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How to decide whether you should do a detox

I grew up in the '80s and '90s when Special K commercials were 'pinching inches' and low-fat diets were all the rage. From an early age I was very aware of weight and was interested in knowing the 'right' way to eat to ensure I would be ...

How to make a detox work for you needs

When I started out writing this blog about my 10-day sugar detox, I was super pumped to share my detox plan and my experience. I still am, but during my initial research, I came across a bunch of blog posts warning against sugar detoxes. Which led me to redirect this blog post slightly.

More: Why I drink kombucha, even though it took me time to love it

My experience with adjusting my lifestyle and diet has only positively benefited from eliminating sugar for periods of time. I created my 10-Day Sugar Detox about five years ago. At that time, I was heavily addicted to all things sugar, including simple sugars, like table sugar, as well as more complex sugars, like those found in white bread, pasta and potatoes. It worked really well for me to help weed out these foods by taking a complete break from them for 10 days.

When I came upon the blogs that were warning against a sugar detoxing, I found that they made some good points, like:

  • You may binge once the detox ends.
  • You may overeat the "allowable" foods.
  • May lead to feelings of failure.

Do what works for you, not what you read online or what a celebrity does or even your best friend does

The time period of 10 days is somewhat arbitrary, but is based on my experience. It takes three days to reset my taste buds. Just like salt, our sensitivity to sweet taste increases when we have less of it in our diet. By eliminating sugar entirely, when you reintroduce sweet foods, the sweetness of fruit will be enough and cookies or super sugary treats will be too much. After those three days of complete elimination, the next seven days is a slow reintroduction of whole grains and some fruit. I take special care not to eat any refined sugars the entire 10 days and no refined flour products either, only whole grains, vegetables, fruits and protein.

After the 10 days, I am in the habit of primarily eating these healthy whole foods. Over time, some of the refined foods will start to sneak into my diet, and that is why I take the 10-Day Sugar Detox with every season change, to keep me on track.

More: 6 Foods to cut from your diet for significantly better health

Eliminating refined, processed foods for 10 days every three months, keeps me on track with healthy eating

If overeating "allowable" foods is a problem for you, then this type of detox may not be the one for you. I find when my diet is primarily healthy fats, vegetables and protein:

  • I feel more satiated.
  • I have less food cravings.
  • I end up eating less.

I think it is because my metabolism prefers fat as my fuel source. Fat gives me an even, steady flow of energy, whereas I blow through carbohydrates quickly, leaving me to feel hungry more quickly after eating. If you do not experience this positive benefit, then you may want to try a different strategy or approach.

As far as leading to feelings of failure, this goes for any healthy lifestyle or diet change. At first, for whatever change you are trying to make, it’s going to be hard to stick to. You will fail. You will slip up. You will do or eat something "you’re not supposed to." It’s your choice to see it as a failure or not. It’s your choice to see it as an experience to learn from. When you see it this way, you can learn from your experience and try to do better the next time.

Most recently, I had an experience that I think a lot of people can relate to: I started my sugar detox and a few days into the detox, life threw a curveball at me and I had to go out of town for a few days. Now all of the meals I had planned and my routine were thrown off. I could have decided to just toss the whole detox out the window and not do it at all. Instead, I decided to roll with it and do the very best with the food that was available to me. Unless you are out in the middle of nowhere, or a place that only has fast food and convenience stores, you can find healthy food. I was able to get a few prepared items at the local health food store and eat out at restaurants, and still stick to the detox.

We all have busy lives and that is why having a professional health coach to give you support and knowledge is so important when you are embarking on a new diet and lifestyle change. We are each individuals with different needs, this sugar detox that works so well for me, may be the worst thing ever for someone else. Having a professional like myself to talk to will help eliminate unnecessary frustration.

More: 3 Tips to stay detoxed and healthy during the holiday season

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