Sugar directly effects mental illness.
I know this personally. I don’t need the scientific studies because I have the unfortunate experience of witnessing how sugar effects my mental and emotional health.
Today is day 2 for me detoxing off it, again. That means no refined sugar in anything. Including my condiments, coffee, or any prepackaged foods. I follow the paleo diet normally and eat whole foods because I find I feel the best all the way around on it.
When I give into my sugar dragon and eat it for a few days (because I cannot just stop at one) the anger, anxiety, rage, and depression all come back full force.
I know sugar is the cause because I have gone on a strict elimination diet in the past to deal with my Interstitial Cystitis. I know intimately how each food effects my body and mental health. It’s crazy really how many foods seem to effect my emotions.
Wheat, dairy, and refined sugar are the worst culprits for my mental health issues.
I am sure there are multiple reasons why I cannot tolerate sugar like most of the human population. It is probably a combonation of my gut bacteria, past illnesses, past trauma, and allergies. Whatever the reason, I wish it were easier to stop eating for good.
I have known how sugar affects me for 9 years now, and I still get caught up in the roller coaster of eating it and detoxing from it.
I am determined, again, to do this for good. My sugar addiction effects every area of my life. My relationship with my husband, kids, friends, coworkers. Anxiety and depression doesn’t work well in relationships. My sleeping, energy levels, and overall health are effected negatively. My gut looks 4 months pregnant after eating it for a few days. My memory gets worse. I have a hard time putting thoughts together and writing (hence why this blog my seem choppy). I feel a fog over my brain. I gain fat rapidly. I swear I gain a pound a day eating it.
Cleary, eating sugar is not worth the few seconds of joy it gives me when I eat it. So why do it?
I guess this is why I believe I have an addiction to it. When you feel out of control with something you use, and find it very hard to stop even though it negatively effects you, it is typically an addiction.
Mine would be a food addiction, specifically sugar. I used cocaine in my younger 20s and was addicted to nicotine, I can tell you sugar is by far harder for me to quit. I would put it at least in the same category as nicotine. The difference is EVERYONE eats it and accepts it, you can get it anywhere and its totally NORMAL. Something is so wrong here.
I am determined this year to let it go for good. Today I deal with the emotional anguish of my mental health symptoms becoming worse due to detox. It typically lasts about 5-7 days and then I feel good again.
I know without a doubt due to personal experience refined sugar is at least connected to depression, anxiety, and probably a number of other mental health conditions. I feel this is lacking in a most mental health programs. Throughout my years healing from trauma in many different healing environments, never was diet brought up as being something that could help my symptoms. I am determined to change this when I become a therapist. Diet and lifestyle change has been the biggest help for me. I guess I have Interstitial Cystitis to thank for bringing this to my attention.
I urge you to try the whole 30 or paleo diet for a full 30 days to see if your mental health symptoms improve. It is worth it if it helps! Just be aware you might feel worse like me, before you feel better!
Its official I made it to 38 yesterday! It was a great day. I spent it with my family and kids opening presents for early Christmas. They are going with their dad and his wife back to Chicago to see there nana and papa this year. My husband and I opened presents with them and went for a steak dinner. My 10 year old son LOVES steak, it was so cute to watch him stuff his face. Then we played a board game and eat ice cream. We all throughout enjoyed ourselves. I did feel quite drugged with brain fog by bed time.
I got a pint of my favorite ice cream on the way home from dinner. Culver's creamy chocolate. I just finished it tonight, the day after my birthday. I woke up super bloated, with pimples forming. Totally expected and happens whenever I eat sugar. Anyway I have been noticing again how much I hate thinking about food. Last week I made it 4 days without sugar. Only 4 days. I had major anxiety and detox symptoms and then after having a bit to much wine at a holiday party, I caved and eat some sweet treats they had. Then the next day I followed my cycle of giving in and eating more because I "already did" and it was almost my birthday. Today, the day after my birthday I am still eating it because "I had some ice cream left". I see how my thoughts do this to me but I keep giving it anyway.
So, whats my reason, whats my why for giving it up and healing this food addiction? I work in sales and my boss often asks us what our why is for making money. Well, I think finding and focusing on your reasons can help fire up motivation.
My why for not eating sugar this year is:
1. No more emotional ups and downs from sugar rushes and crashes, no more sugar monster
2. To help manage my depression
3. To feel in control of my health
4. To eat to live not live to eat
5. To no longer be so bloated I look 4 months pregnant
6. To protect myself from the many chronic illnesses refined sugar has been linked to
7. To stabilize my weight
8. To live with more energy and creativity (I feel like sugar dulls my brain and creativity)
9. To learn to feel my emotions instead of stuff them down with food
10. To overcome my addiction. I am a sugar addict. I need to overcome this. Addiction effects all areas of my life negatively.
I am going to start out with a ketosis type diet because in the past this diet has proven to work the best for me. If you don't know what this is, I will be eating a lot of healthy fats, proteins, and my carbs will come from vegetables and some fruit. At first I have horrible detox but within a few weeks I typically loose all my cravings for sugar. I feel full quicker and I feel more in control of eating healthful foods. When I eat a lot of carbs, I tend to crave more carbs and I end up eating sugar. I know I need something that works for me though, so I am going to allow two gluten free cheat meals (without refined sugar) every week.
