Saturday, January 23, 2016

Things I Learned When I Gave Up... Coffee, Cheese, Bacon, Chocolate, Bread, and Alcohol for 3 Weeks

So, one of my goals for January was to complete my 21 Day Purification Diet.  Which meant no dairy (except butter), no bread or pasta, no caffeine, no alcohol, no chocolate, no sugar unless it was in fruit, and only a little meat.  Basically it was all fruits, veggies, water, and lentils for the first ten days, and then for days eleven to twenty-one, I could have a little lean meat with my fruits, veggies, and lentils.

I did this because I was the heaviest I've ever been.  I have headaches, I was having heartburn, and sometimes I'd have gallbladder pains- not acute, but like bloating and feeling like I was a Macy's Thanksgiving day balloon after eating.  So, I wanted to just kind of give myself a reset, and what better time to start than the first of a new year.  Here's what I learned (and how I felt).

1. Giving up caffeine is hard.  I started weaning myself off between Christmas and New Year's.  Which was not fun.  I love coffee.  A lot.  I had a day of numbing headache, but I lived.

2. The first three days were the worst.  I felt like crap.  I was hungry all the time.  My back ached for no apparent reason. I felt hot, but didn't have a fever.  It almost felt like I was getting the flu.  But then I just woke up on day four and felt better. I was really glad I had taken the first few days of the New Year off so I didn't have to feel so doggy and try to work because I just laid around the house and watched t.v. and read and napped.

3. I stocked up on fruits and veggies, and thought I'd be good to go.  But, I missed bread- sooo much.  I never realized how much bread I ate. I had dreams about going to Subway, and getting a sub, just because bread sounded so good.  I ate a lot of lentil soup, and all I could think of is how good it'd be with a hunk of crusty bread.

4.  I snack way more than I realize.  A lot of times, I get hungry, and then it's like my blood sugar bottoms out and I start getting sweaty, and shaky, and hangry, and I wolf down something not healthy.  I'm sure this is part of my problem with losing weight.  But, when I was eating a diet of less refined carbs, my blood sugars stayed level, and even if I got hungry, I didn't get hangry or shaky.

5.  Having to be around foods you can't have while others are enjoying them totally sucks.  They ordered pizza at work one day.  And it smelled soooo good.  I had packed a salad and I will admit, I felt a little dejected eating it while everyone else had pizza.

6.  But, once I realized I was actually losing weight, I felt pretty stoked.   I had done this diet once like ten years ago, and while everyone I did it with lost weight, I did not.  It was very disappointing.  So, I went into thinking that even if I didn't lose a pound, it'd be good for my body and mind to stay away from junk for a while and try to get some good habits established.  So watching the number on the scale go down was exhilarating!

7.  And that made me want to exercise.  Because when I was done with the diet, I wanted to keep the weight off, and maybe even continue losing some. Of course, this was in the middle of a -20 degree cold snap, so walking outside did not sound appealing.  So, it was "Hello treadmill and Spotify" time.  Treadmills aren't my favorite, but it's a doable option and gets me off my butt.

8.  By the last couple days, I was sick of veggies.  I should have kept track of how many pounds of produce I consumed, but I know I was stopping at the store every  couple days to get more.  I was already planning what I would eat for my first meal off the cleanse.  (Homemade tacos!)  I don't even want to think about eating anymore broccoli or cauliflower for a while.  This red lentil soup recipe was a lifesaver!  I think I made it twice in the last three days.  It was super good, filling, and healthy.  I will definitely be making it again.

9.  Day 22 rolled around, and I was so excited to wake up and have coffee!  I swear I got the shivers, just tasting it.  And it smelled SO good!  But I was good and only had one cup.

10.  I lost eleven pounds, and I am fitting into clothes that didn't fit before, so I'm hoping if I stay on a healthier path with my food choices, and keep exercising, I'll keep it off and lose some more.  I always felt like I was accepting of how I looked before, but I gotta admit, it does feel good to lose weight.  I noticed my posture is improved, my skin is clearer, I haven't had any headaches since I got over the caffeine withdrawal ones, and I do feel pretty good.  So, even though I was a little apprehensive when I started and skeptical of any sort of diet, it turned out to be a success.  And, I still haven't had chips or chocolate!  Or gone to Subway for the dreamed about sub bread.  I'm sure I will sometime, but I haven't even been craving them, which is crazy!


  1. congratulations! just the thought of giving up sugar, even for a few days, gives me the shakes. you are a stronger woman than I am.

    1. Thanks Judy! My friend Lori really encouraged me along the way. She was checking in with me all the time and asking how it was going and giving me tips.

  2. Good for you. I need to do something myself, I am now the heaviest I have ever been in my life which is really depressing. It is just finding something that I can live with that doesn't make me feel deprived all the time. Keep up the good work. x

    1. Thanks Kay! I think for me, I just had to finally get in the right mindset and really prepare for it. Then, once the scale started to show progress, I was really committed to keep up the healthy habits.

  3. Congrats on completing the diet! That's wonderful. Here's to a healthier 2016!