Happy Sunday! Today is Day 21 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox! That's right, the last day. Congrats to everyone who did this detox with us :)
I chose to do Level 3 of the 21 DSD. There are 3 levels, the third being the most strict. It is a rigid paleo diet (no grains, legumes, dairy, refined carbs, or alcohol) and no sugar at all. Period. You may not consume fruit during these 21 days. The detox program suggested to only choose level 3 if you are already used to following a paleo/grain free lifestyle. I have been for years, not always super strict, but at least 80/20%. There is an "athlete modification" for those who workout vigorously multiple times a week that allows 1/2 cup of sweet potato a day. I did not consume sweet potato daily, probably about 5 days out of the 21. The point of the detox is to regulate and stabilize your blood sugar levels, which in turn keeps you from craving refined carbs and sugar as a pick-me-up.
So, you probably want to know how it went. Lucky for you, I'm gonna fill you in on the details. The good, the bad and the ugly. I think I'll start with the good (always better to start with the positive, right?).... Let's be real for a minute though, the good outweighs the bad and ugly by a million to one. But I wouldn't be being honest if I didn't share the challenges as well.
While I did not do this detox with a goal of losing weight/body fat, the majority of people on this detox will lose body fat. The more body fat you have to lose, the more dramatic the difference. While I consumed a large amount of calories all day long, I absolutely saw a difference in my body. I leaned out a bit more and my abs became very defined. Even though that wasn't my goal, I'll take it as a win.
Almost immediately, I experienced increased and more consistent energy levels all day long. Whew, sometimes I annoyed myself with the amount of energy I had. It's been awesome. No more mid-afternoon yawns, which is the one time of day I've always struggled with.
With that, I also experienced better sleep. I am someone who is a light sleeper, wakes easily and has suffered on and off from bouts of insomnia throughout my life. But wouldn't you know that this detox kept me sleeping like a baby. High energy all day, sound sleep all night....not gonna lie, this is AWESOME.
I've struggled with IBS/digestive problems my entire life, which is the primary reason I decided to go mostly paleo years ago. Tightening up the reins and diving into this detox, I truly experienced the most comfortable and regular digestion I can ever remember having. This I tell you, a freaking blessing. I haven't had any problems with bloating or stomach aches at all. It feels great.
Overall, I just feel pretty dang healthy.
Well, for me there wasn't much "bad." Because I already followed the paleo lifestyle, there weren't a huge amount of changes for me, which made this much easier. The 3rd day of the detox, I did have a headache for most of the day, which cleared, and never resurfaced. The more sugar and refined carbs you consume in your diet before beginning the detox, the more difficult the detox symptoms can be. They range from lethargy (in the beginning), persisting headaches, cold/flu-like symptoms, and irritability.
So, there were a few moments of ugly. They all happened during the first week, and mostly the first weekend of the detox.
While washing grapes for my daughter's lunch one evening, probably around Day 3 or 4, I found myself salivating and practically drooling. I wanted one of those grapes with a vigor I have never experienced with any piece of food. It took me by surprise and was such a mind-battle. I had to seriously fight myself not to eat just one grape. It was emotionally exhausting.
On day 5, Friday evening, Anai came over for a playdate with Ava, and the kids wanted dessert. I let them choose what they wanted, they picked mint-chip ice cream in a cone. I obliged. After we ate a 21 DSD approved/paleo dinner, they wanted their ice cream cones. As I was scooping the ice cream into the cones, it was melting quickly, running down my fingers. OH MAN, I cannot tell you had badly I wanted to just lick my fingers. It was pure torture. I thought the grapes were bad, but this, wow. And I don't even really like mint-chip ice cream, to be honest I'm truly not really a sweets person.
Thankfully, no one witnessed this scene, this battle, or could read the crazy thoughts in my head. For that, I am grateful. It was ugly. I solved it by shoving my hand under water and washing the ice cream off before things got worse. I gave the girls the ice cream and for the rest of the evening had an intense craving of wanting something, anything, that would satisfy me. I wanted a glass of wine, I wanted something sweet, I wanted something I wasn't allowed to have. And right then I realized how most people rely on a treat, whether it's wine/alcohol, dinner out, or dessert to transition them from weekday/workday into relaxation/weekend mode.
That night was the most difficult for me, because it took me completely by surprise. I'm used to eating really clean/paleo all week long. For a long while I have reaped the benefits of better energy, better sleep, better stomach issues, and know that this is how my body performs most optimally, allowing me to work 12 hour days on my feet all day. But come Friday evening, I'm ready for something to transition me into weekend mode. And I never realized that. It hit me very intensely. The following two weekends were hugely better, because I wasn't surprised by it. Being mentally prepared for what may come made all the difference. I
I also found that there were many people in my life who had a difficult time accepting that I was doing this detox. I heard things like why do you have to always be so extreme?!; you don't need to lose weight, why are you doing this?; this is crazy, no fruit, that's nuts!; when you get pregnant, you'll have to be extreme, so why would you do this to yourself now?!.....There were times I had to remind these people that it was my choice, it is only 21 days, reassure them that my goal was not to lose weight, and that I wanted to experience the health benefits from this. This was my favorite line: "Just have this one glass of wine, no one will know." That's where it got ugly. That awkward moment when I said, "Well really, two people will know, you and me. And I think that defeats the whole purpose."
There you have it, my 21 DSD experience in a nutshell. I feel great and will continue and adhere to a paleo lifestlye with very little to no sugar. I will enjoy fruit again, however I've for a long time only eaten maybe a piece a day. And I am truly looking forward to celebrating this accomplishment with a really good glass of wine.
Please feel free to ask me any questions or share your 21 DSD experience with me!
Yours in health,
Kristin at The Fuse Fitness