If you follow me on Instagram and you totally should because I’m way more active there than here, then you’ve probably heard about my January dessert detox. At the end of December (which feels like a really long time ago doesn’t it?) I was super fed up with my obsession with sweets and that it literally felt like it had taken over my life.
Before you roll your eyes and assume I’m just being dramatic, let me just say that in the month of December I managed to eat at least 7 entire boxes of mint chocolate star cookies from Trader Joe’s on. my. own. It felt like every three days I was opening a new box and stockpiling them when I was at the grocery store.
Now add to that the other sugar I tend to have throughout the week: chocolate, cherry corn scones from our local bakery and then add in the smoothies and the raisins and the jam and the granola and the wine and the yogurt and the soy milk and it starts to get a little sickening.
Sugar is literally in everything.
Or most everything I love.
I knew that in the new year I needed a change. I just wasn’t feeling great and although I’ve always made excuses for why I don’t need to give up sugar, something was nagging at me. Something in the back of my brain that had been gently tapping on my skull whispering “maybe it’s the sugar” began to yell, “hey lady, get your act together.”
Anyway, that’s the back story. I got fed up with feeling like crap and decided January 1st would begin my one month dessert detox.
I should clarify that this was not a no sugar diet, I didn’t want to get all crazy about it so I just made it a dessert detox. Which meant, no chocolate, no ice cream, no leftover Halloween candy trapped at the back of our freezer and definitely no cookies. I also decided not to eat granola, scones or flavored yogurt for the month, mostly because they had also become staples in my life and I wanted them not to be. Fruit, smoothies, dried fruit, wine, a little soy milk were all okay.
As an aside: I managed to get my sister in on the fun as well. If you’re ever looking for a way to get someone to do something health focused with you, ask them on New Year’s eve at around 9:30pm. 🙂
So, with my plan in place I rung in the new year with a dessert detox and a can-do-attitude and although I didn’t come away with earth shattering realizations, I did learn a few things.
If you can hang through the first few days, you’re golden.
Truth, after dinner on January 1st I seriously almost threw in the towel. If you’ve ever given something up you probably know that the first few days are the worst.The line from the Grateful Dead’s Uncle Joe’s Band song comes to mind.
“The first days are the hardest days don’t you worry any more.”
I would have given a lot those first few nights for a little chocolate. Detoxing is hard work. Sugar is addicting and the habit of eating something sweet after a meal is hard to shake. It did help to have someone to complain to. I’m not sure I would have gotten through the first few days if my sister hadn’t been doing the same thing and holding me accountable.
If there was weight to be lost it was minimal.
I wasn’t doing this for the weight loss. I just wanted to stop feeling the intense need for something sweet. That said, I think I was overestimating the effect sugar was having on my body. I’ve always said that if I gave up chips and chocolate I’d probably starve but honestly, I don’t think my body looks any different. I don’t weigh myself so I can’t give you numbers but I’d bet I weigh just about the same amount as I did when I started. My clothes fit the same but again, this wasn’t about losing weight, simply shaking free from sugar’s clutches.
I’ve proclaimed my love for tea several times before but I really leaned on it throughout the month. I can’t say enough good things about this Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea. It became my after dinner treat and after lunch treat too, if I felt the need. I think the hardest part of a dessert detox is the idea that after dinner that’s it. No more food until breakfast. It felt so sad and a little daunting. Now, that’s my personal situation. We eat really late and I’ve never been one for snacking after dinner so maybe this wouldn’t apply to you. But tea became a great substitute. It gave me a new habit and something to look forward to after dinner.
Mental clarity, optimal health and feeling like a badass.
After the shock of the first few days wore off I started to feel really clear mentally. I felt healthier, brighter, overall I just felt like a badass. I had a strut in my step and an “I can conquer the world” feeling but to be honest I think it may have been in my head. After about a week and a half, I just felt like myself again. It’s sort of like I beat the sugar demons, plateaued and then went back to feeling like my old self. However, I did notice I didn’t have that sickly feeling before bed anymore. You know, that feeling after a half pint of Ben and Jerry’s where you feel a little itchy and uncomfortable? Just me?
Like everything else I think sugar in moderation is key. However, I find sugar to a slippery slope. It starts with a little, which gets me craving more and more and more. Before I know it, I’m eating lunch dessert and dinner dessert and a box of cookies in two days. If I find myself going off the rails again I’m happy to know that I can reign it back in with a dessert detox. And since I’m writing this prior to really jumping back into the dessert pond, we’ll have to see how I do and if moderation is possible for me.
The biggest question, will I stick with it?
In some capacity. I’d like to permanently cut out anything sweet after lunch and only have dessert after dinner. I’d also like to utilize natural sweeteners and other healthy alternatives instead of leaning on processed desserts. However, I don’t think I’ll be giving up my dark chocolate. I do feel a sense of relief in not craving something sweet right after I eat. I’m not sure if that can be achieved without going cold turkey but I’ll have to wait and see.
Have you ever done a dessert detox? Or a full sugar detox? Have any thoughts on your experience? Please share.