April 26, 2017

What I Learned on a 21 Day Challenge

As of Monday, my low/no carb challenge was officially over! 

Some of these things I knew, some were/are new to me. Either way, these are essentially my notes during this whole challenge.

Hanger is real and not just a funny internet meme. 
I joke about being hangry when I'm hungry though I know how it feels. But when you've just eaten a large spinach salad with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, and sliced turkey and you want to take hostages for a bagel.... hanger is R E A L. 

Image result for hangry

Vegetables really are filling
I love vegetables. Sometimes I forget how much I like them. Sauteéd, roasted, steamed, raw - I enjoy them. When you're hungry and just want to feel full, veggies are your knight in multi-colored armor. 

Quinoa "oatmeal"; salmon and veggies; quinoa bowl; "tacos"

First of all, carbs are in everything. I know this. Yes, lettuce has carbs. The thing is, everything seems to come with carbs. If I wanted to order an omelette, it automatically comes with a side of potatoes and toast. If I want a burger {sans bun}, it still comes with fries. There were a lot of subs made but the one I'm most proud of is when I went to Red Robin and order a burger, wedgie styled {it's lettuce wrapped} with a side of broccoli instead of fries.

Modifications are key
One of the biggest challenges for me was modifying my food. I am a carb junkie. I love my pasta and rice dishes. With not eating those things I needed to get creative and improvise. Thank God for vegetables. I really wanted pasta but instead I made butternut squash "noodles". I wanted rice to go with my pork chops but instead had cauliflower "rice".

Since I wasn't having beer it made it pretty difficult to partake in happy hour outings so I avoided them. I was unable to get out of one and I switched it up and started having club soda and tequila, complete with salted rim and limes. It's much lighter and it was surprisingly good. I may have just found my new non-beer drink of choice.

It got harder, not easier
I honestly thought that the first week was going to be the hardest and it would eventually get easier as I went along. WRONG. The first week was cake. The first few days an absolute breeze. What wasn't easy was week two when I wanted all things pasta and bread. And drinking espresso sans sugar? Although I'm adjusted to it now it's still not my favorite. In Week 1 we amended the rules to allow for 2 beers max on the weekend. I didn't need the amendment but it was nice to have the option.

I don't need carbs
This right here is the single most important takeaway from the entire 21 days. I don't need carbs. I am an absolute carb junkie so for me to actually realize this, and feel it, is a BIG freaking deal. On Day 13 I kept thinking to myself that I couldn't wait to have an Insomnia cookie... a slice of pizza.... a beer... a bag of kettle corn.... but then I realized no. I don't actually miss all of those things. I mean, yes, I do/did but not to the extent that I was thinking about them nonstop or even craving them.

All in all this was a pretty successful challenge for me. I weighed in Monday morning and the scale said 182. In case you missed the initial slap in the face post, I started this challenge at 193. We're talking about 11 pounds in 3 weeks simply from paying much closer attention to what I was eating and walking more. I only made it to the gym twice during the entire 3 weeks.

Needless to say I plan to continue watching my carb/sugar intake. I'll absolutely be adding beer back into my diet but I'll pay closer attention to how often and how many.

Have you ever given up carbs, or is it something you're considering?


  1. There's a big difference for me - whole carbs vs refined carbs...whole = naturally harvested things (veggies etc); refined are man-made things (beer, white-flour based things etc)...i stay away from refined carbs (aka grains) and only eat whole carbs...that includes potatoes! potatoes get a bad rap; just like their veggie brethren the avocado (that got demonized for its high fat content) eating potatoes won't have any adverse reactions...i eat tons of potatoes daily and did it negatively affect me? nope. i also eat lots of avocados and again, no bad things happened. of course, it's all about balance so as long as we eat a balanced diet (a bit of everything), it's all good.

  2. DAMN, good for you -- this is really impressive. I know I "could" do it but after looking into it recently I realized how hard it would be for all these weekend events: birthday dinners, holidays, family gatherings, etc. I'd rather take it easy during the week and cut carbs/sugar as much as possible so on the weekend I can have pizza and not eat grilled chicken and lettuce if I go out to dinner with friends. BALANCE. But seriously, this is awesome, kudos to you.

  3. I did a 21 day no sugar detox/challenge sometime last year (maybe 2 years ago). It's a goal of mine to do it once a year. I'm going home for a visit to the states soon. I plan to do it when I return. It is really eye-opening, isn't it?

  4. Go you! Great work! Carbs are allllll over buuuuut you do need the naturally occurring ones as you know! Keep up the good work!