Sunday, January 5, 2014

Young, Successful, and Fat - My Decision to Try the 21 Day Sugar Detox

NOTE: This post was originally shared on Bottle Dottle but I moved it here and I'll provide a "day to day" account of the Detox.

Hi, my name is Cassidy.  I am “fat.” At least according to those truly demotivational “BMI Charts.”

Me, January 2, 2014
My dad died in October 2012.  While it’s crappy to make excuses, I went into “survival mode.” I just wanted to drink to make it better, eat comfort foods, and be with friends.  I didn’t look at the scale for months.  While my dad was dying I happened into a life-changing relationship.  Talk about ups and downs!  Being in love while being totally eviscerated by the loss of the most influential person in my life?!  It was a disaster!!!  And then it seemed out of the blue my clothes didn’t fit and I weighed a whopping 35 pounds more!  How could this happen??

As a bit of background, growing up I was athletic.  I did tennis, dance, swim team, soccer, basketball, running, you name it.  I did it.  I would eat bags of chips as snacks. SERIOUSLY. Then I quit doing sports and focused on academics and art. I didn’t gain too much and was still “thin” but I had friends who were even thinner so I felt like the “fat friend.” I would eat ramen for breakfast, split some random vending machine catches with a friend or two for lunch, and pick at dinner or choose popcorn.  I thought it was fine, I was “fat” after all (at 5’7″ and 135 lbs mind you).  My mom was a work-out-aholic.  Both my parents smoked tons of cigarettes too.

In my angsty teen years I was not only holding down a regular job, I was also maintaining stellar grades in several AP classes, including art, which involved a huge dedication of time towards painting, drawing, etc.  I was in competitions with art on top of my normal subjects.  I was also dating an “older man,” which made me feel grown up and superior.

*WARNING* The following could be triggering.  When I graduated high school, I went to college, moving to Austin, Texas.  I clepped my first year so I was already ahead of my peers.  I became obsessed with being thin, and I became a vegetarian.  I would eat 300-400 calories a day and work out 1-2 hours a day on top of walking large distances to my classes.  I was miserable regularly.  At my lowest nobody even knew I had a problem.  Everyone thought I “looked fantastic!”  My body was just not meant to be THAT THIN.  I got down to 129lbs.  That’s “still” a healthy BMI.  But I was starving.  I was miserable.  I kept thinking “how am I not thinner?? You can see my bones and I’m still not thin!!!”

Slowly but surely I decided “f*ck that!” I tried vegan, I went back to vegetarian, I started law school.  I drank too much but became a “healthy” weight at around 145-155.  I made tons of mistakes, really bad things happened, but I made it through.  I got a good job in Dallas, where most of my family was, and I got a clean-ish slate.  Bad things followed me and my family.  Breast cancer with my stepmom, horrible car accident, crap upon crap, then my dad got cancer, then we supported him, then he died. It was just like every year kept getting worse.  I just lived day to day or week to week.  I don’t know how I landed the perfect boyfriend in this mess but I did.  He put up with my drunken rantings and weight gain.  He put up with a lot worse after I lost my dad.  He became my beacon.  It’s stupid or cheesy but he was the light at the end of the tunnel.  We had tons of shitty fights.  But he was constant.  He didn’t abandon me or fail me like everything else seemed to.  He truly loved me for me.  It was a first. And I truly loved him for him.  I started eating meat again – it’s been just over a year of me being a “carnivore.”

Amidst all this I was hospitalized twice in 2013.  Once voluntarily, once because I amputated part of my finger (for real, I’m a clumsy fool, but to be fair, I was a total badass about it all).  And then me and my boyfriend both got new jobs in the fall of 2013. My new job is a dream for people in my line of work.  You couldn’t hope for better.  Life has been, to put it lightly, tumultuous in 2013.  And I reached my maximum weight ever of 186 pounds.  I was – and am – so embarrassed by this.  It was the ultimate failing of me to myself.  I just had so much going on that my weight took a backseat.  But not anymore.

