21-Day Sugar Detox...done!

When I started this detox, I was ready. It was a new year and time for a jump start. No more nibbling on treats and excusing my bad behavior as the holiday norm. I was feeling yucky and it was time to re-set my system. The first week wasn't too bad. It took some time, but I was organized with recipes and snack planning and things clicked along nicely. I tried some new meals and surprisingly, we hit on a couple of things immediately that even the kids were willing to eat. But, as with any "habbit-breaking," after about a week in, this venture was beginning to seem like a bad idea. Life cranked back up to full speed and I couldn't keep up with the groceries...and suddenly, I was eating the same things all of the time...totally bored with the menu. If it were just me, then that wouldn't have been an issue...but that isn't my reality. I have four kids...two of whom are under age five and have food allergies. I'm still in a season of life where it is a good day if I manage to squeeze in a shower - and so this seemingly endless circle of planning food was a bit overwhelming. I was not loving it and my diet was excruciatingly repetitive. I'm not a quitter though...so I kept plugging along. By week three, I was definitely ready to be done, but by that point I was also over the proverbial "hump"...and there was no looking back. And then, suddenly...it was 21 days...I had completed the detox. Whew! I followed the plan (as far as I can tell) almost perfectly. I had a bite of applesauce one day when I was making food for the kids and just totally zoned out (more on that later), and I also ate ten blueberries because they were fresh, organic, and staring me in the face one morning after breakfast. Those were my only cheats.

I am extremely glad to be finished with this process. I felt a bit confined and frustrated by the lack of variety. But as I sit and reflect on the three weeks, I must admit that there is a good bit that I can take away, because I did notice some things that I would not have otherwise realized without the restrictions. Here are just a few of the nuggets:

-Normally, I crash every afternoon at about 3:00pm. This did not happen while on the detox. My energy levels were the best they have been in quite some time.

-I was shocked by how little I think about what we're eating. Relatively speaking, I'm a fairly informed mom when it comes to nutrition. We eat a mostly organic, mostly whole foods diet...but what I didn't realize was what a routine I was (stuck) in. I'd go to the grocery store with a list fairly similar to the one the week before, and the week before that, and the week before that (you get the picture)...and this detox forced me to truly think about each and every bite that I ate, and in turn, fed my family.

-I snack a lot while cooking or cleaning up from the kids meals. I had no idea really, how much I was nibbling off of their plate, left-overs, etc...probably several hundred calories a day...it was almost as though I was in some sort of trance, not even realizing that I did it. But with the detox, I had to be mindful of each and every morsel...and this was eye-opening.

-My joints don't hurt. I just realized this today...although I first had the thought last week, that I didn't have as many aches and pains, but I didn't connect the two until I read the list of things that may happen while on the detox.

-I'm usually a snacker, but during this time period...I didn't need to snack. Really, I could eat breakfast at 7:30am and not be hungry again until 1:00pm...which was a completely new thing for me.

-I think I'm sleeping better. This is difficult to say for sure, because I'm still tired...but my kids get up here and there and so I'm not guaranteed a solid 8 hours nightly. But on the whole, I do think the rest I am getting has been more...uh...restful.

-I ate a lot of protein and my body seemed to like it. I've been working out fairly hard and I can feel myself getting stronger. Initially it seemed like a lot of meat, but it appears that my system really did enjoy it.

-The cooking aspect was a bit challenging. Between needing meals large enough to feed six, our crazy schedules, and the allergy restrictions...it was tough. I think I would need a crock-pot Paleo book to survive long-term. :)

-I hate how the scale can determine whether or not I have a good or bad day, so I typically avoid it. However, I was very curious about what my weight would do with what seemed like a very high-fat diet. So, I weighed myself on Day 1 and on Day 22. The first thing I learned is that I need to go out and buy a better scale...because this morning I weighed myself seven times and saw a different number each time. However, if I come up with some sort of average, then the minimum I lost was six pounds. Seriously, six pounds in three weeks of eating whatever I wanted from the "approved" list...no counting, weighing, journaling or hunger. I ate more meat and more full fat dairy than I ever have...and still lost six pounds. Mind-boggling. It wasn't the goal of this detox to lose weight...but I'll take it. And...it has made me think...

Also, I just did a quick check-in with the hubby to see what he learned throughout his own process and this was his response:

-Detox makes him crabby due to the limited foods from which to choose (the man likes his oatmeal and sweet potatoes)

-Wheat gives him heartburn (I discovered this about myself as well.)

-He usually ends up with a very raspy/hoarse voice by late afternoon, but this didn't happen during the detox period.

-He also avoided his typical 3:00 pm crash.

So, my 21 days are over, but honestly, I'm not sure about the next steps. I've actually learned a lot and I'm really wrestling with what to take away from this experience...what should I implement as long-term life changes? I think the high protein/low carb piece is interesting...because intuitively, one would think you would gain weight...but my personal experience (and now, a lot of research) have proved that to be false. The energy level part is exciting too. I also like the idea of eating how God intended us to eat...that makes sense to me. But how does all of this apply to our family...specifically, realistically? I'm not exactly sure yet. I'm feeling paralyzed by too much information. Hopefully with some time, I can sort through this and then use pieces of what I've learned to make some long-term changes for my family.

So, what did I think of the detox? It was a bit challenging and certainly not my favorite thing...but well worth it. I've learned a lot, it has given me much to wrestle through and overall, I am feeling better.


The K Spot said...

How has the family done since you posted this? I am about to embark on a 21 day sugar detox beginning June 4.


Valerie said...

Wow! Congrats on your successful detox diet. As for me, I don't do any hard detox. I just take chlorella supplements and it's really effective for me.