Want some (keto) cookies??

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Nui. Links are not affiliate and I will not receive a commission for any items purchased from eatnui.com. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Changing your diet is hard. One minute you’re devouring bowls of chicken alfredo pasta with a side of warm, crusty garlic bread, and the next you’re munching on cucumber sticks wondering if there’s more to life than this. (Kidding! I actually happen to enjoy cucumber sticks with a little sea salt, I swear.)

But seriously, it’s tough to make changes, especially ones that last more than a few days.

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My typical lunch – chili (protein), veggies w/ avocado (healthy fat), and dessert!!

Recently, I made the decision to stick to a diet that is keto/paleo-friendly. What does that mean, exactly? I understand that paleo and keto are, in many ways, very different, but I decided to take the best features of both and unite them.

  • High Fat, Veggie, and Protein (keeps me full)
  • Low Carb & Sugar (reduces cravings)
  • Moderate Dairy (reduces bloating)
  • Gluten & Legume Free (better for my gut)

I know what you’re thinking – that cuts out a lot of the good stuff. Well, it definitely eliminates things that my body doesn’t like. You see, I’ve been known to demolish cartons of Peeps, bags of Sour Patch Kids, tubs of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and oh, don’t get me started on peanut butter cookies. I. Want. Them. All.

I can’t say for certain whether it’s because I’m getting older, or because my body’s just tired of being fed crap, but I was feeling really run down, bloated, lethargic, and heavy. Then, as soon as I got serious about eating healthier and working out harder, I noticed immediate changes. (Cue angelic/heavenly music.)

I knew this wasn’t going to be a month-long thing, but rather a life-long journey, so I started focusing on all of the things I could eat.. Turns out, there are a ton of paleo and keto recipes, resources, and ready-to-eat products on the good ol’ internet.

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That’s how I stumbled upon Nui, a company that makes delicious keto cookies with full-fat ingredients and only 4 net carbs. Amazing. Of course, my favorite is the peanut butter!

Grab a Glass of Milk

Nui cookies are gluten-free, low glycemic, and don’t have any added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or GMOs. Ingredients like heavy cream and grass-fed butter make these cookies so rich and satisfying, you won’t even know they’re good for you. Eat them on the go or pack them with lunch – we could all use a little afternoon treat. However you choose, feel free to indulge that sweet tooth of yours – hope is not lost.

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When you visit eatnui.com, you’ll find recipes and a comprehensive guide to beginning a keto lifestyle. If you’re considering it and want to know more, I suggest you check it out!

I can’t recommend these cookies enough. Game changer!

7 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

For the last few years, I’ve been diligently working out and eating healthy. But a few weeks ago I stepped on the scale and was horrified that the number had quickly risen, meaning all the hard work I put into 80 Day Obsession had completely vanished. Instead of feeling discouraged, I felt motivated to get down to a more comfortable weight and to keep it there.

Here are a few reasons why you might not be losing weight:

1. You’re Not Drinking Enough

Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink. That’s how I feel most days. I’m sure I sound like a drama queen, but I’m really not a fan of water unless it’s really cold and I’m really hot. But as I learned five years ago, dehydration sucks. So does a kidney infection. Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to drink at least 64 ounces a day, so that means getting creative.

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Love shaking up some limeade in this cup!

Sip herbal tea to reap some of the benefits. Try sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime and teaspoon of stevia, add a few drops of essential oil, or even try it with a little salt. Yes. Salt, lime…and tequila!

2. You’re Not Tracking Your Food

I’m definitely an advocate for tracking every bite and drink you have. Why? Because you need to see if what you eat has any bearing on the scale or how you’re feeling. Does broccoli cause bloat? (It does for me.) Maybe you need to switch to a different veggie, like cucumber. Did your weight increase after that brownie sundae with whipped cream? (Most times one little “cheat” won’t hurt you.) Track everything – even that stray grape or cracker or bite of your kid’s chicken nugget. It all adds ups and most likely, you don’t realize how much you’re actually eating in one day.

