What I learned during a 2-week break from sugar, alcohol & carbs.

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It’s been 2 weeks off sugar, alcohol and simple carbs (like rice, flour, PIZZA).

I also coincidentally began anxiety meds 3 weeks ago (Lexapro) because for years I’ve pretended that I’m fine, all is good, and that I should be able to manage my crushing anxiety by changing my thoughts and actions. I am a Certified Life Coach, after all.

So, here’s where I was when I began:

  • Making myself feel bad that I couldn’t make myself feel better

  • Buffering with snacking and wine and sugar

  • Waking up really exhausted and also kinda annoyed with myself that I’d had a late-night glass of wine or scoop of ice cream

  • Tired during the day

  • Constantly over-thinking and never feeling like I could predict how I’d feel daily

  • Responding to Business Triggers with fight-or-flight responses

  • Just feeling really really crappy and sad


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My recent protocol:

  • Lexapro daily (ps it still hasn’t kicked in- I hear it takes 3-4 weeks)

  • Bed by 10pm (most nights)

  • Lots of reading at night

  • No alcohol, sugar, flour, grains, etc. I’m following the book, ‘Always Hungry?’ by

  • Therapy (talking shit through, basically)

  • Self-coaching (though I’m going to admit I am not that effective at this)

  • Working out 3x a week (spin at Harness Cycle)

  • Reading + writing in the mornings


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So, after 2 weeks, here’s what I can tell you:

  • It was relatively hard for me to give up all this stuff because I really clung to it to make me feel better.

  • My brain was saying things to me like, “It’s so unfair that you have to go to this party and not enjoy a cocktail or a piece of cake!”

  • It was worse leading up to any moment that I’d want to order pizza or eat a donut or want a glass of wine than it was in the actual moment. That was weird and unexpected.

  • Within 3 days I was sleeping better and waking up with energy.

  • When I wake, I feel oddly proud of myself that I know I consumed a lot of water and no alcohol the day before (I was really judging myself and didn’t realize how much).

  • I found out how to make low-carb crackers (that taste amazing) and it was super easy.

  • I thought that I had social anxiety and that food and drinks made it tolerable to be in social situations but I realized that I was happy to talk to people and weirdly proved to myself that I can engage people socially without food or drinks.

  • I am not very hungry any longer and I don’t really have too many cravings.

  • I still find myself wanting a glass of wine (or a scoop of ice cream) at home while I’m working or watching a movie or reading and that seems like it’s going to take a minute to go away.

  • I like really good food, not just eating for fuel. I love reading about food and trying to recipes and cooking for other people and trying creative foods around town (and the world) and I want to be able to continue that.


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So, what will I do now?

What a riveting story for you all. Haha. But seriously, I think that working through social and business anxiety IS a subject worth talking about. Connecting to your body and mind and emotions is a good thing. Numbing out with food and drinks (and over-thinking in my case, too) is not healthy for me.

I have been missing clues from my body and my heart and it’s contributed to my sense of overwhelm and being unsure what I should do next or how to be happy and move on projects and work that is meaningful and profitable for me.

So, for me, all of this comes back to me existing in the world in a joyful and productive way. I know that you might not think that eating or drinking has anything to do with that (what I call Emotional + Creative Health) but it just might have more to do with it than you think.

  • I’m moving onto Phase 2 of the book I’m using to re-set my body’s natural awareness system where I’ll still limit sugar, carbs and alcohol

  • This part of the program does allow a bit of sweetness in more natural forms (honey + maple syrup + dark chocolate)

  • And it allows a bit of red wine

  • I’ll allow myself to plan to eat fun and fully off-plan treats on Fridays, Saturdays + Sundays (sparingly but joyfully) and I’ll stick to the plan on weekdays. So that means no weekday drinking, which I anticipate will be hard again.

  • The hardest part of the no-drinking part has been the negotiating before I go somewhere to decide if I’ll allow myself to have a drink. It was oddly easier to avoid it fully that it has been (so far) to moderate. Will keep you posted!

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There’s a reason I have a bunch of motivational and positive posters around- because my inner critic is always telling me everything is crashing down around me. And that panics me.

I sometimes believe it’s true.

Even now talking about it, my heart is starting to race.

Stopping this cycle is my most important mission right now.

I want to feel better. I want to perform better. I want to love myself and accept myself and see the fruits of my labor. I don’t want to continue to white-knuckle-drive my way through my life.

Sending you love if you need it.

xo

steph

WellnessStephanie Sheldon