Most of you know that I’m in the midst of training for my half marathon (which is happening next month!), but I’ve received a lot of questions about my sugar fast that I completed a few months ago. I honestly didn’t know that this would be part of my training, but my Coach encouraged me to partake in a sugar fast after having me record everything I ate for one week straight.

Let me just stop there and say, if you haven’t ever done this, do it! Record everything you put in your mouth for 1 week straight, including snacks and drinks.  It is a great snapshot of your eating habits – good and bad :].

Naturally, when I first considered it, I had a million questions. What could I eat? What couldn’t I eat? How will I survive? (Ha!)  As a girl raised in the South (biscuits, casseroles, sweet tea and desserts), I was not sure how my body was going to handle it. Not to mention, I was comfortable. I liked my morning coffee with sweet creamer, I liked making cookies every night with Will, and I am a bread-lover. I didn’t want to go without my comfort food!  However, I figured that I could do anything if it was just for two weeks, right? And I knew I wasn’t making the wisest choices with my diet.

So, after talking with Coach I realized that my sugar fast was to be viewed as a fast from sugary, processed foods; a cleanse for my body. I was basically making my body do a lot of work processing a lot of sugar that it didn’t need. It was causing me to be groggy and tired, and was causing a lot of little health issues that I didn’t know were related to my diet.  My body needs nutrients and real food, not processed sugar. When I understood the why behind the fast, it really made it much more attractive to me!

So, I had to say goodbye to these…

along with any starches, chips, fries, desserts of any kind, toppings (like brown sugar / butter / sour cream on potatoes), salad dressing other than balsamic vinegar, lemonades, sodas…. you get the idea. NO processed foods. I also gave up any red meat, and I focused on getting my proteins from nuts and lean meats, like chicken and fish. I avoided dairy, (my weakness is whole milk!), but I did keep yogurt and a little bit of cheese in my diet.

Then, I said hello to a lot of this :

I drank so much water (the cleansing aspect of the fast), and I really increased my fruits and veggies intake. I ate lots of salads, a ton of fruit, plain low fat organic yogurt, plain oatmeal (with nuts, craisins & cinnamon), almonds, cashews, chicken, fish, and wraps.

Here is a quick timeline of my fast:
Days 1 – 4 : These days were awful. I felt terrible, I had a headache, and I literally craved sugar! Drinking black coffee was a major sacrifice for me, and it took some getting used to. I allowed myself to eat as much as I wanted, as long as I was eating the right things. Late night snacks of Cashews were my favorite 😉
Days 5 – 10 : These days took a lot of discipline and consistency. I began feeling more like “myself” and I didn’t think about sugar as much, but I still wanted it.  My biggest temptation : an enormous dessert bar at a wedding! And I couldn’t eat any of it! Saying no to that was a defining moment.
Days 11-14 :  This is when it all changed for me. During these last days, I felt incredible. I have never, ever felt this good in my life! I knew that this was going to change my lifestyle forever because of how it made me feel.
Days 15-21 : [After the fast] We did not even have dessert. Crazy! I thought I would be rushing back to the cupcakes, cookies, and bread, but really I just craved more fruit and nuts! I did incorporate wheat bread and coffee creamer into my diet, but this time it was not nearly as much as it was before. And I replaced my processed creamer with this creamer.

Now I live a life of balance and health. Yes, I have desserts occasionally, and I do put yummy toppings on my potatoes :]. However, I now shop around the parameter of the grocery store rather than the middle (processed) aisles! I mainly purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean meat. My snacks are completely different – not many chips and cookies, but more nuts, hummus, and water. And I am voluntarily doing another intense sugar fast in 3 weeks, just because I want to. (I never thought I would say that.) I just feel SO much better when I’m not eating so much sugar.

Here are some tips I learned along the way, in case you want to try the fast too :
– Keep busy. Make a lot of plans during your fast! It will make it go by faster and will keep you mind off food.
– There is never a perfect time to do this. You literally have to schedule it and do it. You will be glad you did!
– Write encouraging verses / quotes all over your kitchen.
– Do a pre-fast kitchen cleanse! THROW EVERYTHING OUT that you cannot eat. Then, go grocery shopping the day before you start. Get excited about the fresh, healthy foods in your home!
– Get acquainted with your local farmer’s market. It makes it more fun.

Have you ever done anything like this before? What healthy habits do you practice?

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I stopped eating sweets just two weeks ago and I cannot believe how much better I feel. It’s truly amazing. I had one last feast at a graduation party and then said I’m stopping this madness. After about a week, it was actually easy and I don’t even crave it. My skin is clearer, my stomach does not hurt and on and on. Sugar really is the evil substance that doctors keep telling us it is. I don’t think I can say I will never have dessert again but honestly, right now I don’t crave it at all!! I pray I can keep this going.

I’m so proud of you, Nancy! It’s hard work to cut out the comfortable and comforting! My eating habits are so much cleaner now than what they once were, but I know I feel a whole lot better and get into a better groove when I do a clean sweep/sugar fast regularly. I was just thinking today that I need to make time for another one…soon! Thanks for the incentive to hop to it! :)

This is a great post! I LOVE sugar. ALways have.. I have noticed the older i get I don’t like really sweet things, but I still like sugar.

My biggest thing is what to eat for breakfast if I did this fast. My body gets weak, blood sugar drops, if I don’t eat something substantial. I eat know, whole wheat raisen bread with fruit. What do you suggest for breakfast?

Also working in a cube makes it hard… I get bored and want to eat!

Thanks for posting… I hope to try this one day :)

Oooh ooh! So glad you posted this! I keep wanting to do something along these lines lately… I once did a 21-day Daniel Fast (eating nothing but things directly from the earth, minus animals and their byproducts) and had never felt better in my whole life. I know the end result will be so lovely and worth the while, but it’s so hard to leap into it. I have a zillion excuses to make up. {I have a pie tasting for our wedding coming up next week. I’m going to a huge 4th of July party with a friend’s family next weekend and lots of tasty desserts will be there, and I’ll never get another opportunity to try them, etc etc etc.} I need to just GO FOR IT. How did you get to the point where you just went forward, discarded the doubts and fears, and did it? You’re inspiring!!! :)

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