Day 24: Detox complete. The real work begins now.

I could pick no better place to cap off the 21 Day Sugar Detox than at a wedding. If you’ve been following my blog over the last few months, you know that I’ve been a guest at MANY weddings this summer. Sunday night was the last one on the calendar this year and I was excited about getting to celebrate with some good friends at a beautiful venue.

They couldn’t have planned better weather for an outdoor ceremony and barn reception.

I planned to eat detox friendly at the wedding if possible, but knew going into it that it might not be possible. When I looked at the buffet line and realized the only thing I could eat were carrots and cheese I decided right then… detox over. It’s celebration time! That whole night was really fun. I had a delicious cupcake and coffee (with creamer! The angels sing!) AND a root beer. That was probably a bad idea, but it sounded so delicious in the moment.

I was a bit excited…

We danced the cupid shuffle for the eleventy billionth time this year and I recalled YET AGAIN that I always feel ridiculous doing the wobble (real version, not Pine Cove version). My handsome date loves to dance and is a great reminder to just laugh and not take myself so seriously… a wonderful thing to remember from time to time. Sometimes you should just wobble.

I felt totally fine that night but woke up CRAVING sugar since my blood sugar had spiked so violently the night before. What did I do? GO FOR IT. That’s what I did.

Let me tell you, this girl loves some kolaches. Shipley’s donuts will forever and always make me think of Saturday mornings after a sleepover when my daddy would get up early and pick up those heavenly boxes of donuts for everyone. It’s a nostalgia thing… not a “I WANT THOSE CARBS IN MY BELLY” thing… right?
The donut festival sent me into a downward spiral for the day. Sugar hit after sugar hit to keep me going, and BOY could I tell that my body was freaking out. I woke up several times throughout the night and felt horrible the next morning. Sugar hangover, baby.

Yesterday I ate sugar-free for most of the day without even trying. It just sounded better. When I got home I didn’t have a plan for dinner (I should probably take advice from my own blog and plan better), so I indulged in some fast food and Reese’s pumpkins for dinner. Another sugar spike that didn’t feel so great about an hour later.

While I was on the detox I remember thinking multiple times, “If I could just have A BITE of cake, I really think that would satisfy my craving” or “A tiny bit of cream and sugar in my coffee would make ALL the difference in this day.” However, now that I don’t have a strict restriction and clear YES/NO list of what I absolutely should not eat… a bite or two simply doesn’t seem like enough. Last night I was going to eat one Reese’s pumpkin. It turned into many more than that. Really, one would’ve been fine… but because I could,did. 

This is the lesson I’m going to walk through now. I’ve learned so much in the last 24 days. I’ve learned about my personal discipline, lack of personal discipline, what motivates me and discourages me, what my body actually needs to function and how quickly temptation can consume you. Now, I choose whether or not to take the things I’ve learned and put them into practice.

Here’s where I’m at:

  • I love morning coffee. I absolutely don’t have to have it. I thought I was addicted, but it turns out I’m not. More often than not, I chose to just NOT drink coffee rather than drink it black. I missed coffee with cream and sugar more than any other thing while on the detox. You know what? I’m okay with that. Coffee is a fun thing to look forward to every morning. I just now also need to be mindful that because of that early morning sugar spike, I’m going to want a diet coke or candy around 10am every day. I now know that I can choose to tell my sugar spikes, “Sorry buddy… you’re just going to have to chill out” and not satiate them with more sugar.
  • I do need to eat dense carbs while training for the half. While my body didn’t feel awesome after “cheats,” my long runs were SO much easier. I wasn’t super careful about making sure to supplement with butternut squash and sweet potatoes on the detox since I was an “athlete in training,” (HA!) so when I was completely sugar-free for two weeks it made running really REALLY difficult. By the second mile I was wiped out and had to walk a lot. As I’m training I need to plan out my carb sources carefully.
  • I really didn’t miss rice, bread, pasta or grains at all. That SHOCKED me. I thought it would be so hard to say no but really… it was just inconvenient. This morning it’s nice to munch on some Crispix while I type and drink my coffee, but it’s not really necessary or even that filling. At restaurants I had to be a little creative and say no to tortilla chips (!!!!) but overall, that wasn’t very difficult. Again, just inconvenient. I think this will be an element of the detox that will stick around. There will be exceptions (like TACOS and PIZZA, occasionally) but for my day-to-day typical eating, cutting out those carbs really wasn’t that difficult. If the thought of going full-fledged detox seems a little crazy to you, then I’d recommend cutting refined carbs for 21 days instead! It’s a challenge, but really do-able.
  • Snacking is my biggest challenge and struggle. Meals are easy to plan for and decide exactly what I’m eating. It’s when I get home and have all the pantry at my fingertips that I get into trouble. My biggest temptations were candy, chips and soda… it’s like I’m a seventh grader. Having snack backups like nuts, cheese and a green apple on standby were my lifeline. Even though nuts are expensive, they are a worthwhile snack investment that I’ll continue to make.
  • Fruit is fine but shouldn’t be my go-to. Pre detox I would grab and apple or banana as my mid-morning snack almost every day. Fruit is great, but I have to know that it is going to spike my blood sugar and I WILL crave another sugar hit within an hour or two. If I know where those cravings are coming from it helps me to know what to do with them. AND LACEY THE ANSWER IS NOT COKE ZERO. Sometimes it can be Coke Zero. But not three in one day… okay?
  • I would absolutely do this again. I probably will. I’m already psyched about next time I do it because I will feel so much better prepared. I saw great results and my body felt better than it ever has (even with a few cheats). Next time I will plan it again in a season when I’m not traveling a lot and don’t have many events… that was a blessing. However, I think I would avoid a training season. Running was just too hard and protein shakes too devastating to eliminate.
  • Moving forward I plan to eat detox-friendly most of the time, but add back in fruit and my morning coffee. I’ll allow for a cheat meal occasionally, but not EVERY time I go out to eat (if you see me at Chuy’s tomorrow, you should know that is a PLANNED cheat meal that we’ve been looking forward to… okay?!).
  • Feel free to ask me how this is going. I need the accountability and Lord KNOWS I like to talk. I’m going to check-in after a week or two to let you know how things are going truly post-detox.
  • Many have asked, so I’ll just say it. Overall, I lost 7 lbs. Initially I lost a lot of weight really quickly, but then it balanced out a bit (and I cheated at the end). After three weeks, I’m pretty okay with that! I didn’t do this to lose weight, but to get my blood sugar in check. More than anything I noticed a HUGE difference in the way I felt and my clothes fit. I know that when I add back in fruit some of the weight is going to come back and I’m fine with that. Fruit isn’t bad.

Being a rules follower, lover and embracer, I liked how strict the 21 day sugar detox was. It was easy for me to know what was YES and NO very clearly. This is what is going to make moving forward difficult. Now, I don’t have a clear YES and NO. Now, it’s up to me to define what is good for me and not. Now, it will be really easy to justify with “it’s been a really long day… I just need a pick-me-up” or “I’ve been so good lately. I can definitely eat that dessert.”

“I need…” pops out of my mouth with the greatest of ease. But is that always true? I’m painfully learning to redefine what my needs really are when it comes to food, but I do the same thing in regards to my relationships, job and emotional security. Often I say, “well… I need for so-and-so to ______” but really, do I need that? Will it change who I am and what I’ve been called to? If it does, then WHOA it’s time to redefine where I’m getting my identity and security. There’s only one person I can go to who will actually meet my needs, because He knows them. I’m grateful to rest in that. Am I good at it? Heck no.

I’m still learning to put down the Pringles.

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