The Sugar Detox!

Today, 6 February 2018, I finished a 3-week sugar detox! Here are all the details straight from my journal.

19 Jan 18:

Hello! A little backstory to why I’m doing this detox. I connected with Amy on Instagram earlier last year, and in December she invited me to create a couple of videos as bonus material for her nutrition program, and also invited me to join the 5-week program as a participant. I think Amy is awesome, and I definitely have an interest in nutrition, so I jumped at the chance to work with her on this. Truth be told, I didn’t fully realize the commitment I was making at the time, haha! But I’m so glad I signed up!

The program is called the Restart Program, and is a 3-week sugar detox (within a 5-week program with an awesome group of people) to help balance blood sugar levels and rid the body of toxins. At the beginning of the first group, Amy had each of us take a toxicity questionnaire where we added up all of the symptoms we have been living with (and honestly not thinking much of), and my number fell in the “moderate toxicity” level.

I should note, while I do eat a LOT of veggies each day, I also love “junk food”—cookies and burgers are two of my favorite foods. Ha! I also have a lot of food sensitivities that I hadn’t been honoring through the second half of last year, so I was feeling pretty crummy. After Christmas, recognizing that I was growing even more sensitive to these foods, I decided to focus on simply not eating the things that made me sick. So truly, going into this detox, I was in pretty good shape—when you don’t eat dairy or soy, that takes care of a lot of the “junk foods” that I used to eat so often.

Four days into the sugar detox: my energy levels are low, and while I’ve had some good workouts this week, my “slow run” ended up feeling like a max effort run. Amy reached out to me and offered some clarity to the week: “What’s happening is that your body is so used to relying on quick energy sources that it is having a hard time using fat as a source of energy—which is what you want!” …It’s a transition, let me tell you! I’ve also struggled to feel satisfied with meals and find myself snacking a lot, though I’m starting to recognize the meals that help me feel more satisfied (soups and broths, surprisingly). I’m planning on taking it easy this weekend for sure, trying a couple more new (hearty) recipes, and pondering what foods to bring to work next week to help me feel more satisfied through the morning and afternoon. I also may add in some sweet potato, maybe (which is not on the list of approved foods, but is mentioned as a modification if needed) to help fuel harder workouts.

25 Jan 16:

It’s been over a week since I started the sugar detox. I think at the week mark exactly (two days ago), I was feeling pretty dang good. I got in a really good workout—I even added on a short sprint workout to my original planned workout, ha!—and I felt good the whole time! I crashed at the end when I didn’t eat right away afterward, but that was my bad. Nutritionally, I felt good and well fueled.

The next day at work the munchies came back a bit. I work at a pie place, and it’s a bit hard with all the temptations to keep saying no to delicious dinner and dessert pies (seriously, I’ve had multiple offers of free pie over the last week, and it’s been a huge bummer to say no—even though I’d have to say no regardless because before this sugar detox, I was avoiding allergens, which for me includes dairy. ANYWAY). That day someone DID offer me some ham from a filling of a dinner pie, and I was WENT FOR IT because ham is just meat, and meat is totally okay on this diet, right?

…Not brown sugar ham! I ate a couple slices and could taste the sugar more than I ever had in a ham! Holy moly! And I did not like the way it made me feel! It was so odd feeling that intense amount of sugar (from MEAT, good golly, not even a legit dessert) after not eating it for a week.

The next day—today!—I’ve just been feeling more cravings for cookies and diet coke (like, sometimes I feel like I can vividly imagine the taste of coke. Haha! Who am I?). Like, I haven’t even had legit diet coke in WEEKS (I had been drinking Hansen’s fake diet cola, which tastes pretty different). I’m excited to get back to that pre-ham day, when I was feeling good and well-fueled.

In tonight’s Restart class we talked about blood sugar regulation. I know I’ve struggled (and currently struggle) with this, and I’m excited to feel it level out more.

26 Jan 18:

My digestive system has been WRECKED today. I thought it was a soup I had for dinner last night, but now I’m thinking I may have consumed too much fat or nut protein over the last two days. Either way, it got me thinking: I want to simplify my diet. I’ve been enjoying trying new recipes over the last few weeks, and my regular meals are jamming a lot of everything (especially veggies) together, and truthfully, my “treat” has just shifted to sunflower seed butter instead of listening to my body and only eating when I’m hungry.

While this restricted of a diet is merely a 3-week detox, I want the things I learn and practice in these weeks to carry on indefinitely. I want to shift my diet to eat to help stabilize my hormones even more. That’s what I’ve been studying. That’s what I’ve been planning to do.

So right now, this week, this second, I want to simplify.

I want to aim for 1-3 veggies, 1 fat, and 1 protein for each meal. I want to go to the store, buy frozen chicken breasts, and learn how to prepare meat better. I want to eat when I’m hungry, and not eat when I’m not.

