Unless you’ve been living under a rock you would realise that the latest research indicates that there is a big problem in the amount of processed sugar in the modern diet. Sugar has been linked with a host of medical problems. I won’t go into it now, so if you’re interested you can read more here… David Gillespie’s How Much Sugar site and his Sweet Poison book , or Sarah Wilson’s super cheap and awesome “I quit sugar” e-book are a great place to begin, and Nat Carter’s 50 Days No Sugar Challenge is an awesome way to educate and challenge yourself to find and skip the hidden sweet stuff..
If you’re craving sweet stuff, it can be an indication of nutritional deficiencies. There are many nutritional options that can support you to get off the sugar. Sarah’s e-book recommends going for full fat stuff instead of sweet stuff when a craving hits, her favourite is a slice of haloumi. Almonds, or other nuts, boiled eggs, extra virgin coconut oil and cacao are all good options for when a craving hits. Also some people recommend supplements like Chromium.
It’s no wonder we crave sugar, sugar is a quick release carbohydrate, and is almost drug like in the way it affects our neurochemistry. We get a hit of serotonin and endorphins; the feel good, calm and relax brain chemicals. Artificial sweeteners aren’t the answer either to get off sugar.. They won’t lessen your cravings, often tricking your brain and making you crave the real thing even more, and they have a host of other nasty effects.
But the nutritional information is not what I want to talk about today…What I’m concerned with is the emotional need for sugar. Why are you craving extra sweetness in your life?
Many of my clients come to me with a full-on sugar habit. Either wine, chocolate, cakes, or whatever they can get their hands on, sugar is one thing that they can’t say no to. Once we dig down into what’s really going on they are often overworked, exhausted and don’t feel they have much time to themselves to relax. Sometimes they might be in a job that is unrewarding, or deep in the trenches with a few young kids and have lost themselves in the role of Mum: all things to all people, except herself.
What I find is consistent with problem sugar habits is the missing ‘sweetness’ in life. Not that it’s not there mind you. It might be. Just that it’s been buried under the day-to-day stuff and happiness and relaxation is not prioritised.
When life is a bit too full on it’s an easy quick fix to turn to a glass of wine or two and Mr Cadbury for some much needed R&R after the day is over. This is a very short term fix, however, as we all know that only leads to guilt and a sugar slump afterwards, and a few extra kilos at the end of the year.
If you’re recognising yourself, I challenge you to dig deep and ask yourself what’s really missing? What would you need to add or take away from your daily routine to make your life so awesome that you didn’t even need sugar on top?
Sugar, cakes or chocolate is often anchored in our minds with deeper and more abstract ideas and feelings like, love, comfort, home, mum, or safety. Yes on the physical level you’re experiencing a physical craving, but on the emotional level you’re yearning for those meanings and feelings that you have attached to that food. Check out this post to help untangle what you’ve associated to your favourite foods.
When the craving is emotionally charged there will be a mental discussion about having it or not. “Ooh I really shouldn’t… but I deserve it, I work really hard, this is my time for myself, I’ve earned it. I’m going to feel guilty… but stuff it, it’s here now and it’s going to get eaten sometime, so it might as well be now…” Sound familiar?
In the moment of your craving, ask yourself if having that food will truly nourish your body, mind and spirit? Think of your goal and what your goal really means to you, and weigh up the choice you want to make. Remember there is no right or wrong. You’re not a bad person if you eat a block of chocolate, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just cause and effect. A block of chocolate has an effect on your body, so fully consider your choice before you indulge.
Studies have shown that when a person goes into a decision about sweet foods already feeling guilty and running that “ooh I shouldn’t but I want to..” kind of narrative in their heads they eat twice as much as someone who goes into the decision with full permission and without emotional baggage. You have more self-control when you remember that you’re an adult, and you CAN eat whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s your choice. You make the choice, you get the consequences. You’re more likely to make the choice with more foresight when you know what you’re really after.
It’s true. I do. I love the taste of true chocolate; cacao, and am constantly inventing new cacao, coconut oil, date & nut recipes and creations. You can have your chocolate, your waistline and your health if you’re willing to be creative and let your tastebuds adjust. Raw organic cacao, soaked mashed dates, and melted coconut oil blitzed in a food processor and cooled tastes 1000 times better than crappy processed chocolate, and is good for you!! There’s also some new brands that are popping up that make this kind of raw chocolate that you can buy in health food stores too, look out for these… they’re delicious… Emma & Tom Cacao Bars & Loving Earth Raw Chocolate And, Oh my! Check out these amazing recipes I just found while writing this post… Yum.. Loving Earth Recipes & The Healthy Chef Recipes
So, it might be a conversation that you need to have with your boss about adjusting your workload, a conversation with the kids to delegate some tasks, or a conversation with your husband to prioritise some much needed cuddle time. It might be a conversation you need to have with yourself to give yourself permission to prioritise looking after yourself over a basket of laundry. You are allowed to ask for what you really want, and to say no to the stuff that doesn’t serve you. That includes yucky “white-death” processed sweets. Just. Say. No! If you want sweets, prioritise yourself enough to make or get yourself something amazing that nourishes your body.
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