Initially I committed to only a 7 day Sugar Detox as part of the Clean and Lean Project. For me, mentally – 7 days was much easier than saying no to sugar for a complete month. Having done a 30 Day Sugar Free challenge in the past, I recognize that I wasn’t able to go 30 days for various reasons (mostly it being the mental aspect!) – and instead of celebrating a milestone like making it a week…not completing 30 days just felt like a failure!
So I decided this time around that a week-long challenge would be much more doable, while still being difficult enough to complete. For me it was the perfect amount of time to test myself, better understand my relationship with sugar, and figure out a plan moving forward.
Another reason I loved the 7 day challenge was it makes this something that I can go back to once a month. This is an idea that Laura taught me and is continuing with her readers! With this each time seems to get a little bit easier and again feels more achievable than “I’ll give up sugar forever”.
Having gone a week without processed sugar, it’s much easier to think of myself as someone who doesn’t need dessert or someone who doesn’t find her husbands junk food appealing. The short and sweet of 7 days is that it provides a chance to embody the change you want to see and to feel really good about it without completely driving myself crazy.
Is Sugar In Moderation Possible?
Which leads to the biggest post sugar detox question… “Can I have have sugar??”
The truth is the answer is different for everyone. It almost goes back to the comparison of sugar being an addictive substance like alcohol or drugs. Not everyone who drinks will become addicted, but for those who have that tendency to binge, it’s a slippery slope.
Personally – my focus remains on whole foods, and fueling up on nutritious things that make me feel GOOD. But if I have a piece of dark chocolate or something, I don’t want to beat myself up.
It really is all about moderation, and not treating processed sugar always as a “reward,” or something “you deserve” after a long run or hard day.
I also know that the more restrictive I become with food, the less I tend to listen to my body’s natural hunger cues. This is not always easy…in the days since ending the sugar detox I’ve had:
– 3 hard candies
– 3 pieces of dark chocolate
– 1 of David’s processed granola bars
The granola bar is the issue for me. I recognize that I went for it right after receiving an email from the world’s worst wedding coordinator. Unbelievably after 5 years she has reared her head and while I wanted to be all “water off a ducks back” it made my blood boil and I was pacing the kitchen until I finally just ate the bar. Did it make me feel better? No, not in the slightest.
THAT is what I want to really remember, not that I ate something unhealthy, but that I didn’t get anything out of it! This wasn’t some amazing night out with friends or a huge celebration of my upcoming birthday…it was just there to be eaten.
Hidden Food Sensitivities
I’ve talked before about food sensitivities, but I noticed this week that my cravings seemed to be creeping up when they had completely vanished…then I realized that I had also allowed myself to eat eggs for the first time in MONTHS. When your gut becomes inflamed from food sensitivities, that also creates sugar cravings.
I mention this because I think it’s important to realize sugar is about more than just willpower. It really comes back to total nutrition, creating new habits, and mindful living. It’s also about recognizing when your body is telling is trying to tell you something about the food you’re putting into it. Being aware is so important!
How to Enjoy Life After The Detox
So the question still remains only partially answered…can sugar be enjoyed in moderation?
Previously I would have said SURE, but I realize now that daily isn’t really “moderation” because it quickly becomes too much.
Am I going to continue enjoying a little dark chocolate and the occasional splurge? Absolutely. But now that I am way more aware that the occasional splurge really means occasional, and not every day – I will also hopefully enjoy it much more.
Every few months I will do a full 7 days sans any processed sugar to help keep those occasional splurges from turning in to daily overindulgences. I will review my WHY (the most important thing of this entire journey!!) and know that each successive time becomes easier and more lasting.
- Go out, be social with a focus on people and things that make you happy
- Enjoy super special treats like the cookies your mom makes once a year
- Skip the treats that don’t really mean much to you or make you feel crummy after eating
- At home, be mindful about eating for maximum nutrition to feel your best
- Athletes – ensure you are getting lots of healthy carbs and fats!
- Don’t be afraid of fruit – those natural sugars are good
- Visualize eating an actual spoonful of sugar before you pop a bite of something processed in your mouth
- Recognize if you are slipping too much and know that you can always do a fresh 7 day detox
- If you have a bad day, remember that there is always tomorrow – and you can start fresh
- ENJOY LIFE!! Remember no one is perfect and stress is bad for your mind and body
What important things have you taken away from the sugar detox?
Sugar Detox Series
Be sure to check out the other posts in this sugar detox series!
Kickoff: Defining your why for success with kicking sugar
Day 1: Understanding sugar is an addictive substance
Day 2/3: How to handle emotional cravings
Day 4: Managing detox symptoms
Day 5/6: How to change when change is hard
Day 7: Running is not a free sugar card <<not if you want to run for life!
Confessions of a sugar free failure
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