I officially started the 21-Day Sugar Detox this morning. Hopefully a couple of friends (and maybe some of you that I don’t know) are joining me. I’ve been “in training” the last several days trying to get my mind and body in the right place to make this one a success.
There are some things I’ve learned over several (mostly failed) attempts at the 21-Day Sugar Detox that I thought might be useful who others attempting to try the program. These tips aren’t specific to any level of the program, so be sure that you’re double checking the rules for the level you are following.
1. Be prepared.
This seems like such a simple thing but it’s the one that trips me up most often. If I have meals planned and snacks pack, I am successful. Otherwise, not so much. It’s also good to have a quick reference on hand for knowing which foods are allowed on the program and which are not.
2. Don’t count calories.
The 21-Day Sugar Detox is not a calorie restriction program. In fact, success requires that you let go of that long held notion that calories matter and just eat foods that are healthy and nourishing. If you were counting calories, you’d see that some days you come out ahead of your norm and others you come way under.
3. Eat fat.
Kind of like not counting calories, this is a tough concept for some. Food sources of fat are easily digestible by our systems and, contrary to popular belief, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. You body is going to want to replace all that sugar you were eating and fat is a great way to do that.
4. Don’t forget the carbs.
My friend Emily reminded me on Facebook that eating no sugar does not mean eating no carbs. Fruits and vegetables are a source of carbohydrate, some more dense than others. Depending on which level of the detox you are following, more or less starchy carbs are allowed so you have to play this by ear and do what makes sense for you.
5. Stick with what you love.
The 21-Day Sugar Detox only lasts for 21 days. If you find a breakfast option you love (for me it was eggs scrambled with bacon and topped with avocado), go ahead and have it every day. I’ve found that this helps me to feel less deprived. Also, it makes for less choices on those foggy brain days.
6. Sugar withdrawal is no joke.
I usually start noticing these symptoms between days 3 and 4. For me, it starts with a mild headache that I can’t seem to kick and then morphs into the kind of headache I normally associate with quitting caffeine (duh, I know). I’m also pretty tired for the first week. Around day 7, all of this wanes and I start to feel normal (or better) again.
7. Drink lots of water.
One of the best ways I have found to get through the withdrawal symptoms is to keep the fluids going. Your body is gonna be throwing off all kinds of nasty toxins, give it plenty of water to get that stuff flushed out of there. Other non-caffeinated, sugar free drinks work too, by the way.
8. Don’t substitute caffeine.
If you are a caffeinated person, you are totally gonna want to do this. No sugar makes you tired at first but don’t go crazy. I’m definitely not saying that giving up caffeine and sugar the the same time are a good idea – just stick to what you’d normally consume and it will be fine.
9. This is not the time to start a crazy new exercise regime.
Kinda like the caffeine, feel free to keep right on doing what you’re doing. I just wouldn’t start anything new, at least until you get through those first few, tired days. Detoxing is stressful for you body – don’t make this any harder than it needs to be.
10. Don’t give up.
As my wise friend Anna reminded me, the most important thing of all is not to give up. Even if you slip up on day one and stress eat a cupcake, just get right back at it. The 21-Day Sugar Detox is NOT ruined. It’s not about perfection, it’s about learning to eat in a way that is healthy. You can do this.