I'm an Addict and I Had No Idea

Could you have a problem with addiction and not even know it?

If you are like me you are probably thinking that addicts always know that they are dependent.They may not want to admit it but on some level they know.

Except that I had no idea.

Ok, I knew I had a strong like for it. That I really, really enjoyed it. That I gravitated to it often. But addict? Me? Seriously?

Yup! The truth is that I am in fact an addict: A sugar addict.

Hold on..hear me out. Sugar addiction is completely legitimate. Don't believe me, why not ask the rats who went a little off the rails after having their intake of sugar cutoff over at Princeton U?  A bunch a wacked out rodents is enough to prove any theory don't you think?

Alright, if that's not enough to convince you, then you can also ask me. (Here's hoping that I am more reliable that a furry pest)

Since making the change to a clean diet (aka saying goodbye to refined sugar and its cousin the artificial sweetener) 5 days ago I have experienced all the tell tale symptoms of a legitimate withdrawal including:

  • dull headache
  • fatigue/lethargy
  • weakness
  • cloudy thinking

At first I thought it was all in my head and figured it would pass within a day but after 120 hours with no reprieve I figured I'd better do some research.

Survey says: It's completely common to experience these symptoms (and more) when there is an extreme reduction in sugar from your diet.

Huh..well at least I know I am normal right?

The scariest part of all of this is that for 29 years and 3 months I have been feeding my body a substance that causes this much backlash when it's suddenly taken away. Worse then that is I called it a substance-not a food, not a vitamin, not a supplement-  without thinking twice and yet I readily ingested daily! Ummm ....yikes!!

Now to be fair I am still getting naturally occurring sugars in the form of fruit and honey. Yet, without that white stuff my body seems to want to go into perpetual nap mode. That's not good. In fact, it is so NOT good that it has only served to reinforce why I needed to make the switch.

If we look at how unnecessary sugar is (zero nutritional benefit) and how much damage it can lead to (cavities, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers) why would I wait another day? Yes it sucks to be this tired. Yes the timing is bad given that my marathon training requires a huge amount of energy right now. Yes I secretly want frozen yogurt every hour on the hour. But none of that is important enough to deny that I owe myself the health benefits of getting off it right freakin' now.

After all the first step is admitting to the problem. Now it's time to kick it to the curb.

Don't get me wrong. I am not presuming that I will be 100% sugar free for life. Given the prevalence of sugar in this society and how damn good the stuff tastes, there is a guaranteed chance I will indulge at some point. That said, it will be a very limited indulgence on a rare occasion, if for no other reason than I really don't want to do this "detox" thing ever again!!

So where does that leave me? Tired and with a headache but also believing I am doing the right thing for my body. Now if you need me I won't be eating ice cream but I might be taking a nap...

So tell me, how big of a role does sugar play in your diet? Have you ever tried to cut back or eliminate it? What happened?

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert. The opinions in this (and every) post are based on my own experience and circumstance. Please consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle.



  1. Funny I've been following your blog for a couple months now and thought a couple times how I've dealt with some of the same things you have...but now we really have so much in common.

    I'm a sugar addict too.

    It truly is a addiction like anything else!

    Heres the funny thing, I know the damages and nutritional count it has. I'm actually going to school for Holistic Nutrition....and I still can't seem to kick it!!! What gives.
    So many times I've tried to ban it from my diet, just to see it creep back in again, into a deeper, darker extent...and then some.
    I always feel like I failed...why can't I just give up? I know it's not worth it mentally and physically....SO! How does one break the relationship?!

    It's not easy.

    So perhaps we can help each other, perhaps you have suggestions as you go through all this. Because there IS a bright light on the other side. And it's a happier place to be!!

    Thanks for the daily blogs, you are now a part of my morning ritual and I look forward to what you have to write about!

    Here's to the end of sugar days! kinda bittersweet...no pun intended! :)

  2. Sugar is SO an addiction! I really don't consume a lot of it (my vice is salt!). Just in my coffee in the morning - and in sports drinks/Gus when running (although I LOVE Honey Stingers and try to take them when I can). When I do eat a lot I just feel like crap.

    Good luck with your detox!! You're definitely better off with out it :)

  3. Yikes! How long is the withdrawal supposed to last?

  4. @ Lauren

    From the research I have done it indicates 1-2 weeks. The good news is once your level stabilize you supposedly feel much better because the energy is real and you no longer have highs and crashes etc...

  5. I am a sugar addict too. I fasted it for six weeks and felt great and my cravings went away after awhile.

    I wished that during my marathon training I had really paid attention to what I was eating. I did ok and didn't gain weight, but I let myself eat pretty much whatever because I was running so much.

    Good luck!

  6. I don't like the way sugar makes me feel. I have been eating clean prety consistently and think twice before I have some sweets. I don't like sugar hangovers. :/

  7. I am with ya girlie! Just a mere week ago I started to clean up my sugar addicition as of late and I've had a dull headache ALL weekend! I think I'm finally coming out of it! YEEPS!

  8. I think I would go mental without some sugar in my life, especially now. I'm 21 weeks pregnant, and sweet stuff is all I want now: cakes, cookies, graham crackers smeared with frosting. I wish I could say that I craved only "good" sugars (like fruit), but nope.

    However, your post makes some great points about sugar and its detrimental effects! I look forward to seeing your future posts about how life sans sugar is going!

  9. It was also very hard for me to quit junk food. I experienced some parting pangs for about 2 weeks.

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