What to expect

So how will you motivate yourself to exercise or get outdoors? Make a list of reasons why you want to do this. This motivation isn’t just to get you through these 10 days; this is motivation that is going to get you through the next 10 years. Here are a few ways to keep your motivation high and your cravings low.

  • Write down the benefits you are receiving from a workout. How is this benefiting you? Is it lowering your blood pressure, or allowing you to keep up with your kids? The possibilities are endless. Make it work by making it personal.
  • Set goals. Short-term and long-term goals help you stay in line and motivate you toward a final endpoint. Whether it’s to reach the 10,000 steps on your Fitbit for the day or run that 5K in two months, short-term and long-term goals are great ways to motivate yourself.
  • Make it fun. Participate in activities that are enjoyable. If you loathe running, then don’t put yourself through that discomfort. However, if you like rhythm and dancing, try Zumba! If you enjoy the peaceful sound of waves, then listen to them on your headphones during a workout.
  • Find a friend. Recruit a buddy to hold you accountable at that workout class or on that outdoor walk or run. Knowing that your friend will be waiting will encourage you not to let him or her down. You are less likely to plunk down on the couch.
  • Whatever you need to do to hold yourself accountable and achieve your goals, make it happen. Do this for yourself. Don’t give up. It’s hard to make yourself get out of bed in the morning or squeeze in that extra workout. Remember, no person who decides to exercise ever regrets making that decision.

What to eat

Here is a suggested meal plan to follow for Day 8 of the Sugar Shutdown. Please note you can make changes to fit your tastes, dietary and calorie needs.

As always, our important reminders:

  • Do not skip any meals. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Listen to your hunger cues. Eat until you’re satisfied, but give yourself a break before you start to snack to see if you’re actually hungry. (If you’re hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably hungry.)
  • Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
  • Eat snacks that have both a protein and a carbohydrate (nuts and fruit, hummus and vegetables, string cheese and grapes). This will keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and help you stay full and keep cravings at bay.
  • If you mix and match any meals, remember you want: A maximum of two to three servings of fruit daily. Watch your serving sizes and your snacks! Four to six servings of nonstarchy vegetables. Half of your plate at lunch and dinner should be nonstarchy vegetables. If you can get them in at breakfast too, all better. Snack time is an easy spot to get another serving in as well! We encourage using leftovers, especially at lunchtime!


Overnight oats


1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup almond milk or regular milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkle with cinnamon


Mix all the ingredients together in a glass jar (such as a mason jar). Stir well, cover, and refrigerate overnight

The next morning, remove from refrigerator and top with cinnamon, berries or half a banana and enjoy! Can be eaten cold or warmed in the microwave.

Morning snack

Cheese stick with a piece of fruit


Large base of a mixed greens or spinach salad

3-4 ounces of tuna (canned in water or fresh)

Toppings: sunflower seeds, grated parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrots

Red wine vinegar and olive oil

Afternoon snack

Veggies and hummus


4-5 ounces sirloin steak or pork tenderloin

Baked potato topped with low-fat Greek yogurt, sour cream or cottage cheese and fresh vegetables (peppers, onion, green onion), cheddar cheese (optional)

Side: roasted asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a bowl, toss the asparagus with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.

3. Bake until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness.

Tip: Lining the pan with aluminum foil can be used to cook food evenly and keep it moist. It also makes clean-up easier.

Banana ice cream

Place frozen banana pieces in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Optional – top with cinnamon or slivered almonds. Enjoy!

How you should be feeling today

Day 8 is here! You’re so unbelievably close! Today may seem like you’re pretty much done. I’m sure you think back to the beginning of this program and can discern noticeable differences in your diet now. It may also be easy to see now how much sugar was in your diet and your dependency on the substance. This is a great wake-up call for you! Beware, however: Cravings sometimes lie in wait. Don’t let your guard down. Finish strong.


Stretching is often forgotten as part of a well-rounded, effective workout routine. It may seem unnecessary. That’s not the case! Not only does stretching help improve your flexibility, posture and joints’ range of motion, but it also helps decrease your risk of injuries, falls and muscle strains and tears. Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle, which allows it to do work and keep you going. It also helps with muscle recovery.

Make sure you are stretching correctly. Don’t bounce when you stretch and don’t aim for pain. Warm up by walking a little bit before stretching. Incorporate a warmup into your exercise routine for an added benefit.

Interesting fact

You may be wondering why chia seeds are added to many of the recipes during these 10 days. They may be small, but they are powerful when it comes to nutrition and your health! They are packed with fiber, protein, heart-healthy fats, calcium, micronutrients and antioxidants.

When mixed with water or a liquid they turn into a gel consistency. They can be used to thicken sauces or as an egg substitute. Adding chia seeds to recipes and dishes will significantly increase the nutritional value.

Novant Health is here to help with lifestyle and nutrition services, sports medicine, and primary care physicians and clinics backed by caring support teams ready to help you live your best life.