Every year people make “New Year Resolutions.”  If you consider what a “resolution” is, it is essentially a mandate, a law.  Why impose a regulation or regulations upon yourself?  Why not, as I prefer, shoot for goals?  You are working towards something with a goal.  It’s ok to fall down, as long as you pick yourself back up and TRY.  That’s what having goals is all about!

I have 5 new year goals for 2014.  My main goal is “Be Healthy.”  Part of that would be to lose weight since currently I am considered well overweight according to charts and doctor opinions and such, and quite frankly, I cannot afford a new wardrobe of bigger sizes.  But how to lose weight?  My friends, I have tried many low calorie, low fat diets.  I have been a Hungry Girl fan. I have dealt with an Atkins addicted boyfriend.  But at the end of the day, I LOVE food.  My favorite show is Chopped.  Not Walking Dead, not Real Housewives, not Modern Family, not [insert name here], CHOPPED.  Thanks Food Network.  I love FOOD.  Bizarre Foods?  Anthony Bourdain?  Seen all of that.  Learning about food, cooking it, baking it, trying new things, reading about it, becoming educated.  And in my quest, I have also read a great deal of research regarding food and our bodies, and what things affect how our bodies work for us.

Increasingly, I have found a growing body of work that suggests that certain foods affect our moods, mental issues, skin issues, inflammation, numerous bodily ailments, and the list simply goes on.  The suggestion is to follow either a “Paleo” or similar dietary plan.  Let me be frank when I say I am well-educated in several subjects and I simply do NOT believe in a magic bullet cure.  But as someone who has been battling the bulge, who has confronted anxiety and depression and joint issues while still in her 20s, I am willing to take a step, maybe not a leap, but a step of faith.  And my step has been embodied in Diane Sanfilippo’s latest work – The 21 Day Sugar Detox.  I have her book, “Practical Paleo,” and it is compelling.  I have read her 21 Day Sugar Detox book, which – while lacking the footnotes I prefer – is still compelling, especially in conjunction with works such as “Grain Brain.”

21 Day Sugar Detox – Reading with wine is not ok on this plan, but I’m in planning mode so maybe that’s forgivable?

So what, dear reader, does all this oversharing and random food love mean to you?  WELL, I have decided that after trying so many low calorie low fat diets that didn’t pan out, and after suffering from multiple ailments that no 20-something should deal with, maybe, just maybe, this crazy 21 Day Sugar Detox plan has merit.  SO starting Monday, January 6, I am doing this.  I am shopping this weekend and doing prep work.  My boyfriend is in full support of this because really, what’s there to lose?  Eating a less processed and more balanced diet?  Boo hoo???  This is happening and as a skeptic and regular ol’ gal I want to share with you what happens.

Here we are.  I have greatly overshared my life with you all.  But it all speaks to my purpose in choosing this dietary path.  So what if it works?  What if my hard work and sacrifices lead to something great?  I want to share this with you.  Because I am that successful-ish but depressed anxious person that eats too much of the free office food and diet cokes and crappy overpriced nearby restaurant food and just wants some tacos and margaritas at the end of the week because eff it I’m still young and who cares.  But I am ALSO that woman who has way too many health issues for someone in their twenties and needs to lose weight and MAYBE following a dietary plan – albeit difficult – will help me.  In more ways than one.

Here goes y’all. I’m about to give you 21 days of trying to do right by my body.  And if it works, well, I figured it out so you can cut to the chase!



  1. loved this entry - i can totally relate! I just finished up the 21DSD myself and feel great. Love reading about your experience also!

    1. Glad it worked out for you! Are you sticking with it after the 21 days? Thanks for stopping by too :)

    2. for me, the 21DSD is just a little too strict (i also did Level 3). I def felt some perks from being on it and it was what i needed to get back on track with my eating habits - but I find I function better on a level 1 diet, allowing myself wine and popcorn here and there (since those are my vices!) - which is how I ate prior to the detox (and prior to the holidays! ahhaha)

    3. I definitely want my wine and I also really like fruit. I don't want pastries or cake or chocolate, but I crave some fruit. SO basically I'm trying to marry paleo eating with the idea of real food/clean eating? It's kind of just experimenting and figuring out what's best for me. But at the end of the day NO PROCESSED CRAP and I think that's what matters most :)