I’m a little over one week into the sugar detox now and… so far, it’s been a little unsuccessful.

I would love to tell you that I’m ‘over the hump’ of the carb flu and that I’m beginning to feel the glorious effects of sugar-free-ness (yep, that’s a word. Well, it is now.)

The reality is that I’ve been using not-really-sugary treats as a crutch to prop myself up when the cravings hit. At the same time, I’ve been busy training at my new job (yay!) at a health foods store, and I haven’t had as much time to cook for myself as I normally do.

As a result, I’ve been eating a lot of stuff that is super quick and easy to throw together, and also stuff that is a bit treat-ey. Nutrient density has all but gone out the window. I am eating a lot of eggs, bulletproof coffee (neither of which is bad) but also vast amounts of flaxseed mixed with Bulgarian yogurt (again, not bad, but I’m eating it to the degree that I’m slightly worried I’m going to give myself a food allergy) and―wait for it―peanut butter. NOT PALEO! I know! Towards the beginning my sugar cravings were killing me again, and I figured better to reach for the peanut butter than the dried papaya spears. But oh man… that stuff is just beyond irresistible. I fear I may have swapped out one addiction for another.

So, my food hasn’t been diverse at all, and I’ve been eating food on the naughty list. Now my pants are fitting me tighter because I’m bloated. No surprises there, but I just feel annoyed at myself. I feel like I need a do-over.

I wanted this post to be a ‘how I survive sugar detoxes’ with all kinds of fantastic tips, but to be honest I feel like a bit of a failure. I’m not sure whether I should go back to the beginning and start over, or whether I should just decide to be better from now on, and put the peanut butter under lock and key.

I think that instead, I am going to consider my mistakes, and how I can learn from them in the future.

So. Let’s call this post how NOT to do a sugar detox. Don’t do these things if you don’t want to sabotage your best intentions. 🙂

Mistake #1: Not cutting out dairy.

Dairy has been a huge crutch for me during the detox. It does have a little bit of sugar, and so I’ve found myself reaching for that before anything else. If I know I can have yogurt or a glass of milk instead of a plate of roasted veggies (which I normally love), I will. It comes down to food reward and palatability. Because dairy is highly palatable, it’s A) super easy to over-indulge and B) it makes the ‘real’ foods seem not as appealing in comparison. While my rational brain knows that I should have some pulled pork and roast carrots with butter instead of a tub of yogurt eaten with a spoon, there is no rationality in the first week of a sugar detox. There is only emotion and craving from a stupid lizard brain (i.e. your primal instinct) that controls what you do.

(Sorry, Lizard Brain, I really do love you. I know that you’re just trying to help me when you seek out very palatable foods. I get that you think I’m in constant danger of starvation so I should eat ALL THE SWEET THINGS to store more fat. And you’re really good at igniting my fight or flight mode to help me act quickly in dangerous situations, and being my ‘gut feeling’ for decision making. I don’t think you’re stupid. Are we cool? Yeah? Great. Aw, I love you too.)

Mistake #2: Justifying naughty food.

Naughty food is a naughty food for a reason. I am an all or nothing person. I can’t do moderation, and I know this about myself. Despite this, I still tell myself ‘I’ll just have a little,’ and soon, that turns into eating the entire jar of peanut butter over the span of a few days. Literally. This is the palatability issue again! I need to be careful about making excuses and compromising, because it seriously hinders me reaching my goals. And if it means hiding the temptation (DARN YOU TUB OF FRESHLY GROUND PEANUT BUTTER), then so be it. Lizard Brain is going to win if I see it.

Mistake #3: Not planning.

I should have planned out my meals better in advance. The next time, I will prepare a whole bunch of food at the beginning, and perhaps do big food preparation marathons on the weekends, so that when I DO come home hungry from work, I will have some great healthy options already prepared that I can reach for. That way, I won’t just resort to whatever can be prepared in thirty seconds or less because I’m starving.

I guess now I just have to decide if it’s, as they say in musical theater productions, ‘From the top!’ or just ‘Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going.’

To those of you who are doing detoxes with me right now, how are you finding it? Have you found yourself making similar mistakes? Is there anything you would add to this list?