Anyway, every week I will update. This is my goal anyway. I have tried to do this for the last 5 years. I have overcome so many health challenges. I have learned so much, but this addiction has got to stop. I hope knowing I am going to write about it will hold me accountable. My goal this year is to slay my sugar dragon once and for all this year!
Ir turn 38 in one week. I can’t believe I made it this far! Seriously, I feel like I have been through a lifetime of events, but at the same time I’m not ready to go just yet.
Although I have learned so much, this does not mean I always follow what I have learned.
I want to go into the 2nd half of my life with a fierce devotion to trying to stick to everything I have learned thus far. About health, diet, exercise, relationships, career, mental health, and so much more.
I know, I can’t be perfect.
I will fail, but I want to strive to really live what I know.
I want to experience the fruit of sticking to the truths I have been taught through so many different trials. I feel like I have spent the last 38 years in a laboratory with me as the subject. Isn’t that what it’s like for all of us at some points?
Experimenting with so many different ways of life. I finally feel I know my recipe to feel my best, now sticking to it is the challenge.
I know I have more to learn, I will never stop learning here until I take my last breath. I feel this year will be about learning what can happen when I stick to the hard things. The things that make me give up something about myself. A comfort, a habit. The things that make me anxious and the slight fear of the unknown. The “things” I know I must do. The things I know I will regret on my death bed if I don’t do. Such as finishing my eBook about IC healing.
Women need to know healing interstitial cystitis is possible!
There is NO WAY I can heal from that and not share the hope with others! As much as I have wanted to finish writing about it, I get so busy with actual life, family, and career it gets put last. I need to make time!
I applied to a master’s program this week for counseling. I guess I have to much free time on my hands. HA!
This has been something I have known I wanted to do since I was a child. When everyone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them a psychologist and a writer. I don’t know if I even knew what that meant as a 9-year-old, but it was already in me somehow! I have always been fascinated with psychology and mental health. I have had plenty of my own challenges with depression and anxiety and my mother was a chronic hoarder who also live with major depression my entire life. My dad was an addict, so I guess you could say I was thrown into the school of mental health from birth.
While healing from IC I learned so much more about diet, lifestyle and how it effects not only physical health but mental and emotional health. I have learned so much about what is required to heal and change. It is my dream to one day help others heal from mental health issues in a holistic way. I would like to pair up with a holistic doctor and work with clients who are willing to change their lifestyle to get well. I would provide counseling and send them to someone who can test them for food allergies, inflammation, candida, and a host of other issues I know causes mental health and addiction issues. Getting well from anything requires completely getting well, not just focusing on one area such as talk therapy.
Anyway, I don’t know if I will get into this program but time will tell. I graduated with my bachelor degree in psychology a few years ago and always intended to get my masters. So we will see if I get in:)
On another note: As a birthday gift to myself, it is my intent to heal my sugar addiction once and for all this year.
I am ashamed to tell you, I have been battling this for 10 years. Yes, for 10 years now I have known I have this addiction. I am a complete sugar addict. With withdrawal symptoms and the entire addict cycle. For so many reasons I need to heal this. I am a wellness coach and I want to be able to offer other people the hope that they too can heal sugar addiction, much like they can heal IC. Sugar addiction has been harder for me to heal than my smoking addiction was. It’s true. Its a beast for me.
So, I am giving myself one full year without sugar. I am going to blog about it, and document it. I am doing this to hold myself accountable and to show the world essentially what it’s like to give up the white drug for a year. I have seen plenty of bloggers give it up for 30 or 60 days but haven’t found a whole year just yet. I think I need this long to break the addiction, so far I have never made it past 45 days. SO, tomorrow I will start this process. For now, I will go have my last chocolate turtle and bowl of ice cream. Ha!
Wish me luck!
How does sugar effect your hormones?
Do you suffer from becoming a monster the 2 weeks before your period begins?
Like clock work you seem to turn into a totally different person the 2nd half of your cycle.
You become bloated, crave carbs, gain weight, and your emotions become unmanageable. You feel like you want to leave your husband, crawl in a cave and hide.
You might have something doctors diagnose as PMDD.
There are medications that can help manage your symptoms.
I am not against medications and I think they have have saved a lot of lives and help a lot of women. I encourage you to talk to your doctor. You might be able to alleviate some of your suffering by following a medication plan with your doctor.
That being said, if you want to feel your very best lifestyle changes might need to take place as well.
We all know that eating sugar is not good for us. You are probably aware of the effect refined sugar has on your weight. Many women are not educated to understand how refined sugar interacts with hormones. There is a connection between mood swings and diet.
Insulin is a very important hormone. Your body cannot convert sugar into energy without insulin. The more sugar you eat; the more insulin you must produce to handle the foods. When your insulin levels become high after eating a sugar or high carb treat, the hormone globulin lowers. Globulin binds estrogen and testosterone in your body. When globulin levels are low these two hormone levels increase. Testosterone turns into estrogen in your fatty tissue.
