How long does it take to get over a sugar addiction? That depends on how deep you’re in it.
On the one hand, it can take up to two weeks (sometimes longer) to get over the physical cravings for sugar, carbs and starches. Your body is used to running on short-term fuel, so when you take it away, it craves the instant energy.
But there’s way more to it than retraining your body to use stored energy. There’s the psychological and emotional dependency of how you have used sugar as a reward. There are the ritualistic habits of when and where you have your treats. There’s cultivating beneficial bacteria in your gut.
The fact is, for many of us sugar is deeply embedded not only in our habits, but in our identity. And upgrading your identity to someone who is disinterested in sweets will take some time.
Changing one’s self-identification takes time. It is evolutionary. It took you more than one month to build your dependency, so it will take you more than one month to dismantle it. You need to grow into someone else: someone who doesn’t turn to sugar/carbs to avoid feelings; someone who doesn’t use sugar/carbs as a reward; someone who doesn’t punish yourself by over indulging. This process of becoming is iterative: you gradually become someone who can intuitively feel what and how much is good to eat, given your level of physical and mental exertion. This will be unique to YOU.
It is said that it can take smokers multiple attempts to quit smoking for good. That is because it is both the nicotine and the habits that they miss. It’s similar when quitting sugar: each time you quit, you learn more about your body, your emotions, and your tolerances, until one day you can look at a chocolate chip cookie and it will have NOTHING on you. You will be detached both physiologically and emotionally.
That’s why I say it takes two weeks and two years to quit a sugar addiction: It takes two weeks to shift your energy source and get through the hard-core cravings; It takes up to two years to feel solidly on safe ground, when you can choose to have an ice cream and it won’t drag you down into a spiral of dependency. You just have the ice cream, enjoy it for what it is, and move on, back to the more nourishing foods you’ve come to enjoy.
But you’ll be feeling more in control and confident WAY sooner than two years. In fact, every month that goes by when you are noticing your habits and thoughts, is a month you are building new skills for becoming a healthier you.