Can too many positive life changes ultimately lead to negative side effects? You betcha. By recently starting a new Crossfit routine, beginning the sugar detox, and reducing my caffeine intake all within a couple of weeks, my body went into shock mode.
Ten days into the 21-day sugar detox and I’ve already experienced many highlights and low points. The good news is that I no longer crave my 2 p.m. dark chocolate fix, and honestly have not even thought about it too much since starting this challenge. The not-so-stellar news is that the first week was not as charming as I thought it would be. In fact, I experienced many symptoms I now know are commonly referred to as The Healing Crisis when you put your body through a detox such as this one. (I encourage you to check out the resources below to know what to expect prior to starting a detox program.)
Little did I know, common side-effects of a drastic diet change such as removing sugar and reducing it to a bare minimum included nasty headaches, stomach pains, nausea and sleepless nights. In addition, I noticed that if I accidentally consumed gluten or some other non-Paleo food, the effects were substantially worsened. The rationale behind this? When you begin removing old patterns and replacing them with new ones, your body goes through an adjustment period in which it attempts to rid itself of all the toxins previously aggravated by the poor habits. While previously my sugar intake was not significantly high, it was enough to throw my body through a loop once I removed it entirely.
Luckily the side effects only lasted about three days. To combat the unpleasant symptoms, I significantly pulled back on my workout routine for a few days, increase my water intake, incorporated a few extra fruits to my diet, and ensured I was eating 100% clean/Paleo in an attempt to bring myself back to a functional level. I’ll admit, I was shocked to feel completely depleted from the slight diet shift, but I refuse to be defeated by sugar! I’m now feeling much better after making a few adjustments and will continue the next 11 days of the program.
This challenge would not be complete without a cheesy metaphor to instill hope in anyone interested in trying out the program. I’ll liken it to hiking a mountain. The beginning is easy when you’re full of energy and excitement, the middle part gets tough when you start to get fatigued and question if you’re capable of finishing, and (hopefully) the end is rewarding once you’ve accomplished the goal of making it to the top. So, cheers to challenges and rewarding adventures!
Have you experienced anything similar when making a drastic diet or fitness modification? Share your stories here.