from sugar high to crash and burn

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Last week, I celebrated meeting my goal of working out every single day of 2013, and simultaneously lamented my poor holiday food choices.

In December I fell out of many of my (formerly) healthy habits, like starting my day with a green smoothie, drinking 10+ glasses of water, and eating loads of fresh fruit and vegetables.

This, added to the fact that I was eating sugar by the bucket-full [Christmas cookies, chocolates and other assorted sordid goodies] on what seemed to be an hourly basis, did not make for a good combination.

[As an aside, I’m still amazed at how it’s possible I didn’t gain weight despite being hooked up to a sugar I.V. for two weeks.]

I asked myself why I had just stopped practicing some long-ingrained healthy habits, and I didn’t have a clear answer.

At first I was sick, so simply lacked the motivation or desire to drink anything green (really, can you blame me?), but then at some point I guess the other good habits started to fall by the way-side, too.

Last week I speculated as to why my cough and cold seemed to be lingering for so long. And that’s when I had my A-HA! moment. I wondered, is it chicken or egg? Did I drop those habits because I’ve been sick, or have I been sick this long because I dropped my healthy habits?

Yeah, yeah, I know the answer, too, smarty pants. Don’t mock me.

I started to plan my move back to better, healthier choices. Plan being the operative word here.

I found myself procrastinating.

Well, no point starting today, New Year’s Eve will mean lots of food and drink, and then we have some family dinners planned in the days that follow… So many excuses, so little time. Poor, poor me.

Excuses are everywhere, friends. We established that in my lessons learned post.

Just as I was stuck in my endless loop of excuses and justifications, I came across a documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, by Joe Cross. Since I was feeling Lazy, Tired and Nearly Comatose, I decided it was worth watching.

The universe seems to work that way, doesn’t it? Sending you exactly what you need, when you need it. In this case, a smack upside the head, reminding me that what I put in my body is important.

If the trailer piqued your interest, you can watch the full film here. In fact, I highly recommend it.

This documentary explores Joe Cross’ journey from fat, sick and nearly dead to healthy, vibrant and inspirational, by way of 60 days of juicing.

Now I’ve written many times about my views on diets and deprivation, and that I’m against them as a general rule. I’ve ranted especially hard on crash diets, and I stand by my opinions.

That said, I’m also very open to the idea of a re-boot or a jump-start.

When I spent that week at BLR Fitness Ridge, that was arguably a total re-boot. And also completely unsustainable. I mean who works out 6 to 6.5 hours/day while only consuming 1,500 calories? The end goal that week wasn’t to lose a bunch of weight, rather, it was to get a jump-start on a new healthier lifestyle.

60 days is a crazy long amount of time to live on nothing but juices. In the past, when I have attempted detoxes or cleanses, the results were always the same: throw in the towel after a few hours, a day at most. Granted, my goal back in the day was to see how many pounds I could shed in a week under the auspices of “detox”, and that made the whole endeavour a recipe for disaster.

As the documentary came to an end and the credits rolled, I sat and pondered how I could incorporate elements of this into my life without going whole-hog. After all, I’m not trying to get off prescription meds (done that!) or lose 50 lbs. I’m just trying to hit the reset button on my system after a few weeks of really bad eating and drinking and remind it what’s what.

I decided to try juicing for one week.



Monday was day one. And it was brutal.

A massive headache began forming around 2pm. I’m not sure if it was caffeine withdrawal or my body balking against the lack of chocolate input. Probably both.

I had a miserable day and night, but as of the writing of this post (Tuesday late afternoon), I actually feel much better and clearer headed than I have in a long while. I’m hoping the worst is over.

One thing this past year has taught me is to listen to my body, respect is, but also push it harder than I think it can go. With this in mind, I’m going to give the juicing thing a real chance, but I’m also reserving the right to introduce the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables if the urge to chew something gets too strong.

I don’t see this as a failure in my attempted juice/cleanse, rather, adapting to what my body tells me it wants and needs – while staying on a path towards better health.

By the weekend I suspect I will be eating raw seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) along with nuts (almond, walnut) in addition to my diet of fruits and veg. All the while, I’ll try to get in as many micro-nutrients as possible in the form of raw juice. A happy compromise.

I’m hopeful that by the time I leave for Las Vegas on the 15th that my body will feel like it did pre-holiday gluttony.

I’ve got some mountains to climb in the not-so-distant future – and I need to make sure to give my body the tune-up it needs to fuel those journeys.

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

65 thoughts on “from sugar high to crash and burn

  1. Ok…a week as a kick start I can understand…

    but I briefly thought you were going to tell me you were going ot eat no actual food and drink only juice for 2 months…


    I completely agree with incorporating things like this into your daily life 🙂 and…

    I am all for kickstarts and a way to reset your path 🙂 after all…what else if exercising every day but a massive kickstart to a healthy life!

