July has come and gone, can you believe it? That went by so fast. We are are already on the latter part of the year, with a mere five months to go. The summer months here in the Pacific Northwest are a treasured time. We spend quite a few months under the clouds and rain and summers are magical. I mean, look at this photo I took last weekend from my hike up McClellam Butte off the I-90 corridor! I find I am happiest when I'm completely surrounded by touring trees, the clean smell of sweet pine sented air and the feel of my legs burning as I climb these magical hills. TI feel at home in the trees. I feel most comfortable in my skin here. I also accomplished a great feet this past month. If you've been reading along this summer you saw that back at the beginning of July I announced that I was quitting sugar for the whole month. You can read more about that here.
July has come and gone and I wanted to share my experiences with you about going sugar free, how I felt, and my learnings and takeaways.
As you know, I followed my friend Alison's program, Sweet Liberation: 30 Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb. I want to begin by saying that this program is it. Alison really knows her stuff.
Alison has been sugar-free for well over 1095 days and counting. Back in 2006, Alison became seriously ill and was later diagnosed with Lyme disease, an inflammatory disease that left Alison spending the last eight years doing everything to take back her health. Here story is incredibly inspiring and as I've grown to know Alison more, this women is full of beauty, grace and has a powerful and heart-centered mission to help others reclaim their own health. You can read more about her story here.
One of the ways that she has regained her freedom is by going sugar-free. This program is not only for those with debilitating illness but rather it's for everyone. It demonstrates to all of us that sugar is a huge contributor to increased inflammation and illness in our bodies and something we should reduce if not eliminate completely.
WHAT I LEARNED
First and foremost, I want to be as transparent as possible. I don't typically eat a tremendous amount of sugar however I do tend to eat more of the 'natural' forms like maple syrup, honey, dates and anything else along those lines. My main motivation going sugar-free was the fact that I just wasn't sleeping well and dealing with more anxiety then normal. A lot of this, I'm sure, has to do with my divorce and the huge life transition I'm in the midst of but I wasn't 100% convinced that sugar wasn't playing a role either. I have also been suffering from an onset of adult acne again and was curious if sugar was a possible culprit.
Back in September of 2009 I was diagnosed with Candida and when I removed sugar from my diet as part of the protocol to heal my body, my skin began to glow in ways I've never experienced and my adult acne went away. I was very curious if that was happening again.
As someone that loves to test my body, the only way for me to be sure was to say bye-bye to the stuff. I also want to say that I cut out everything except alcohol so I was still getting some sugar from that. However, I would recommend cutting out alcohol as well to get the full affects of going sugar free.
In the beginning few days I found myself wanting to reach for a little bit of chocolate after meals. This was normal for me. To finish dinner off with a piece of dark chocolate however, it didn't take too long for that to dissipate. I was actually really surprised at how little I thought about sweets after the initial first few days. I think this was because the Sweet Liberation program is gentle and easy to follow. It starts slow and builds from there and incorporates sugar-free sweet alternatives which are amazingly satisfying so you don't feel deprived.
Sweet Liberation was created brilliantly and you never feel alone on the journey because Alison is popping into your inbox with with daily tips and inspiration to help keep you motivated. This is full of information to help you slowly eliminate sugar and learn healthier alternatives plus recipes to keep you full of energy.
I also have become super aware of how much sugar is in everything, especially prepared foods. I typically don't eat much of them but as I browsed the grocery store aisles I started looking on the back of packaging and was blown away by what is actually in a lot of it for preservation and taste.
HOW I FEEL/RESULTS
Upon completing the thirty days I felt great. One of the big noticeable results was that I leaned out a lot which wasn't my intention at all. This showed me that sugar actually has more to do with bloating, inflammation and weight gain then I think people truly realize. And it's in EVERYTHING! I think a huge possibility with me leaning out has more to do with the inflammation sugar causes in the body then actual weight loss however.
I didn't notice too much with my skin and this leads me to believe it is more hormonal and stress related then anything. I also started to do Far-Infared Sauna sessions which detoxes the body by about 17% more then regular saunas so my body could be doing a serious purge from that.
My sleep wasn't affected much either and I now recognize that this has more to do with deeper subconscious stuff then what I'm eating. However, I do believe when you have a diet that is excessive in sugar it CAN affect your sleep. One night when the program was over I decided to try a piece of dark chocolate while my brother, sister-in-law and I watched a movie. Within ten minutes of eating it my heart started beating faster and I had a little kick in my energy which contributed to me having a harder time falling asleep.
Overall, I just felt lighter and cleaner from the inside out. Anyone that has eaten a super clean diet knows exactly what that feels like.
Alison has truly put together a program that for one, is based on her own personal success story and is also totally realistic and doable for anyone, no matter how much sugar you have in your diet.
You can find out more about Alison's program, Sweet Liberation: 30 Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb here.
I'd love to know: what are your experiences with sugar? When do you tend to turn to the stuff, how do you think it affects your body and what challenges do you face eliminating it from your diet?