You don’t have to get fancy for this – the notes app on your phone or a dollar store journal will be fine. But if you are looking for something with an easy to follow outline, I recommend this one.

3. You Have a Desk Job

I’ve been sitting on my ass for going on 8 years now. Landed my first desk job in September 2010 and haven’t looked back. Recently, I did a little research on the correlation between sitting and health. Did you know that even if you live actively outside of your 9 to 5, you are still at risk for health problems including diabetes and heart disease? Not to mention all of the office temptations that lead you to nibble ALL DAY LONG.

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Remember last year’s Ice Cream Soda day? My department has food days ALL. THE. TIME.

The best way to combat this 9 to 5 fatigue is by taking breaks. I like to get up at least once an hour and stretch my legs. Walk to the break room, fill up your water bottle, or go outside and soak up the sunshine. I also enjoy taking trips to my library right down the road.

4. You Have a Love Affair with Sugar

Sugar is addicting. It just tastes so, so good. In brownies and ice cream and cake and, well, everything. You eat and then overeat because you’re hooked on the sweet stuff. Sugar is sneaky too. It hides everywhere. The third ingredient in Hidden Valley Ranch is sugar. That’s what makes it so difficult to do a Whole30 or sugar detox – you have to read ALL the labels. Even if it’s something you think wouldn’t or shouldn’t have sugar. Like salad dressing. Watch out for all of those other sugars in disguise too – maple syrup, agave, honey, dextrose, fructose – the list goes on.

I’d recommend that everyone do a Sugar Detoxย to wean themselves off the bad stuff. It’s only 21 days (the time it takes to foster new habits) and is very realistic and attainable. Otherwise, just read your labels and limit your sugar consumption. Women are only supposed to have 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day; 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons for men. How many are in that pumpkin spice latte you just ordered?

5. You’re Stressed

Oh, good ol’ stress. There are two types – good stressors and bad ones. The bad ones – like feeling anxious about an exam or a typical day at work – can make you demolish a whole pint of Cherry Garcia in one sitting. The good – like a new baby or a raise – also usually result in food celebrations including cake and alcohol (for the latter, of course). Cortisol, the stress hormone, revs up that appetite, making you hungry for junk.

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My absolute favorite snack!

To combat stress, try taking a walk, drinking a cup of tea, lighting a candle (not at work), taking a bath (also not at work), or rubbing a drop of lavender essential oil on your temples. When all else fails, make sure you have some healthy snacks to indulge in, like a slice of power seed bread with almond butter and banana. Yum!

6. You’re Not Eating the Right Foods

I thought I was being healthy by swapping out white rice for brown, white pasta for corn and quinoa. Nope! Not for me. I recently learned that while I love carbs, they don’t love me. Just one cup of “healthy” brown rice has 45 grams of carbs. Yikes. It turns out that my body doesn’t even need that many carbs per DAY. Same is true with healthy fat. Avocado, almond butter, coconut milk, cheese – all good in moderation.

Do some experimenting to see what works for you. I notice a HUGE difference in my body when I avoid carb overload – more energy, clarity, and a little ring around my belly disappears. Tracking your food will help with this too (see reason #2).

7. You’ve Lost Sight of Your Goal

Failure happens when you lose sight of your goals. Remember the saying “out of sight out of mind”? It’s true. I’ve learned so much from following Mel Robin’s 5 Second Rule. Get things done when they are top of mind or you just won’t. It’s the same with your goals – when they aren’t top of mind, they just fall by the wayside. Then before you know it, you’re sitting at your desk snacking on peanut M&Ms, wondering how you got 20 pounds overweight. Duh, girl.

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Crushing those 2018 goals rn!

If you have a vision board, keep it visible. I just pinned mine to my cubical wall so I can be reminded of where I want to be by New Year’s Eve. You’ve still got 3.5 months to make shit happen. Get on it.

The Bottom Line:ย If you gained it, you can lose it. Please don’t get discouraged or wait until January 1st to restart. Today is the day to make a change one step at a time. You got this!