    😀 glad you found your way back to healthy habits 😀

    • Have you gone mental, Sam? On what planet could I live on juice alone for 60 days? 🙂

      I don’t even know that I’ll make it through the week, but so far (Day 3) things are going pretty well. I have started eating raw fruit & veg because I missed the act of chewing. So far no dairy, meat or grains though – plus no coffee/caffeinated tea, no alcohol and no sugars. So, even if I don’t make it the full week, I know I’ve done some good for my body by knocking it back on course.
      The other good thing about this detox week is it is forcing me to drink tons more water – which is never a bad thing.
      God I miss sweets. Soon… a few more days. 🙂

      • hehehe…well I did think “oh no she’s lost the plot” when I thought you were going to say that! :-p

        I think eating raw fruit and veg is as good if not better than just juicing… 🙂 no coffee would kill me!
        I keep thinking I should try going without for a while to see if I sleep better, but the thought of the mornings without coffee is enough to put me off!
        keep it up…I am sure you can make a week…:-D

      • I am glad 🙂

        I wrote it while I was nearly asleep!

        I really do think you can do it…and to be honest, while it does sound hard, that is not always a bad thing 😀 and if I wasn’t so much of a self confessed caffeine addict, I might try it myself!

      • I’m not even sure the caffeine withdrawal is the worst part. Or even the absence if meat or dairy. I honestly think it’s the elimination of all that processed food – especially sugars and starches – which has me beside myself.

        It’s Day 4 and I do feel much better, thus far at least. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

      • and by sugar I mean refined flour – anything white: bread, rice, etc. not just sweets. I LOVE bread. It’s what I’m missing the most.
        So far, so good on day 4… Fingers crossed it stays that way.

      • Cutting a that is hard work, I barely eat bread or rice or suchlike any more but I don’t really like bread so it is slightly easier!

        Fingers crossed for the last few days 🙂

  2. I tried a 3 day juice detox as seen on Dr. Oz….made it a day and a half. All our cookies and pies have been devoured and it’s back to healthier choices around here. Now if only those cravings would subside. 🙂

    • That’s just it, Ingrid — the cravings! My God how strong they are. We train our bodies to ask for things – by consuming those things. Lesson learned. Hopefully. 🙂
      Today is Day 3 for me. Things are going okay. I had some raw fruit and veg last night, and will continue to intersperse eating them with juicing + lots of water. Trying to make it to Friday with nothing but fruit & veg. We’ll see how that goes. 🙂

  3. I consumed too much sugar over the holidays as well. I’m really good about avoiding unhealthy foods. For example, I never eat fried food (except for the rare French fry) and can limit my intake of pizza, pastas, etc. without trouble. But it’s the dang sweets that trip me up. I love something sweet after a meal. Now that Christmas is over, I’m getting myself back to being content with a ten-cal jello cup with a dollop of cool-whip lite. Not good for me, I know, but it offers a bit of dessert without a lot of calories. Other times a bit of dark chocolate can do the trick (and that IS good for me. Yay!)

    • That’s really great, Carrie. I wish I didn’t like fried foods. But, shit, egg rolls, calamari, chicken wings… need I go on? 🙂

      I’m actually enjoying (sort of) introducing this bit of vigilante justice to my body after the havoc I wreaked on it the past few weeks. Feels good to do some atonement. 🙂

  4. We pretty much spent the last week ravishing what was left of Christmas crap in our house. And I am definitely feeling it.
    I don’t see anything wrong with a reboot, but I don’t know if I could go the juice route. Hopefully it finds you well!

  5. My husband watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead late one night after I fell asleep and now he is determined to try the juicing detox too. I’ve been stalling because I know 60 days is completely unrealistic for us but your 7 day plan sounds manageable. Let us know how you feel at the finish line!

    • I’m probably not the best example, Lisa. 🙂 I already started eating raw fruit and veg last night (end of day 2!). So… not 100% juicing this week. But, I think living off mostly juice and raw fruit and veg is still a good one-week plan. No dairy, no meat, no grains and no sugar is still a helluva detox! 🙂

  6. You’re not alone, Nancy. It always amazes me how fast my body can get used to not doing the right stuff, and how long it takes it to understand that it has to do the right stuff again. I’ll be interested to read how your regimen goes in the coming days.

    • While writing the post yesterday, I actually felt pretty great. Today I woke up with a mild, dull headache again. I suspect this will be a shitty few days, but I’m committed to try this until Friday, at least, and hopefully through the weekend.

