Welcome back! It’s now day 2 of the week of blog posts about sugar. For any of you who read Day 1 you may by now have some incentive to ditch the white stuff (or at least decrease your intake). So today, I thought I should share with you exactly what to expect if you do decide to lower or completely stop your sugar intake.
For anybody who read the ‘7 Sugary Sins’ you will have seen that sugar can be highly addictive, and just like trying to quit many addictive things there are side affects. Today we look at the short-term effects and long-term effects of giving up sugar to give you a better a idea of what to expect when you’re quitting.
First things first – The break up period! Now I don’t want to sugar-coat the break up period (see what I did there!). The days and weeks following eliminating sugar, just like any break up, you could undergo a series of emotions. This is not true for every one though and does vary depending on many things such as age, fitness, and more than anything else how much sugar you were consuming before. These symptoms have been reported by some but will definitely not be applicable to everyone. Let’s get started:-
Longing – During a break up you often feel longing for what you’ve broken up with, and this is no different. In the days and weeks following the break up you will probably have many moments where all you want is a hit of the sweet stuff. Sugar is addictive and when you take it away your body will probably crave it. Here you will need immense amounts of will power to walk away and keep going!
Anger & Anxiety – Now occasionally when you break up with someone they can make you angry, sugar is one of these people. Many people use food to cope with stress and when you try and take certain foods away it can make you anxious. Not being able to cope with situations can lead to you feeling irate and stressed.
Tired – Break ups can be exhausting. Quitting sugar can be too. Sugar contributes to energy levels and provides people with short term boosts. When you eliminate these, initially you may feel more tired and generally more lethargic.
Insomnia – In some cases people have reported being unable to sleep in the days following the break up. This could be due to feeling anxious or due to headaches caused by withdrawal. Once again this is not the case for everybody.
Mood swings – Anyone who has broken up someone will probably tell you that at some point they suffered from mood swings. It’s quite common during sugar withdrawal as well. You may be tired one minute, anxious the next; followed by anger of feeling irate. It takes a while for your body to re-adjust.
Shakes – Now this is a dramatic one, and is not very common but has occasionally been reported. When people dramatically reduce their intake it can cause slight shakes (they aren’t very severe or common though so don’t panic).
Now I know what your thinking – why the hell would I give up sugar if this is what I have to look forward to?
Like I said these symptoms are not always reported and to be honest when I gave up sugar completely I can’t say I suffered very much with these symptoms (or if I did I’ve clearly suppressed it because it resulted in such a good outcome). But even though these symptoms aren’t always the case they have been reported by people and I thought it was important to know the full story. However I think it’s time I moved on to the good side of sugar withdrawal and what you have to look forward to after the initial break up stage. Here’s to ‘moving on’.
Woohoo! This is one of my favourite bits of this week of sugar posts… talking about all the good bits!! Just like with most break ups after the initial couple of weeks of feeling rubbish you start to feel better and in this case you will definitely feel better that before the break up. So here goes with the benefits you’ll feel after giving up:-
Weight Loss – One of the most obvious side affects of giving up sugar is weight loss. By removing sugar you are getting rid of a load of empty calories which have no nutritional value what so ever. Even if you replace these calories with ones which have more nutritional value, then you would probably still see an improvement in your physique. And let’s be honest there aren’t many of us out there who aren’t pleased to see the number on the scales go down or see our jeans become a little bit looser.
Energy Increase– In case you haven’t guessed here at ‘Living Energetically’ we’re big on energy. When you remove refined sugar from your diet your sugar levels become far more stable. This leads to more stable energy levels and has even been reported to make people feel generally happier (I know this is the case for me). From a personal point of view I have significantly more energy. Where as before, the morning alarm was my worst nightmare, these days I spring out of bed and am ready to face the world. Also have you ever driven home from work and when you arrive home thought “I have no recollection of that drive home” simply because you’ve been on autopilot from tiredness when driving home? Well I used to do it all the time, the 4.30 slump in energy was a common occurrence where as these days I thoroughly enjoy my journey home and very rarely suffer from fatigue or fogginess during the day.
Happy skin – When you have fairly consistently high blood sugar levels it takes it’s toll on your skin. There are links between sugar and aging skin due to ‘advanced glycation end products’. These occur when sugars attach them selves to proteins in the body and they affect the elasticity of skin. So by reducing your sugar intake in theory you should also start to look younger (or atleast slow down the aging skin process). Acne has also often been linked to sugar and by cutting it out then hopefully there will be reduction in those nasty break-outs.
Tastier Tastes – Sugar has this amazing power to make everything else taste a little bit ‘blurgh’. When you give up sugar your taste buds come alive and more natural sweeteners such as fruit taste all the better. In the past 6 months I have learned to love so many foods that I previously hated, and I’m not trying to say that it’s solely down to giving up sugar but I definitely think it’s contributed.
It can improve health – Sugar has been linked with obesity and diabetes and has been loosely linked with blood pressure, stress and even cancer. By removing it, it could lead to improved over-all health.
You’ll feel full – If you’re anything like I was I would go through each day dreaming of my next meal. Even after finishing one meal I would crave my next. By reducing sugar intake your hormones are able to work more effectively and is able to tell your brain you’re full.
So I’m sorry for bombarding you with all the negatives you may experience at the beginning of this but I hope that these benefits highlight to you how good a refined sugar-free life can feel! Yes the first few days or weeks can be hard and yes there are definitely days where it will be harder than other but in the long run there are so many brilliant reasons why a reduction in sugar levels can improve your lifestyle.
Before I go I would like to once again remind you that I am not a medical professional and all of these finding are from my own personal experiences and from reading various books and articles over the years. Personally I cannot recommend sugar-free enough but I understand it isn’t for everyone. If you are interested in lowering your sugar intake remember to check back tomorrow to find out the worst sugar offenders to avoid!