Sugar Detoxing

It’s been almost 4 years since I had weight loss surgery. Up until last fall I’d stayed stable with my new low weight and was becoming more relaxed about my eating plan. I felt invincible. I believed I could eat anything I wanted – as long as I was careful about portions and didn’t stop weighing myself regularly.

I’ve never believed the hype that after weight loss surgery you can eat anything you want and never gain weight. And yet, I believed you could eat anything, as long as you were careful, and didn’t have an eating disorder. Yes, I felt I could be the exception, because I was smart.

Slowly carbs and sweet treats crept back in to my daily routine. Slowly the scale crept up and I was close to being 10 lbs heavier. That’s considerable when you have such a petite frame. But I wasn’t too concerned. Arrogantly I believed I had this easily under control and set out to drop those lbs back off. I’d reached a magic number on the scale that I was determined never to cross again.

Without much concern I got back on track and eagerly looked to the scale to see it drop right back again, as I expected it would do.

Nothing happened.

I dropped calories to an almost unhealthy level but nothing budged. After a few months of frustration I followed a suggestion from my partner and brought my calories up a bit but went to work on eliminating excess salt. He’d noticed that salty munchies were an evening weakness of mine.

Four lbs drained away as water weight. Then the stall returned.

Frustration gave away to confusion, anger and then a feeling of defeat. Was my weight going to creep right back up while I was helpless to stop it? Was I doomed to return to a level of obesity that was dangerous for me? Was diabetes and high blood pressure just waiting around the corner? I was struck with a feeling of constant nausea. I was becoming obsessed about the scale, logging every bite I ate, trying to stay under 1,000 calories. My partner was beginning to worry that I was edging toward an eating disorder.

After reading Dr. Kesslers book on the obesity epidemic, and watching the documentary  Sugar Coated I decided it was time to try a little detoxing. I had been underestimating – as most of us do – the amount of sugar I was eating, and not aware that the extra sugar was being turned into fat I couldn’t see. Fat that settled on internal organs.

I learned that we can be fat on the inside and look perfectly slim. I learned that hidden sugars were everywhere. I learned that I needed a detox!

Detoxing from sugar can be just as tough as quitting smoking or cutting out caffeine cold turkey. The withdrawal symptoms are not pretty. I decided a slow drop would be an easier way to go.

The first day I kept obsessing over sweet treats. My attention would wander to the fridge constantly as I mentally searched for chocolate that wasn’t there. I felt that familiar crankiness and deprivation that sets in whenever your mind realizes you’re on a diet. A lifetime of yo-yo dieting came back to me. But I was so curious to see if it would work. I kept telling myself I’d try it for just a few days.

(This is a trick I’ve employed many times. It can help me get over the first few days of a habit change. I know that it does get easier, and I’ve learned to focus on that.)

A little sugar is withdrawn every day and with each day it has become easier.

It’s only been a few days but a few stubborn lbs have melted away, and my energy levels are rising. Each day I bump up my efforts to get my sugar intake lower. I’m optimistic that this is the answer to bring me back to my healthiest weight.

There are many articles out there on detoxing from sugar. There are countless meal plans from the cold turkey – don’t even eat fruit – type, to ones aimed at helping you make this transition as comfortable as possible, evolving into a long-term healthy lifestyle change. How you choose to detox is less important in my opinion than taking on only what you can comfortably handle and maintain.

You can run, or you can walk, you’ll still get there as long as you don’t lose your motivation. Some of us prefer to sprint, some of us do better taking baby steps. Set reasonable goals, reward yourself with positive thoughts, and enlist your loved ones for support and accountability.

I know it can be done. I’m not giving up. And if a sugar detox is in your future, I wish you luck, too!




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