Have you ever tried to break an addiction? I am addicted to sugar. And I mean really addicted. Cigarettes, liquor, and gambling were never really my attraction. But sugar? It has always been there for me. When I have a really productive day….I want something sweet. When I get mad…..I want something sweet. When I am out enjoying my friendships….I’d rather have cake than drinks on the town.
Believe me sugar addiction is real. According to the USDA, the average American consumed 156 pounds of sugar in 2000—an all-time high. Since then, consumption has dropped slightly and in 2013 the average American consumed 132 pounds. Recent research has shown that a high intake of carbohydrates, including sugar, releases a feel good chemical in the brain called serotonin. Think of how you feel after indulging in a high sugar meal or treat—almost euphoric, right? The high of a sugar rush is temporary though. After a few hours—or even a few minutes—you start to crash and you become tired, fatigued and lethargic.
Here is my theory: if it ain’t delicious, I ain’t eating it! Let’s talk about the substitutes I made in my life for sugar:
- Give yourself more self-care: Before I attempted to eliminate sugar from my life– it’s was important to add to my life, so that I was operating from an overflow, not a deficit. So sometimes I will go for a walk when I would normally grab a treat. Or I would go to an extra gym class and I would feel “high” just like eating that candy bar. Treat yourself like you’re in detox. The first week of sugar abstinence can be uncomfortable, when the cravings are at their most powerful. OK uncomfortable may not be a strong enough word. Try downright EVIL! However, be kind to yourself: this is not the time to tackle a large project, to implement lots of changes, or to work overtime. Give yourself some extra support. Go to bed earlier. Take naps. Your body is going through a difficult time.
- Keep your blood sugar stable: I try to eat protein at every meal and eat breakfast each morning. Even my snacks are protein driven. All of these things stabilize my blood sugar, so that my moods and energy are at an even keel.
- If it ain’t delicious, I ain’t eating it: It took a LONG TIME but I don’t eat Twinkies, Cupcakes or anything else that could withstand a natural disaster.
Now let’s be honest: I relapse A LOT! But when I find that sugar craving really elevated, I try to figure what is really bothering me. Addressing the real issue has been my saving grace and took a lot of practice. I love this by quote by Mandy Hale:” It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” Peace…..