One week ago from today I completed round 2 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox. It was a breeze for me. There are many reasons for this including the fact that I wrote down everything I ate, took photos of most of my food and added a personal modification to the standard program.
Below you will discover 21 tips that come straight from a Toad’s heart. The first time I dove in I failed. Not this time around. Not all 21 tips will work for you but there will be a few (maybe a dozen or more) that fit your profile. Take action. They will go a long ways. Trust me from my experience!
1. Food journal
Write down what you eat. I did this for round 2 and it was hands down the best change I made from round 1. If I were to give you only one tip it would be to food journal.
I only wrote down the type of food I consumed. I sometimes would write the quantity such as 4 eggs and 3 slices of bacon for breakfast. I wrote down the specific time too.
The following is an example from Tuesday, June 5:
Breakfast: Lemon-Lime Cucumber Smoothie, 1/2 Banana, Piece of cheese @ 10:00.
Lunch: Salad @ 1:30 with Romaine, chicken breast, olives, tomato, red onion, mushroom, fresh dill, lime juice, black pepper
2. Allow for a personal modification
Round 1 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox did not go so well for me. I failed many times over. That does not mean I failed in the end. I started the challenge again in June and did an exceptional job.
For round 2, I did not follow the program exactly how it is laid out. I decided to allow more fruit and potatoes than what the standard guidelines allow. It’s extremely difficult for me to overeat fruit and potatoes and I am not at all addicted to them.
I allowed them because I am surrounded by both foods and they are inexpensive. I don’t eat them like chocolate (even dark) or anything else that is sweet.
I was still very conscious of what I was eating. And I did eat most of the fruit or potatoes following a strenuous workout which Diane does allow.
What personal modification will you make?
It’s all up to you in the end. You may not need a modification. I did. Had I not, I probably would have failed based on my environment at the time.
Complete the program how you feel you can successfully complete it.
3. Take photos of all the food you consume
This is simple folks. Do not eat anything until you have snapped a photo.
Do you have a smart phone? Then this will be easy. Post your photos to Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, twitter, etc. Hold yourself accountable.
4. Why do you want to detox from sugar? Write it down.
If you have no idea why you wish to embark on this challenge you are setting yourself up for failure. When you know the why to whatever it is your doing you will have a greater chance toward success. This is true with anything in life.
Write it down. Now. It can be a simple sentence or 35 different reasons.
Why did I challenge myself?
To feel awesome and do the impossible. To quit sugar. To be able to avoid bread when it’s free at restaurants. To become more mindful of what I’m putting in my body. To experiment more with foods like liver. To gain better health. To gain confidence in other areas of life. To gain experience and help others do what I did. And more.
5. Practice mindful eating
When you eat, eat. Do nothing else sans enjoying a pleasant conversation with family or friends. Don’t watch TV. Don’t read a blog (including this one). Don’t listen to music. Don’t write.
This will seem weird in the beginning. Get over the weirdness and just do it. If you really want to curb your sugar cravings then learning how to become a mindful eater will go a long ways.
Smell the food. Chew. Chew. Chew. Taste the amazing flavors. Feel the texture inside your mouth.
6. Don’t stress about local, grass-fed, pastured, organic etc.
Aim for the best quality foods that you can afford and find without stressing out. If you have easy access to grass-fed beef and are able to afford it then buy a few pounds. Is there a farmers market nearby? Visit it. You’ll have a blast and will find an abundance of fresh, whole food that is approved on the 21 Day Sugar Detox.
But don’t stress. This is key! A normal grocery store is fine. I personally almost always buy grass-fed ground beef but if I want a steak then I rarely buy grass-fed because it eats up (no pun intended!) a significant amount of my money.
You know your financial situation better than anyone else. You know your environment better than anyone else. This means you know how difficult or easy it is to source the best quality food. This means you must decide what food you buy. Ok?
7. Have a standard activity for when emotions hit
Are you an emotional eater? Maybe you are an emotional smoker or drinker. When you are stressed you eat, drink or smoke.
Forget will power. Why not make it easy on yourself and just replace the bad habit with a good habit? Instead of opening the cupboard or door to your refrigerator mindlessly when you are not at all hungry, why not go for a walk? Read a book? Play with your dog? Call a friend or family member on the phone?
I’ve had numerous episodes of binge eating. It was a habit. I decided to become more busy. It worked. What will you do to replace your poor habit?
