Looking at food additives and how they affect your family, my last few blogs introduced you to the rather full on topics of addiction and detoxing.  With your new found awareness of the additive-addiction cycle, you now know what to expect during the stages of detox.  So as your darling little werewolves start to transform back to calm little human beings, the next stage to emerge is what I call the emotional roller coaster of change.

From about day 7 right through to the 3 or 4 week mark, there will be a whole gamut of emotions and behaviours coming into play as the detoxing continues and the reality of the change takes hold.  Before embarking on the actual change to an additive free lifestyle, it helps to have a handle on what to expect during the process of change, to inform, empower, guide and support your family through it all with ease.  It’s also useful to know for parents too, as you’re all going through this change together, and experiencing the same journey through change.

So here’s what to expect, and more importantly, how to deal with each bump and rise on the rollercoaster…

The 7 emotions on the roller coaster of change are:

1. Fear and Anxietyemotions2

How am I going to do this?  What about my favourite foods?  Nothing will taste as good… All those obstacles and the mind games we play – and our kids too – to try and stop the change from even starting.  

How to combat this stage? 

Solid goal setting, planning and preparation and good support, inform and empower them!  Check out my blog on change to help with your goal setting and any fear of change.

2. Happiness  

Usually after the first few detox days and the additive-addiction lows, there is a feeling of complete happiness and glee at the whole change.

Yay!  We’ve starting something great and it’s going well! Something is finally changing!

All lovely happy, happy, joy, joy feelings – which are great, but often not long lasting when this early in the piece.  Remember I did say it was a rollercoaster of emotions so it doesn’t stop there!

How to deal with this stage?  

Embrace the positivity, highlight the benefits and teach your kids how to use the happy vibes to fuel them through the other emotions/stages.

3. More Fear and Feeling Threatened  

Now reality starts kicking in and the full impact of the change is more noticeable. The old habits and routines are feeling threatened and not wanting to give up that easily!

I really can’t have red frogs anymore.  This is way bigger and harder than I thought.  It’s taking away all my fun.  It’s impossible to stick to this change. emotions3

Some choose to hop off the ride here and visit that lovely place called Denial… There’s nothing really wrong here that needs changing and I don’t really need to make the change, etc.  Beware, it’s a trap!  Change is good! Let go of the fear and embrace the change.  

How to combat this stage?   

Recognize these feelings, but remember the goal setting steps and plans in place to overcome such obstacles, let go and shift your energy towards highlighting the positive reasons for change and focus on ways to stay positive (exercise, sport, pets, games etc).  It’s not impossible to stick to the change!

4. Guilt  

This is also a not so nice place to visit but a common stop off for parents and mothers in particular.  Guilt at not making the change sooner, guilt for being a “bad parent” and giving additives to your kids, guilt about sneak eating or having processed food with additives… Plus the good friend of guilt – blame can pop in too.  All very unproductive and unnecessary thoughts and feelings!

How to combat this stage? 

Remember we are human, we are doing the best we can with the information we have, and we are not perfect beings 100% of the time!  We make mistakes and fall off the wagon, and that’s ok, because it gives us an opportunity to learn and grow and change for the better.  Be kind to you and your kids when this stage of the change and detox process kicks in!  Let it go and move on!

5. Depression  

If we latch on to the guilt, the fear and the concerns about the change journey, we can quickly fall into a deep level of sadness.  This is often exacerbated by the detoxing process because the additive-addiction cycle already creates a ‘low’ from a lack of dopamine stimulating additives – the thing that gives us pleasure (dopamine) is not being released as we’re no longer eating the foods that stimulate it.  Plus, the grieving has begun for lost habits, favourite foods and old patterns.  Without the right coping strategies, the guilt, fear, addiction ‘low’ and loss can be a combination leading straight to depression.

How to deal with this sadness? 

This is the time to find other forms of fun to stimulate that dopamine!  Create new ways to feel good – try sport, playing with pets, playing games, etc.  Despite the cliché, being active, supporting each other, and laughter is the best medicine here.


Which will you choose?

6. Fight or Flight  

The age-old instinctive flight or fight scenario really emerges during the change process.  It comes down to a choice.  Yes, there’s some fear, sadness, and all the low feelings associated with the additive-addiction cycle.  The choice is to either

  1. fight it off and move onwards and upwards in your journey to change, or
  2. go for the flight option and bug out.  This isn’t for me, I quit  

How to deal with this fight or flight instinct?  

Old habits and the mind games associated with change and addiction can be really strong here and seem like a rather attractive alternative compared to sticking it out.  But really, it’s just the bottom of the rollercoaster curve, and you know what that means?  There’s only upwards as an option, so it gets better!  Choose the fight option and start accepting the change.

You need to not only tell yourself this, but also help your kids work through too, so they can start listening to their bodies for the right messages that are pure and true, and begin to feel good.

Oh – and it’s important here to not get too cranky in the fight phase.  It’s not really a battle, just a good move in the right direction – upwards!  No need for anger or hostility as you journey on and fight to accept the change.  Better to accept it with positivity and love – for yourself, for the foods you put into your system, and for the good feelings it creates!

7. Good Vibes  

After acceptance comes the good stuff.  The light is visible at the end of the tunnel.  Change is good and the pure healthy additive free foods help you, and your family, feel happy and calm.  No more mixed messages, no more exaggerated lows and highs, old habits are broken, new ones are starting to stick and life is good!

How to deal with this stage?  

Ride the wave! Recognise the efforts put in and benefits gained and reward each other.  Stick to your new habits and keep the good vibes going! And always remember, when embarking on such a positive journey, it really helps to reflect, reassess and reward your family along the way!


So that’s what to expect when embarking on a little detox from additives and how to start dealing with what comes up during the change process.   When you start on this journey, it takes a while to cleanse your system and to understand, cope with and balance the feelings, habits and reactions associated with change.  Understanding the 7 emotions of change also really helps get perspective on the timeframe needed – it is good to go through at least a 4 week plan when changing to an additive-free lifestyle to allowyourself and your family the time to fully experience, process and let go of all the emotions within the roller coaster of change so you don’t miss any steps and find you have to learn the lessons later.

It’s often very useful to have a visual reminder of the common emotions associated with change, so keep an eye out for a super-duper info graphic representation to print and stick on your wall and help you talk through it all with the kids…  It’s coming soon!

Until then, remember, change is good – stop fighting old habits and start building healthy new ones!

Loren x