Withdrawal from Problem Foods? Here’s How to Make is Suck Less
Let’s just get this out of the way. Food addiction is real and for the growing number of addicts in America, coming off of problematic foods can be just as difficult as recovering from any other addiction–including hard drugs.
So if being told the words “just enjoy it in moderation” for the 200th time makes you want to choose violence…we get it.
This hard reality is getting increasing attention, for good reason! We’ve got a serious weight problem in America and problematic food choices are a major contributing factor. One study found that about 30% of the research subjects were addicted to food. And cleansing your body of something you are addicted to comes at a price.
We know that kicking a smoking habit is seriously hard. Getting clean from hard drugs is even more terrible. We all know someone who got clean from something or at the very least, we have seen detox portrayed on screen. Withdrawal is no walk in the park. And when you choose to pause or completely eliminate problematic foods, your body will go through withdrawal, too. Here’s why.
Why We Suffer Withdrawal when We Quit Certain Foods
You will not be surprised to hear that the common culprits of food addiction include processed foods, sugar, flour, and the more all encompassing term, junk food. You may also be aware that living inside your gut is a massive and sensitive system of over 100 trillion microbes that we call your microbiota. Yes it sounds gross, but bear with us.
When your microbiota is accustomed to a diet of sugar, flour, and processed foods it will demand that you keep the junk coming. Think of the giant talking plant in Little Shop of Horrors alla “feed me Seymour”.
Each microbe is miniscule in size but together they make a loud and forceful army. If you stop feeding them what they want, they will send you some very difficult to ignore signals.
Irritability, depression, anxiety, nausea, malaise, fatigue, headache, cramps, and digestive upset in either direction are all exceedingly common. Trickiest of all, you will start craving the very thing you are trying to avoid.
Sounds like a party, right?
In fact, it bites the big one. The good news is, you’re tough as hell. We see it, and we know you can move right through the withdrawal and on to being your healthiest self yet.
But just in case you aren’t feeling quite as confident, we’ve got some solid strategies that can make withdrawing from problem foods suck less. And that will help you stay the course to meet your weight loss goals, improve your wellbeing, and get you ready to slay.
Common Problem Foods
sugar, wheat, flour, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, pork,
red meat, processed foods, egg, peanuts, cold cuts
Managing Withdrawal when Pausing Problem Foods
Detoxing from addictive foods takes time. How much time depends on the individual. Most people find the first week to be the toughest with symptoms easing over the course of about a month. Managing your cravings, mental health, and physical symptoms is the key to avoiding a full on relapse, or at the very least, making the experience more tolerable.
Oh, exercise! Is there anything you don’t make better? If you were planning on “getting used to your new eating habits” before adding exercise in, you may be doing more harm than good.
Getting your heart rate up, breaking a sweat, and exerting your muscles are perfect ways to beat back anxiety, boost your mood, and make you feel freaking good. Bonus? All that sweating that comes along with it will cleanse your body of those problem foods faster.
Change of Scenery
When a craving hits you hard, and it most definitely will, get up and get out of there, wherever you are. If you’re working from home, take a brisk walk around the block. If you’re at a restaurant with your girls, excuse yourself to the bar or bathroom to compose yourself. If you’re relaxing on the couch, go to a different room and strike up a conversation with a loved one. You get the point. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to change your mind.
Clear Your Mind with Meditation
Meditation offers practitioners an array of benefits, many of which are helpful when withdrawing from problem foods. When you’re worried or overwhelmed or feeling uncertain, a short meditation can be just the ticket to clear your head and make you feel calm and secure. It can be tricky to sit still and do nothing. It’s a practice and you won’t be perfect at it! That’s totally fine. Just be still, listen to your breath, and feel yourself get centered. You can do this completely on your own or try a guided meditation.
Stay Hydrated with Water
If you aren’t drinking enough water, it will be impossible to tell if your symptom is related to withdrawal or dehydration. They have lots of overlap! Improve headache, fatigue, confusion, and much more by drinking plenty of water. This will also help flush the body of lingering toxins to move the process along more quickly.
Stretch it Out
Stretching your muscles is not only super relaxing and a source of pleasure, it also helps relieve withdrawal symptoms. Stretching improves circulation and eases muscle pain and stiffness. Yoga is an excellent choice because it focuses on the mind and body together. If that’s not your thing, there are tons of options for stretching in 5 minutes or less.
Get on a Set Sleep Schedule
When we are not fully rested, it is so much harder to resist cravings, think clearly, and make decisions that are in line with our goals and values. If there is one thing that many of us are severely lacking, it’s adequate sleep. Adults need seven or more hours and 35% of American adults are not getting that. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, giving yourself 7-9 hours of sleep. Your withdrawal, and daily life, will go smoother because of it.
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Other weight loss programs in Denver fail to focus on the foundational aspects that get you feeling better without fad diets. It all starts with you and the relationship you have with your mind and body.
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