Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Throughout this past school year, I was super focused on my diet and was exercizing several times per week. With the exception of a couple short breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and the occasional weak moment), I was able to maintain that focus for many months. This focus helped me to lose almost 30 pounds over the course of about 7 months. While a slower pace than I'd hoped, a loss is a loss, and the real goal was to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. At the beginning of June, I hit a wall. Work was stressing me out (I think I filled out 56 pieces of meaningless end-of the year paperwork, the kids were actin' kinda cray cray, and my evaluation results were looming), end-of-the-year parties were bumpin' straight jumpin', and Rich's birthday, Rich's dad's birthday, and my dad's birthday were all in the mix to round out a month-long over-eating fest! As so often happens when one is "on a diet," I was waning mentally and chose to give myself a couple breaks. ("I deserve it. I've worked hard this year!" "I'll get back on track tomorrow.") I figured I'd just need to get through the month of June and then my focus would magically reappear.

Spoiler allert (or for those of you hopeful individuals): Magically reappearing focus is not a thing.

Flash forward about 3 weeks. We'd been planning a Caribbean cruise since February. That would happen at the end of July. (Side note: We had a blast.) During aformentioned cruise, we ate, ate, and ate some more. We also did some hiking, golfing, surfing, and swimming which helped to off-set the caloric intake a bit, but two months worth of not thinking about what I was eating was really taking its toll. When all was said and done, I gained about 7 or 8 pounds over the course of 2 or 2.5 months. Stepping on the scale actually had me breathing a small sigh of relief since I thought it was going to be much worse; however, a gain is a gain, and wasn't the real goal to live a healthier and more active lifestyle? It's so frustrating how slow the process of losing weight is and how quick gaining it back can be!

Flash forward to the beginning of August. I was home from the cruise, Summer vacation was winding down (Waaaaahhhh!!!), and I needed to get back on track. Seriously. I had heard and read about The 21 Day Sugar Detox from a couple sources, and after reading into it a bit more, I thought it was something we could do. I hemmed and hawed over it a bit, but in the end, I ordered 2 books: The 21 Day Sugar Detox and The 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook, both by Diane Sanfilippo. In fact, I had some old Amazon gift card dolla dolla bills y'all, so I used those, and my total investment so far (besides food) has been about $6. If you had to pay full price for both books, you're looking at about $42.00 total. I read the introduction in the first book in about an hour one night. Some of the things Sanfilippo says really struck me. She explains the difference between good carbs and bad carbs. She also explains that our body (and in particular our liver) functions to flush our system of toxins, so in order to make our body's job easier, we should take steps to put the right things into it. That way, the body can focus mostly on environmental toxins rather than food-based ones. She details how one can expect to feel from day to day when completing the detox (some definite ups and downs, but definitely more ups). Basically, she advocates for clean eating. There's so much research to suggest that clean eating is best for our body, and Sanfilippo takes the guess work out of the transition.

After reading, I whipped up a meal-planning calendar which was a little overwhelming. Many of the ingredients were ones I wasn't used to cooking with, but I was determined to keep an open mind. Once that was finished, my mom and I made a trip to Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and the Bulk Food Store (for spices). I spent about $250.00, which is certainly not chump change, but included in that total are things like oils, flours, spices, and other staples that I will have for months. I estimate that I'll end up spending about $100 per week on fresh ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, and meats. Yesterday was our first day on The 21DSD, and we were very successful. The best part? We had lamb burgers for dinner! They were topped with an avocado mix that was delish. On the side was a salad with a homemade balsamic vinegar dressing. While I'm not a huge meat lover, my husband is. Finding a diet (diet in the most general sense of the word, not a temporary way-of-eating) that works for both of us has been a challenge. Sanfilippo really provides some yummy recipes that incorporate delicious things (bacon anyone?) that most other diets really limit. The way I see it, it charges us to get back to our roots. And when I say roots, I mean eat like cavemen. It makes sense, no? These are the things our bodies were naturally meant to digest. Why fight it? So far, my meat-lovin' husband has been happy.

After the 21 days, the idea is to transition to a paleolithic (paleo) life style where you're preparing and eating similar things with a bit more wiggle room. I'm very excited at the potential this holds. All that said, though, I'm cautiously optimistic. I still have a lot of questions about whether or not we can sustain it. For one, it can be costly; but if we're committed to healthier bodies, that's okay. For another, the world we live in doesn't always support this type of life style. It might be difficult to have lunch with friends or attend gatherings where folks are eating fried foods. For example, I'm going to a crock pot recipe exchange on Thursday (What will I cook? What will I eat?) and Rich is going on a fishing charter with his dad and grandpa next week. Like anything else, it takes time to adjust to. Once adjusted, I think we should be able to figure it out. One more thing: Sanfilippo says that weight loss isn't guaranteed over the course of the 21 days, but she says most people experience weight loss. I do hope to lose some weight. I feel like I'm bound to if I'm cutting sugar out of my life. Plus, sugar aside, if I'm eating any better than I was eating during June and July, I should at least shed a few pounds. I'd really like to get back to where I was at the end of the school year. That means losing 7 or 8 pounds in 3 weeks. That's a pretty lofty goal, I realize. I'm going to call it a loose goal because while I hope to lose the weight, I'll be happy with anything. After all, the real goal is to live a healthier and more active lifestyle, right? ;-)

Speaking of active, I'm off to take a long walk with Rich and Carly. I'm hoping to update this daily, if for no other reason than to document my thoughts, feelings, and progress over the 21 days. I hope you'll come back and cheer for me along the way!


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