Updated: Apr 24, 2019
Back on September 4th, I decided to challenge myself to going 40 days without sugar. This meant, I wasn't eating any foods with any added sugar, including cane sugar, corn syrup, stevia, or similar product. In all honesty, I did have a splash of maple syrup throughout the 40 days, but it was rare and in very small amounts. Why in the world would I want to do this?
I was in a dark place with food, spiraling out of control with sugar. I am a sugar addict and my body and brain can't simply have a treat here and there. Sugar creates a chain of responses within me that makes me crave unhealthy foods and binge eat. This leads to my body hurting through inflammation and an overall pukie feeling when working out. I wanted to take 40 days to:
Understand what's happening with my mind and body based on food choices
Discover patterns with foods and cravings
Hold myself accountable to everyone reading this blog
Inspire others to make food choices that are healthy
Here are some of the symptoms I was dealing with and what's changed after 40 days without sugar:
A few other things that's happened over the 40 days:
I've lost a few pounds. Weight loss wasn't a goal for the 40 days, but it naturally occurred with removing sugar. I literally made zero other changes to my diet.
My brain feels clearer and as a result I'm more efficient with working and getting A LOT more done.
During the 40 days, I was participating in a strength bias program at my gym, CrossFit Rebels. It was an 8 week lifting program and I had PRs (personal records) for ALL lifts that we trained: clean, snatch, overhead squat, back squat, front squat, push jerk. I also got my FIRST bar muscle up during the 40 days!
I had family in town recently, and usually I jump off the health train and jump onto the sugar train when we have visitors. Being with family is amazing but it brings up a lot of emotion for me and that usually triggers even more poor food choices and binge eating. However, this time I stayed away from sugar and I didn't experience any binge eating or feelings of spiraling out of control. My emotions were in check and I felt great during their visit, and after! All simply because I didn't eat sugar.
See, sugar is like a drug for me, as I'm sure it is for so many others. The first two weeks of the challenge were hard. I ate almost anything I wanted to as long as it didn't have sugar to get me through it. Each day seemed to get a little easier, and now, outside of looking at food labels (which we all should be doing) sugar isn't even on my mind.
A few tips for your 40 days:
Write down a list of goals before you start. This way you can remind yourself why you're doing this when it gets tough.
Write down your symptoms of how your feeling (mind and body) before your start, during each of the 40 days, and then after. We often don't hear what our body is communicating and this helps us be more self aware.
READ FOOD LABELS. Sugar is in almost EVERYTHING that's packaged.
Find a crutch when you've got a craving. My savior was frozen red grapes and drinking a lot of water.
40+ days of Support:
If you're interested in going sugar free (that doesn't mean using sugar substitutes!) for 40 days and need some extra help or accountability, join me for a 6 week online health coaching class. During the six weeks, we will have daily check ins to help with accountability and motivation. We'll also have weekly video calls to touch base on your wellness goals and your 40 days. New clients will receive a full Ayurvedic consultation to help you in your path to living your healthiest life.
Coaching starts 11/5 and spaces are limited. (Sign up has expired)
Thank you to everyone who has been reading my progress over the 40 days and giving me support. Thank you to everyone who has left encouraging words or given me advice from their own experience. Thanks to Kim and Margo for cooking some of my favorite foods to help keep me on track!!
I'm staying away from sugar moving forward and now I'll start to dial in my diet to find the best combination of protein, carbs, and fat to help me feel at my best.
Take a look at my start to 40 days without sugar here.
This post was originally published October 2018.