that were present at all meals, and I steered clear of food with added sugar as much as possible. I did, however, allow myself some of my favorite holiday treats, like my mom's chocolate pie.

After we returned home and life got back to normal, I got right back on the plan 100%. I was comfortable enough with it that I was able to eat in an a' la cart manner, sticking to foods on the 'yes' list, instead of following the meal plan laid out in the book. All week long, though, I was wishing I had planned out meals, because eating on the fly with this was a little more difficult.

How I felt on it: That first week was tough. I found out quickly that my body doesn't respond well to not getting enough carbs. Around day three I felt weak and irritable. The morning of day four I woke up feeling sick and shaky. At that point, I calculated the amount of carbs I'd eaten each day, and it averaged around 50g per day. From that day on, I made sure to eat around 130g - 150g each day.

Going into the second week, I started to feel more energy, a clearer head, and enough excitement about that to strengthen my resolve.

By the third week, it wasn't very difficult to not eat sweet stuff. Cravings weren't much of a struggle most of the time. A bonus: I lost 7 pounds!

What I learned:
  • You have to be extremely intentional about reading labels and knowing what you're buying in order to not buy grocery items without some sort of added sugar or artificial ingredients. 
  • It IS possible, though, and not that difficult once you get in the habit of looking and knowing what to look for. 
  • I also (re)learned the importance of planning and cooking.
  • Meals that are home-cooked with real food ingredients have a high quality taste that I've come to desire much more than all that crap junk full of fillers and chemicals.
My exit plan and how I intend to eat going forward: This morning, I made my own meal plan for the upcoming week and went shopping for it. My experience with this diet has helped me get back into the habit of cooking dinner every night. When I do that, I'm able to easily pack lunch for the next day so that I'm not eating on the fly. I stay in control of what I eat this way.

I intend to continue to find and/or create new recipes and work with a weekly meal plan. I will use recipes that call for real food ingredients and use honey, maple or fruit when I need sweetener. It won't be difficult at all to cook without adding sugar to things, and I'm confident I'll be able to buy food without any kind of sugar ingredients added.

The only thing I truly missed and have figured out I don't want to do without is having sweetener in my coffee. I got away from using sugar a long time ago, substituting honey instead. I will definitely go back to using honey in my coffee now, but I bet I won't need as much of it. :)

The last consideration for my eating plan going forward is that I intend to follow the plan I just described here probably 80-90% of the time. If I'm out with friends or on occasions where I want to enjoy a sweet treat, slice of pizza, or otherwise go off the path a little bit, I will do so without regret.

As for the 21 Day Sugar Detox, I'm extremely glad I did it and highly recommend it to everyone. I wasn't perfect on it, but it did a great service to my resolve to clean up my eating and completely changed my mindset about food and feeding my body. I anticipate doing it again sometime next year.

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