Should You Do a Sugar Detox?

I’ve tried it, chances are you’ve tried it, lots of my friends, family and clients have tried it, and it sounds like a great idea because if we cut out all sugar, we’ll never have to worry about eating too much chocolate, we’ll become more aware of what’s in our food by reading labels (they add sugar to bread now, FYI), we won’t be scared anymore by those article that tell us “sugar is killing you” because we don’t eat sugar anymore! 

It sounds kinda great, doesn’t it?

Now let me ask you this.  Do you know one person who has done a sugar detox and has cut it out 100% forever? I don’t.  I know people who have done it for 30 days or so but after the challenge is over they’re right back to their usual habits.

So why even bother trying?

When we try to cut something out cold turkey, it’s because we don’t feel like we can control it any other way.  We think that we can’t slowly cut back on our sugar consumption or that we couldn’t possibly have only a few pieces of chocolate each day without eating the entire bar.  Because there’s a huge lack of self-trust around foods like sugar, it only makes sense to cut it out cold turkey.

When it comes down to it, if we want to get a handle on our sugar consumption, we have two options:

Option 1: Use all of our willpower and mental energy to abstain from all things sugar and hope that this will be the time it works and we’ll be forever sugar free even though we actually kind of love chocolate and candy

Option 2: Practice mindful moderation knowing that it will take some time to trust our self with this.

Option 1 is appealing, isn’t it?! Clean out the cupboards, walk right past the candy ailse in the grocery store, ignore the treats in the office at work and say “no thank you” to birthday cake and ice cream forever.

Option 2 on the other hand, takes a lot of work.  It’s going to take practice and possibly overeating chocolate a few times and feeling some disappointment. The long-term outcome, however, FAR outweighs Option 1. With Option 2 we LEARN our body, LEARN what moderation means and LEARN when enough is enough, whereas Option 1 will keep us in the restrict & binge cycle.

Now is sugar the healthies thing we can eat?  No, but is it the worst?  Also no. Especially when it’s done mindfully and moderately. 

So what does that mindful moderation look like?

It looks like this:

Step One: Intentionally buy a few things you don’t necessarily trust yourself around or feel like you don’t have a handle on. You know, those foods that if you buy them you’ll eat the entire bag in a day?  Go and buy those. Yes, seriously ;o)

Step Two: Eat one serving these foods at a time as you want throughout the week being mindful that you can always have more if you want, there’s no need to finish it all right now. You might want to repeat this one to yourself a few times before and after you eat your treat.

Step Three: Know and accept that you might eat more than just one serving sometimes and if that happens, it’s just part of the process and you’ll do better next time.

I know, I know.  Sounds nuts.  Why on EARTH would we intentionally buy food that we have no control over and can’t help but overeat?  Won’t we just fly off the rails and binge our faces off since we already “screwed up” and might as well go all out?

That might happen a couple times, sure.  BUT THE KEY IS INENTIONALITY AND MINDFULNESS. In 100% honestly, this is where a lot of people quit because this takes work. It takes reconditioning your brain to look at food in a different way and that takes time.  So sure, we can quit…or we can keep pressing forward knowing that the payoff is going to be HUGE and will offer a whole lot less stress and a whole lot more food freedom in the long run.

Worth it?  Absolutely. Also, if you’re a part of my #FueledFam, you’re not a quitter ;o)

Allowing yourself permission to have anything you want and trust that you’ll be able to handle it is scary, but being prepared to practice this new skill and get back on the horse if you fall off is so worth the final outcome.  Food will no longer have control over you and there won’t be one single food that is forbidden (unless you have an intolerance or allergy, of course). 

Bottom Line

Should you do a sugar detox?  I think no.  Instead, learn to incorporate it into your diet using mindful moderation instead of cutting it out completely.

Trust that even though this method sounds scary as hell (and probably a little bit cray), it will give you freedom from obsessing over the foods you think you shouldn’t have. Trust that overtime you’ll develop the control over what you eat and how much you eat. Trust that even if you overeat, you’ll be just fine because you can always get back to it on your next meal or snack. Trust that if you allow yourself treats when you want them, nothing bad will happen. If anything, you’ll be better off for it because you won’t feel deprived.

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