Finding the Balance: Self Care

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to start out this series. There are so many great topics on finding the balance that they almost compete with each other. Then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks in my intestines.

This morning I woke up at 5 am, changed into my gym clothes, got some water, and headed down to the basement to bust out my 61-minute workout. Everything was going great until about 10 minutes in when I started to feel queasy. I pressed pause. Tried again. Tapped out at 16 minutes.

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This. Never. Happens. This is how I know I’m sick. So, after much internal debate, I called out for the first time in almost two years at my job. Time for a little self-care.

Feeling Stressed

I’ve been feeling very stressed lately – at home and work. Its never ending – there is ALWAYS something to be worried or uneasy about. Even when I’m having a good time on the weekend, I’m reminded of what’s to come on Monday.

If you’ve read any of my Sugar Detox posts, you know that I haven’t been feeling well since I started cutting the crap out of my diet – ironic, right? Even after two months, nothing has leveled out. I went through extensive allergy and blood testing that cost over $800 and I’m no closer to finding out the cause of my discomfort. Talk about frustration.

Last week I talked about not having the time to fit it all in. Well, I think I peaked yesterday. It got to a point where I just couldn’t manage – it was like someone dropped all my marbles and I couldn’t pick them up fast enough before they rolled off into the unknown. Before bed, my mind was dissecting the day, and I went to sleep pretty sick to my stomach about all of my tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities. Not good.

Fun Ways to Self-Care

How often do you stop and do things for yourself? I think the only two things I consistently do for myself are read, work out, and pray/meditate each morning. And oddly enough, working out stresses my body out more.

Here are a few ideas – they are by no means a complete list – but they can help get you started finding the balance in your everyday.

Color

Adult coloring books are so fun! I thought it was great when they first became popular because here I was finishing up my old Disney or Barbie books, when I could have been fancying up a page of curse words. Bull shit, am I right? If that’s not your cup of tea, there are mild versions of flowers, landscapes, houses, cats – you name it. Just get yourself a pack of crayons, markers, or colored pencils and have at it. You don’t even have to stay in the lines ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Read

Okay, so maybe reading isn’t fun for everyone, but I read over 50 books last year, so it’s definitely entertaining for me. The thing is, you could read about ANYTHING. If you can think it, someone has probably written about it. I’m a crime fiction or PD girl, usually, but I also enjoy a little chick lit – Sophie Kinsella, Jodi Picoult, and Liane Moriarty. Curl up with a book, a cuppa, (I read a lot of Aussie lit!), a blanket, and get lost in another world. Somehow Sophie’s books always make me feel better about myself. Win!

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This is a must-read for EVERYONE.

Exercise

Now, I don’t expect everyone to wake up before the sun and bang out an hour-long workout. I won’t impose my antics on you. Exercise comes in many forms – long walks on the beach, chasing a toddler on a mission, trip to the dog park, line dancing, club dancing, watching dirty dancing (kidding) – you get the idea. It doesn’t have to feel like work, but exercise is shown to make people happy, so why wouldn’t you at least try? Don’t believe me? Take a lesson from Elle Woods.

Craft

Do you crochet? Bake? Needlepoint? Arrange flowers? Sew buttons? If it relaxes you, find time to do it every day. If you get upset that your version doesn’t look like the Pinterest version, this one might not be for you. Shop on Etsy instead.

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My happy place is in the kitchen. These are Pinterest inspired.

Bathe

Hot tub. Pool. Beach. Bathtub. Pick the one that interests you and take a trip – even if it’s just ten paces away to the next room. Nothing beats a good soak, especially if there are BUBBLES! Pour yourself a glass of wine (or sparkling juice!), play some soothing tunes, and light a candle. As an added bonus, throw in some Epsom salts, essential oils, or a fun bath bomb. Ahhh the relaxation.

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Halloween Special bubble bar from LUSH. So many suds!

