Are you constantly craving chocolate, sweets or refined carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread or potato chips? Once you start eating is it hard stop? Read on and I’ll explain why you crave it and how to stop sugar cravings.
Stop sugar cravings (in a surprising way)
First of all, I know the struggle with sugar well. I was a compulsive sugar “addict” for over 15 years.
I battled with an eating disorder and other mental health issues such as Bulimia, depression, body dysmorphia, and Binge Eating Disorder (BED).
If you struggle with sugar cravings, it’s understandable that you would try to control it through willpower and abstinence. However, abstinence is not the answer.
Brute force detoxing simply does not work.
That type of approach only has short-term success and almost always triggers a relapse after 30 days (or less).
This creates more stress, anxiety, frustration, and self blame; which incidentally increases the cravings and how you respond to the cravings when they come on.
I know so many of you FEEL addicted to sugar. However, just because you ‘feel’ addicted, doesn’t mean you are PHYSICALLY addicted.
When you are physically addicted to a substance it’s dangerous and potentially life-threatening to withdraw from. Alcohol withdraw can kill you. However, we don’t get life-threatening symptoms when we stop eating sugar.
So with that in mind it’s crucial to mention that sugar isn’t inherently “bad”. Like most things, the poison is in the dose.
Just about all the information out there on sugar suggests it’s addictive, disease-causing and should, therefore, be heavily restricted.
However, demonizing sugar (or any food) puts it on a pedalstool and gives it power.
We say it’s forbidden and it must be detoxed and cleansed from our bodies. Like it’s the devil or something…
But this is not neccessary. We need to find the middle ground.
So why do you crave it?
Restriction has been shown to be the number one cause of binge eating. Binge eating is not ‘caused’ by any addictive ingredients in foods, it’s caused by our body sending signals that it wants something that it has been denied, so it ‘goes all in’ for it when it does become available.
A classic example of all or nothing eating.
If you’re looking for help with sugar, here are some tips to begin your journey:
1. Keep blood sugar levels balanced by eating enough and regularly
2. Don’t restrict sugar. No sugar diets/detoxes or cleanses (these are the problem, not the solution).
3. Learn to eat sugar mindfully as part of a balaned diet
4. Find ways to move your body you enjoy
5. Don’t replace sugar with fake sugar (artificial sweeteners)
6. Take weight loss out of the equation
7. Observe your body and sensations when eating sugar
8. Be kind to yourself (no shame or guilt during or after eating)
9.Tomorrow is a new day to start fresh
This is a deeply nuanced concept and of course will require far more than one blog post to master it.
The point here is to help you see there can be freedom and peace around sugar. You’re are not addicted, but you could be responding to restriction.
Today I eat sweet foods, but not nearly as much as I used to eat when I was trying to restrict it and avoid it and eat less of it.
Believe it or not, sweet things can actually sit in my kitchen cupboard and I forget about them. When I was trying to restrict it they wouldn’t last a day.
The key is to eat something when you crave it and the craving will go away. It takes practice. But it is possible to eat something sweet and then move on. End of story. No binge.
And you can do it too!
Be compassionate with yourself. Sugar can be a hard beast to slay, but when you remember it’s just sugar, you can win your power back, one day at a time and stop sugar cravings.
Struggling with sugar? Let’s chat. Book a call here and we’ll figure out a plan to get you back in control with it.