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I’ve honestly never thought I would “quit” sugar. I tend to find “all-or-nothing” diets don’t work for me (or, well, most people :))
Plus, I just love sugar.
But recently, I started following the nutrition guidelines for the Hammer and Chisel workout from Beachbody, and guess what? There’s little to no sugar involved in it. Eeeeek.
I was nervous to start, but I’ve really needed to get back in the swing of exercising and eating right, so I decided to take the plunge – and try to focus more on what I could eat than what I couldn’t.
I’ll admit, I didn’t crave junk food as much as I thought I would. Part of that is working out again, which naturally reduces my cravings. It’s also probably in part due to getting the proper ratio of fat/carbs/protein. But what has really sucked is how incredibly irritable and anxious I’ve been.
I realized the first day that it had to be because of going “cold turkey” after maintaining a steady diet of sugary snacks for weeks, which left me with two options:
- Give up and have a Jolly Rancher.
- Keep going and accept that it would eventually go away and be worth it.
So… I chose the latter (even though I indulged half a cookie on day 2, because #yolo.)
But that leaves me to figure out how to deal with my irritability – especially because my two-year-old is sick and my husband’s chronic pain is acting up. I apparently have excellent timing, but anyway.
I experimented a little and came up with things that helped.
How To Deal With Irritability When Quitting Sugar
Focus on your why.
I actually wrote myself a list during church the Sunday before I started, and it was way more helpful than I realized it would be.
Ignore the messiness (oh, and I’m not pregnant – just FYI! The “new baby” mention is because I want to get stronger and be more comfortable pregnant whenever it happens next :))
But seriously – it’s super helpful to remember WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, especially when you go through periods of total suck. It’ll help you keep them in perspective.
Exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety and increase the feel-good chemicals (technical term.) Even though I’m doing the Hammer and Chisel workouts, I’ve been trying to go on walks when I’m feeling anxious as well.
Which is actually great, because my son loves to go on walks, even if he’s stuck in his stroller. Win-win.
But if you’re not exercising and trying to eat healthier, you’re making things way harder on yourself. When you exercise, it reduces your cravings. And again, makes you happier – which means you’re less inclined to stress eat.
You just can’t go wrong with it.
Get more sleep.
Okay, maybe this just isn’t possible for you right now. Hand raised right here – sick toddlers don’t sleep very well!
But sleep = awesome. Make sure it’s a priority! It might not reduce your crankiness due to lack of sugar, but at least you won’t have an additional factor making you cranky 🙂
No, really. I’m not big on meditation (or even yoga) – I’m just a super impatient person and I find it incredibly tedious.
Arguably, that probably means I need it more. I’ll look more into that later.
But hop on YouTube and look up white noise tracks. There’s lots – ocean, creek, rain, whatever. Or download the Calm app (free!) and use that. It’ll guide you through relaxing breathing, which is way less hokey than I thought.
It totally works. And it’s great to use while your grumpy toddler is in time out to make sure he comes back to a centered, loving Mommy.
Try essential oils.
These work like a charm. Seriously. I turned to these a lot when I was pregnant (and, again, irritable :)) and they came in handy again when managing my “withdrawal” symptoms.
This one is my favorite. I used a sample of a comparable one from DoTERRA when I was pregnant, but to be honest – that’s way out of my price range. This one is just as high-quality and only $8 (and free shipping, woo!)
I’d totally get this one before you plan to go off sugar – just to be safe.
Seriously, it’s not easy to wean yourself off sugar, especially if you’ve been hitting it hard for a long time. But the side effects are short term, and it’s totally worth it.
Well, I hear that’s the case anyway. I’ll let you know when I’m on the other side of this 🙂