How to Kick a Sugar Addiction
You are probably wondering how to kick a sugar addiction now that you realize you have one. (If you missed the article defining sugar addiction and the link to the free sugar addiction quiz, go to our Sugar Addiction article).
The first thing I did was take every single item with sugar or high carbs that was in my home and put them in a tub for my husband to put up in the garage attic. Anything frozen or perishable, I donated or threw away. Why did I put some in a tub in my garage attic, you may ask? Well, this sugar addict had tried dozens of diets and failed, and I wasn’t about to get rid of 100s of dollars worth of food and then, when I failed with this one, have to go rebuy everything I had removed. That was how uncertain I was that this was going to work, and I had a pattern of being all gung-ho for the first few days, and then losing all motivation.
What Stays and What Goes
For the first 30 days, you really want to stay away from anything that has sugar in it, even if it’s just a little, and also from any artificial sweeteners. Even the taste of sweet will trigger cravings at this point (for some of us, that trigger never goes away). After 30 days, you can start looking at labels to see how many carbohydrates are in each item, and try adding a little monk fruit or stevia to your coffee. But for the first 30 days, just make anything sweet a HARD NO. You will be dancing in the streets when you realize how quickly your physical cravings go away. Go HERE for a list of keto friendly foods to stock up on for snacking.
How Many Carbs?
You want to either stay under 20 net carbs or 50 total carbs. I cannot emphasize enough how important electrolytes are during this phase. You will be flushing water out of your body very quickly during this detox month, and sodium, magnesium, potassium and salt will be depleted. I took supplements and my family started calling me a drug lord due to my overflowing pill box. If I missed taking my supplements, I would feel fatigued. It took me awhile to connect fatigue with needing supplements. Soon, whenever I started to feel sluggish, I would remember to go take some magnesium and sodium and BAM, within 20 minutes I would feel back to normal.
Don’t Limit Calories
Calories count, but don’t count calories! Especially the first 30 days. If you’re hungry, eat, and eat until you’re full. The great thing about the ketogenic diet is that the higher fat foods really make you feel satiated, and for much longer. In my first few days, I quite literally ate Top the Tater like ice cream. (Top the Tater is like French Onion Dip) It is an AWFUL keto friendly food, as it has very inflammatory oils, but I was a baby ketonian, and had just started dabbling in the world of keto friendly ingredients, so all I checked for in the first 30 days was if sugar was in the ingredients. That is what I advise you to do too.
Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Do you see what I did there? ^^ I actually don’t mean food-wise biting off more than you can chew though. I mean focus on one small step at a time. Don’t worry about clean keto and dirty keto when you first begin to kick your sugar addicion. Just focus on cutting out anything sweet. Trust me, that will be enough! This first month is a great time to start educating yourself slowly on the ketogenic way of life. We have a great list of books and cookbooks for you in our Resource Section.
Prepare Yourself Mentally for Cravings
After a week or so, my physical cravings for sugar went away, but the mental cravings started to get worse. I cannot recommend the book, “Never Binge Again” enough! It gave me a tangible way to mentally beat down the cravings – seriously. In my head, I would smash a large metal gate onto the craving and knock it back down into the empty dark hole it came from. That craving woke up and climbed it’s way out of the hole quite frequently in the first few weeks of my sugar / carb detox, but after awhile, it tried less and less often. Then it got a new strategy and started just randomly hitting me out of the blue at the most unexpected times! I was so thankful for the mental exercises I had in place to smash it back down, even when it attempted these surprise sneak attacks. Now it sleeps most of the time. I hear it stir every now and then, but it never really makes itself known in an intrusive way.
Prepare Yourself Mentally for Feeling Deprived
I believe it was about three months in when I started to feel deprived. Deprived of what, you ask? Deprived of joy. Deprived of celebration. Deprived of comfort. Deprived of nostalgia. I vividly remember a moment my family was popping popcorn for movie night and I felt like I wasn’t getting to enjoy the night with the usual “movie snacks”. I talked to my coach about it and she said to think about what I am gaining. I’m gaining health. I’m gaining a longer life. I’m gaining more energy. I’m gaining better focus.
This helped some, but I still found myself feeling like I was missing out on things that had brought such joy to me before. After awhile, I started saying, “I don’t eat that” instead of “I can’t have that”. I finally came full circle when I realized by moving myself mentally from “I can’t” to “I choose not to”, it switched my feeling of deprivation to a feeling of empowerment. I now feel empowered and proud to say no to those foods (drugs) that had their nasty claws in me.
One Little Bite WILL Hurt
The final thing I want to leave you with before you start your journey to kick your sugar addiction is, there is no moderation with addiction. If you truly have a sugar / carb addiction, that “one little bite” will lead you back to a full-blown addiction. It doesn’t always happen quickly, but it does ALWAYS happen. Stopping our drug is a binary decision. In other words, it’s always no, it’s never just a little. It’s Yes or No. We’re either using or we’re sober. I encourage you to join a facebook group or a food addiction recovery group to keep yourself accountable. Surround yourself with like-minded people and mentors who can help you along your way.
Just remember, nobody can do it for you. You have the power. You have the ability. You just need the desire to leave this dangerous drug behind. I believe in you, because I did it. And if I did it, anyone can do it.
**Check out my Kicking Off with Keto Course where I walk you personally through how I overcame my addiction, lost 90 pounds and have kept it off for 5 years.
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