Well folks, here we are at 21 days COMPLETE! As I’ve mentioned before, this was my 3rd completed 21DSD, and for some reason this one stuck out more than the rest. To be honest, I feel like I had really let myself go prior to starting. This one felt so different because it was very much needed.
I had become very addicted to sugar. Not just in the form of fruit, but treat after treat. Post holidays I felt like I just couldn’t stop and each night after dinner I would yearn for something to find comfort in. Of course, that was usually some sugar-laden paleofied dessert of some sort. On some occasions we had non-paleo treats as well, which left me feeling miserable. It didn’t help that I received a KitchenAid mixer from my mom for Christmas…all I wanted to do was bake! Which on a side note — if any of you have suggestions for great things to make with a KitchenAid mixer that is not a dessert please let me know. That beautiful mixer just sits there…wanting to make a cake so badly. But I won’t let it. I won’t let myself! This 21DSD has whipped me back in to shape and I’m so thankful.
It’s okay to let yourself go every once in a while, but sometimes you find that you’ve gone overboard and it’s just too late. Not only was my weight climbing – that was the least of my problems. I felt like a completely different person. I had a hard time waking up in the morning, regardless of the time. Physically I didn’t have the energy to get up, and honestly my guilt and mood kept me wanting to stay under the covers as long as possible.
Wanting to stay in bed all day didn’t help my productivity. I still got up and did what I had to do, but my heart wasn’t in it. I would go to work and everything just seemed like a challenge. Physically I would get drained and mentally I would get frustrated at any problem-solving situation. I just didn’t feel like myself. The worse part is that emotionally it is really debilitating. Here I was feeling disappointed in myself, and after a 10 hour work day — what would make me feel better? Haha, why food of course! Go to bed super full and start the whole thing over again. Miserable. …and it wasn’t me.
Then, I decided I needed to do something. I needed to get back on track. I opted for the 21DSD because I knew that I needed to cut the sugar out — ALL the way out. Since I had completed it in the past — I knew that it would serve its purpose.
It didn’t take long before I began to feel amazing. Within 4-5 days I felt better. My yucky feeling of being full and bloated after eating slowly began to fade. As far as cravings go — it’s like with anything else — the first 3 days or so are the hardest. Most of the desire comes from the mental crutch you have. For me, I make strong emotional ties with food and I use it in ways that I shouldn’t (as a reward, to make me feel better, to have fun with friends, etc.) This is something that I have accepted about myself, and it has taken a lot of time and practice to get better about not seeing food that way. The thing is, when sugar is not in the picture — all of those emotional ties start to loosen up.
After the first week my appetite began to change. I found that upon rising I wasn’t guilty; I was hungry! That felt nice. I started looking forward to making food again. I didn’t see it as being a hassle or more trouble than what’s it’s worth after a long work day — I saw it as an opportunity to try new things and it was rewarding.
Towards the end of week 2 I really started to notice a change in my energy level. I was (and am now) bursting with energy. This is a physical and mental thing. Physically I feel like I just want to move around — simply put. The other night I was taking Jason to his class, and as I was driving home all I could think about was how much I wanted to run. No plan in place — I just wanted to get moving. I hadn’t felt like that in almost 5 months. At that moment — I started to feel like myself again. Mentally, energy is just as important. If you feel vibrant on the outside, then mentally you don’t feel the effects of everyday struggles you may face. Issues at work would creep up and I didn’t feel defeated or too frustrated/tired to handle it… I could (and can) do anything.
The biggest change, and my favorite part — is the stable mood you experience when you cut sugar out of your diet. I didn’t feel guilty anymore. I didn’t feel sad or tired. I didn’t feel defeated or frustrated or irritated or annoyed or whatever other crabby feeling you want to insert here. I felt happy. I felt satisfied. I felt proud. I felt accomplished, capable, and productive. Once more, I felt like me again.
Oh, and last but not least…did I mention I lost weight!? haha Yes, that is one of the many benefits of the 21DSD. I did the strictest level and didn’t allow much in terms of sugar. Over the last 3 weeks my diet has consisted of meat, fish, vegetables (primarily greens and non-starchy types like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels), and fats (animal fat, coconut oil, olive oil). I included raw sauerkraut in the morning with breakfast some of the time, and did NOT allow any kombucha. The choice to not have kombucha was more so a personal reason — I was simply drinking them too often and I liked the idea of breaking that crutch as well. As far as nuts go — I didn’t really go that route. After around day 18 or so I did have some almond butter and carrots…but I tried to limit that as well because I can easily go overboard on that. 🙂
So what now? Well, my life has had a little re-set and I am sooooo happy. I feel comfortable with this right now. I will start to bring fruits and sweet potatoes back in (especially for after workouts — which I finally have the energy to do). As for paleofied treats?…well, I’m not ready for those yet. I don’t want any brownies, cakes, cookies, or muffins — not yet. I don’t crave them…and honestly I want to keep that going as long as I can. I want my “treats” to come from the subtle sweetness in fruits and starchier vegetables for now.
Speaking of which, I did make some wonderfully satisfying Baked Stuffed Apples yesterday. First fruit in 3 weeks, and they were truly a delight!! They were just enough and everyone loved them! This recipe is brought to you by the lovely Sarah Fragoso and her first cookbook Everyday Paleo.
- 4 granny smith apples
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/3 c. pecans, chopped
- 1/4 c. shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 1/4 c. raisins
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Core each apple and place them in a glass baking dish.
- Mix all ingredients together — don’t melt the coconut oil just mash it with everything else until it is softened but not liquid.
- Stuff each hole with mixture, some should overflow on top of the apples.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until apples are cooked through.
- After they cool just a bit, slice them in half and sprinkle some additional cinnamon before serving!
If you feel like your diet needs a bit of a reset — consider trying the 21DSD. See what it’s like to go 3 whole weeks with limited amounts of sugar — see how much better you can feel. Visit the Balanced Bites 21DSD Program Page or find the support you need through their facebook page.