I finished the sugar detox yesterday, and I’m more than pleased with the results. Other than cutting sugar and simple carbs, I didn’t change my behavior. That is, I kept my same workout program, except I do think I was more active. More on that later. Well, I did eat approximately 25 pounds of bacon. (That may be a slight exaggeration.) I know I ate more fats, but I did stick to the fats recommended in the book The 21-Day Sugar Detox (af).
I used some of the recipes in the book, but mainly I just went by the yes/no food list. It was easier while cooking for the family. About half-way in, my oldest daughter joined in, and it was so encouraging having someone to do it with me. She’s a rock star.
We did level one, the least strict plan. It allows 1/2 a cup of cooked grains or beans a day, but I only partook 4 or 5 days. I didn’t do the all organic, grass-fed, free-range, picked by hippies food. I blew my food budget as it was. But I did stay faithful to the food list, and if organic was possible and affordable, I got it.
So what’s the score?
Yes, I lost weight. More than 7 pounds over 3 weeks. That’s the big one everyone is interested in because we’ve equated “healthy” with “slimmer.” But it isn’t the biggest or most important benefit by far. In fact, although it’s the most visible measure, it’s probably the least important one. I’m far more impressed with the other results.
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I had tons more energy than I usually do. I think I took maybe one nap last Sunday, and I went to lie down for a minute one other time, but I didn’t fall asleep. I had been taking 20-30 minute naps three or four times a week, and every day I felt ready to cry with exhaustion by the time 5 o’clock rolled around. And then the people expect to be fed! Seriously! Not during the detox. Sure there were times when I was tired from a busy day, but it was the kind of well-earned exhaustion that comes from hard work, not the constant struggle to push through the pain. I love having the energy to do all that I need to do and then have energy left over to do what I want. So I probably was more active than before, not by increasing my workout, but by dancing around the house with my kids, and taking them to the park and doing more than sitting on the bench with a book. It’s a beautiful thing.
I feel stronger. Now, that may be the cumulative effect of regularly exercising, which I’ve been doing since mid-October. But I think it was more than that. I felt like my body working as it should, if that makes sense. Three days into the detox, I started my period (eww, TMI!) and I had no cramps, no mood swings, no other ill effects — including exhaustion — that I normally have. I totally didn’t expect that. It just felt like my body was firing on all cylinders, and I loved it.
But by far the biggest and most unexpected benefit is that I felt happy. Or rather, I didn’t feel moody or emotionally frustrated. I think some of that had to do with the energy. It’s easier to be pleasant if you aren’t using all your energy simply to get through the day. But there is also the mood swings that come from living from sugar high to sugar high. That isn’t to say I never got upset or angry or sad or any of those other normal, healthy emotions we have at appropriate times. But I wasn’t angry without reason. I feel the cobwebs are cleared from my head, and I’m seeing all the blessings that surround me. Of all the effects of the sugar detox, this is the one most likely to help me keep my sugar and simple carb intake low. (Notice I said low, not non-existent.)
Where do I go from here, especially as we enter the sugar season? I know I do not want to go back to how I felt 22 days ago. I know that no piece of bread or even pie is worth being grumpy and tired and generally unpleasant. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to have dressing and pie for Thanksgiving. Or magic cookie bars at Christmas, or wine at . . . multiple occasions. I am committed to cutting way back, to simple carbs being the occasional accessory and never the highlight of my meals. So goodbye soup in bread bowls, sandwiches for lunch, and waffles for dinner.
And in case I go off the rails, I’ll be doing another detox after the Feast of Epiphany.