8. Keep busy and relax a lot
Don’t get bored. Do something. When you are bored you are more bound to begin eating emotionally. Boredom is a form of stress; you don’t know what to do with yourself.
You don’t have to be working on a big project every second. Why not listen to a podcast? Music? Dance to the music? Create beautiful artwork if that is your thing.
During the 21 days you are going to want to avoid eating out and thus you will probably not spend as much time with family and friends as you usually do. This is ok. You will live and will actually grow from this experience.
It’s only 3 weeks folks. Don’t you forget that.
Do something. Anything that will keep you from thinking about food.
9. Find a partner and talk on a regular basis
Talk on the phone or in person. This is better than email or texting. However, talking through the computer is probably better than doing this on your own if you are “scared” at all. Find someone in the MDA forum to do this sugar detox with you. I bet you will find someone if you start your own thread.
Exchange advice, trials and tribulations. Send each other pictures of your food. If you live in the same area then cook together. Instead of your typical Friday or Saturday night meals, why not cook a meal that is 21 Day Sugar Detox approved? Grocery shop together too.
10. Blog about your experience
I’ve written 3 posts on this sugar detox to date. This is my 4th. Doing this has held me more accountable. I spent time discussing what I was doing and shared that on the web where anyone can view it.
This post that I am currently crafting discusses tips that will certainly help you if you take action. I am reflecting on my experience and sharing with you what worked for me. I knew I was going to do this going in which helped me complete the challenge with relative ease.
You can begin a free blog through wordpress.com or you can buy your own domain and hosting if you blog through wordpress.org. Do you need help? Email me.
Or, why not make it simple and start a tumblr blog? Post on Facebook or google plus? Or even just Pinterest. It’s all part of blogging and you can utilize these platforms for mini blogging. Post photos of your food that you have been eating and discuss your trials and tribulations.
11. Grocery shop before day 1 begins
Everyone needs to plan a little. Don’t be hard on yourself. If you are starting the 21 Day Sugar Detox on a Monday then take a few hours on Saturday and/or Sunday to prepare. Grocery shop. Visit your farmers market. Think about what foods you are going to eat the most. Bacon? Butter? Eggs? Ground Beef? Coconut?
You know what you want to eat and can eat. Work from there. There are more options available than you think. You just need to search for them and be willing to try new things.
12. Treat yourself once per week
That does not mean I am suggesting that you eat a cookie.
Let’s say you are on a tight budget and are buying grass-fed ground beef and inexpensive steaks that are not grass-fed at the supermarket. Why not splurge once a week and buy the absolute best quality steak and enjoy that once per week?
More than likely you normally drink alcohol on a weekly basis. During this detox you will be avoiding all alcohol. No exceptions, and I strongly advise to NOT allow any sips as part of a modification I discussed above.
So you are saving some money by not purchasing any alcohol. Why not take that money and buy a quality steak? Or some freshly caught seafood like Wild Alaskan Salmon from the Copper river?
13. Eat bigger meals
Are you a snacker? Is it difficult for you to go more than 3 hours without food?
If you are and if it is, you need to eat more at meal time.
Eat more food. Whole food. Eat the yolk with the white. It’s where all the nutrition is! Add butter to your vegetables. Eat half of an avocado. Add real olive oil to your salads. Eat bacon and eggs for breakfast.
14. Don’t be afraid to eat the same meal many times over
Do you work an 8 to 5 job? A salad is easy to bring to work. Buy a decent amount of salad veggies and fruits like cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, onion, avocado, romaine or other greens like spinach, chard and Boston lettuce. Throw it in a container with meat and maybe some real olive oil with lemon or lime juice for dressing. Dress it up with dried or fresh herbs if you wish.
I enjoyed a salad every single day when I worked at Amway for 5 months last year. My hours were 9:30 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday. I only had 30 minutes for lunch. You can do this for 21 straight days if you need to. If you have the time to create a variety of meals go for it. But some of you may be extremely busy and thus want to make things easy.
15. Have a go to approved food option
What do you really love that you will be allowed to eat for the next 21 days? Stock up on that food. Never run out. Whenever you feel a craving for sugar, eat that approved food.
The main reason you are doing this challenge is to curb your sugar cravings. Right?
So eat what you love that is not full of sugar. And, again, be mindful of what you are eating.
