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7 days of challenging myself to be a better version of myself. Drinking my tea, exercising, journaling, meditating, and completely stopping sugar. Will I complete it? How will I feel after it's done? Keep reading to find out.
What Is The 7-Day Stop Sugar Challenge?
If you haven't heard already, Loose Leaf Tea Market is doing a 7-Day Stop Sugar Challenge this October 23-30. It will be a virtual community-focused week where you gain expert advice on how to stop sugar, forever!
Why Do It?
It can be challenging to be healthy in a world that doesn't prioritize health. For example, picking up McDonald's after work is faster and easier than making a quinoa-chickpea-broccoli buddha bowl at home from scratch. Journaling and meditating are more challenging than kicking back on the couch and watching Netflix. Because of this, it can be difficult to make good decisions.
But, the thing is, being hard is not an excuse. Because ultimately, that easy option is killing us. Prioritizing what is wise long-term, rather than what simply is easier at the moment, might end up saving your life. And beyond that, creating a healthy lifestyle will help improve your life, healing your relationship with food, your body, and your overall self-image.
My name is Savannah, and I have always been passionate about health and fitness. Growing up in sports, I've always loved and really required daily movement. I've always loved broccoli and kale and have never been a picky eater. But I still know that I am not taking care of my body to the very best of my ability, even though it's something that we all know is extremely important for our mental, emotional and physical health.
I am doing this sugar challenge because I deserve to treat my body the best that I can. Who's with me?!
Day 0: Sunday
The night before the challenge, I gathered up all the sugary foods I had and threw them away! It was sad to say goodbye, but it was the breakup we both needed.
Day 1: Monday
I started my day with my favorite breakfast, but this time without the honey. I recently have been into homemade "cereal." The berries and slow-digesting oats helped stabilize my blood sugar so that I didn't crave any sugar all morning.
Here's how I make it:
1. Add 1 cup frozen mixed berries to a bowl and completely cover with milk of choice (I used soy). It needs to sit for a little while you cook the oats so that it can be the perfect temperature and texture.
2. Add 1/2 cup oats, and a little less than 1/2 cup milk of choice to a small pot on high heat, along with 1/2 mashed ripe banana, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp baking soda. Keep stirring, and don't let it burn. With the high heat, it can crisp up a little more and be more like cereal than oatmeal. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until it's the texture you like.
3. Add your oats to your berry milk, and you're done!
I had a hectic day at work, so I didn't get to finish the whole checklist until around 10pm, but honestly, I feel pretty satisfied! The only time I really craved sugar was after lunch. Still, instead of my regular excessive consumption of chocolate, I had some whole roasted peanuts and some "chocolate milk" (raw cacao powder dissolved in soy milk). It completely satisfied my craving! So far, it's been easier than I thought. I'll keep you updated on how I feel tomorrow.
Day 2: Tuesday
Another super busy day at work, resulting in almost nothing being done (except the avoid list) until the evening...but that's life! I managed to get in a super awesome workout and felt much more energized than I usually would after. Maybe eating whole, fresh fruit and nuts is a better pick-me-up than sugary snacks, after all!
My experience with Sleek and Slender has been incredible. I've been drinking it before breakfast and before lunch. So far, I haven't had too hard of a time with sugar cravings...maybe this is the reason? We'll see if I regret saying this tomorrow!
Day 3: Wednesday
This has been the most challenging day yet. All day, I was craving all kinds of sweets, even ones I wouldn't ever crave under normal circumstances. I wanted one of those soft, fluffy sugar cookies (you know, the ones with the colored frosting that they sell at the grocery store). A little context: I am vegan and gluten-free; if I ate that cookie, I would be sick for days. Yet, for some reason, my body, hijacked by sugar cravings, thought: "If you don't eat this cookie right now, you might die."
My win of the day was making a healthy (and sugar-free!) "Banana Pudding," despite the cravings. This absolutely did the trick! I did not crave sugar at all after eating this yummy pudding.
