My husband and I just wrapped up 13 days of “clean eating”—-our version anyway. We were inspired by an article in Fast Company in which the author noticed some rather startling changes when he gave up refined sugar for two weeks. With the holiday season and all its temptations coming up, it seemed like a good time to see how it would impact us.
We already eat pretty well, but during this time we gave up all added sugars (including honey and maple syrup), bread and pasta (anything made of wheat flour), alcohol, and our weekly “meal off.” I gave up my Friday trip to Starbucks for my grande nonfat two pump mocha with no whipped cream. We didn’t eat paleo, didn’t give up meat or dairy, didn’t give up coffee.
The results? Unimpressive.
I didn’t weigh myself before we started, so I don’t know if I lost any weight, but it doesn’t feel like it. I don’t eat a lot of sugar (except during a meal off), so I didn’t experience the withdrawal symptoms or positive changes described in the Fast Company article. I also didn’t stop wanting a glass of wine at the end of a long day or thinking that a sweet treat would be wonderful.
I think this was more of a challenge for my husband. He drinks 3-5 cups of coffee every day with a teaspoon of white sugar and a teaspoon of powdered creamer. He doesn’t like the taste of coffee with just milk (how I drink it), so he didn’t drink much coffee during this time. Consequently, he had caffeine withdrawal headaches for a couple days. He also lost a few pounds—-I think he must be having more “tastes” during the day than he realized.
Ultimately, I had hoped that this change in my diet would make me feel so much better that I would be inspired to keep it up, at least at some level. And although I did sleep better, I didn’t feel better enough overall to make any long-term changes in my diet.
Still, I’m glad I did it. It validated our current diet, and I added some new foods into the menu. I know now that I can (at least for a short time period) give up sugar and alcohol, and I’m hoping that will buoy my willpower during the season of gluttony and intemperance.