It’s common for people in recovery to suddenly find themselves eating tons of sugar–doughnuts, soda, pastries, candy, you name it. Addiction transference is when you quit one addiction only to replace it with another. Sugary foods provoke a strong dopamine response, and people often subconsciously discover that something sweet helps take the edge off of post-acute withdrawal.
This is especially true of people who quit drinking. Prolonged heavy drinking often leads to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. People recovering from alcohol addiction often counter low blood sugar by eating sweets. Unfortunately, this just leads to erratic blood sugar swings and more irritability and confusion.
Aside from making you gain weight, sugar causes inflammation, putting you in a bad mood and draining your energy. Reducing your sugar intake will make you healthier and it will also help your recovery by improving your mood. If you find you are eating way too much junk food since getting sober, here are some ways to cut down.
First, figure out how much sugar you’re eating. There’s extra sugar in almost all premade foods, so you probably underestimate how much you eat. Spend at least a week keeping track of your sugar consumption. Read labels and pay attention to serving sizes. Google foods you aren’t sure about. Apps like Myfitnesspal can make this a little easier.
Reduce sugar intake gradually. You don’t want to cut out all sugar immediately, or you’ll feel awful and probably give up. Look at your list of foods and see where you can easily cut out sugar. For example, if you get bread with four grams of sugar instead of 12, you probably won’t even notice the difference. You can make many similar substitutions without having to make major changes or sacrifices.
Make smart substitutions. After you get rid of the stuff you don’t even notice, look for bigger substitutions and make them one at a time. The biggest one is soda, which has tons of sugar and salt. Replace it with tea, coffee, water, or fizzy water. Juice has about as much sugar as soda, so you’ll probably want to cut that out as well, but it might make a good intermediate step if you can’t go straight to water or tea. You can also use fruit as a substitute for candy or pastries.
Get enough sleep. It doesn’t sound relevant, but if you pay attention, you will notice you are much hungrier on days you didn’t get enough sleep. You will probably be especially hungry for sweets. Keep sugar cravings to a minimum by getting plenty of sleep.
Eat more foods higher in fiber and protein. Fiber and protein fill you up and take a while to digest, slowing your drops in blood sugar. Those drops are when sugar cravings happen. Eating foods like whole grains, beans, lentils, lean meats, green leafy vegetables, and nuts give you longer lasting energy without the crash.
Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463