Did you binge on Easter candy over the weekend? It's okay. A sugar binge is not a major setback, and there are ways to recover.
I'd be misleading you if I told you I've never had to recover from a sugar binge. Because sugar is sneaky and addictive. It's hard to resist. Especially when sugar is everywhere during a holiday like Easter. Those Peeps, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans are mighty tempting. I know you didn't mean to do it. And guess what: it's not entirely your fault.
Sugar is the most widely abused drug. Yes, that's right. I consider it a drug. It acts the same way in your brain, rewarding you by activating a dopamine response. Caving into a sugar craving causes you to crave even more sweets. It's a vicious cycle. And unfortunately, a lot of people aren't prepared to handle it. Cravings are a natural human reaction to things that create a reward response in our brains. If you can think of sugar cravings as a nagging child, politely tell them no and move on. One piece of candy can't hurt you. Just like dropping your phone once isn't going to hurt it. I like to use the phone analogy with my clients. Sure, you gave into a craving. No biggie. When you drop your phone, you pick it up and vow to be more careful with it. You don't say, "Well, I dropped it, so now I better keep smashing it." So don't keep smashing sugar into your mouth just because you gave into one piece of candy.
Some sugar cravings are easy to thwart. You'll just need to replace the sugar with something else. Often times, I'll chug some water and my cravings disappear. Or I'll reach for some fruit instead of more sugar. For some people, this is easier said than done. But if you keep practicing crowding out cravings for more sweets with healthier options, you'll soon find that you don't have room for more sugar.
After binging on sugar, it's important to consume a balanced meal once you're hungry again. A balanced meal consists of clean protein sources, healthy fats, and unrefined carbohydrates. Go heavy on the veggies for some added fiber. And drink plenty of water between meals. Good quality supplements can also be very helpful. I recommend a multivitamin specific to your subgroup (prenatal, men's, women's, 55+, etc.). Mineral supplements such as magnesium and selenium can also be helpful. If you're doing all of this and you're still craving more sugar, you can try taking a gymnema or berberine supplement as well to help control sugar cravings.
In my experience, it takes anywhere from 3-7 days to recover from a sugar binge. The amount of time depends where you're at in your cycle (if you're a woman) and how regulated your hormones are at the moment. Again, remember that giving into sugar is not a major setback. You'll recover and be able to move on. Eventually the cravings will dissipate, your mood will stabilize, and that overall blah feeling from bloat and lower-quality sleep will improve.
If you still feel like you need more support at kicking the sugar habit, you're welcome to sign up for a RESTART class. This is a class I teach that helps participants restart their health. It's a 5 week intro to nutrition course that contains a 3 week detox. As a bonus, you get my support and the support of the other participants who are also trying to kick the sugar habit.