What all this means is that your hormones become imbalanced. Your ratio of estrogen and progesterone is out of whack and you don’t get the calming effects of progesterone. This can produce mood swings, anxiety, insomnia and more unpleasant symptoms. You might find you crave more and more carbs because they produce serotonin and you want to calm down!
This can be a never ending cycle causing you great misery.
Cutting out all sugars is not the goal here.
We want to keep our glycemic index low to keep your hormone cycles running smoothly.
You should strive to have a whole foods diet. If you are unsure what to eat on a whole foods diet, just google “Whole Foods Diet”. There are tons of resources on online to help.
Keep your “fun sugars and carbs” minimal during this time of the month. Focus on eating 3 full meals a day made of up your favorite protein, vegetables, and fruit.
Try incorporating more low glycemic carbs such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes.
If if comes in a box or package already cooked, just say no!
If you are going to indulge in sweets make sure you do it after a full meal of protein and vegetables with plenty of healthy fats.
Slap some butter on your potatoes or rice! It will slow down the absorption of sugar.
I know changing your diet is not easy but I promise it will be worth it. Your emotions will thank you and you might even lose a few pounds.
Contact me today if you need an accountably partner who has been through this process. I would love to help you on our journey to vibrant health.
Have you found anything that helps with your PMDD? Let me know in the comments below!
You are not alone.
Look around America, most people are gaining weight rapidly. This is not your fault. Did you hear that? THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!
I know every diet book, website, blog, and doctor may be shouting to you, LOOSE WEIGHT NOW! Like it was so easy, like you haven’t TRIED to loose weight 100 times! Maybe you have lost weight and felt amazing to get those old jeans on, only to regain it back and have no idea how you got back there?
You are not alone and you have been fooled like the rest of us. Big Pharma and the USDA are greedy, very greedy. They also have a lot of money and in turn power. What does this mean to you? This means not only you but your parents and your grandparents have been conditioned in every way since childhood to buy into their lies and become addicted to high sugar products and refined grains. I don’t call them foods, they are not foods, they are poison. Advertising, “scientific” studies produced by the company themselves, and culture has taught you to eat poison that is highly addictive. Eat it when you are happy, Eat it for a reward, Eat it when you are sad, just EAT IT, culture screams! Companies pay a ton of money to scientists to figure out the exact mix of ingredients that will make your brain want their product, and make you pay for it! Hmm.. Sounds more like a drug ring then a food company..
Let’s be HONEST.
Sugar and white flour products taste amazing! Our brains release all sorts of happy chemicals when we eat these things. I could start drooling now thinking about the cheesecake that put me into a food coma for hours.
For some of us (well most of us after a certain age) our cells turn the excess sugar into fat though, not so amazing.
So a predicament we have. Our brains love the quick reward of sugar, but our bodies, hate it.
What can you do about this madness?
Here are some things you can do right now:
Eat enough protein at breakfast, never skip breakfast! Protein keeps you full longer and prevents a sugar crash. If you eat only carbs and coffee be prepared for a sugar attack later in the day.
Eat Real Foods. If it comes in a box or package – just say NO. When you feed your body real foods, such as the ones you find on the outside aisles of the grocery store, you will give yourself the nutrients you are actually craving and lessen the sugar monsters ability to pound on your door.
Do some small planning. I know you are busy! Whether you are a stay at home mom or a career woman, everyone in this culture is busy. Spend a few free minutes every day planning for the next day, or do it all on one day for the whole week. You know yourself best and which planning schedule fits your life. Plan your lunches and bring them if you will be going to work or keep them in fridge if you are a stay at home mom. Pack healthy, protein containing snacks for when cravings do hit.
Do not let yourself get starving.
Have you ever gone to the grocery store starving and not even left the store before you ripped open the chocolate bar or even ice cream container? I have! Many times, when I made the mistake of dieting and allowing myself to feel starving.
Eat until you are satisfied and don’t go shopping until you are feeling strong. I know this is not always possible, so if you must go to the store hungry at least buy some nuts and tear open that package and eat it before you hit up frozen food isle.
Give yourself a few free cheat meals a week, or don’t. This is confusing and here is why. Someone like me cannot handle cheat days. My cheat treats ALWAYS turn into a 3, 4, or 6 full day cheat week.
I have friends that can certainty enjoy a cupcake without eating the entire box, or have some ice cream without waking up in a ditch with chocolate all over them. This is not me.
Know your limits.
You need to decide who you are. Can you handle eating sugar without sabotaging yourself? Only you can deicide this for yourself. Be true to yourself.
Start journaling every day. You need to figure out your triggers of overeating and get to know yourself. Even just 10 minutes at night can help!
Get a coach! Sometimes this addiction is to much to overcome on your own, hire someone who has been through it and will hold you accountable. (Like me:)
Melissa is the Author of Healing Through the Pain How I overcame Interstitial Cystitis. She writes about health (physical, emotional and spiritual) from a vulnerable place, after overcoming Interstitial Cystitis and still battling emotional illness. She is passionate about helping women realize their ability to make changes and move forward from difficult situations in their lives.
If you have any poetry you would like to submit do so to the email below.