I started this 31 day sugar detox two weeks ago. Right away I decided I’d do best if I made it four weeks, instead, but otherwise, I followed the plan in the book I got, strictly. I did the three day super detox, then began on week one. After a few days, though, I noticed I was growing paranoid about food, what I was eating, when I was eating it, and I spent a great deal more time thinking about food than felt healthy.
I read the book carefully, a few pages each day, going back over pertinent sections and thinking about them. I have spent most of my life studying nutrition in food in a casual but dedicated sense, and know enough to say it is a good plan, healthful and carefully constructed. But it took me awhile to realize the writers’ goal was more about weight loss and improved skin appearance than anything else. And while I wanted to lose ten pounds, my main personal concern was that I’d been trading healthful calories for unhealthful ones, by putting off eating until I was too hungry, then eating too much of foods I know will ultimately drag me down, just to not feel hungry.
I started the plan hoping to reset that problem, by constructing daily eating habits that included too much of the right food to bother with the wrong food. Well, avoiding the wrong food has been pretty easy. But eating enough of the right foods has been as difficult as ever, more so because I could have no starch or grain at first.
And at first that seemed appropriate. A lot of what’s in those foods converts to sugar in our bodies. But now after two weeks, I have no more energy or drive to eat better than I did before; that is, I have the drive to continue to battle the problem simply because I know I must, and am a grownup about that, but I have gained nearly no ground. I’d still rather not eat than worry about food groups all day. I’m also a little annoyed that people tend to (I know this from extensive reading since 1978) drop a lot of weight right at first when eliminating sugar, and I have not done so. The three pounds I’ve lost has been more from calorie deprivation than sugar elimination. That's no good at all.
But those other people tend to be breaking daily sweetened coffee and diet soda habits. I rarely sweeten my one daily mug of coffee and almost never drink soda of any kind. Mostly all I did in that problem area was have too many cookies in the afternoon or evening. I thought that was huge, and for me it was, but apparently it’s nothing compared to what a lot of other people get up to.
I don’t sweeten my salad dressings, I rarely eat french fries or bagels or mac and cheese, etc. I already knew the delightful sweetness of cooked onion. And I miss oatmeal, which I can enjoy readily without adding sugar or syrup, though that’s nice, too. If you think about it, oatmeal can be your buttered toast, to enjoy with an egg or a little fruit. That is, the porridgey kind that is freshly milled or steel cut. Those flakes need a lot of outside help.
Anyway, this is a long-winded monologue to say that I was following the letter of that plan, but losing the intent of having started it. Mostly, I just need to consistently eat breakfast, choose healthier snacks, and eat a lot more servings of fruits and vegetables. The fruit part will be the bigger challenge. For some reason, I love having fruit around, but don’t really enjoy eating it. Except cherries. Maybe because they are like olives, but fruit. Same with late summer plums. I don't know.
So I am continuing two more weeks of sugar detox, but I am going to skip ahead to the fourth week guidelines and do that for two weeks (minus a really irritating amount of red wine,) while working on my own daily eating plan that suits my tastes and needs better going forward.
More than anything else, I’ve got to mother myself through each day so I get all I need with much less of what I don’t need. I’m super terrible at forming habits; it’s an aversion borne of growing up with a delightful but alcoholic father. I used to even feel anything you do as a ritual might not be good for you, because you’re maybe relying on it. But in my mellower mid-years, I have come to understand and embrace personal ritual a little bit, and I can embrace breakfast in the same way.