Joey’s 6 Week Detox off The Devil’s Dandruff (aka… SUGAR)
They say that ‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears’, and that was very much my experience this summer, when Laura Thomas of happysugarhabits.com appeared in my life, or in my inbox I should say.
I have spent the majority of this year being aware of my sugar intake and how it was negatively affectingmy energy levels (soaring up and then crashing, leaving me feeling moody and always in need of more.) Increasingly often, I had found myself in the habit of reaching for a chocolate bar for a quick ‘boost’ before an important meeting to help with alertness – much like City Bankers use coke, I was using sugar.
Since I gave up drinking alcohol altogether 2.5 years ago, sugary drinks have become my rocket fuel on nights out and my enthusiasm for desserts has definitely grown too. So when Laura’s Mentor Me Off Sugar Programme popped up in my inbox, I thought, why not? I could really do with a helping hand on the sugar front.
After my introductory Skype consultation with Laura, we concluded that one of my main struggles (like lots of people) was that being the sugar fiend that I am, I don’t taste the sweetness in most foods anymore. The 6 week sugar detox was therefore an opportunity for me to actively try and increase my sensitivity to sugar – a retraining of the taste-buds if you like.
Below is a summary of my 6 Week Detox – inclusive of constipation, relapse & raisin shaming.
No Sugar Week 1
Day 1. Had a headache from lunchtime. Low energy and unable to feel present all day. In bed by 8pm.
Day 2. Felt a little better today but I’m grappling with eating porridge for breakfast. It’s the quickest sugar-free brekkie to make so I’ve decided to make myself eat it as I am often short on time in the mornings (so realistically, eggs and avocado on toast ain’t gonna happen.) The problem is, I’ve disliked porridge for 26 years.
Day 3 – Ooops, Persia and I we’re up at the crack o’ dawn on a trip to Birmingham this morning and I ate a banana at 5am in the taxi completely by accident! I’d finished the whole thing before realising the error of my ways ☹
Every week, Laura provides a suggested meal plan with the most delicious sugar-free munch ideas. They really are inspiring, particularly if you have time & money on your side. Being a perfectionist, I initially found the meal plan overwhelming as I knew with my unpredictable schedule, it’d be near impossible to stick to it entirely. Laura assured me these are only suggestions and I was fine to do my own thing (as long as I’m eating sugar-free, of course and sticking to the key principles she outlines.)
Day 4. Feeling much perkier today. I’m enjoying eating mindfully and having this new focus. Also, I’m saving loads of money by taking food out with me – I’ve been carrying hummus and rye bread to nibble on when I’m out and about.
The programme is packed with different downloadable PDF information sheets. The ‘Reading labels’ PDF is a shocker – I didn’t know sugar was described in so many sneaky ways on food labels. I’m finding I am having to put back the majority of foods I normally buy on the supermarket shelf. Some people (mainly my Mum) have questioned this sugar detox, arguing ‘everything in moderation’ but honestly, the amount of sugar I’m learning is in almost all food products… I don’t think we can describe the situation as ‘moderate’ at all!
Weekend: I had a friend’s birthday drinks and as a sober person, the only thing I was able to drink was tap-water, with ice. Not the one.
I finished Week 1 with an attempted 10 mile run that got aborted at mile 8. I am definitely feeling weaker than normal – possibly due to the fact I normally have caffeine + sugar and sugary cereals before a run! Although it’s most likely down to the fact that I’ve been carrying snack-type food around with me all week and have not been eating proper meals. I guess since I can’t eat what I’d normally eat, I’ve been opting for sugar-free snack foods rather than making myself hearty sugar-free full plates of goodness. Maaan. I need to step-up my game for week 2.
No Sugar Week 2
I ate proper meals and allocated time to prepare them this week. Breakfasts have been porridge galore (getting quite into it now – I’m using a generous sprinkling of cinnamon to help it down!)
I’ve created an omlettey mess recipe of rice/ egg/ feta cheese/ peppers and it’s delicious… Not so sure it’s making it’s way through my system very well though - I haven’t had a poo in days. My stomach is swollen and Mum keeps telling me I need to eat fruit but I’m not allowed to… I’m on a no sugar detox (not even refined sugar for the detox period!) I shouldn’t have gone quite so crazy on the heavy carbs – my body isn’t used to that sort of food on mass. Paying the price now.
Also, the ‘Eating Out’ worksheet says to avoid sushi (thankfully I’ve not had any in the past two weeks anyway) but I didn’t know that sushi rice is usually soaked and sweetened with sugar! Wasabi & Bento… I won’t be seeing you anytime soon. Boo.
I had a depressing meal out this weekend in a restaurant, where all I could eat on the menu was plain chicken, plain potatoes and green vegetables. Left feeling dissatisfied and my neck hurt from craning to look longingly at dessert board. Dining out sugar-free is harder than I anticipated.
