If I was a superhero, my kryptonite would probably be sugar. Yeah, I can never resist a warm Krispy Kreme donut! The thing about sugar is that when you think about it, sugar is in everything. I mean, everything! I decided to challenge myself and try a little experiment. For the past thirty days I cut sugar out of my diet. The entire month of April I had no processed sugars, no added sugars, no refined sugars. The only sugar I allowed myself was natural sugars… I could have fruits and honey, but I didn’t allow myself things like fruit juice or chips. I wanted to see what effect sugar really has on my body. This is what a thirty day sugar detox looks like.
I knew going into the challenge that I needed to be prepared… failure to plan is planning to fail. As I mentioned in my last blog, I sit down on Sundays and plan my week. This was the perfect time to do some meal planning! I planned all my meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then went grocery shopping on Monday. I only bought foods that I needed for my meals. The beginning of the month was focused on following recipes I found online, so some of the ingredients were specific. I was mentally preparing myself to dedicate more of our budget to groceries. Generally healthy eating is more expensive than the typical american diet. Surprisingly, I actually didn’t spend as much as I thought I would. In fact, I spent less than our normal budget! I think this was actually due to the fact that I wasn’t just buying food willy-nilly. I was very purposeful about my grocery list so I had less wiggle room to give in to impulse purchases.
I think it would be good to mention that I did tell Taylor that I was doing a sugar detox. I was upfront with him at the beginning about why, and I also respected that he didn’t want to do it with me. He was responsible for his breakfasts and lunches, but when we were home together he had to be okay with me making healthy no-sugar dinners. That might mean more time in the kitchen on my part, so he needed to respect my time and allow me to do that. He was also my accountability partner through this process. He was responsible for putting away all tempting foods for the time being and making sure I didn’t slip up during the challenge. He was a big encouragement for me!
The first week I was very excited and motivated. I looked forward to cooking meals because I was trying something new! My favorite meal from the first week was a spaghetti squash marinara boat… Taylor even liked it too! I admit, I did go through some withdrawal symptoms of sugar… I sometimes felt irritable and mainly grumpy that I couldn’t just eat the foods that i wanted to. I really wanted to get a sugary sweet Starbucks drink… oh, how I miss my beloved caramel macchiato with an extra pump of caramel drizzle! Even though the temptation was strong, I stuck to my promise to complete my challenge. As the weeks went on, it became easier for me to focus on the healthy foods rather than get caught up about worrying whether or not certain foods have x amount of sugar. I found a few meals that were my favorite and I rotated through those each week. It was easy to make food once I understood the recipe and knew what foods to buy. I was cruising along!
About three weeks in, I slipped up and I ate a few frozen bbq chicken wings with a few grams of sugar in them. I didn’t stress about it too much at that point, because I realized it wasn’t as much about the specific amount of sugar, but more so about my relationship with sugar. I was at the point where allowing myself a treat every once in a while was much more enjoyable because sugar wasn’t in everything else I ate… it was special.
I don’t think my body depends on sugar. In fact, I think my body functions better without sugar. One reason why I started this challenge is because of energy. I would hit a wall mid-day and could not focus on anything! Once I cut out sugar, I noticed my energy level balanced out and I wouldn’t feel tired in the middle of the day as often. A few extra benefits of sugar detoxing are clearer skin and weight loss. I wasn’t doing this challenge to lose weight in the first place, but dropping nine pounds is definitely an added benefit! Although all of these changes have been good, I believe the greatest change has been my mindset and relationship with sugar. I feel like I have more self control to say no to food that I know isn’t good for me, but I can also indulge and enjoy it when I do allow myself some sugary foods. Overall it has been an eye opening thirty days! I still will enjoy that Krispy Kreme donut, but maybe now I’ll be satisfied with just one.