Uh, note: I wouldn’t recommend any of the above for anything but a tub ๐Ÿ˜‰

Take a Happiness Challenge

I’m on day 99 of my second #100HappyDaysย Challenge. The main idea is to post a picture on social media of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days. Is it possible? Well, I can attest that all days won’t be happy. In fact, some will be downright miserable. But, if you can find something good – just one little thing – in each day, your life will be a little bit brighter. I’d recommend you at least try it. Its fun to look for a piece of happiness each day and it’s nice to look back on those moments after the challenge has ended.

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My inspiration.

Do Yoga / Meditate / Pray

This really could be its own topic. Matter of fact, it might be (Gucci Mane voice). I’ll leave the good stuff for another day, but if you’re into quiet time, you might want to investigate the power of prayer, meditation, and yoga. They do wonders for the body and soul.

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Don’t lose sight of you

You can still take care of others and do things for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish. Quite the opposite, actually. It helps you do everything a little bit better because you’re you at your best. I feel like I should start reciting a Dr. Seuss poem right now!

How do you relax? How do you take care of yourself? I want to know!

Check out the first post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding the balance at work.

Peace, Love, Zen

DS

Finding the Balance

To me, peace is sitting in the dim light with a cup of tea, a book, and a nice fuzzy blanket. I enjoy silence above many things. It’s so calming to sit with oneself and read, meditate, or pray. In fact, I’ve worked this quiet time into my daily routine each morning. After I rise and before I press play on my workout, I spend a little time on my yoga mat praying, journaling, and setting my intentions for the day. The only noise I hear is the rumbling of the furnace when it kicks on and off. I am at complete peace.

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A rare lunch break reading sesh.

Lately, though, I’ve been having trouble finding the balance between many things outside of this brief morning routine. Typically the topic of balance comes into focus when talking about work-life balance. Everyone wants more weekend, vacation time, PTO. I think I just need more day.

I struggle with the fact that five days a week I work a 9-hour day (with a lunch in between, sometimes) and come home with a depleted energy supply. It leaves little time to spend with my husband (why can’t we both work from home?), crochet (I’m working on an Etsy shop), write (one day I’ll finish a book), cook (do we really have to eat dinner every night?), read (there are so many books on my list), study Spanish (I want to be fluent by December), as well as the countless other things I want to do.

You may be thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot!” Yes, I have a very FULL life. It’s full of many wonderful people, things, hobbies – you name it. But it’s also overflowing with stress and anxiety when I can’t fit in ALL THE THINGS. Most days I overextend myself until around 11 pm when I can barely keep my eyes open. Then I wake up at 5 am the next day to do it all again.

What ends up happening is that I crave vacations to escape my everyday life. Everything is blissful while I’m away – no qualms about waking up just before noon, no deadlines to meet, and the biggest worry is whether to order a Pina Colada or Angry Orchard at the poolside bar. Then, when I come back to reality, it’s almost as if a deep depression settles in. I feel worse than before I left. The peace I sometimes feel melts into a despair that’s hard to break out of.

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Isn’t this heavenly?

I just experienced the cycle this week after I came back from a long weekend in Canada. I realized that I end up surviving – not living – until my next break. I can tell you that there are exactly 57 days until I board the plane for California – a place I have been dying to visit for about two decades. After that, there are two months until we drive to Florida for our annual vacation.

This is clearly not a healthy way to think, live, or rationalize. And I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way. So, I’ve decided to create a six-week Finding the Balance series, where I’ll share ideas to combat stress, live in the moment, and find a little zen in every day. We only get one life, so why not choose to be happy?

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A friend sent me this beautiful card. It inspired me to complete a second 100 Happy Days challenge.

Check back every Friday for the next six weeks. Let’s make this year our happiest yet!

Peace, Love, Zen

DS

Sugar Free Me – Reintroduction

For those of you who have been following my Sugar-Free series, I started reintroducing some of the questionable foods into my diet on January 22nd.

It ended up being a pretty long and stressful part of the process. The Guide recommends ditching the gluten-containing grains, but since I was trying to find out my headache triggers, I added back everything – just to be sure.

During the last week of the actual detox phase, I created a reintroduction calendar that would test out dairy, gluten-containing grains, legumes, caffeine, and Shakeology.

