It’s probably not too difficult to believe and understand that sugar is an addictive thing. It creeps its way into most of our daily diets without much thought or attention and once we make a conscious effort to keep it out of our mouths it’s like the world is about to end.
If you’re honestly trying to cut sugar out of your life, it can take about two weeks for the withdrawal symptoms to go away. And in those two weeks, you’ll realize how often you mindlessly eat and drinks simple, refined carbohydrates. Something feels off, you’re constantly hungry, and might even blurt out the words “if I don’t get a cracker in five minutes…” Symptoms of sugar withdrawal include low energy, cravings for sugary foods and carbohydrates (that’s where the cracker craving will come from), headaches, and moodiness (again with the crackers). Because yes, sugar cravings and withdrawals can get pretty brutal like any legitimate addiction.
But if you can cut sugar, you stand to gain a lot. Fat loss is easier. Brain inflammation (and inflammation in other prone areas of the body as well) decreases, actually allowing you stronger focus and better mental clarity. You’re less hungry and suffer from cravings less often. And, of course, the absence of sugar also means no energy crashes, giving you a steady and dependable flow of energy throughout the day. Now if you could only get over that two-week hump and those cravings…
Start with eating more healthy fats. Fat’s not terrible for you. Sugar is. So all those years of the no fat/low fat craze missed the point. Your body is actually far better equipped at metabolizing healthy fats and using them productively than it is for processing refined foods/sugars.
So first thing’s first, get rid of any high-carb, sugary products in your kitchen. Bread, pasta, chips, fruit, and so on shouldn’t even be in your home. Now you’ll have one less thing to worry about when the first round of cravings hit. Instead, stock up on grass-fed meats, salmon, eggs, nuts, coconut and olive oil, avocados, and tons (really, tons) of vegetables. If you’re doing this for weight loss goals, don’t count calories for the first few days. It’s more beneficial in the long run to properly kick sugar than it is to stay under a caloric ceiling. And when these cravings kick in, go for a high-fat snack instead.
After about two weeks, those cravings should all but disappear if you’ve truly stuck to your guns. Some would suggest keeping your sugar intake under 20 grams a day to properly kick the dependency. At this point, you should also start to notice those benefits. Suddenly you have a tad more mental clarity, a more stable supply of energy through the day, you’re finally enjoying and noticing some fat loss, decreased inflammation, and the cherry on top is you’re probably enjoying better sleep. And all it really takes is two weeks of discipline along with a good plan.