Experiencing Sugar Withdrawal?

Can you relate?

Can you relate?

Whether sugar is actually physically or psychologically addictive is up for debate. I see sugar as a drug bringing temporary bursts of energy and elevated mood. It also tastes really good! 

Common symptoms of sugar withdrawal: agitation, moodiness, problems concentrating, depression, fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbance, and sugar cravings. 
   
The great news is that these symptoms are temporary. Just knowing that “this too will pass” can be reassuring. Expect symptoms might last from 3 days to 2 weeks. Remind yourself that you are making an investment in your health. 
10 Tips for Reducing Sugar and Combatting Withdrawal:
   1.  Take it slow. To avoid severe withdrawal symptoms, gently remove  sugar over a few weeks. 
   2.  See this as a life change rather than a temporary one. Thinking this way makes you delve a little deeper into the process. Become an expert at reading labels and avoid processed foods. Sugar is hidden in many foods including: table sugar, alcohol, simple carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup, etc. 
   3.  Remove sugary temptations from the home. By not having them easily within reach, you have more time to stop and think, “What is it that I really need right now?’
   4.  Know your Fruits. Some fruits are high in sugar and should be avoided: pineapple, mangoes, watermelon, bananas, and most dried fruits. Fruits with less sugar include: cantaloupe, apples, peaches, pears, oranges, and grapefruits. Fruits with the lowest sugar content include: lemon, lime, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. 
   5.  Eat differently. Eating smaller meals more often may help keep blood sugar levels balanced. Eating more proteins such as meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and beans can help you feel full longer and provide fuel for the muscles. 
   6.  Drink water. Often people confuse hunger and cravings for simple thirst. Try drinking a glass of water when you feel the urge to have something sweet. 
   7.  Think of alternatives.  When cravings strike, be prepared with a list of quick and easy alternatives to distract yourself. Have some tea, take a bath, or clean out a drawer or a closet. Exercising is highly recommended and released endorphins can elevate the mood during withdrawal.
   8.  Stress the positive. Stressing what we don’t want (sugar) rather than what we do want can be counterproductive. Rather than saying ‘I can’t have sugar’ make your focus on what you do want…healthy foods, healthy body, healthy mind, etc. 
   9.  Sugar substitutes. When you are used to sugary foods, it takes some time to get used to the true taste of food. Natural sugar-free sweeteners like Stevia and Xylitol may help you feel satisfied. New information is coming out all the time about artificial sweeteners so educate yourself before using them. Use them in moderation and taper off as you become more used to natural tastes.
   10.  Get to know yourself. This is a great opportunity for self-awareness. Try journaling to examine causes of sugar addiction. We often turn to sugar as relief from stress or when we feel depressed or lonely. These triggers need to be addressed. Write about your feelings, your progress, tough spots, and successes. Make a list of what you want from this experience. 
Motivate yourself with affirmations like:     

  • I release the need to turn to certain foods for comfort. I give myself new, healthy ways to feel loved and secure.
  • I feel energized and positive, because I nourish my body with healthy foods.
  • I deserve the best, including quality foods that give me the nutrients I need.