How does it work?

The first day (Monday), I ate according to my clean eating plan with the addition of dairy at all three of my main meals. Then went back to clean eating for two days. On Thursday I added gluten to all three meals. Then went back to clean eating for two days. And repeated this cycle until all of the food groups were reintroduced.

Allowing for some in-between time helps identify any triggers that might not have immediate reactions.

Dairy…is the devil

I was really looking forward to my breakfast of cottage cheese and fruit, and the addition of cheese with lunch and dinner, but after I ate my first meal, it felt like someone was trying to knot my intestines together. Oh, the pain.

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I swear there is cottage cheese under all those berries!

I tried a little mozzarella with lunch, but the bloating and twisting returned. I melted a little Monterey Jack on my burger for dinner, and, fortunately, that didn’t seem to be too rough.

It looks like, for the most part, I will be avoiding dairy or looking into lactose-free alternatives. Of course, there is always the last resort Lactaid that I will bring with me on vacation – just in case!

Other than the stomach pain, I found no correlation to headaches.

Gluten…doesn’t seem to be a threat

I can’t tell you how excited I was to reintroduce this. I’m Italian, so I literally grew up with a chunk of bread in each hand. I know it’s just food, but I would probably be heartbroken if I couldn’t indulge in my favorite doughy treats – zeppole, pizza (sans cheese), and gnocchi – every once in a while.

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Isn’t this a beauty?

I ate a jumbo lemon poppy seed muffin with breakfast, half a sandwich from Panera for lunch, and a burger from Five Guys for dinner. And…nothing happened. No bloating, itching, or pain, and my headache seemed to remain the same that day. The next day, it was less intense. Go figure.

Legumes…aren’t all bad

Before I became more familiar with the different food groups through research, I had no idea what legumes were. The most obvious are peanuts, peas, beans, and soy.

Sushi rolls and miso soup were the first items on my list to try. I love both of these, so I was pretty ecstatic when I didn’t sense any type of reaction from the foods. I think coconut aminos are wonderful and all, but my wallet tends to disagree.

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From the Fixate cookbook.

I haven’t had PB in a really long time, so I decided to add that back into my diet as well. I quickly learned that was a mistake when I experienced sharp pains in my intestines and head. Just to be sure, I stretched out Legume Test Day into the following day. And, yes, to confirm – peanuts are a no go.

Over the course of the detox I learned that almonds give me hives, so I’ll be sticking to sunbutter or cashew butter for now.

Caffeine…is just fine

Almost everything I’ve read about headaches cites caffeine as a culprit. Now, I’m not a coffee fiend, nor do I rely on caffeine to get me through the day, but I do enjoy some caffeinated things once in a while.

Pre-detox I started my intense workout days with Energize, a Beachbody Performance caffeinated energy drink. I’ve found that I burn about 10% more calories when drinking it.

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After about a month without “treats,” this actually wasn’t very satisfying.

Some of my favorite mocha, chocolate, and cafe latte shakes include caffeine.

Then there are brownies, chocolate chip pancakes, RX Bars – you name it. So, it would be a little disappointing to be anti-caffeine.

Today I had one serving of Energize, a cup of green tea (ahhh matcha!), and a mint chocolate RX Bar. Easy does it. No reaction.

Shakes…TBD

The last item I introduced were shakes. I love Shakeology and Vega – they both make quick on the go meals and awesome emergency food when you are out and about. I even brought Shakeology on a road trip to Canada!

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My favorite blueberry blend. Just realized how much blue is actually in this photo!

I blended vanilla Shakeology with blueberries, raw honey, oats, and a scoop of collagen peptides. I only drank about half of it before heading into a 5.5-hour meeting (no, that isn’t a typo).

I ended up having a slight headache that evening, and the next two days it was more intense. I’m not sure if the culprit was the shake, the lack of a full breakfast, the stress associated with work, or the fact that mother nature will be visiting me this week (sorry guys!).

So this one stands unknown for the time being – I’ll try shakes again after my headache fizzles out.

