Do you know what happens when you stop eating sugar?

Have you ever tried to cut refined sugar out of your diet? If you’re anything like me, this is how it goes.

Day 1: You feel invincible. You’re 100% committed to the cause, and feel like a goddamn champion for being able to restrain yourself.

Day 2: The headache starts. At first it’s a dull ache. And then it becomes a stabbing pain. You begin to question your resolve and the reasons for wanting to cut sugar out in the first place.

Day 3: The cravings start (if they haven’t hit yet) and you begin to want ALL. THE. SWEETS. Even the ones that, two days prior, you had zero interest in.

Day 4: You peruse Pinterest looking for ways to have sweets without using actual sugar. You curse yourself for even trying, because now you having a raging case of Pinterest-itis, and want to make everything in your feed.

Day 5: The headache finally starts to subside, your cravings feel a bit less intense, and you start to feel a little clearer. You also begin to feel like you’ve got a handle on this whole avoiding sugar thing.

Day 6: Fruit begins to taste a little sweeter and even starts to fill the gaping hole that sugar has left in your life. You also start to notice that the scale is reflecting the changes you’ve been making. Which, hallelujah, SOMETHING is happening.

Day 7: You feel like a rock star for making it an entire week without any refined sugars. You secretly wish you could celebrate with a brownie or a cookie, or something sugary and delicious. But you don’t, and grab a banana instead.

Days 8-14: You’re still on the wagon and loving life. You have more energy, your mood seems to be a bit more stable, you’ve found ways to have sweets (like chocolate peanut butter banana smoothies and chocamole) that don’t contain a single refined sugar. Your skin seems to be glowing. And headaches are a thing of the past.

Days 15-21: You begin to get a little cocky, thinking that you’re beyond the whole sugar craving thing. You let your guard down, allowing yourself to have a little taste here and there. When you have the sugar, you feel it; a stabbing pain in the temple, a rumbling in the belly, a new spot on your face. It’s enough to keep you on the wagon and avoiding sugar.

Days 22-28: Somewhere along the way, you fall off the wagon. You had a really stressful day and that brownie was calling your name. You think to yourself that it was a one time thing, but then it becomes a one week thing and before you know it you are back to eating sugar like it’s your job. As in, eating a row of Joe Joe’s in one sitting and an entire pan of (black bean) brownies in a 3-day span.

It takes you a while to realize what’s happening before you tell yourself it’s time to lay off the sugar again. And you really want to lay off the sugar again because the headaches and stomach aches and spots on your face are telling you that IT’S TIME.

But for some reason, it’s harder the second time around. The cravings are stronger, the will power is weaker, and the guilt, man. The guilt is aggressive and mean. You begin to believe that you’re never going to be able to find a happy balance and that you’re destined to crash and burn when it comes to sugar.

And then, it happens.

You let yourself off the hook. This derailment isn’t the end of the road, but merely a hiccup along the way. You’ve learned something about yourself, what your triggers are (stress, exhaustion, overwhelm), and how to prevent something like this from happening in the future.

Back to the beginning you go.

This time, though, with newfound knowledge and ideas around how to make it past Day 22.

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

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