I survived my first week of 100% no sugar! It was pretty miserable, I’m not going to lie. Not only was I going through sugar withdrawal, but I’m still sick from whatever illness has me in its grip.
Here are some things I felt this week:
- The sweats – I would routinely get super-hot and literally be drenched in sweat. My family had to put up with air conditioning in the already cold car, the ceiling fan blowing everything around the living room, and having me shed every bit of clothing I could modestly get away with.
- The shakes – this was even more annoying. I would bundle up in every blanket we had, wear my hoodie (with the hood on!), put socks and slippers on my feet, and hunker down in the recliner (only my nose and chin were visible). My children would bring me juice or water, and I would unearth my shaking hand to take it from them. It was ridiculous!
- A constant headache – I had a headache the whole week. It vacillated between pounding and nagging, but it was always there.
- Exhaustion – my poor family basically hasn’t had a mother for seven days. Even when I wasn’t feeling absolutely awful, I struggled to find energy to do anything. I’ll admit that I’m still not firing on all cylinders, but I am getting better.
- Moodiness – while I tried hard to be kind and patient, I could definitely feel myself wanting to snap at my children and husband. It’s hard to be gracious when you’re not feeling well. It’s even harder when your body is going without something that has been its “happiness crutch” for so long.
I’ve never done drugs or consumed alcohol—I’m not even a big soda drinker, and when I do drink soda, it’s a non-caffeinated variety—so I can’t personally compare these symptoms with withdrawal from other substances, though when I looked it up on some websites, they seem fairly similar. However, I hesitate to compare my boo hoo-ing over not eating sugar to what I imagine are far worse and long-lasting symptoms of breaking a drug addiction or being a recovering alcoholic.
Alex Caspero, MA, RD, says this about sugar addiction:
“…There are many studies that show our brain responds to sugar in a similar way that it does to illicit drugs. The problem is that we aren’t meant to enjoy sugars in such concentrated amounts. In nature, sugar is found surrounded by fiber, in sugar cane and fruits. It naturally comes in a container that produces a shorter blood sugar response and aids in fullness. Today’s sugars are refined and concentrated. The average American consumes anywhere from a ¼ to a ½ pound of sugar per day. Consuming sugar in these amounts can lead to similar symptoms of a drug addiction: dependence, cravings, and withdrawal. The good news is that we can adapt our taste buds to accept less sugar. Reducing sugar, especially concentrated sugars, not only limits the amount of sugars ingested but also makes less sweet foods seem sweeter.”
Follow Alex on Twitter @delishknowledge.)
Having survived most of these post-acute withdrawal symptoms, I feel like I’ve made some good headway toward overcoming my addiction. Thanks for all your support and best wishes!
Week 1 out!