——–

The bottom line: The reintroduction period was an important part of the overall program. It’s helpful to be in tune with your body and know how certain foods affect you. However, because I noticed that I’m reacting to some foods (e.g., peanuts and almonds) that have always been okay to eat, I decided to see an allergist and have some confirmation testing done. I believe there is a place for both holistic and conventional medicine, and would like to see if there are any underlying causes for my allergies and reactions. The appointment is scheduled for February 15th and you know I’ll follow-up!

To find out more about the 21-Day Sugar Detox, click here. Then check out my week one, week two, and week three updates!

Sugar Free Me – Week 3

So, this is it. The end. Well, not really because I still have two weeks of reintroduction. But this is the official last week of the detox.

The cover of The 21-Day Sugar Detox reads “Bust sugar & carb cravings naturally.” Did it deliver?

Let’s find out!

The play-by-play

Day 15: Extended Weekend Day 1

It was nice to be home today to recover from that scratchy sore throat I had over the weekend. It’s about 80% gone now.

Started the day with a hot cup of tea and some reading (Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein).

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My favorite herbal tea.

Today was also the start of a new Beachbody workout program – 80 Day Obsession. I’ll update you on my progress with that as well. Stay tuned.

Day 16: Extended Weekend Day 2

I stayed home from work again today – I could seriously get used to this. Decided to hijack my own meal plan because I need more variety in my life. I mean, how many times can you eat zoodles or cauli mash? And, holy moly, why are coconut aminos and macadamia nuts so damn expensive?

I burned over 300 calories in my booty workout today and my muscles were screaming as I walked up the stairs from my basement gym.

Today was the first day I actually missed Beachbody Performance Energize and my shakes. I do hope that I can bring them back after the sugar detox, but both include sweeteners and Shakeology has pea protein too. I think I’ll test them out during reintroduction.

Day 17: Back to the Blues

My headaches don’t seem to be getting better. Unfortunately, that still leaves a lot unknown. Could another “healthy” food be causing the pain? Perhaps eggs or bananas? Could it be an environmental trigger such as stress? God knows I have a lot of that right now.

I wasn’t feeling my workout. Probably because jumping really makes my head feel a lot worse and today was all about bouncing around.

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Jalapeno Turkey burgers with the fixins.

But, on a positive note, I did get my meal plan all figured out for the next week. I welcome the return of gf oatmeal, paleo bread, and the raw honey I take for my allergies.

Sticking to a paleo lifestyle wouldn’t be difficult, but I’m planning to test out dairy, gluten, and caffeine next week – all of which will be tested for their…ahem…after effects. I’m hoping I don’t have any food sensitivities. Wouldn’t that be great?

Day 18: The Sun is Shining

Today was a better day. I dragged myself out of my warm and fluffy covers to work out for 40 minutes before heading off to work. No headache while I powered through!

I realized I’m not snacking every ten minutes at my desk, which has become a BIG problem in the last six or so months (can you say Cheez-Its?). Baby carrots make a fine afternoon snack – even better with one of the sugar-free dressings from Tessemae’s. (I love the Habanero Ranch!)

Day 19: Just Three More Days!

I just have to say that today’s breakfast was glorious. Scrambled eggs, bacon, veggies, avocado, and a side of ruby red grapefruit. When I was little I’d have grapefruit with a sprinkle of sugar on top, but it definitely wasn’t needed today – it was so deliciously sweet.

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Said breakfast.

I did a lot of repeat meals this week – Shepherd’s Pie and Shrimp & Pork Cabbage Dumplings, to name a couple. Started feeling the restriction a little bit too – it would be nice to have soup and a sandwich with paleo bread. I have to remember that this detox is about ridding my body of the “bad stuff” – like sugar and refined carbs – and, that in just four days, I’ll be able to bring back my paleo favorites.

Day 20: Energetic

I’m in the home stretch. This morning I woke up around seven and felt pretty energetic. I did a cardio workout and then ate banana “pancakes” made with a mashed banana, two eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla. I was afraid they would taste like scrambled eggs, but they weren’t half bad and seemed more like a treat than a healthy breakfast.