How to Make It: Add all your ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth! Add to a glass container and place in the fridge for 2+ hours for the most "pudding"-like texture, but if you want to eat it right away, go ahead!
Optional toppings/mix-ins: Cocoa/Cacao Powder, Nut Butter, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Berries, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, Roasted Pecans, or anything else you might want! I kept it simple, because I like a classic banana pudding flavor, but any of these would be delicious.
Day 4: Thursday
Today, I really didn't crave much at all, which I was surprised by. I sat down and ate 3 nutritious, balanced meals (including some more chia seed pudding for breakfast - because, why not!). I felt satisfied with my meals and felt super strong and energized during my workout.
I've been drinking my Sugarproof brewed strong and topped with unsweetened sparkling water right before bed. It zaps any cravings I might have; it's incredible! Day 4: a success!
Day 5: Friday
Going into it, I thought that meditating every day would be my biggest challenge to overcome. I was right. I'm the kind of person who hates sitting still, so meditating is a form of torture for me. But, still, I have noticed that taking the time for it has actually made me feel more attentive in my everyday life. I've been feeling more present and mindful by taking only 5 minutes!
Day 6: Saturday
All week has been surprisingly less challenging than I thought, but this weekend has been much more of a mental battle. I went to dinner with friends, and while they enjoyed sweets afterwards, I was left to twiddle my thumbs, wishing I could enjoy it with them. However, that's why I think having a "buddy" is SO important. Because I was participating in this challenge with my team, we had a group chat where we could update each other on our challenges and wins. It made it so that I was able to keep going! I'm excited about the community aspect of the real thing since we'll all be doing it together!
If you are planning on joining us for the real thing, bring a friend if you can. I think having someone you know helps to keep you going extra strong! There is nothing like having someone to hold you accountable and to share the experience with.
Day 7: Sunday
Today is the last day of the challenge, and I am so proud of myself! It's called a challenge for a reason: it pushes you to examine the choices you regularly make and requires you to change your behavior. There were times during this challenge when I truly felt like I was going to crack, but I found an alternative that completely satisfied me! I realized that not only do I not need any of these things (like honey on my oats or chocolate after I finish lunch) but it actually makes me feel better to not eat them.
The Shocking Results After Only 7 Days
1) I developed a better relationship with my food and hunger cues.
Instead of mindlessly snacking all day long, never feeling satisfied after my sugary snacks, I was eating foods that actually made me feel full. This allowed me to better appreciate my food and not just be looking to snacks as a quick pick me up, but rather as sustainable fuel to get me through the day. I am now 100% motivated to replace empty snacks with healthy options.
2) I felt way more energized!
I noticed a big difference in my energy. Instead of spikes in energy that inevitably ended in a huge slump, I felt more constant energy throughout the day, which allowed me to get more done and feel more happy during the day.
3) My stomach felt so much better.
I didn't eat a ton of sugar to begin with, but I was so surprised and happy at how much my digestion improved. I don't know if it was the increased fiber or the fact that my gut flora was starting to become more balanced, but this was actually one of my favorite outcomes of the past 7 days. I had gotten so used to my digestive discomfort that it had become "normal".
4) I had way less inflammation!
I am super active, and work out every day, and this daily stress on my body often shows up as pain and inflammation. After cutting out the sugar, I started recovering from my workouts faster, and didn't experience nearly as much muscle pain.
5) My brain felt sharper.
Weirdly enough, I didn't realize that I had brain fog until I didn't have it any more. I had heard that eating sugar causes brain fog, and I didn't realize that even the dark chocolate bar that I ate every day was affecting me, but it was.
6) My cravings for sugary foods went away!
After day 3, which was the hardest for me, I started to notice how natural fresh fruits were more than sweet enough for me, and they helped me feel satiated, which never happened when I ate sugary foods with zero nutritional value. It is virtually impossible to overeat fruit the way you can overeat cookies.
After doing this, I realized that the initial changes were the most difficult, but now that I am past them, I feel motivated to turn this "challenge" into a lifestyle. For me now, I want sweets to be the exception, not the rule.