So, Day 1 was actually not bad at all, which was nice. But, the withdrawal kicked in full-force on Day 2 (today). No headaches or dizziness, just FATIGUE. I am still in my pajamas, albeit getting a lot done on the computer and such. Housework, errands, meetings on the outside - they'll all have to wait for a day when I have the energy to pick things up, talk to people, change clothes . . . yup, pretty debilitating. Fortunately, my baby is too young at 9 months to be bored by the lack of activity! UNfortunately, he is teething so we won't be sharing any long naps.
I had to turn off the TV today due to all the sugar cues. I get really bummed when I think about wanting a sugary snack - it actually makes me a little anxious, as does thinking about all the cues I'll encounter when I venture out into the world tomorrow.
What IS working is the hope that I don't have to do this for too long. Not that I get to eat sugar again soon, but that I will feel physically better in a few days. I'm still skeptical about recovering so fast, but I have to try because if what Dr. Avena says is true, the upside is so great.
This truly is a strange experience. I have never craved sugar my whole life. I mean, I was the kid who gave away her Halloween candy! But whatever changes take place in your body during the process of bringing a new life into the world, for me manifested as a desire for lots of food - and as time went on this desire became directed towards cakes, cookies, peanut butter cups (drool - oops, sorry), Snickers, and yes (gulp) even the Papa John's Cinnapie.
And for the nine-plus months that this has been going on, I've been telling myself that since I eat all the RIGHT foods, it's OK to indulge myself "occasionally". After all, breastfeeding requires 500 extra calories a day. So, if I'm ravenous (as I have been since the day I gave birth), what's the harm in some dessert after dinner?
I thought for a long time that because my cravings were a manifestation of pregnancy and breast feeding, that they had an expiration date (perhaps after I stop nursing), and they would just magically disappear. But, the cravings aren't the same as they were in the beginning - they are increasingly worse as my sugar tolerance increases. So now I can see my logic is the same as saying, "I'll stop taking the Oxycodone after my 6-month recovery from surgery" or, "I'll stop drinking my wine-in-a-box every night after I get through the pain of my breakup/divorce/loss." For some of us, by the time the magic day comes when the substance is no longer needed for its original purpose, it has taken on a life of its own. The slippery slope is now really wet and steep. The cute little snowball is threatening to become a full-scale avalanche.
I'm imagining how often this happens to people who are going unsuspectingly about their business, until one day they have gained a bunch of weight, or been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. I mean, our bodies change all the time in response to stress. Whether it's good stress or bad, it creates the potential for a significant shift in brain chemistry. And when it happens you may not really clue in until some part of your life has already been derailed. Here's what to look for:
You are repeatedly making decisions that sabotage your goals.
Me: Goal to lose pregnancy weight, get healthy and have business integrity as a wellness coach. Decision 1: Order Papa John's Family-Sized Cookie. Decision 2: Eat the whole cookie yourself. Don't share, and snarl at anyone who gets near the box. Decision 3: Never order Papa John's again. Decision 4: Order Papa John's . . .
So, even though I do a lot of healthy things, this "little glitch" in my health regime that I've made countless jokes about - and I will continue to joke about because it helps me - has some very un-funny characteristics. In a few days I've gone from giving myself permission to eat what I wanted - to complete deprivation. Not easy, but clearly important. If anyone else is struggling, or has struggled with something like this, I'd love to hear your story! In the meantime, I'll report in again tomorrow or the next day. Wish me luck!!!