In my book, The One-Month No Sugar & No Flour Challenge, I discuss how your brain will react as you go through the first two weeks of the one-month challenge. As you start the process of giving up sugar and flour, you have to keep in mind that all of your life you’ve been eating the sweet deliciousness of sugar and your brain would rather you didn’t stop anytime soon. In the book, I use the example of a slimy sugar slug that rests on your brain and tries to punish you for starving it. After going through the detoxification process again recently I thought of another analogy for you.
As a parent, there’s nothing worse than fighting a battle with a tired toddler that refuses to accept the fact that they are tired. They become whiny, combative, obnoxious, and downright mean. It can be a frustrating experience as a parent, and at times you might feel like just giving in and trying to make the toddler happy, even though it might not be the best thing for you.
When you begin going without sugar and flour, your brain is much like that toddler as it begins ramping up to have a final tantrum. The first few days, your brain might be distracted a bit with all the other food you’re eating, but it also has an idea that something isn’t the same. After that point, your brain becomes like a whiny toddler, letting you know that it isn’t happy by giving you a dull headache and “jabbing” you when you see the treats it’s desperately missing. Depending on your routines with sugar before starting, the effects can be minor to downright uncomfortable.
As the next few days pass, you get some full blown tantrums from your brain. Moments when you might question your sanity around the food you used to eat. Grocery store aisles might call out to you, or the candy lane at the gas station might be too tempting to even look at. As you continue to eat healthy, the tantrums may cause you to feel like you aren’t satisfied and you might find yourself foraging around your cupboards, looking for something you crave. At this point, your rational brain needs to do everything it can to help you through it. (And having a solid food plan really helps. See previous blogs!)
Finally, somewhere between day 10 and 14, the day of the big blowup happens. This is the final tantrum you will likely experience and the “tired toddler” sugar-addicted part of your brain will pull out all the stops to make you suffer. On that day, it seems like nothing you eat will satisfy your hunger. Every time you turn around, you feel like you need something to eat, even though you might have just eaten something. If you’re bored at home, then plan for a day of constantly checking cabinets and wondering what it will take to make you feel satisfied.
The good news here is on that day, you are getting the last of it, so just be strong. Much like that final big tantrum a toddler will throw, expending the last of their energy before falling asleep, your brain will accept that no sugar is coming its way. If you stay the course, then things become easier from that point forward. In fact, even though it may be difficult to believe, living without sugar and flour actually becomes easier the longer you do it. This is completely different than other programs I attempted in the past where the temptation on day one was the same as it was on day forty.
I look forward to hearing about your success story of overcoming your “Sugar Slug” or “tired toddler” brain issues. Send me your thoughts to FIGIDPress@Gmail.com.
All the best!