This is the end, or is it?

Photo by Brett Sayles on

My February challenge, of no sugar or alcohol has come to an end.

What helped me get through? 

  • Protein, eat more protein.
  • Drink more water.
  • Meal prep.
  • Yoga (but running helped my husband)
  • Instead of reaching for a coffee or a sweet treat, I got up and walked around or, stretched/pulled out the yoga mat – or better yet, nap.
  • My digestive system has been through the wringer. I didn’t expect this at all. If you attempt a sugar detox, yogurt, kimchi and more fiber got me through.
  • Having a buddy to lean on is helpful, even better if they are doing the challenge with you.

What did I learn about myself?

  • My body doesn’t like it when I eat simple carbs, like refined flour, all that much. I didn’t know this before February.
  • I am less bloated and irritable. I also don’t seem to be retaining water like I was before.
  • I am also less irritable and moody and so is my husband.
  • My husband complained of restless nights, more anxiety, muscle pain, and itchy skin throughout the month.
  • My husband and I are talking more even though I have seen him 24 hours a day for the last 365 days.
  • Cravings still haven’t gone away, but I think I am better able to deal with them now.
  • We drink tea in my house now. I have no idea what we will replace this with when the weather becomes warmer.
  • I’ve also reduced my resting heart rate, which amazed me.

My timing was perfect. Germany was in the middle of our second lockdown, so my family had nothing else to tempt us. No birthday parties, no drinks out with friends, no date nights, nothing. Plus, my husband and I partnered up, we did this together, and that helped a great deal. 

I am sure this would have been much more of a struggle if we had any type of social life.

I know that in previous posts this month I have talked about The 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide, and I swear at the point of writing this wrap up I am not, nor have I been endorsed or paid to promote this book. Seriously though, it was incredibly easy to read and amazingly accessible. The book begins a week before the official start of the detox and continues a week following the 21 days. I suggest if you are considering this challenge, get this book in print. Sanfilippo holds your hand and tells you exactly what to expect and prepare for. Every day she tells you what to prepare and eat and provides space at the end of every day for you to reflect on your journey. Her team previously offered a newsletter, specifically for the 21DSD, but has such a comprehensive website and other free (and paid) offerings that also relate to her brand. 

Alternatively, you can sign up for her new brand newsletter, Balanced Bites. On this website, she offers nutrition, entrepreneurial, and life advice as well as recipes. I was surprised by how good the recipes I made from the Daily Guide were. I am much more willing to incorporate more Paleo or Keto recipes into my mix now than I was at the beginning of the month. 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Something else I have been able to do more frequently, thanks to the pandemic – naps. 

Often if I was up later than I would have liked because of meetings with folks in America or elsewhere in the world, I invariably didn’t get enough sleep. The old pre-pandemic me would have just powered through with caffeine and sugar. These days, though, I rarely drink caffeine, and well, as you know this month was all about not eating the sugar. As an alternative for these old habits, I would get up and stretch or stop whatever I was doing, usually teaching or food prep, and pull out my yoga mat. This offers me a similar jolt of energy as a cup of coffee without the low when the caffeine wears off. 

I think I have lost weight as does my husband, but we do not own a scale so we cannot find out. I am less bloated though. Even when I had my monthly cycle this time around, I was only bloated for half a day and then it was gone. 

My husband said he didn’t sleep well, as well as suffered from more anxiety, muscle pain, and itchy skin throughout the month. I think this was just his brain on overdrive (an unfortunately normal state for my husband) that I think he normally quiets with alcohol. 

Meal prep was a big help, both in knowing what was coming and in being able to grab a muffin or smoothie quickly because I made them the day before. I also cooked a dozen eggs at the beginning of every week so everyone in the family to grab a quick and healthy bite if they felt so inclined. 

Photo by Dima Valkov on

Will we continue this like I am continuing the daily yoga practice from my January thirty-day challenge? My husband asked yesterday if we were going to continue to tea-total. I laughed because I thought he meant both remaining alcohol-free, as well as being tea drinkers too. We made the mistake in 2015 of going out on March first to fill ourselves with decadent vegan chocolate cake. It was heavenly, but so sweet that we all had to return home to take a nap. We will not make this mistake again.

For now, yes. I like not drinking and not being shackled by sugar. I cannot say this will stick forever, as I do miss a delightful macaroon. I do plan on exploring more keto recipes, especially for desserts. At this point, I would like to have a drink or two with friends or on a special occasion, but not to the same degree I was drinking before this challenge.

I will surely keep you posted.

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