“I Quit, Sugar.”
It pains me to say this, but I must break up with you. It’s time to quit because our relationship has become unhealthy. I turn to you for relief. Or when I’m sad. Or depressed. Or anxious. Or stressed. Heck, even when I’m bored. Sure, you’re intoxicating at first. Then I get sick of you. Just plain sick. And then I get sick without you. The initial intoxication becomes detoxifying. I go through withdrawals. So, I’m quitting, Sugar. Sure, I’ll feel listless, and my head will ache, at first. But I know that in the long run, it’s best. I think we can be friends. You know, meet for an occasional fresh fruit salad. Or frozen fruit dessert. But the constant cravings, the clandestine meetings, the painful regret…. I’m tired of all that. It simply has to stop. I know I’ll thank me later.
Most sincerely, most of the time,
Taking a new approach to an old habit.
Perhaps writing an “I Quit, Sugar” letter personifying sugar seems odd. I prefer to call it a “creative approach” to an old problem. In this case, quitting sugar. Detox can be tough. That’s also how I know I’ve been eating too much sugar. After quitting, there are physical symptoms. I get listless. I get headaches. I get cranky.
I started thinking differently before I quit sugar.
As Einstein is supposed to have said, insanity is when we do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Most therapists agree that a change in behavior requires a change in thinking. When just the behavior changes, the change seldom lasts. I might say, “I quit sugar,” and even do it for a time. But, after quitting sugar, detox symptoms set in. Then I give in, feel bad about myself, and try quitting—all over again. I become convinced it’s my lack of willpower. However, willpower is a limited resource for all of us. So the cycle continues: indulging, shaming, stopping, craving, indulging, shaming, stopping, craving, and so on.
Willpower vs. the mesolimbic pathway, metabolism, hormones, peptides and plenty more.
Upon quitting sugar, detox symptoms are unavoidable. In a later blog I’ll summarize the biological shenanigans that wreak havoc when we declare “I quit sugar” and try to do so. Even when combined with all the determination of Joan of Arc, defeat happens. Willpower needs reinforcements.
Rather than beating oneself up for “not trying hard enough” or being “weak,” kindness should be the golden rule. When quitting sugar, detox and all the rest can be handled with new strategies. So, start by thinking differently. Don’t be mad at yourself for “not trying hard enough.” Be proud of yourself for trying in the first place.
Sugar-Zen offers a proven daily online support program that includes these strategies for quitting sugar, detoxing and helping you stop sugar cravings with a stimulant free, all-natural supplement
[Kim, I don’t know if there is somewhere to put this or even if we should add it, but here it be]
Laurie Campbell, M.S., received her Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling at UNLV, with an emphasis in addictions, and has been a volunteer counselor for years. She is a former drug, alcohol and nicotine addict with two decades of sobriety. She also deals with Bipolar II and PTSD. She considers herself to be “sugar-dependent,” a milder form of addiction, and tends to eat sweets when things aren’t going well (and, admittedly, sometimes when they’re going just fine).