As if life wasn’t challenging enough, I’ve decided to stop eating sugar for a little while.
Such a decision sounds like a death sentence to someone whose blood type is C6H12O6. For this reason, I’ve always convinced myself that my sugar problem was not so bad considering I drank lots of water, ate fruits and vegetables and worked out at least an hour a day.
But an addiction is still an addiction and eventually, addictions bring sickness.
Nevertheless, when I heard about the Advocare 24-Day Challenge, I had to think long and hard about it because self-deprivation sucks! (Besides, I feel nauseous when I don’t eat sugar at every meal.) In the end, I realized that I needed to give myself a chance to experience a new and healthier norm.
There are two parts to the 24-Day Challenge: Cleanse and Burn. The “Cleanse” is a 10-day detox involving herbal supplements and “clean” eating (fruits, vegetables and protein only). The “Burn” is a 14-day metabolic boost that also involves clean eating and herbal supplements.
The “cleanse” was my main reason for taking part in this challenge because I wondered…:
-…what it would feel like to have a toxin-free blood stream,
-…how my muscles would perform during a workout without so much sugar in my system,
-…if my excema would improve,
-…if the detox would reduce my sugar cravings.
(I guess you could say my real reason for taking the challenge was CURIOSITY!) 🙂
Before starting the challenge, Advocare recommends taking photos and body measurements. Here is how I looked my first day (5 minutes after waking up, no make-up and apparently no smile):
Since I was curious as to how quitting sugar would improve my muscle tone and definition, I took another photo of me flexing my muscles:
Currently, I am 13 days into the challenge which means I am on the other side of the cleanse.
So…how did it go?
Day 1 was easy-breezy. I had no cravings nor did I feel deprived. In fact, I felt so good that I spent two hours at the gym that evening. During my weightlifting workout, I felt a noticeable difference in my muscle tissues–they didn’t burn or sting like they usually did. Above all, this was the first day I had gone without sugar since December 2004!! Big day.
Unfortunately, I did not sleep very well this night.
Day 2 was a detox hell. I had the shakes, my palms and upper lip were sweaty, I was feverish, my stomach felt like it had a knot in it and food tasted metallic. I was also crazy-bloated:
On Day 3, I woke up feeling ironically rested and refreshed even though I didn’t sleep very well the night before. (Lots of nighttime bathroom breaks with this cleanse!) More importantly, I felt content instead of ravenous for something sweet to eat.
By Day 4, I wasn’t bloated anymore, and I also started to sleep better.
Days 5-10 went well, but I must admit that I cheated on Day 5: I ate bread. Garlic naan, to be exact. AND it was the best Indian naan I had ever eaten, and I don’t regret a bite of it!
When I wasn’t busy cheating at Indian restaurants, I ate meals like these:
Breakfast: 2/3 cup oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, a touch of Splenda and a splash of almond milk
Snack: 1/4 cup cashews and an apple
Lunch: Chicken and veggie stir-fry prepared with Liquid Amino acids instead of soy sauce (tastes just like soy sauce without all the sodium and sugar; also gluten-free) and an orange
Snack: small banana with 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
Dinner: Broiled Tilapia with roasted veggies and pureed cauliflower
Bedtime Snack: Chocolate protein shake
I’ve eaten a healthy, balanced, “innocent” diet like this before, but I’ve always wound up feeling tired,weak and STARVING by 3pm. This time around, however, I felt strong, energized and, well, FED thanks to the omega and B-vitamin supplements which are an integral part of the Challenge.
I will admit that I have felt deprived whenever I am at a restaurant or dining with friends because both of these are situations involve eating for entertainment versus eating for mere fuel. (Hence, the naan.)
Currently, I am in the Burn phase of the challenge, and so far it has been…challenging. Here are my halfway photos which are also recommended (still no smile–what the heck?):
So far, I have lost an inch around my waist. No improvement with my excema, though.
For the most part, my diet is the same except that I am only allowed fruit and oatmeal every 3 days.
(Thank goodness for cinnamon tea–it’s sweet but sugar-free!)
Ok…I have another confession to make. I ate pie last night. Really, frikin’ good Nantucket Cranberry Pie. In case you didn’t know, I’m ob-sessed with cranberries and, therefore, do not feel any regret eating this, either.
When I am not cheating with pie, here is a sample of what I have been eating and hope to keep eating for 11 more days:
Breakfast: One egg + 2 egg whites scrambled with bell pepper, onion and salsa
Snack: 1/4 cup almonds
Lunch: Sauteed chicken with eggplant
Snack: 2 Tablespoons peanut butter with celery
Dinner: Spaghetti squash with meaty marinara sauce
Bedtime Snack: Chocolate protein shake
Despite a couple hiccups, I am so encouraged to have made it this far and am thrilled to be experiencing:
-quicker satiety during meals
-less muscle inflammation
-confidence in my sense of self-control
-less physical dependence on sugar
My goal for these remaining two weeks is to focus on my psychological dependence on sugar. My body is satisfied but my head…well…THAT is a challenge that might take more than just 24 days to overcome.
To Be Continued……