In December, I saw a book titled, The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation, by Wendy Speake.
I knew that I wanted to make some dietary changes in January, so I got the book and signed up for the challenge. The author was very clear for each person to decide what kind of sugar fast she would do.
At the same time, my gym also started a wellness challenge where participants focused on nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest, and reflection.
So on January 4, I committed to 6 weeks of no desserts as well as drinking a green smoothie every day. I knew that a full-out sugar fast would be too difficult for me since sugar is in almost everything. With a dessert fast, I chose to abstain from dessert items like cake, brownies, ice cream, cookies, candy, etc.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Desserts should not be a daily habit. Once I deleted all desserts from my diet, I had the startling realization just how much I had been eating them. Dark chocolate had been one of my closest friends for a long time. It was difficult to break-up and say good-bye. I loved having chocolate after lunch, as an afternoon snack and then some more after dinner. Even if it was just a small piece of chocolate candy, I was having it way too much.
2. Avoid conflict during the first 7 days of any fast. Thankfully, my husband and kids gave me grace during my first fasting week because I was a train wreck. A chocolate detox isn’t for the weak. I didn’t realize it at the time but eliminating desserts from your diet will cause a very short fuse. Unfortunately, I had to ask forgiveness more than once for my actions during the first week of detox.
3. Justification is a slippery slope. During my weaker moments, I was trying to justify all kinds of reasons to have chocolate. “Chocolate covered almonds aren’t really a dessert; they are healthy.” “If I normally wouldn’t have this food for dessert, then it doesn’t qualify for the dessert fast.” Honestly, we can justify anything. It’s easy to twist the truth in our minds to help ease the struggle, however staying strong to our commitment will greatly improve our mindset for overall success.
4. Find a dessert substitute. After the first week of fasting, the days got much better and I no longer struggled with weak moments. However, it was greatly beneficial to my journey to have some options for ‘treats’. I discovered ‘dessert’ smoothies that were delicious and healthy as well as almond/oat bars and pumpkin muffins. It certainly helped to have something special when the rest of the family was enjoying ice cream!
5. Be ready for challenges and changes. This fast really taught me that I CAN handle no desserts and my body agreed. I had more energy (a green smoothie everyday helped with this too), less cravings, and a huge sense of accomplishment. Doing hard things will bring positive changes.
6. Build in accountability. I’ve worked hard to build in strong layers of accountability in my life and was very thankful for support during the dessert fast. My main accountability was the wellness challenge at my gym. All participants had to submit their weekly points and then our points were posted on the leaderboard. It was very motivating to have a score posted each week.
So what were my final results, you ask? Well, I only cheated one time on my dessert fast. My husband took me out for a date night and I told the waiter that I didn’t want dessert but he still brought a plate of small chocolate truffles to the table. Really??!!! My husband said it was a special night and to enjoy them – which I did. However, that was the only time I gave in to weakness.
For the wellness challenge at the gym, I finished in 2nd place. I lost some points on the chocolate truffles and there were some days that I didn’t exercise and lost points for that. Overall I’m really proud of my journey.
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