February Challenge – Sugar Detox
Shake your sugar addiction in 28 days.
A Trophy Life is achieved by pushing your potential, upping your standards, getting out of your comfort zone and reaching for the stars. You must strive for more than average and go beyond ordinary.
You won’t find your Trophy Life by taking the easy road.
If you want to turn your life into a life that makes you ridiculously proud, you’re going to have to be extraordinary.
You need to dream big, dig deep, set goals, and overcome challenges.
Each month I’ll propose a challenge, each challenge is an opportunity to practice being successful. Success in these challenges will translate to more success in other areas of your life…..not to mention more confidence, a sexier body, and a totally trophy worthy life.
January brought with it the first challenge of the year, the foundation for all the challenges to come. The first challenge was to master the 80/20 principle. The 80/20 principle (or rule) states that you need only do something 80% of the time to see and feel results. For example, being vegetarian or going gluten free.
Once you understand that you won’t have to give up anything forever you’ll be more receptive to take part in the challenges to come.
February Challenge – Sugar Detox
You know you’re addicted to sugar when you can recall which co-worker, restaurant, or bank has a bowl a candy sitting on the counter….and you don’t really know why but you think of them with a hint of affection. You know you’re addicted to sugar when the local 7-11 worker has nicknamed you “Candy Girl” or when you’re still trick or treating at age 30.
But can you blame me? Our bodies are hard wired to love sugar. Sweet is the first taste we prefer as babies. Our brains release a flood of feel-good chemicals when we eat sweets. The taste of sugar releases comfort hormones that calm and relax us.
So how did sugar get such a bad wrap?
First off, what is sugar?
Sugar is a simple form of carbohydrates found naturally in many foods fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains. Side note: Did you realize that carbohydrates are not essential to sustain life? Only protein and fats are essential.
Naturally occurring sugar is less harmful and less addictive then refined sugar. Refined sugar is sugar that has been stripped of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It has been separated from anything beneficial parts. This, refined sugar, is what is wrecking havoc on our metabolism.
You want the bottom line? Here it is: sugar is making you fat, contributing to signs of aging, and stressing out your heart. It is enemy numero uno in the nutrition and weight loss world. Read more about the benefits of shaking your sugar addiction.
Giving up sugar is non-negotiable if you want to get control of your weight, hormones, skin, and overall heart health. The AHA (American Heart Association) has linked excess added sugar to obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease.
Sugar addiction is a never satisfied cycle of madness. You want something sweet. You eat chocolate to get your fix. Your brain releases hormones that say, “Ooooh that’s good. Mama likey…you should do that again. But next time, you should eat more!” (Don’t quote me on that science but that’s pretty much what’s happening.”
You think you’re satisfying a craving but all you’re really doing is priming the pump for the next round of sugar doping. It works just like a drug! In fact, studies are now revealing that sugar is as addictive as cocaine – cocaine!
That’s crazy!! I can’t be addicted to a sugary sweet cocaine like substance….I have better things to do with my time then chase down a bowl of candy (or do I? No, I do! I DO!)
Sugar Detox Challenge
Next to the 80/20 principle, (the first rule in lifestyle change for long-term weight loss success. Basically, it says 80% of the time you’re “on point” you make healthy wise decisions about your nutrition and lifestyle. The other 20% of the time you have a little fun, a cocktail, a cheeseburger with french fries…you know what I mean) shaking your sugar addiction is the single most important nutritional choice you can make.
Detox Details: 28 Days. Cold Turkey Or Slowly Wean?
I’m suggesting a combination of both methods. Go cold turkey with the refined sugars for 28 days but keep naturally occurring sugars in the rotation – just turn it down a notch.
Step 1: Get mentally prepared. You have to be ready to commit yourself to at least 28 days. Any less and the habits won’t stick.
Step 2: Get environmentally prepared. That means cleaning out your kitchen. Dumping all sources of refined sugar. All those pre-packaged snack foods, cereals, protein bars, flavored yogurts, artificial sweeteners, diet sodas, sugar-free anything, cookies, bagels, juices, soda, drink mixes, granola bars, instant flavored oatmeal – check the list below for even more examples.
Make sure you have a stash of healthy snacks in your purse, car, and office. Do not let yourself get to the point of starving! You are 10x’s more likely to fall off the wagon when you let yourself get hungry.
Step 3: Become a label reader. I don’t care if it’s been marketed as healthy. Flip it over and read the list of ingredients. If the list of ingredients includes sugar or any of it’s aliases, skip it.
Americans are consuming an obscene amount of sugar every year and much of it is hidden in our foods. When you start to pay attention to labels you’ll notice that you’re getting way more sugar then you ever suspected.
Glance over the list of sugar aliases below to get an idea of what manufacturers could be using to sweeten your foods.
