What does Quitting Sugar Actually Feel Like?
The evidence is in and I think that by now we all know that eating too much sugar is bad for our health. Beyond the likely hood of increased weight there are also the very real health dangers of diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, how it exacerbates inflammatory conditions , skin conditions, digestive issues . It’s a pretty long and depressing list..
The problem is that sugar is addictive, a pretty controversial statement, as there are many out there who claim that sugar is not addictive, but the evidence shows that sugar acts upon the same centres of brain function as drugs like cocaine.
I am very confident that both from personal experience (a grown woman who went to the shop in her pyjamas to buy crisps and chocolate at midnight!!!) and my years of working here at The Body Retreat that for so many women sugar is very addictive.
The problem is that sugar comes in so many forms, its not just the sweets, chocolate bars, cakes and sweet treats that we need to be mindful off. Sugar is a stealthy character and you can be addicted to it in many forms, bread, ketchup, crisps, pasta, jacket potatoes, baked beans, even smoothies, fruit salad and the humble carrot stick are all forms of sugar that women have admitted struggling to let go.
If you are a sugar addict…you know it!
It just seems like a throw away comment…a sugar addict, like the cookie monster..it’s kind of funny isn’t it?
Being a sugar addict is no laughing matter. It’s a very real and serious health condition. One that requires you to take action or you will find that if you are not already that very soon you begin to experience the negative side effects of this addiction.
So, you may have tried to quit sugar … how was that for you?
I have found it difficult to keep my sugar addiction in check when I’m working from home. My default button for pressure, stress and working to a deadline is to consume sugar. Ii have to work very hard to keep the balance… believe me its tough when for years…. no actually make that decades … I have trained myself that I can punch out a whole lot more work on a mars bar than and apple and nut butter. It can be as much a psychological addiction as a physical addiction.
That it is tough quitting sugar is no real surprise.
We have tracked the stages of sugar withdrawal on our week long sugar detox retreat. Now this does vary from person to person and depends on how long you have been a sugar addict also how much sugar you really are consuming regularly.
Stages of Quitting Sugar
Stage 1. No Difference.
For the first 24 – 48 hours most people feel ok. This is often because at this point the body is able to rely on the energy conserves that the person consumed before they began the retreat.
Stage 2. Withdrawal
Ok… now this is not meant to scare you off, remember that withdrawal is always temporary…it never lasts forever. When you are in the throws of withdrawal you would sell a kidney for cupcake…and that is when most people quit. Withdrawal varies so much from person to person but what we have observed on retreat is that from 24 hr – 3 days its common to experience some or all of the symptoms below:
- Aching Limbs
- Mood Swings
- Dry Mouth
- Stop Pooing !!
Stage 3. Cravings
Now this is an interesting one, We’ve know some women get no craving at all… lucky gals!! But it is normal to begin to experience cravings about day 4. Now this is again very dependant on your relationship with food in general, do you see food and sugar in particular as reward, love, care, treat or even a punishment, distraction. At this point the physiological aspect of your addiction can really take hold.
Stage 4. Feeling Super Sensitive
By the end of 5 or 6 days physically you have started to feel better, having got this far you feel a bit sensitive and concerned about the next steps. How to be vigilant and not trip up. Again is your default function is to eat sugar this can be a vulnerable and challenging time for some.
Stage 5. Tentative Normality
After a couple of weeks you are feeling confident in your ability to keep going, you are still noticing how good you feel without the extra weight, with the balanced energy levels, the better sleep etc etc It is this knowledge and experience that helps to keep your motivation up through the next couple of weeks
Stage 6. Just The Way You Are
By about the one month stage, all the new habits, new experiences, new achievement etc have all stared to merge and mingle and you find that this new way of looking at, choosing and eating food is just what you do.
The reality is that quitting sugar can be tough…but the rewards are so worth the effort. Imagine that ins just a few short days you could be free form a habit that may have had a hold on you for decades. You could be back in control, with tools and resources and the confidence that you can control sugar in your diet.
I always say that knowledge is power and now you have the knowable of what to expect when you go for it and decide that you are ready to quit sugar. My advice is to plan in when you are gong to start… don’t start on a Monday… that just means that when the withdrawal symptoms kick in you find yourself in the middle of a busy working week…don’t do it to yourself!!
Instead start on a Wednesday, you know that if you are going to experience withdrawal that it will be over the weekend when you can relax and plan to take things easy and just sit it out.
If you know that you need a helping hand, if you need to get away from your current environment and into an environment away from temptations and distractions, if you need the help of team of experts with a track record of helping women to navigate the stages of sugar withdrawal, to have a pre and post plan to make sure that you get the best result possible then you need to come and join us at Sugar Detox Retreat.