I ate my last intentional sugar four weeks ago yesterday. Valentine's Day was the start of this adventure and so now it's been a month. Lots has happened as you'll know if you've been following the blog. Here's what seems true at this moment:
1. The physical withdrawal from sugar is really subsiding. I had some serious jitteriness internally for the first two weeks that was rather unpleasant, a more severe bodily symptom than I would have guessed. Brain chemistry rerighting itself, apparently. But that seems to have settled down. I didn't notice any particular changes in my sleep patterns or powers of concentration, just a nervousness that was old and familiar and a little voice that kept saying that a big chocolate bar would fix that right up. I did not succumb.
2. My habits of eating sugar are pretty clear to me by this point. I feel the most desire right after lunch, right after dinner, and while watching TV--these aren't surprising as those were the times I ate the most sugar. What was surprising was that I was craving and not the least bit hungry. When I do get hungry in the late afternoon, a time I would have guessed would be a big problem, I'm quite happy with fruit or some nuts and cheese--sugar doesn't seem to be an issue then.
3. I get restless and agitated when I'm not particularly engaged in what I do. Sugar comes through my mind then. It isn't exactly a craving but it certainly seems like a good idea. I'm reminded of six months that I spent as a receptionist in an ad agency in the middle 1990s when I was between careers. I was busy enough there but seldom very engaged. There were always sweets in the breakroom and I took advantage of them multiple times a day. One of the challenges ahead will be finding ways to get satisfied when I'm not, ways that don't involve sweets or even food.
4. Without the sedation of sugar, my long stuffed feelings are beginning to surface. Some of them are annoying, some of them are deeply painful or scary. I knew this was part of the deal when I signed on to give up sedation, to meet life on its terms, to step more fully into my life. But in a way, I said yes with my head. It made rational sense that this would happen. But I can't solve this with my head, with my rational sense. I have to solve this with my heart, my soul, and my body. A second bigger challenge will be finding ways to feel safe and soothed without using addictive substances. I don't yet have much clue what that will be but I think I may be headed into a crash course, if last week is anything like what's coming up.
Wish me luck and stay tuned!