As If Life Wasn’t Challenging Enough…

As if life wasn’t challenging enough, I’ve decided to stop eating sugar for a little while.

And bread.

And pasta.

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

-better sleep

-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……



12 thoughts on “As If Life Wasn’t Challenging Enough…

  1. Pingback: Food Confessions (Part One) « Tales of a Clyde Woman

  2. Pingback: Burn and Crash « Tales of a Clyde Woman

  3. Pingback: Adding the Good, Forgetting the Rest |

    • I did enjoy the cleanse part…a little. I wrote the follow-up post “Burn and Crash” to discuss how I felt about the whole thing in general. Definitely would not do it again. It’s just not me. Have you done this before?

  4. I am so relieved that someone else felt the same way I do. Today is my day 2 and it has been detox hell! My coach told me that I needed to eat more. I did and felt better for about 5 minutes and went back to hell. I am hoping this is all worth it and I am definitely ready to feel better. I have the shakes, nothing tastes good, my stomach is just being plane wonky. Good to know it gets better. Thanks for the post!

    • Then knowing your earthiness, I would look into Standard Process. I learned that with Advocare, it is like a pyramid scheme so the people selling you the product are not really informed about the product and are not health professionals. Also, you take a lot of pills that are thrown into daily-dose packages that are not labeled. I was swallowing all sorts of different pills, none of which I knew were. There really isn’t enough information about the product you are ingesting. And with that said, the thermogens made my stomach very jumpy and I felt like I was losing my mind. LONG soapbox, but I will say that Standard Process is an intense cleanse that is organic. Look at both companies’ websites and you will see the difference. 🙂 Hope this helps!

      • Thank you. I waver between trying “a diet” and my opposite desire which is to just learn what and how much to eat to stay at a lower, healthier weight.

        Example: In September last year I reached 200 pounds for the first time. I made some permanent changes to my diet that I will try to live with my whole life. Pounds flew off at first, and then, as expected, the losses slowed and then stopped. I have been at 175 since Christmas.

        So now I don’t know if I want to try “a diet” to lose the last 15, or if I just need to, once more, decide on some permanent changes in my eating habits. I already feel a bit restricted.

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