Tonight I went to a fancy dinner and gala for my husband’s job. Stayed on track with a bunch of club soda’s with lime, raw and grilled veggies, and the most delicious chunk of steak I’ve ever eaten. Refrained from dessert (cannoli, chocolate mousse cake, and mini pecan pies), and had a cup of tea.

It made me realize just how much I would have indulged had I not been on the detox. It’s so easy to overeat dinner rolls and hors d’oeuvres, and drink cocktails (which we all know go down easier than water).

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, and I actually felt great when I got home – no bloating or full feelings!

Day 21: This is it.

Today looks brighter. Not feeling as hungry and I don’t have any cravings. In fact, I didn’t even finish my breakfast because I wasn’t my usual “starving.”

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Target brand. These waters are definitely “keepers.”

I’m both excited and nervous to reintroduce dairy tomorrow. I have always loved cheese and it’s hard to stop at just one slice. Think of all the wonderful cheesy meals – mac & cheese, pizza, cheese burgers, cheesecake – you get the idea! I’m lactose intolerant, but I would like to see if dairy is also a contributor to my headaches. Then I would know to stay away for good!

I’m also ready to eat the RX Bar I’ve had in my cabinet for almost a month. Next week I’ll reintroduce Chocolate and Shakes.

I did my grocery shopping today and as I was walking past the bakery, I could smell fresh backed chocolate chip cookies. Wow was that tough. I love cookies just out of the oven – especially with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup on top.

I think what really gets to you during the detox is the restriction. When you can’t do something or have something, you tend to want it even more. I don’t want to binge or indulge, I just don’t want to feel deprived. I want to know that if I want a cookie or a slice of pizza, I can have it. Everything in moderation, of course.

The Results

Three weeks. Twenty-one days. Enough time for a habit to form. Enough time to BUST the cravings.

On this program, I lost 5.4 lbs* and 5 inches.* I’m leading with that because it’s a huge selling point, but it’s definitely not all about the scale. It’s about retraining your taste buds and your brain to avoid and not crave sugar.

More importantly, I stopped evening snacking, snacking at my desk, and always craving “something sweet.” I made healthier choices and created healthier versions of my favorite foods. I wasn’t always hungry or starving to the point that my stomach was growling every two hours. I was able to make it through my day and workouts without a jolt of caffeine. I stopped binging on Cheez-Its and Peanut M&Ms from the vending machine at work.

All of the above “Non-Scale Victories” are my proof that the program WORKS.

Unfortunately, the one constant that did not change was my headaches. I’m disappointed, but I also look up at the list above and realize that I do have a lot to be grateful for in just 3 short weeks. And I already conquered one goal for 2018 – Complete a Sugar Detox. Woohoo! I’ll continue to research headache causes and treatments and I’m confident that one day I will find a cure that I can share with other headache sufferers.

Bottom Line: I would recommend this program to those looking to cut the sugar out of their diet and learn to eat healthier. The books are very comprehensive and explain the science behind everything. A lot of the meals are very tasty too! (Recipe Roundup Coming Soon). The list of non-scale victories are abundant, and it may even contribute to weight loss.**

To find out more about the 21-Day Sugar Detox, click here. Then check out my week 1 and 2 updates!

*Weight and inches lost were due to healthy eating combined with moderate 30-60 minute workouts six days a week.

**You may or may not experience weight changes or looser fitting clothes. Author Diane Sanfilippo (recommends ditching the scale for the three weeks and focusing on why you are doing the detox.

Sugar Free Me – Week 2

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Favorite meal this week – shrimp and pork cabbage dumplings

I was off my game this week. My headaches resurfaced on day 8, and I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. After all this work and five days of freedom, it feels unfair.

I promised to be honest with you, and here’s the truth – I thought about giving up multiple times. I felt worse than before I started – headaches, bloating, hives, moodiness. By Friday night, I just wanted to demolish a white pizza and follow it with a giant brownie. Water is getting boring and I should probably chill on the amount of herbal tea I’ve been drinking.