I also want to get used to vegetables as snacks. Amy recommended raw vegetables and cauliflower hummus the other day, so I think I want to do that. (I had cucumber in a salad today and it has never tasted better!)

29 Jan 18:

I have been overeating nuts and seeds for days. I drink plenty of water, eat plenty of greens, and still do not feel satisfied. They say eat fats to fill you up, but I can eat plenty of fats, technically be “full,” not hungry, and still feel so unsatisfied. (And I’ve been eating TONS of fat, because it’s what I’m craving and wanting).

I think week 1 was getting the hang of things; week 2 was refining my diet, but also starting to feel digestive issues more and I didn’t know why (I think sunflower seed butter). Today I tried to stick to a schedule with eating but still didn’t feel great. I wanted to put in more raw veggies but those just made me feel hungrier. I’m pretty frustrated about it. And also frustrated with emotional eating, because is something wrong and I don’t know what?

30 Jan 18:

At dinner last night—where I ate a bison burger stuffed with bacon and apples… mmm!—I realized, I FINALLY felt satisfied! I think I was low on animal protein. That doesn’t mean that I’ve been awesome with eating today. I still ate a lot of nuts this afternoon.

1 Feb 18:

My period started yesterday and I didn’t even know it was coming. Most of my usual symptoms? Gone or minimized. I’m not even on any painkillers. This will warrant a whole separate blog post, but holy moly. I have never not been in excruciating pain while on my period.

3 Feb 18:

Two things: I had a great run this morning! 4 miles and I felt really, really good! On this sugar detox, I’ve had some workouts that were good, and some that were really hard (especially at the beginning when I was trying to push through before my body had adjusted to using slow carbs—and it may still be adjusting. Who knows!) I’m glad today was a good one.

I also think my period ended yesterday. Which means it only lasted 3 days, which is UNHEARD OF.

I’ve been more intentional about eating animal protein, which I think has helped me feel more satisfied. I’ve also been drinking a LOT of green smoothies, to fill in cravings and such, which has been working well, too.

Today is Saturday, and on Tuesday will be our last Restart meeting. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next, and the best way to move forward.

6 Feb 18:

Still figuring out how to stay full (though I’m feeling more satisfied now), but it’s getting better. I was just hungry toward the end of work. Came home, ate some food, then went out on a run. The run went really great—it was a speed workout!—and I felt strong and well fueled. I had no stomach issues either, even though I was working so hard on my run (sometimes I do when I run that hard).

We had our last Restart class tonight! I’m grateful for flexibility with moving forward—Amy made some recommendations and taught how to introduce foods gently into our diet again, making note of how they make us feel. I’m really excited (and just a little tiny bit intimidated) to explore this.

I came home with the intention to eat a truffle I had been saving (it’s the one treat I said yes to over the last 3 weeks, and I put it straight in the freezer for this moment!)—but on my drive home realized, I felt like carrots! Haha! So I came home, enjoyed some carrots, then ate a delicious locally-made chocolate truffle and a sparkling water.

And now I could really go for another green/chocolate smoothie 🙂

Conclusion:

I’m so glad I did the Restart program. I’m very anti-diet—I don’t believe in quick fixes, and I definitely don’t think they’re sustainable. This isn’t that. This is learning to be more aware of my body. This is balancing blood sugar levels. This is removing toxins from my body (my toxicity symptoms legit went down 30 points—from the “Moderate Toxicity” to “Mild Toxicity” ranges). This is getting to a base level so I can build from there—being aware of what foods make me feel good and what foods don’t, and eating mindfully.

It wasn’t easy, but I’m so glad I did it. I can’t wait to go from here!

To find out about the Restart Program, visit Amy’s website at nourishfamilynutrition.com! Her next classes are all online, so you don’t have to be local to participate! Enrollment for the next classes ends tomorrow (7 February 2018), but I’m positive she’ll continue teaching these every few weeks. You can also find Amy on Instagram and on everydaywholehearted.com, where you can subscribe to her email newsletter for the latest updates!

 

UPDATE: 2 MARCH 2018: While I felt pretty dang good as I finished the detox for a lot of reasons, I’ve really been feeling the affects since then (and, in retrospect, even during the detox, as you can see from my journal). I think sugar detoxes are great for some people, but I think 1. there was something missing for me—emotionally, physically, or both—during the detox and afterward as my body scrambled to consume anything and everything to try to feel better, and 2. I think I’m the type of person who needs a gentler approach—maybe taking out one thing at a time, and primarily letting my intuition guide the process. This wasn’t that.

The program wasn’t for me. However, if it feels right for you, absolutely go for it. I can at least say, I definitely learned a lot, both from the educational materials and the experience.