I have a confession to make. I have a bonafide genuine sugar addiction. And I don’t just mean that in a playful snarky way. I legitimately am addicted to sugar. Now let me preface this post by saying I am currently in recovery and am doing well!! I ‘ve overcome my addiction a few times in my life, but it always seems to creep back in. Can we talk about this for a minute? Because maybe you have the same problem, or maybe it’s not sugar – maybe it’s something else that is “harmless” and you don’t realize it’s an addiction. Like your smart phone or Facebook.. maybe it’s sodas or chewing gum, or shopping! I know those sound silly and harmless, but any addiction has a deeper root problem that needs to be addressed – we become addicted to things to replace something else within us that is out of balance, therefore creating a greater imbalance than the original one we started with.
When I was struggling so badly with sugar, it ruled my life. When I would eat healthy, I’d end up wanting something sweet right behind it. If I satisfie that craving I would later crash and get sleepy which caused me to want sugar again. If I got bored or anxious I would reach for sugar. If I was having a crash I would feel withdrawal, so I would fill my sugar tank back up – it’s a vicious cycle that HAD to be stopped! I would get irritated and confused when I couldn’t fill up when I felt like I need to. I felt sluggish and tired all the time, I wouldn’t sleep well, and I’d go round and round until finally one day I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I’m made for so much more.
I am a wellness professional – my career is built on helping others in their wellness journey, which includes nutrition, but inside I am craving sweets all the time. What gives?? I’ll tell you what gives – security. Comfort. The need to hold on to something that makes me feel good, because so many other things in life *don’t* feel good. The struggle is real y’all. This is the root of addiction. Do you have something besides sugar that does the same thing for you? Social media, sports, video games, shopping…?
Sugar is scientifically proven to cause an addiction in our bodies like a drug. It targets the reward center in our brain and causes us to want more, and feel withdrawal when it is not fulfilled. The negative affects of sugar on our brains and bodies are many and gravely detrimental. It affects our cognitive skills, self-control, memory, and attention. Not to mention, when it gets out of control it drives over-eating and weight-gain. For some, a small amounts of sugar at times isn’t a problem. However for someone with an addiction, a small amount triggers that reward center again and the cycle begins all over. Like an alcoholic or other drug user, a sugar addict is best to stay far far away from sugar at all times.
So… enter: “The Challenge.” At some point you have to tell yourself “enough is enough.” But you might ask yourself, what reason do you have to give up something that makes you feel good, if even for just a moment in time? You have to be able to fully understand what is happening that you can’t see. To get past any addiction, there has to be a breakthrough. It’s different for everybody, though. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to any problem. So the trick is to get to the bottom of your “why.” “Why do I need sugar?” “What is it giving me that I’m missing?” “Why am I missing that?” “Why do I want change?” “Why am I afraid of change?”
For me, I’ve found that my addiction to sugar is driven by being tired and/or sad. Sugar feeds every cell in the brain, and it spikes your blood glucose levels giving a pleasurable high but then is followed by a crash as your body metabolizes it and you have a sudden drop in blood glucose levels. This is where you get those “symptoms” of needing more and the cycle restarts.
So where do you start? The mirror.
Yep. I started by looking at myself and having a little coaching session one-on-one with the girl in the mirror. I asked myself the same questions I would ask a client. I journaled my steps and feelings. Then I slowly started backing down on the sugar a little bit at a time. That relationship has to go, but it’s definitely like a break-up so you have to put measures in place to prepare for the hard times! Sugar detox can be very stressful, so I focus alot on stress management with this. During this time I relied heavily on meditation for withdrawal symptoms. Meditation opens the neural pathways in the brain to provide new paths for brain activity during times of stress. I got my nutrition plan ready and set goals for myself. I literally used my own advice which is provided during my coaching sessions. The sugar-detox and break up that I use in my coaching practice keeps you from having a distressful and painful break-up with sugar. If you’re committed and truly want to get rid of the sugar in your life, you definitely can! There’s just so much more to it than simply “cutting out sugar.”
If you’re ready to take that step and start getting free from sugar – or some other drug-alternative addiction that is stressing you out and causing your wellness wheel to be off balance, please click here to schedule a free discovery session!