I just have to remind myself that this is 21 days, not forever.

The play-by-play

Day 8: Return of the Headaches

I had a dull ache from the moment I woke up – expected it to dissipate as the day went on, but it’s stuck around. It could feel the pressure around my jawline, ears, and temples, with a pulsing around the crown.

It was so bad when I finally got into bed that I couldn’t switch positions without a stabbing pain on the left side of my head.

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Can’t chew gum? Light a candle before chopping onions. It helps prevent tearing, just like gum!

Day 9: In a Fog

I was hoping yesterday’s headache was a fluke, but it wasn’t. I had a burning sensation until around 4 pm – makes work even less enjoyable.

Today I had a small craving. Not for anything in particular, just for something sweet and yeasty – doughnut, brownie, apple pie?

Really though, food-wise I’ve been pretty okay. My favorite weekday breakfast is so simple – two hard boiled eggs, mashed avocado, hot sauce, and a side of nuts. I’ve been having a green-tipped banana or green apple for a snack in the morning so I can burn off the (naturally occurring) sugar during the day. Both taste so deliciously sweet.

Day 10: Hangry

To be fair, I was only hungry because last night’s leftovers did NOT taste good reheated. Actually, they were terrible, but fabulous the day of. I’m noting this for my recipe roundup.

The headache is still lingering. I thought that it might be cycle or stress related, but I don’t know for sure.

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This vanilla n’oatmeal was fab.

In Dr. David Buchholz’s book Heal Your Headache, he talks about how everyone has a different threshold for headaches, and when the level floods over, the pain begins. One day I might have stress and feel fine, the next day I might have stress and then eat something that puts me above the threshold and boom! a headache.

It’s so complicated to explain to others. Even my doctor said she “exhausted all possibilities with me” after her treatments (i.e., prescriptions for seizure medications) failed. It’s a miserable life.

Day 11: Oh, the Temptations

Did you ever notice that once you get to the halfway point in a book, the second part just flies by? I’m wondering if that will be the case with this program.

Eleven days in, multiple temptations, no cheats. I’ve endured the smell of fresh bagels in the kitchen at work, the ramen noodles my coworker makes for breakfast, pizza, chocolate, cinnamon toast, coffee – so many delicious things. But can you believe my mouth isn’t even watering right now?

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This chicken tortilla-less soup was very filling.

Day 12: Thinking Ahead

Do you know what’s just as heavenly as banana with almond butter? Baked green apples with cinnamon and a drizzle of coconut oil or butter. Oh. My. God. It’s seriously delicious.

I’m starting to think about my Reintroduction and which foods I want to eliminate. I’m really on the fence about dairy. I know it isn’t good for me, but pizza.

Day 13: Feeling Low

I had a nice sore throat to go with the throbbing head. I seriously felt like Debbie Downer this week. My headaches can do that; they make a sunshiny day turn into a cloudy rainstorm.

I checked the “what to expect” section, and on all accounts, I should be feeling good with looser pants. If I really think about it, yes, my pants are looser, today’s workout was on point, and life is good. It’s just my headaches that cloud it all.

Day 14: Out of the Funk

Today looks brighter. Not feeling as hungry and I don’t have any cravings. I went grocery shopping last night and walked past all of my favorite foods without the urge to throw them in my cart.

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A little Sunday prep.

I know I wasn’t technically supposed to weigh myself, but I’m starting a new fitness program tomorrow and had to capture my weight and measurements. I’m officially down 5 lbs and 4.25″ from January 1st. Of course, in addition to eating healthily, I’ve been working out 6 days a week.

I am a little worried about emotional eating. I realize how hard it can be for me to pump the breaks when I’m eating something I really enjoy like sour patch kids and salt and vinegar chips (there are a half bag of these in my cabinet right now). I’ll just have to remind myself of how far I’ve come to reach my goals and take care of my health.

Overall, I feel like I am benefiting from this program. Here’s to a better week and a happier update!

To see how the first week went (spoiler alert: it was better!), click here.