I’ve been hearing about so many people going on a sugar detox recently, and I think it’s so great! I applaud anyone trying to improve their health, and giving up sugar is a challenge for everyone. As difficult as it can be, I think it’s so beneficial when you feel your body and mood change as you go through the process. I’ve done a 30 day sugar detox challenge before and I loved how I felt afterward, so much that I’ve stayed away from sugar even after I was done with the challenge.
After my own positive experience, I’ve recently decided to be an instructor for a sugar detox program called the RESTART® program, and I’ll be starting classes soon so make sure to check it out here. To prep the participants (or anyone thinking about doing the sugar detox) for the challenge, I’ve decided to put together a post about what they can expect when they give up sugar. It can be a difficult process, so I want to provide all the support and make sure that there aren’t any surprises along the way.
Here are some things you can expect when you go on a sugar detox:
Preparation is key.
Yes, you’ll be jumping into the sugar detox challenge head first. This isn’t a type of thing that you can just ease into. You’ll need to give up sugar completely from the beginning so your body can learn to reset itself. Because of this, before you actually start a detox, it’s so important to prepare your home and kitchen to get you ready for the challenge. Clean out your pantry of sugar, dessert treats, and anything that you’ll be giving up during the detox. If you live with other people, then you can set up a pantry shelf and/or a refrigerator section that’ll just be for yourself and stock it with nutritious foods you’ll be eating during the detox. Speaking of stocking, this is an important time to put together a list of sugar-free recipes and snack ideas, and go grocery shopping so you can be prepared to cook those meals. Avoiding the feeling of having nothing to eat while staring at your open fridge plays a huge role in your success!
Getting support from those around you makes a huge difference.
Especially if you live with other people, it may be a great idea to get them on board with you to start the sugar detox program. Having a friend, a family member, or a significant other joining you makes the challenge that much easier as you can have someone to share the experience with and be accountable with. If they decide not to, make sure to talk to them about what you are planning to do so they can be respectful of your upcoming choices and be supportive when they can. I love the RESTART® program because its a small-group classroom setting so you have your classmates to rely on when you are facing any challenges during the detox, and they can be a great support system.
You’ll need replace sugar with high quality foods.
When you give up sugar, you are giving up a high amount of empty calories that are mostly devoid of nutrients. It’s important to replace those calories with quality protein, fat, and vegetables so you don’t feel deprived and hungry. For example, a large chocolate chip cookie is equivalent in calories to a 3 oz serving of ground beef which is equivalent to an enormous amount of vegetables. Which do you think will fill you up more? I know from my past experience that I can’t stop with just 1 or even 2 cookies. But with meat and vegetables? They fill me up way faster. Because of this, it’s important to satisfy yourself by eating more nutrient-dense foods so you aren’t constantly hungry and thinking about when your next meal will be every 5 minutes.
Find other ways to treat yourself.
Once you start the sugar detox and you are on your way to feeling great, you’ll need to shift the way you think about “rewards” and “treats.” For some people, they love having a piece of cake or chocolate after dinner or to celebrate small victories. Instead of turning to sweets, take a bubble bath or go on hike. Not only will you feel better, you’ll find that you can find enjoyment from other aspects of your life without just relying on those sweets. For me, getting a massage is a way I treat myself occasionally, and it’s SO much better than eating a brownie.
Keeping a food journal can be extremely helpful.
Although it might seem time-consuming and tedious at first, you are much more likely to stick with the detox if you keep a food journal. You can use a pen and paper, create an Excel sheet, or use an app to keep track of what you are eating throughout the day. Keeping a food journal keeps your accountable to yourself, as you congratulate yourself on how well you did that day or remind yourself to not slip again the next day.
You’ll likely go through a detox phase.
Refined sugar is hard on the body and when you eliminate it, the detox pathways will open up and begin releasing toxins. When this happens, usually in the first 2 weeks, you can experience both emotional and physical symptoms like mood swings, depression, digestive issues, hives, and lack of energy. Just remember that it takes time for your body to detox and reset itself and once these symptoms pass, you’ll end up feeling SO much better at the other end of it. Depending on how much sugar you were consuming beforehand, these symptoms can be extreme to not feeling like anything at all. I encourage you to continue to stick with the program because it’ll all be worth it at the end.
Your taste buds will change.
In fact, one of the major reasons to go on a sugar detox is to reset your taste buds, because at the end of it, that’s what will eliminate your sugar cravings. When you stop consuming hyper-palatable, extremely sweet foods for even just 3 weeks, your body has the power to forget those tastes and flavors so you find out how deliciously sweet beets, sweet potatoes, and fruits are. You know those people who talk about how flavorful plain raw vegetables are? You may end up like them. After I finished my sugar detox, I had a mango and could not believe how sweet it tasted to me. By resetting your taste buds, your brain will stop craving those sweet foods that you once thought you couldn’t live without.
It’s okay to screw up.
No, seriously. We’ve all been there. Stop beating yourself up over having a few slips during the detox. We are all human, and we are all designed to derive pleasure from sweet flavors. If you do end up having a slice of cake, enjoy it, acknowledge that you’ve slipped, and move on with a mindset to stick to the plan. Being stressed out and upset will only impede your progress, and you are more likely to give up on the sugar detox altogether before it’s done. It’s important to be kind to yourself and know that it’s okay to screw up sometimes because NEWS FLASH: we aren’t perfect. I love the RESTART® program‘s rule: “Whatever I eat, I choose it consciously, I enjoy it throughly and then I let it go.”
Expect to see some major positive changes!
Some of the many amazing results you may experience are weight loss, more energy, improved digestion, healthier looking skin, and clarity in thinking. It’s almost unbelievable how much refined sugar negatively impacts our body AND our minds. At the end of the sugar detox, you’ll feel so empowered about how much you’ve improved your health in just 3 short weeks. Some people have told me that they feel so great, they don’t want to go back to how they used to eat. I was one of them.
Now… are you ready start your sugar detox challenge? Find out more about my 5-week RESTART® program and join one of my classes! If you can’t make them, contact me to request a new date and time for an online class.