When a person has been eating an excessive amount of sugar, their body and their brain will be programmed to need it and will go into withdrawals without it. This is a textbook case of addiction. Many people are unaware that sugar is a legitimate addiction, brushing it off as a “sweet tooth” or “low self control,” minimizing the biological and chemical ways it alters a person’s system to crave it. Bringing a sugar addiction under control is a difficult task for the addict, in some ways every bit as difficult as controlling an alcohol or drug addiction, but it is entirely possible to do so.
When you are ready to take control of your personal health and end your sugar addiction, the first thing to keep in mind is to respect your sugar problem like an addiction. Part of the reason people fail is because they do not take their condition seriously. This is often because their support system does not take it seriously. Well meaning family members might tell you that you simply need to be on a diet, not understanding that your system is addicted to sugar and feel ill without it. Treating an addiction like an addiction means applying the Twelve Steps to it, which requires surrender, humility, treatment, self-help literature and even calling on your higher power for support.
Any addiction is really just a way of escaping instead of coping, so in order to be successful, you need to use your cognitive behaivoral skills to think critically about why you abuse sugar so that you can think your way into healthier thoughts and behavioral patterns. Part of this is by finding healthy ways of achieving the same peace of mind that sugar gave you, such as through exercise, yoga, meditation or a beloved hobby. This, plus learning to positive self-talk, is the definition of healthy coping. Quitting cold turkey is not for everyone. If you have to, take baby steps toward your goal. Slowly begin to taper off your sugar intake and replace the refined sugars you eat with natural sugars. Then slowly bring the level of natural sugar you ingest into balance. If you relapse and binge on sugar, start again the following day. Be persistent, do not give up, tell your support system what you are experiencing and reach out for help. There is hope for your sugar addiction!