Go on then. I wonder how many of you will confess to stealing at least one little chocolate bar from the kids.
This probably won’t have been the first time you stole chocolate from the kids/ partner/ anyone who was fair game.
When my daughter was just six, it was Easter time and she was in hospital with a terrible illness. She was sick. She was completely off her food. She was in no condition to eat all her yummy Easter eggs given to her by the family.
I have to say, at the time I was quite proud at how long I held out. Maybe it was even as long as a week, but the inevitable conversation occurred while my little girl was in hospital, by then being treated for dysentery.
“You know how you feel really poorly and don’t want to eat your Easter eggs?”
“Mmm, I’m too poorly, mummy.”
“Well, shall I eat them for you instead?”
To which my little chicken answered, “Yes mummy, of course you can.” And I ate them all. Yes I did.
You might say I was comfort eating as, after all, I was dealing with a very traumatic time for me and my daughter; in fact I often hear that from clients who come to me with the problem of sugar, that it’s ‘comfort eating’.
But really, what possible comfort would I get from eating all my little girl’s Easter egg presents while she was so ill in hospital? None, of course.
She’s forgiven me for that now she’s a grown woman. She hasn’t quite forgiven me for stealing her Mars bar, but she’ll get over that one eventually, I’m sure.
It’s time to recognise your addiction.
The thing is, if this story were about any other substance, we would instantly recognise that kind of behaviour as typically addictive. The temptation to give in to the impulsive ‘reaching’ urge is just too strong, and you simply cannot resist, no matter what your better intentions might be.
Hiding and stealing that substance is also classic addictive behaviour. We have an urge that is deeper than persuasive thinking. You can’t beat it simply by changing your thinking patterns, because they only support your addictive urge. It’s your nervous system that runs the show.
So, how did I come to stopping that horrible addictive urge to eat all the sugar in sight until every last little bit of it was gone? How did I resist that terrible cycle of indulgence followed by forced denial?
Well, I had to firstly admit something that was hard to face, but once I did, it was such a relief.
I was an addict. Plain and simple. I was addicted to a substance that was more common that bottled water.
How come other people could resist and I couldn’t?
My sister could eat one little chocolate out of a birthday present box, and smugly put the opened box in the fridge.
All I’m thinking? “Wait till you leave the kitchen, sis. That box is mine.”
This is why I think it can be so hard to admit that you could be a sugar addict, because it doesn’t happen to everyone. Conventional nutritional advice says that we should eat a small amount to satisfy the sugar urge and let it be enough.
It isn’t though. It’s never enough.
This is a cycle that can go on for years, if not your entire life, because, at its heart, there is a ‘perfect storm’ of influences for keeping us in the grip of the white sweet stuff.
• Biological programming – our nervous system is literally programmed to hunt out sugar as it is meant to be a rare hit of energy that will keep us going. Unfortunately this rocket fuel is not ‘rare’ any longer. Far from it.
• Over-production of insulin by our pancreas when we eat a large amount of refined sugar, because it can’t gauge how much we’ve eaten. This leads to a massive dip in our blood sugar so 24 hours later we feel an uncontrollable urge to top it up again.
• Addictive ‘reaching’ is run by our nervous system, not our thinking. This is why we can think “I don’t even want this,” even as we put that sugar to our mouth.
We’ve all decided to have a ‘not eat it day’ when we wake up in the morning, right? In fact, our thoughts just support that ‘reaching’ mechanism with all kinds of different persuasive tactics. I’ve thought them all, I’m sure!. “It would be rude not to now I’ve been given it/ offered it/ it’s been put in front of me” or “I’ll just eat this then it will all be gone out the house.” “It’s my little treat.” “I’ll start the diet tomorrow.”
How to beat your sugar addiction.
The best way to beat this addiction is to see it as an addiction. You’re not greedy and you’re not an emotional cripple, just an addict. So follow these steps below and you will really be on your way to getting it out of your body and out of your life.
1. Take sugar out of the equation in one go. Otherwise you’re just fooling yourself. Get help to do so. There are some great downloads out there to help you change how you think about it so that you won’t feel like you’re missing out on your ‘little friend’.
2. Check the labels on everything, as most processed food is loaded with it. If you eat it, as an addict, you WILL keep triggering that addictive crave for it. Sugary fruit will simply not cut it for you. It will soon become a sugar substitute, so avoid it and go for berries instead.
In fact, avoid all processed carbs and use good fats, such as butter and avocados, as they will replace the energy you would have gained from the refined foods. Your body will thank you a hundred times over. It will comfort you in a deeper, more satisfying way, too
3. Try learning Thought Field Therapy (TFT). It’s my go-to trick that I use if I do eat sugar and set up that craving cycle. Look below for information about this amazing little technique that stops cravings in their tracks.
4. Notice your own addictive triggers; when and where do they happen? This will arm you with an understanding of what you might need instead as a source of comfort, or treat, or reward, or whatever it is that triggers the start of the addictive cycle.
It will take time to get to know your own processes, which is why it’s a good idea to have some back-up help. Sugar is everywhere, and this will be a real chance to learn more about yourself and your own particular needs.
5. Once you get to notice what your particular triggers are, then you can start to take a step back from your own brand of persuasive thinking. You’ll be surprised at what you discover.
The physically felt sensation of the crave is what drives your ‘reaching’ behaviour. It’s somewhere just below your ribs, and it’s like a little ‘tickle’ or a ‘buzz’ of nerve messages. Once you understand it for what it is, you can REALLY begin to own it, rather that IT owning you.
6. Eat a good breakfast. If we eat the sugar at night, and wake feeling that sickly groggy feeling in the morning, it can be tempting to skip breakfast. But there’s a lot of research that shows eating a good, high-protein breakfast with some good fats will help to arm you against the cravings in the evening.
7. See it for what it is. Just granulated sugar, that’s all. In a thousand different disguises, it’s the only bit that truly does it for you at the end of the day. And it is a poison. The more you practise seeing those sugary products for what they are, the less they will appeal.
After all…it’s only sugar, right?
Find out more…
For more information about TFT take a look at the website www.thoughtfieldtherapy.co.uk