16. Begin with level 1 if you are a newbie
Many of you will be able to start at level 3 on your first go around and easily complete the challenge. However, this is definitely not most of you. I’ll add myself to this list. I did not eat grains but I modified it to where I enjoyed a little more fruit and potatoes. I did avoid alcohol and chocolate and bread and all processed junk.
If you are new to this program and are unsure then begin with level 1. You have the rest of your life to give level 2 and 3 a shot. Why set yourself up for failure right from the beginning?
Don’t. You know yourself better than anyone else. Choose the level that fits you best.
17. If you falter, don’t quit
You don’t have to be 100% perfect to say you completed this detox. I say I avoided all alcohol but I did actually have 2 sips on 2 different occasions. No worries, right?
If you make a small mistake then move on. Forget about it. Even if you have one big cheat meal. Find out why you may have done this then move on. Keep going. Don’t quit. You have no reason to quit. Finish the 21 days then start again sometime in the near future.
18. Don’t count calories or carbs
Some of you may do better if you count. Most, however, will be better off if you don’t worry about the total amount of calories and carbs you consume.
If you follow the guidelines exactly how they are laid out you will naturally be eating a lot less carbs. Carbs in and of themselves are NOT bad for you. There are foods that have a lot of carbs that are bad for you. But you are doing this program to detox from sugar and carbs. Focus on the “fattier” foods like meat, eggs, avocado, coconut, etc.
Follow my first tip and food journal. Just understand that there truly is no need to weigh and measure everything and spend countless hours on it. If you want to do this and you don’t add stress then go for it. Those who fit this bill are few and far in between.
19. Drink smoothies
I personally enjoyed a lot of smoothies on my second round. Yes, I did allow for more fruit but this does not mean that you can’t enjoy smoothies that are 100% 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) approved.
Inside my ebook, Toadally Primal Smoothies, you will find a grand total of 71 recipes that are 21DSD approved. Only 6 out of these 71 recipes are only level 2 approved. The other 65 are level 3 approved. For the June 2012 update I added a label feature. You will know whether or not all 150 recipes are approved or not based on the label right below the title.
Click here to discover my 15 favorite smoothie recipes.
20. Don’t plan on eating trash food once you complete the detox
Don’t do it! If you do, you may begin a downward spiral. Doing a sugar detox and then eating something heavy with sugar that is not fruit is a horrible “reward.” Instead, eat that strawberry that is in season.
Just avoid the fake food. Do it for yourself. Not for me.
It’s been one week for me since I completed the sugar detox for the second time. I have yet to eat too much sugar at once. I am damn proud of myself. I passed on the bread at Greek Islands in Chicago the following day. I did eat ice cream at iCream after dinner but it was full fat, organic and homemade. Whole raspberries and blackberries were on top. No syrup.
I did enjoy some wine and one NorCal Margarita this past weekend but I “failed” to have too much. I did embark on the 2 pound burger challenge at Wheel House in Chicago this past weekend that also included a huge ass pile of fries but I made an incredible memory. I was the first one to complete the challenge (Wheel House has existed for 5 months!). It took me all 45 minutes but I am glad I did it!
I have yet to eat chocolate. This is quite strange; going 4 full weeks (and counting) without any type of chocolate. I don’t plan on buying any anytime soon either.
And guess what? I used to be addicted to it.
The choice is ultimately up to you.
21. Sleep. Move. Play. Go outside.
You can not forget these 4 vitally important factors to vibrant health.
Sleep. If you fail to sleep you will add stress and there will be a better chance of failure.
Move. Take a walk or do a CrossFit workout. Do some push-ups. Move in a way that you want to move. Be active but don’t worry about being as active as you normally are. If you do decide to workout intensely you will need to fuel yourself with more carbs as Diane explains inside.
Play. Don’t forget to have fun! Make a game out of this sugar detox. Don’t stress about it. Do what makes you feel awesome. What makes you happy. This could be playing basketball with friends or staring up at the sky. You may go to the beach or play a round of golf.
Go outside. If it’s not scorching hot (heat index will be up to 110 degrees here in Grand Rapids, MI for a few days this week!) or brutally cold then spend time outside. Even if it is this or that then still spend some time outside. Just being outdoors is healing. So get out!
That’s it folks. Do you have any tips to add? If you do, please chime in by leaving a comment below. Discuss your past experiences on the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Anything that will help others reading this post.
Or, maybe you have struggled in the past. What did you struggle with? Leave a comment below and myself or someone else will gladly try to help you out. Feel free to email me too.