Now I was going to write a post about my experience of a recent sugar detox I undertook, kinda like in a diary form. But after five days I quit and my fatigued ridden rants would not make for good reading.
It was not all bad though. After 5 days I still lost 2lbs this past week. 🙂
I’ve learnt lots from my sugar detox, and although I didn’t complete it, you’ll find out why later on, I figured it might be useful to pass the experience on.
Why I decided to do the sugar detox
As you know, since Jan I’ve been on a personal challenge to loose over two stone. I still had 10lbs to loose and those last 10 seemed to be sticking fast. I’m not gaining which makes me very happy but at the same time neither am I loosing and hadn’t been for a solid four weeks. So I figured something needed to give and sugar looked the obvious choice.
It was time to quit the sugar.
First of all when I say sugar – lets clarify:
There are four main types of sugar to be found in the average Western diet:
- Glucose such as corn syrup – mostly found as a preservative in fizzy drinks. It’s extremely cheap to extract and use by big drinks companies.
- Sucrose as in white granulated sugar, extracted from either cane or beat. During its manufacturing chemical processes it then turns into both glucose and fructose.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup found in nearly every food can, processed food and frozen desert. Its a highly processed glucose/fructose combination that can be neatly sweetened controlled into what ever food or drink substances it is added to.
- Fructose such as found in every fruit and veg. This is considered the best of the four because it’s naturally occurring within the plant.
You’ve probably seen or heard on the news, many times, about the multiple studies linking high sugar diets to everything from recognised chronic diseases like diabetes and heart failure to weight gain and sight loss.
So I don’t really need to be told to ditch the sugar and you don’t want me to tell you either.
How about then just having three simple reasons for quitting?
- Spending money on crap containing so much sugar is making that holiday/car/greenhouse/(insert desired product here) one step further to reach. Stop buying the cake and save the money for something that last longer than that can of coke.
- Loose the dependency. No-one, including me likes to think they are becoming dependant on something. While cigarettes and alcohol seem to be the ‘norm’ things to give up, sugar needs to be there too because if you’re craving sweet things, get the shakes from not having a sugary drink all day or only feel a bout of energy after a chocolate bar then that should be the wake up call.
- Loose weight – that was my main reason.
Now for the truth
You can’t quit sugar in 7 days
If I thought a total quit in 7 days was do-able I’d actually be able to make a fortune selling the technique but it’s not there.
As I proved, it’s not even possible to truly detox your body of sugar in 7 days either because by day 5 if you haven’t hit the brick wall, then you’re about to very soon.
That’s not to say quitting sugar isn’t possible, it most certainly is. I’ve seen people with my own eyes who never lift a teaspoon of sugar for anything and they look dandy.
I ended up quitting because I thought a total withdrawal from all sugars but fructose was going to be okay for my body to handle. Turns out neither my body nor mind could cope. Both got completely flawed.
Here are some fundamental simple points I learnt through my five days:
- Prepare yourself. Get your mind focused
- Accept the detox is more like an addictive withdraw which will take at least 3 weeks and, depending on how much sugar you consume currently – probably much longer.
- Decide exactly which type of sugar you are detoxing from. I decided on everything but the fructose because fruit is a fundamental part of my diet.
- Before starting the detox – start cutting down the sugary stuff, about two weeks before hand. Simple withdrawal is hardcore and honourable but it hardly ever works (me being the casing point)
- Chuck out/give away every single white sugary/glucose item in your kitchen and treat drawer. Do not have anything in the house that may tempt you.
- Know that once your body realises it’s not going to get sugar it will have your mind craving for carbs so make sure they are also far away from your kitchen. (Just another great reason for Paleo).
- Prepare to hit a brick wall for several days if you don’t cut down before starting.
- Drink water. Drink tea, hell drink anything as long as it doesn’t have sugar in it. Try different things because believe me that water is going to get boring as hell from about day 2.
- Don’t substitute all your normal food for fruit because this just defeats your objective and leaves your body craving more which then adds lbs rather than loosing them.
- Prepare to cry because you’re going to feel sorry for yourself
- Prepare your family and friends for you anger because you’re going to get extremely grouchy
- Do exercise. What ever you do normally, increase it once your energy levels have calmed down because the exercise releases those all important endorphins – same as that sugar kick.
- Be prepared to flake, often. Do not attempt this detox straight off, if for the first three days you need to be running about everywhere and attending high powered meetings because you just won’t be able to. Hence point 1 of planning.
- Don’t give up, or – give up, assess, start right over. DO NOT EVER beat yourself up over quitting.
I gave up because I didn’t do point one. If I’d have planned it thoroughly I would have realised what an uphill struggle it was going to be.
Not to worry though, I’m going to give it another shot. This time I’ll start cutting down my in-take weeks before I actually ditch the sugar altogether.
Quitting from having about 12g of sugar in each mug of tea/coffee, three times daily and eating various sweets meant my body had to cope from having it’s daily in-take of about 72g down to a mere 10g (via fruit). Physically and psychologically my body just could not cope with such a drastic change.
So learn from me – plan and prepare!
If you’ve got any tips and experiences to share on doing a sugar detox, get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.