  7. Sounds inspiring and terrifying at the same time. I have all kinds of excuses, I’ll totally admit that. I still haven’t gotten on the treadmill like I’ve planned for this week and haven’t begun my daily meditations. I’ve made great strides in other areas of my life but the treadmill and less sugar thing hasn’t happened because: 1.too much to do during son’s nap to get on treadmill with flavored creamer is one of my favorite little morning pleasures 3. I don’t want to feel crappy or tired while tending to my kids 4. I don’t want to have headaches/lose sleep since dealt with insomnia earlier in the year and on and on, blah blah blah. those are my excuses for better or worse…gonna have to make some kind of small change here soon! Soon meaning next Monday? haha

    • Kerry, I can’t even imagine having his headache with little ones around. I am ready to tear into a fit every time the phone rings or my husband tries to make conversation. This is pretty brutal. Hanging in as long as I can. Telling myself I feel this way because of all the crap I put in my body…

    • Today has been AWFUL. Absolutely freaking awful. I caved and took to ibuprofen for the headache — had to! I’m feeling much better now and I’m going to use this respite to hit the elliptical and then do some free weights. Then I need to decide if dinner is liquid or solid. Or both. 🙂

      I will post an update Friday. Hoping I can stay strong til then. This detox’ing sucks big time. A good lesson to not allow myself to get to the point where I need to detox.

    • It’s a quick and engaging film, I definitely recommend it! I’m still trying to figure out if the hardest part of the detox is physical (ie the discomfort you go through as your body rids the toxins and withdraws from the sugar, caffeine, etc), or if it’s mental (ie the cravings for those things.) I suspect it’s the combination of the two. Today is the start of Day 4. Feeling much better than yesterday. Hoping that continues!

  8. I love Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 🙂 It is a great watch. I hope you’re holding up ok. I tried a fruit/veg detox several years ago and i also felt like I was dying – just horrendous. Hang in there, you are doing great things for your body! X

    • It’s Thursday morning, Day 4, and I dare say I feel much better today. Hopefully I’ve turned a corner. I think eating some fruit and veg has helped immensely (versus just drinking them). Hope you’re feeling much better too!

  9. Interesting. I don’t know if I could survive that, though I do like the idea of having a more healthy, energized feeling. I HATE feeling hungry though. Or full. I just like to have a constant stream of neutral, haha. Maybe a constant stream of juices down my gullet would accomplish that! You’ll have to keep us posted. I accidentally ran out of k-cups a few weeks ago while I was off work and being reclusive and I ended up going two days without coffee– big mistake. I had a raging headache, which made me feel like such an idiot because I don’t like the feeling of being dependent on anything. Hmmm.

    • Yesterday was B-R-U-T-A-L Aussa. Probably even worse because it came after a not-so-bad day on Tuesday. I thought the worst was behind me and BAM yesterday hit hard.

      today is much, much better — just wrapped up a post that’ll hit tomorrow morning. things seem like they’ve turned a corner. I’m actually thinking I can make it 7 days without caffeine, dairy, meat, grains… But you know now that I”ve written that, shit will come back to bite me in the ass, right?

  10. I’m very impressed! I’ve never been able to stick to a detox. The best I’ve been able to do is to have green juices for breakfast and lunch and then veggies and brown rice for dinner.

    Once I recuperate from my surgery a little more, I plan to do a detox to get everything out of my system and kick start the new me. You’re going to be my inspiration when I have trouble sticking to it. Three days or bust!

    • I’m pretty shocked myself. Any time I’ve tried detox/cleanses in the past the most I would make it is to a day and a half. I remember that godawful Master Cleanse; the one where you drink nothing but distilled water with fresh lemons and pure maple syrup + cayenne pepper. That one was the worst. I’m not sure I made it through the day.

      I think I’ve lasted this long because I have added the chewing element of eating veg and fruit. I think mentally it just makes me ‘feel’ like I’ve eaten if I’ve actually moved my jaw and not just sucked through a straw. 🙂

  11. I loved this documentary when I watched it a couple years ago and went on a two-week juice cleanse. The first 3-4 days were the hardest: exhausting, headaches, and I just WANTED to chew/devour the unhealthiest crap I was trying to detox from. From all the research I did, it’s obvious I felt that way because my body was so used to and addicted to all the bad foods I’d been eating. Around the 4th night, I suddenly had energy again and was able to start working out daily too. It’s definitely a mind over body thing pushing yourself through the beginning and worst part, but the results and way you feel after are so worth it. I will say the chewing urge never went away, but I’ve read that’s normal and it definitely makes sense. I’d just chew on something like a straw or even celery and get the juice out to ease the chewing urge. Aside from that, I was always getting enough nutrients and calories, so after the detox stage, I was never really hungry and the unhealthy foods from before didn’t sound as appetizing anymore.

    • So glad you had such a great experience with you two week juice cleanse. I’ve decided juicing (alone) is not for me. I’m all for a good cleanse, but would rather eat my fruit and veg than drink them. It’s awesome the results we see when we eliminate the bad stuff from our system. That was truly remarkable for me.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and experience!

  12. Pingback: monthly challenges recap: January edition | my year[s] of sweat!

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