No Sugar Week 3
So Week 3 was my Birthday week.... Although I avoided having birthday cake for breakfast (which honestly has been known to happen), I “relapsed” on my Birthday evening. I was actually given special permission to have a little something to celebrate by Laura, if I so chose. And I chose. This was a BAD move for me and I should’ve known. The key here is Know Thyself. I am an ‘all in or not at all’ kind of girl. I’ve stayed strong until now. But upon tasting the ice-cream and fruit at my birthday meal, my determination to see the 6 week detox through sort of… evaporated.
Everywhere I go this week, people seem to be wafting chocolate cake or the like under my nose. I am really struggling to keep going. A tip I was given in the Facebook Sugar Support Group (a private and very active group for everyone undertaking the Sugar Detox Programme) is to quash cravings by drinking water. Detox it out of you. Surprising, it does seem to do the trick!
Finally, about 4 days after said sugar relapse, I feel back on track and no longer feel so tempted.
Final day of week 3. A MUCH better run today. I felt strong and light and limber! Although I’ve been eating extraordinary amounts of carbs and stodge since the start of week two, I’ve definitely lost weight. And people have commented on how radiant my skin is looking too.
No Sugar Week 4
The sugar-free life is actually coming quite naturally to me now. The first couple of weeks it was a real faff reading labels and wondering what on earth to buy in the supermarket. But 4 weeks in, I feel like a seasoned sugar-detoxer and have been nipping to the shop and whipping up meals in half the time.
I really think, whilst I don’t want to give up sugar completely, that I could live like this 80% of the time - perhaps just having two treats a week. I’m really enjoying eating clean and my energy levels are GREAT. I’m no longer experiencing weird dips that make afternoon naps irresistibly tempting…
I found this weeks PDF worksheet on ‘Limiting Beliefs & Affirmations’ very useful. Throughout the detox, Laura encourages journaling – to explore the emotional triggers behind our consumption habits. This programme goes deeper than just giving up sugar as an external substance, it explores our interior goings-on too. Very Addictive Daughter indeed. Thumbs up!
No Sugar week 5
Oh. I’ve been struck down with the double whammy of a bladder infection followed by the flu. Parents both think it has something to do with eliminating sugar from my diet (really..?) I find that ridiculous as I’ve been eating more healthily than ever and sleeping really well too.
I have to be honest, though, a chocolate bar wouldn’t go a-miss this week. Feeling blah.
The official sugar detox ended in week 4 and this week, fruit is allowed to be slowly and moderately re-introduced into my diet, so there’s something to be grateful for!
Bizarrely, I didn’t actually buy any fruit until Thursday! That’s 4 whole days that sailed by before I took fruity action. I bought two oranges for Vit C to conquer my fluey cold and a bag of raisins to sprinkle on my porridge with cinnamon for tomorrow. I honestly can’t believe how unbothered I feel about eating sugar. The ‘proof is in the pudding’ when it comes to sugar detoxing with the lovely Laura (…see what I did there).
Eeek. Laura describes introducing fruit back into the diet as a ‘critical point’ – I can see truth in this already. I got warned off eating raisins after I posted a ‘porridge with heaps of raisins’ photo to the Facebook support group. Seasonable berries are apparently a better option as raisins are so heavy in sugar content. I felt a bit naughty but the mild raisin-shaming I encountered via the Facebook group wasn’t enough to keep me from doing it again the next morning. A critical point indeed!
No Sugar Week 6
What I really like about this programme is the gentle approach. Laura makes a point of saying this week, ‘However you’ve faired, you’ve done incredibly well.’ I can already feel the shame of my raisin indulgence fading away. I have actually done alright over the past 6 weeks, all things considered.
Week 6 offers a helpful ‘6 Month Roadmap’ PDF as well as writing your own Health Manifesto. All good for keeping me on track going forwards.
Some additional perks of the Mentor Me Off Sugar Programme that really worked for me…
- Daily texts - Pinterest inspiration boards
- Countless PDF downloads (more info than you can shake a stick at)
- 3 emails per week from Laura with actionables
To conclude, I feel I’ve learned a hell of a lot over the past 6 weeks and not only that, I’ve actually proved to myself that I can maintain a sugar-free lifestyle and I have experienced the clear benefits of it.
If you are a Sugar Junkie, read more about Laura’s Programme here and make sure you sign up to her weekly newsletter and free video series which will for sure get you started. You can of course also follow her low sugar food adventures on Instagram and Twitter.
Laura’s also offering over a 50% special discount on Mentor Me Off Sugar exclusively for Addictive Daughter readers up until the 31st October.
You can grab this limited offer and then start a date that suits you, even if it’s January by the time you’ve mentally prepared yourself! Get the Addictive Daughter offer here and for the first three that enroll, Laura will include the bonus 30min Skype consultation like she did for me (usually £50).