- Turbinado Sugar
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Corn Syrup
- (anything Syrup)
- Cane Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- Fruit Juice Concentrates
- Crystalline Fructose
Step 4: Eat more vegetables and clean up your protein. Vegetables are going to be one of your best sources for carbohydrates over the next 28 days. Fruit too, but veggies are king.
Choose your protein sources wisely. You want to source organic eggs and grass-fed meat whenever possible. Choose wild caught fish over farm raised.
Step 5: Avoid wheat and corn. These grains play the same kind of game that sugar does in the body. Additionally, they are often genetically modified and harder for your body to digest.
Gluten free oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are your grains of choice. Moderation is key. Don’t let these be the stars of your meal.
That’s it! You can do it. If you’re really serious about finally losing the weight – you will do this! No only will you see a difference on the scale and in the way your clothes fit, you’ll feel the difference in your mood and energy level.
28 days – of focus and dedication – YES. YOU. CAN!
What foods should I avoid?
Here’s a list of foods that you’ll want to avoid: candy, gum, sweets, baked goods – like brownies, cupcakes, cake, pie, pudding, frosting, danish, cookies, etc – granola, froyo, ice cream, chocolate, instant flavored oatmeal, sweetened soy, almond, or coconut milk, sweetened flavored yogurt, flavored lattes, soda, diet soda, artificial sweetened anything, sweetened tea, energy drinks, protein bars, meal replacement bars, sweetened protein powders, cereals, sauces, and ketchup.
What about fruit?
Keep fruit in your diet. It’s packed full of vitamins, fiber, and carbohydrates. Limit your intake to no more than 2 pieces of fresh fruit a day. Apples, pears, citrus, and berries are my top picks. Easy does it when it comes to dried fruit. Be sure to check the label. Dried fruit is often sweetened.
Can I eat sugar-free foods?
Nope. Get sugar-free out of your vocabulary!
You don’t want to get me started on sugar-free….damn it, you got me started. Ok, I’ll keep it short.
Simply put, nothing is free! Sugar free is not free. It’s full of artificial sweeteners that are a chemical shit storm about to hit your body.
Additionally, individuals who drink diet sodas and eat sugar free foods tend to eat more calories in a day then someone who doesn’t.
When you feed your body sugar free foods or drinks, your body gets tricked into thinking you’re giving it calories. It tastes like calories but when those calories don’t appear your body sends out a search party looking for those promised calories. That search party alerts your appetite and says, “Hey, we want calories. Eat something!”
What about Stevia?
Stevia is my no calorie sweetener of choice (until it comes out that it causes cancer). Liquid stevia is less processed then any powdered version.
However, you will get the most out of the challenge if you avoid all types of sweeteners for 28 days. After the detox phase, smaller amounts of honey, date sugar, maple syrup, and stevia can be added back into the rotation.
Will I go through withdrawals and cravings?
That’s affirmative. There are going to be hard days. Sugar has been called “….addictive as cocaine and nicotine.” So, you can imagine that cutting sugar from your diet will be a challenge.
Bumping up your fiber intake can help fight these cravings. Increase your leafy green salad, kale, and broccoli consumption and make a point of eating every few hours to help stabilize blood sugars.
Be prepared for a little struggle but don’t focus on it. Instead, switch your attention to the reasons why you are cutting sugar from your diet.
Why am I doing this?
Detoxing from sugar will dramatically improve your weight loss efforts and the condition of your skin. It will slow the signs of aging and reduce your chances of suffering from insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
What can I eat when I want to eat something sweet?
It’s important to have something to replace the habit you’re trying to change. In this case, we need to have sugar swaps. I recommend sweet vegetables and fruit.
Carrots, tomatoes, citrus, apples, berries, peaches, and plums. Whatever is in season will be your best bet.
Some fruits are much higher in natural sugars than others. For instance, dates, bananas, mangoes, watermelon, and grapes are super high in naturally occurring sugar. Use these when you really need a sugar fix but enjoy them less often.
Check out Go Raw Super Cookies for another sweet treat option. Remember to read the labels. These cookies are sweetened naturally with dates and coconut.
Um, Valentine’s Day?
Yes, I am fully aware that Valentine’s day – national show your love by feeding your girlfriend chocolate day – is in February. And yes, I’m still challenging you to cleanse refined sugar from your life this month.
Here’s your perfect excuse to ask for something other than candy this year. How about a couple’s massage, a spa day, a romantic night in a sexy hotel, or a big gorgeous bouquet of lilies and roses.
What if I slip up?
Don’t beat yourself up over a slip up. And don’t make it a bigger deal than it needs to be. Just move on and get back on track.
For instance, if you must (and frankly, I must) have chocolate on Valentine’s day–then go ahead and have it. Opt for chocolate dipped strawberries or a few select pieces of your absolute favorite chocolates. Do not down a whole box of crappy cheap chocolate.
You’ll be eleven days clean by February 14th and even after just 11 days of detoxing, you’ll find you need far less sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth.
You can do this! Sugar is a hard habit to kick but the rewards are vast.
It’s better together.
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