I have a sugar addiction. There. I said it. I have had it since childhood, before I knew a sugar addiction was a real thing. It never really affected me when I was young, or at least I don’t remember any problems associated with my sugar addiction. Once I entered college though, my eating habits, especially the sugar addiction began to catch up with me. (Read more about that here.) The bottom line is that I gained a lot of weight and have had to learn how to maintain my own healthy weight.
Before I say more let me be upfront about the goals I had in kicking this sugar addiction. It was never my goal to quit sugar completely. I mean that would be really sad. I love food! I love dessert and candy and chocolate. I love coffee that tastes good! I don’t really have a desire to give those things up. My goal in this journey was to get out from under the control of my sugar addiction. I mean that uncontrollable urge to eat something chocolate. The NEED to stare at doughnuts at the store and dream of eating them that moment. The unrelenting ache for dessert after dinner and the bad attitude that comes from having nothing to satisfy my sweetest desires.
After going on a vacation recently in which there was an abundance of sugary foods available, I returned home to find myself desperate for sugar at all times of the day. That is when I decided I needed to detox quick.
Now, I didn’t do this in any type of formatted way. I didn’t make a special detox drink or go on the Whole 30 diet. I didn’t meal prep or plan healthy snacks. All these are excellent things to do and I know many people who have done these things and found great success in them! I am sure that doing at least some of these things would have helped but I just didn’t have time or energy for those things. So, in my quick desperation I simply made sure not to buy anything that I would want when my sugar addiction strikes. I was sure that breaking the hold that sugar has on me is really that simple.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
First, I did a little reading about how to quit sugar. The blogs I read made it seem pretty straightforward. Get enough sleep, drink a lot of water, and increase your protein intake. I knew it would be a little more complicated for me so I did some reflecting of my own.
What am I going to think, feel, and do when I get a sugar craving? How am I going to treat others around me? That is when I prepared my husband. I said something like, “Honey, I’m trying to give up sugar so I’m probably going to be pretty irritable for the next few days. Try to bear with me because this is really important that I do this because my eating has gotten out of hand.“
The first day I did pretty well, if you don’t count eating half a bag of M&Ms. And I’m talking the 12 oz bags, not the candy bar size ones. That night I polished them off. Yuck! I mean, even when I was in the middle of it I wasn’t enjoying it. I knew I was doing the opposite of my goal and didn’t care.
The next day the addict in me came out and I searched the pantry until I found some old tic-tacs and one or two other items left over from Easter candy (roughly four months prior). After scouring the pantry later that night I retreated to my bedroom defeated, angry, and with my head aching. My husband kindly came up to check on me and I demanded (in a kind way I’m sure) that he make me something. When he reappeared some twenty minutes later (yes I was timing) to tell me a story. I cut him off asking why he didn’t have anything for me.
***Let’s pause in the story now for me to explain why I was being a nightmare: It’s because I really do have a sugar addiction. In those moments I did not care what cute thing my kids did. All I could think about was my craving. I also didn’t care if I was being rude and demanding. I knew perfectly well there was nothing for him to make me but I really didn’t care and I completely expected him to fulfill my chocolaty dreams. This is what a sugar addiction does to you. It controls your thoughts, your actions, and your speech. It is more than just choosing salty over sweet and you have to be prepared for this! Ok, resume story:
My sweet hubs kindly told me that he looked and we didn’t have anything. I let him know how I felt about that information and, being seven months pregnant I played the pregnancy card. He quickly went back downstairs.
I took the quiet time to try to talk myself down. I tried reasoning with myself that there is legitimately nothing he could make me. That I really didn’t want him taking the kids out to get me something so late and I definitely didn’t want to be left with the kids! In the meantime, the hubs did it. He brought me up a plate of warmed marshmallows with half a Hershey bar. Where did that bar come from?? I don’t know but that is how I finished out day two.
Day three is when I decided to start stuffing myself at meal time so that I would feel no legit hunger in between meals. I did things like eat a PB&J sandwich on wheat bread with sugar-free strawberry perserves. It all came to about 5g of sugar. But, I made myself two to eat. Thus, keeping myself full and eating a low-sugar lunch. I did the same at dinner. Although I did find some more candy in the pantry that I devoured I know that I was taking in less sugar because I again got a severe headache. I think day three went better than two.
Day four I reminded myself that I should eat more protein. I chose low sugar meals and frozen chicken tenders as snacks to stay full. That night was the first night I felt true relief. I did not have a sugar craving nor a headache! My body didn’t NEED anything. What relief!
Since these four hard days I haven’t been as strict. I feel the release of the sugar addiction and that was my ultimate goal. I didn’t want to give up sugar in every form forever. I just wanted to rid myself of the slavery to it. That is what I did. To maintain my hard work and more importantly to never have to go through those four days again, I have implemented a few things:
- As close to sugar free meals as possible. To do this I stick to high-protein, whole wheat, and smart substitutions.
- Get enough sleep, especially in the middle of the day when I am likely to eat all sweets in the house while my children sleep.
- I choose salty snacks instead of sweet snacks to buy for my household.
- Eat enough at meal time.
- Choose fruit when I am craving dessert.
I hope you learned something from my sugar addiction story and if you see any similarities in yourself, that you may feel motivated to beat your own sugar addiction. It is way better to live a life where you choose what to eat rather than your food choosing you!