A Bittersweet Detox: 21 Days Without Sugar

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I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving was the start of a very sweet few weeks for me. Between the holiday treats at the office and at home, I’m finding myself eating lots of sugar and craving even more than that!

I felt like I needed a little reminder of what exactly sugar does to your body, so that I can make logical decisions and healthy choices. While my initial reaction to detox was for fear of the potential consequences, I realized during my research that I am already experiencing some of them. Sugar is addictive. In fact, many people say that it’s the most addictive thing that you can give your body. The more you eat it, the more you want it.  Cravings? Check. Sugar confuses your body into thinking it needs to produce more insulin, ultimately resulting in weight gain. I haven’t been on the scale recently, but by the way that I feel, I’d check that off on my list of symptoms too.  Sugar makes you feel sluggish and moody. Tired? Check.  Moody?  Hubby is too sweet to say yes, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t think it. BIG check. (I’m now picturing that scene from Knocked Up at the doctor’s office. “You know, I know this isn’t you talking, it’s your hormones. But I would just like to say, f-you, hormones! You are a crazy b****, hormones. Not Allison! Hormones!” Just replace “hormones” with “sugar” and you’ve got a slightly exaggerated picture of how I’ve been feeling.)image.jpg

When I told my friends that I was going to begin a 21 Day Sugar Detox, the reaction was the same from everyone. “Right now?” “During Christmas?!” Yes. Definitely. Purposely. As I explained to them, at the rate that I’m going, it’ll take more than 21 days to turn things around if I wait. Plus, who doesn’t want to look and feel good in their New Year’s outfit?  I want to sparkle from the inside out.

I’ve found programs online that will help you detox, but I’m not interested in paying someone to tell me what I already know that I need to do. I just need to commit and do it! After doing some reading, I’ve learned that women should consume no more than 24 grams of sugar each day. Think about that. A single can of pop would put you over that limit!  Not to mention all of the foods that you don’t think of as being sugary, like bread, corn, or ketchup. I found this chart of foods that should be eaten, avoided, and enjoyed in moderation. Some of them really surprised me.image

My plan is to remain within that 24 gram limit, but shoot for less. I’ll need to be diligent in actually tracking my sugar intake, as that’s not something I usually do. I will be sure to stay hydrated so that I don’t experience artificial hunger. I will stay busy so that my idle hands don’t reach for something sweet. I will be sure to exercise and take care of my body. I will listen to it and what it needs.

I’ll keep you in the loop about what ends up working for me and what does not. If you feel up for the challenge, please join me! There is strength in numbers. In the mean time, catch you later, Sugar.

Fueling Your Machine

“You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” How many times have we heard this? Countless, I’m sure. So it should come as no surprise that when I began my journey to a healthier me, my starting line was in the kitchen. … Continue reading

A Wifestyle Makeover: From the Beginning

Transformation

I grew up living a very active lifestyle. As I mentioned previously, I was a professionally trained dancer which meant hours upon hours of time spent in the studio. After pursuing my performance career, I found myself teaching dance to the next generation. When my husband and I got married, we both decided that my energy would be best focused on our family business. And so, with that, I was full time at our insurance and financials office. As what seems to happen to many of us women, I settled right in to adulthood. Suddenly, I was sedentary. I spent eight hours each day sitting at a desk. I came home, fed the dogs, made dinner, threw in a load of laundry, and then parked it on the couch with my hubby. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining by any means. Some of our best times were spent sitting at opposite ends of the couch trying to toss gummy penguins into each other’s mouths. We have fun no matter what we’re doing. Life was good, but it had definitively changed.

Fast forward to July 2014. Tom and I decided that were going to rip our 1960’s kitchen out and start anew. The morning that demolition began, we were upstairs talking while Mocha (our puggle) and Klaus (our Golden puppy) wrestled. All of a sudden, Klaus let out the most horrendous sound I’ve ever heard and collapsed. Tom picked him up and rushed him out to our truck. I sat in the back with Klaus as we raced to the emergency vet, blowing air into his muzzle and performing compressions. We got there within ten minutes, but Klaus was gone before we arrived. When we started that morning, I never in a million years would have imagined we’d find ourselves deciding if we wanted our puppy cremated and in what type of box. Our family was jolted. The house felt empty. Mocha stopped eating and I started. I stress ate absolutely anything and everything. It was all I could do to numb the pain.

Life moved along, whether or not we were ready. Demolition had begun on the kitchen and so we had to push on. Just a few days into the project, Tom stepped on two rusty nails, which got infected and had him hospitalized. He was on crutches and antibiotics for what seemed like an eternity. It took us a total of four months to complete the kitchen. We ate carry out at every meal–three hundred and sixty meals total. It was sickening. But finally, we were done. The kitchen was everything I’d dreamt of and more.

We now had a new addition to the family, Berndt. He was a Golden Retriever just like our last, but he was nothing like him. He was such a pistol! Between him and changes at our office, we were swamped. Though our eating situation had improved, it wasn’t enough. I had neglected my body for far too long and it was going to take much more than some home cooked meals to get myself back on track.

In August, I heard about a 90 Day Challenge that was going to take place at our gym. I thought that this could be just what I needed to get my act in gear. My group was a transformation challenge, which meant losing body fat. This was perfect for me because my goal really had nothing to do with the number on the scale, but instead about how I felt. I was so tired of my clothes strangling me and searching for a person in the mirror who I couldn’t seem to find anymore. I also didn’t want to just drop a bunch of weight to win a competition. I wanted to create a healthy lifestyle that would not only get me to my goals, but that I could also maintain for the rest of my life. Let’s face it, life is ALWAYS going to seem crazy and chaotic. I needed a solid plan that I knew I could depend on.

And so it began. I needed a “before” picture, per the competitions requirements. Holy moly! If you ever want to really step back and assess your situation, take a photo of yourself in a sports bra and spandex shorts. I nearly cried when I had to have my husband take the picture. Sure, what I saw definitely scared me, but I think the hardest part was knowing what it represented. I had lost control. I had completely neglected myself, which ultimately meant I wasn’t being the best I could be for the people that I loved either.

90 days later, I am proud to say that I accomplished what I set out to do and so much more. I set out to makeover my body and somehow I ended up cleansing my soul. I never would have thought I’d share my “before” photo with anyone other than my husband. But I want you to see what I’ve done so that you can see what I know you can do too. In following posts, I will share with you what exactly I did to succeed. There’s no “skinny tea” or diet pill at the end of this story. Just good, old-fashioned hard work and caring. It ultimately comes down to taking care of yourself, the way you do your husband, kids, dogs, business, and everything else that you put first in your life.