Sugar is in most of the food items we have in our homes. Sugar makes the food taste good. We experience euphoria while eating it. Sugar-ridden food may even be what we reach for when dealing with emotional issues.
Unfortunately, the sugar we take into our bodies is doing us serious harm under the surface. It causes weight gain, diabetes, and many other health issues. Quitting sugar may be easy for some people, but much harder for others.
Those whom are overweight/obese (myself included) have it enriched in our brains that anything with sugar is good; it's comforting. Even carb-enriched foods like pasta bring us a sense of pleasure in our lives. Again, these sugars and carbs are doing more harm than good. Having this dependency, or addiction, to sugar and carbs is like having an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
I make this analogy because sugar releases dopamine and opioids into your brain, putting you 'at risk' for becoming addicted to it.
When you have decided to decrease or eliminate your sugar intake, you may be left with some very nasty withdrawal symptoms.
Headaches: These headaches will hit you like a ton of bricks. You will feel it in your eyes, your forehead, on your temples, and on top of your head.
Nausea: Along with these headaches, you will likely experience some nausea. The nausea will be quite bad, so I recommend drinking lots of water and resting. Keep your diet light (soups, tea, etc).
Fatigue: You will find yourself feeling more sluggish than usual, as you detox from sugar.
Mental health changes: If you find yourself feeling depressed and anxious, it may be due to your body detoxing all that nasty sugar from your body.
Sweating and chills: Many people who are detoxing from sugar may find themselves experiencing chills and sweating. Again, this is just your body's way of eliminating the waste from your body.
Lightheadedness: If you feel yourself getting lightheaded, it is due to the withdrawal you are experiencing. Keep up with your water intake.
Sugar cravings: This is probably the worst part of the withdrawal period. It will take every fiber in your being to not go down the street and get donuts or pastries. Please resist the temptation.
It is important for you to know that sugar withdrawal can take up to 6 weeks, depending on how severe the sugar addiction is.
I know that may seem like a long time, but it will be worth it.
I decided to write about this because I'm currently experiencing sugar withdrawal. I'm on day 2, which means I am feeling like hell as I type this. But, I don't want sympathy because I did this to myself. No other force on earth stuck crappy food into my mouth. I did. I take responsibility. I f*cked up. I have struggled with my food addiction issues since I was 8 years old. When the world got dark, food was there. Even after I had lost 100+ pounds in 2011-2012, after I injured my spine in 2013, I went back to food because I became depressed. I gained 50 pounds. That's all on me, and I don't blame anyone else except for myself.
As I sit here with the worst headache of my life, I'm realizing the pain I caused to my body. All because I gave into gluttony. I could have just said no, and just ate some carrots instead.
After the appointment I had with my neurosurgeon, I am realizing I'm at a pretty critical point in my life. The revision surgery for my spine is risky, and I need to be in optimal health. There are some aspects of my health that I cannot control: my autoimmune diseases (which have contributed to my spine's continued deterioration). My weight, on the other hand, I have full control over that.
My neurosurgeon seriously put the fear of God in me, and I am fully committed to losing this weight.
Now, I know what it's like to have the obesity eating disorder. I've been there, I have the tee-shirt, but it is NOT a club I want to be a member of any longer.
If I have to suffer through sugar withdrawal for 6 weeks, I'm game. I will remember this feeling the next time I have a craving to eat something toxic.
I won't be completely sugar free, however. I will be mindful of what types of sugar are in my food. Also, I won't be completely neglecting desserts. Locally grown fruit makes for a mean and yummy dessert. I'm just sayin'!
Just like with any addiction and withdrawal, you need to take it one day at a time. It's difficult, but you can get through it. I highly recommend tracking your calorie and carb intake. My Fitness Pal is an incredible resource; one I have used throughout the years. It will keep you in check, and everyone on there is very friendly.