I’m pretty good about eating clean, but lately I have been consuming foods I don’t normally eat. We have been staying with my in laws while we wait to close on a home so my diet has changed quite a bit. My mother in law cooks the most heavenly meals so it’s hard turning down her food. Yes, I am guilty of going back for seconds and sometimes thirds! Unfortunately, these meals consist primarily of simple carbs- tortillas, rice, bread, thick creamy sauces, etc. She also likes to bake sweets to quench her sweet tooth and I’m not one to turn down a treat. I don’t believe in depriving myself but I have always been able to control how much I eat. Lately, that hasn’t been the case and because of my (unhealthy)change in diet, I have been paying for it.
Before I started the sugar detox, my energy levels were at an all time low- I felt sluggish all day and I was super bloated. My pants also started to fit a little snug. I was starting to crave sugar ALL the time. It seemed to be getting worse. I knew it was time for change. It was time for a sugar detox.
Before you start a sugar detox
If you are thinking of sugar detoxing, check with your doctor and get his/her okay. Do your research. I did a very basic one. There are more complicated detoxes, there are longer detoxes, shorter ones, etc. Look for one that works for you.
Sugar Detox Basics
I will be completely honest. When I decided to detox, I wasn’t sure what it involved. I’ve never been on a sugar detox before. After doing some research, I knew it would take a lot of willpower to get through it but I was ready. Before starting any type of detox, make sure you are 100% ready and willing. If you’re not 100% in, you’re extremely likely to cave.
Here is what you’ll have to cut out of your diet during the detox period:
- Eliminate all simple carbohydrates from your diet- Simple carbs are made up of one or two sugar molecules so they are a quick source of energy and are digested very quickly. When you consume a simple carb, like a candy bar, your system is flooded with sugars (this is why you get that burst of energy). Insulin comes in, shuttles off some of the sugar to use as energy and anything left is stored as fat (this is why you crash). You get that sugar high and then…you crash. Simple carbs include anything from breads, white rice, sweets, dressings, alcohol, etc.
- Eliminate Fruit- Fruit is a complex carb so sugar is slowly released into your system. This is good because you feel full for longer and your system isn’t flooded with sugar so you don’t get that rush then crash later. Unfortunately, if you want to get over the sugar cravings you will have to eliminate fruit from your diet but don’t worry. It’s only for 7 days. I’ll be honest, I decided to start slow and actually had a couple of apple on day one of my sugar detox. More on that later.
- Eliminate legumes- Legumes are extremely starchy so you want to eliminate them from your diet while on a sugar detox.
Here is what you should eat during the detox period (and beyond):
- Complex carbs- When you eat complex carbs, sugar is slowly released into your system. This keeps you full and keeps you from crashing. Complex carbs include veggies such as zucchini,mushrooms, tomatoes, salads, etc.
- Protein- lean beef, tuna, chicken, turkey breast, shrimp, eggs, etc.
- Nuts and seeds- These are good for you but they are energy dense (they have lots of calories in a small serving) so be mindful of how much you are eating.
- Drink lots of water
Sugar Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
This is a short list of symptoms you may experience when detoxing:
- feeling nauseous
- feeling jittery
- intense sugar cravings
- feeling hungry all the time
- feeling tired and needing a nap
- muscle aches/pains
- weird dreams
- having to pee all the time
- mood swings
My Sugar Detox Experience
I highly recommend keeping a food journal. It will keep you on track. I used myfitnesspal to keep track of what I was eating. I wrote down every single thing I put into my mouth, how much water I drank and how I was feeling. I also kept track of my workouts during the week. I did light workouts since my body was working extra hard to get rid of the toxins in my system.
Day 1: I took it easy on day 1. I completely cut out simple carbs but I decide I didn’t want to quit cold turkey. I had an apple early in the morning and an apple in the evening. This brought my sugar intake up to over 30 grams which is a lot! My limit was 24g. This was a huge eye opener!
Even though I had over 30 grams of sugar, I started to feel a bit lightheaded towards the end of the day. I craved a “real” sweet treat but I didn’t cave. I felt like I was starving all day. I didn’t quite hit my calorie intake goal which was alarming. After looking over my food journal at the end of the day, I learned I had been eating 500-700 calories worth of simple carbs. Wow!
Day 2: I did really great on day 2. I still felt like I was starving but I hit my calorie goal. I didn’t have a single simple carb. I didn’t eat any fruit. I drank water all day. My snacks consisted of peanut butter. It helped curb my sugar cravings. The cravings were there but manageable. I still felt lightheaded and a bit jittery. I think I spent most of the day daydreaming about cake.
Day 3: I felt jittery and nauseous. The cravings were coming but I didn’t cave. I had to pee all the time. I was running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. I was also feeling exhausted so I did a light workout.
Day 4: My energy levels had dropped and I had to drag myself out of bed. The sugar cravings were getting stronger. I even had a dream that I ate a whole bag of doritos-a big family pack. I felt nauseous and had a headache. I was able to workout but it was a light workout. I was still running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. It was a hard day.
Day 5: I felt extremely jittery all day. I was also exhausted so I took a 2 hour nap and skipped my workout. I felt I had to give my time to recover. Thankfully, the headache was gone and I wasn’t peeing as much. I had a dream I was eating hamburger buns. It is probably the oddest dream I have ever had.
Day 6: I had MAJOR cravings all day. It was almost unbearable but I didn’t give in. My dreams were getting better too. I had a dream that I was eating lettuce wraps. I felt a little nauseous but it wasn’t as bad as the other days.
Day 7: My energy was coming back. I wasn’t as tired as I had been and the sugar cravings were going away. My sister in law brought over an ice cream cake. After seeing everybody eating cake, I caved and got a small slice. I took one bite and couldn’t eat it. It was weird but I didn’t feel like eating it. I threw out the rest of it. I ended up eating peanut butter.
My mother in law made chili for dinner. I ate a small bowl and felt sick soon after. Later, I was told she added cornmeal. I think that’s what made me sick.
After the detox
It’s been almost a week since I finished the detox and I can honestly say that I think it worked. I had some major sugar cravings for 2 days after the detox but it went away after that. I still feel it a little bit but it’s almost not noticeable. I am eating fruits
but I haven’t craved simple carbs very much so I’ve kept them out of my diet.
Most of the symptoms of withdrawal have gone away except for one. I have recently had a bad case of insomnia. I am up all night so I think that’s why I feel a little tired during the day. Other than that, I am feeling great.