What to Expect:
“This isn’t so bad” or “Will this get easier?!”
You may experience: No symptoms at all, or you may be feeling it pretty intensely today with headaches, mental fogginess, or increased hunger.
Your best bet: Keep trucking! Make sure that your meals are well balanced and include enough protein and fat, along with the appropriate carbs for your activity level and your 21DSD Plate.
Physically adjusting to the 21DSD
Some of the toughest days on this program tend to be days 3 through 7, a period during which many people experience “carb flu,” or an energy dip, headaches, extra hunger and/or thirst, or even some weakness or a hint of a fever. Why not later in the program? You might think that the first week would be the easiest, and in a lot of ways, it is—your motivation is the highest, you’re thinking more about preparation and planning, and the newness of it all is most exciting in week 1.
But week 1 can bring some of the biggest physical challenges, depending on how different your plate looks now. If you were eating a lot more carbs than your activity level requires before you began the 21DSD, then days 3 through 7 are when things start to really change with your body.
Remember back to three days pre-detox when we talked about glycogen, the carbohydrate stored in your liver and muscles? When you reduce the amount of carbs you consume, your body will start to dip into those glycogen stores, and a drop in the amount of stored glycogen largely accounts for the days when you feel the hit from the reduction in carb intake. As your body runs low on glycogen, you may feel a bit tired initially. (That energy will come back around days 7–10 as your body adapts to burning fat for fuel.)
Now, if your activity level means that you’re eating more 21DSD-friendly starchy carbs, then you may or may not experience this shift. If you’re eating fewer good carbs because you’re not very active or your daily activity is very low-intensity, it’s likely going to hit you either tomorrow or on day 4.
You see, low-intensity activity—such as walking, lower-intensity weight lifting, yoga, or gardening—doesn’t require much glycogen. In fact, these activities are very well fueled by dietary fat and by stored body fat. So your 21DSD plate of quality protein, plenty of veggies, and healthy fats will be perfect for you. Allow your body at least a week to adjust to this new balance of foods. While the adjustment may begin around day 3, it can last as long as a week or even two.
The Dish from Diane:
This is about the time when I typically see a lot of detoxers trying to “detox harder” or “really follow the rules” by not eating the recommended good carbs. I cannot stress this enough: you cannot make this program more effective by being more restrictive than the program dictates. By not eating your included fruit for the day, not adding extra carbs based on your activity level, or trying to eat the absolute bare minimum even if you’re hungry, you do not make this program more successful—you just make it harder. It is already hard enough, and it is effective as written. And, ultimately, you’ll be far less successful that way. Not only will you want to quit the program because you’ll feel terrible, but you’re not truly helping yourself with this mindset and approach.
In fact, when you build a plate that includes more carbs each day, you will have much better success on the program. Trust me. You’ll feel better in your workouts and you won’t lose motivation to exercise because your energy will stay where you need it. Eating good-quality carbs fuels you well and keeps cravings at bay! So don’t fear the fat, but also keep those carbs on your plate! That’s how the 21DSD was designed.
- Review your 21DSD Plate* and be sure you’re getting the good carbs you need.
- Post to social media using the hashtag #21DSD about your day 2 meals and experience. Tell us what kind of activity you have planned for your detox, whether it’s walking, yoga, at-home workouts, CrossFit, or anything else!