I will stubbornly admit that some of my day 21 conclusions seem erroneous, especially after a plunge back to eating some sugars. I don’t want to deter anyone who may be considering the detox from trying it, so I figured a few more highlights of the good stuff would be worthwhile – because I really do recommend this detox to anyone looking for a good, healthy change!
I have been back to more ‘normal’ clean eating for a few days with some added treats, and I have to say, this did some damage. At least, an abrupt reintroduction of sugar took its toll. While I won’t blame it all on the dried fruit, I have had some stomach issues that I didn’t have before, and I’m willing to bet my sweet unicorn woodcut art that the burst of carbs and sugar I added to my menu are behind some, if not all, of those problem.
First, a confession of the bad things I’ve eaten in the last couple of days (warning, it’s bad and the opposite of what is recommended when coming off of the detox):
- You know, that bag of dried mango. And the few dark chocolate-covered espresso beans.
- A few rings of dried (unsweetened) pineapple, Monday night and last night.
- A few dark chocolate-covered dried blueberries (literally like 3-4) over the course of my work trip Monday night through last night.
- 2 square of chocolate, left on my bed at the hotel Monday night…after watching everyone eat cheese and drink wine, my desire to resist one more delicious thing completely disappeared.
- A few small handfuls of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate-covered PowerBerries last night, which are NOT in fact real berries and not at all something you should ever eat, but they are delicious and I ate them knowing I should not.
- One bite of banana pudding (not the cookie crust) on our snack stop at the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen in Louisville…as everyone ate ice cream and pie, I had a Paleo granola bar and caved for one bite of the most delicious banana pudding I’ve ever tasted.
Writing that down makes me feel like a pretty huge failure, especially in the week leading up to my big race. I’m going back to NO CHOCOLATE and NO DRIED FRUIT for the remainder of the week to ensure my stomach problems aren’t a factor race day. Chocolate is definitely a sometimes for me and I know it’s not a recommended part of daily eating, but I just so enjoy dark chocolate! This is about eating and living, so as long as I can keep my dark chocolate in moderation, which clearly it hasn’t been the last few days, it can stay. If I can’t control it, it might have to go.
I’ve also been drinking WAAAAAY too much black coffee. But I don’t want to risk withdrawal symptoms before the race, so I won’t rock the boat too much there, but it’s something to address after the race.
In the grand scheme of things, my diet is still really clean. But I went a little sugar crazy, and that is the opposite of what I should do following an intense three weeks of eating at my cleanest. That’s dumb. That’s also over. I think a calorie burst is fine to shake up my metabolism, so I’m not too worried about my list of dirty deeds, but the ensuing digestive issues I’ve had are clear indicators that this is not how my body wants me to eat moving forward. Being bloated and, ahem, a bit congested in the intestinal region is unpleasant and a yucky reminder of how I lived before eliminating junk from my system.
Which brings me to the point of posting this. The detox did another huge thing for me that I failed to give fair credit to, and maybe because I just hadn’t had the chance to realize it yet…it taught me how to recognize and react when my body clearly doesn’t like what I’m giving it. I learned what I need to do to react properly and fix the issues, which is precisely what I’m doing. It’s an amazing benefit and I don’t want to downplay it one bit. Knowing how to fine tune my fuel is empowering – I can listen to my body more effectively. Do I always know the right solution when something feels off? No. But I have a better understanding of what food does to me, and can therefore react better and tweak things that need to be tweaked.
As an athlete, I still struggle with the balance between natural sugar and carbs, and trying to fuel for optimal performance. I don’t feel like my body has taken to burning fats in place of carbs just yet, so I’m not sure what my nutrition will look like for Sunday, and that worries me a bit. If my body is reacting negatively to sugar, maybe my Lara bar with breakfast isn’t the way to go. But heavy protein isn’t right, either. Sweet potatoes might have also made my stomach ache the last time I ate them, so I worry about having that as my pre-race dinner. I’m a little freaked out, but it’ll all work out. I’ve done the training and put in the hours, so hopefully my nutrition will work out just fine and I’ll have the best race ever.
So if anyone is looking for a way to jump into some healthy changes, learn from my mistakes and take on the 21-Day Sugar Detox with positivity, knowing you will reap amazing benefits that will be unique to you, your lifestyle and your goals. I’m so glad I went on this journey, and look forward to doing it again over the winter months when my training is at a much less intense level. I’ll continue working to get my body primed to burn healthy fats, and supplement with all-natural carbs when needed. If you’re curious, REI has a great selection of natural options in the sports nutrition area, great for if you’re looking to eliminate gels and chews filled with sugar and chemicals.
I’m so looking forward to Sunday. I ran my two fastest miles ever Monday morning (9:04 and 9:22 splits), and I feel like my body is ready to get me to the finish line efficiently and speedily. So wish me luck! In a few short days, we’ll know if my hard work has paid off…and I’m willing to bet it will.