Dont Focus On Weight Loss
While weight loss can be a natural consequence of giving up sugar, please dont make it your focus. Its better to channel your energy towards one goal at a time. So put aside your weight loss goals for now and focus your energy on healing your sugar addiction. Then, after youve found healing with sugar, you can decide how you want to approach any extra weight youd like to lose.
Weight loss is often a pleasant, natural side effect of taking loving care of your body and freeing yourself from food addiction. In my experience, making it the focus puts too much pressure on your tender heart to lose weight quickly and easily which can lead to a binge/restrict/binge/restrict cycle with sugar.
Overcoming Sugar Addiction
Get Curious About The Real Reason
To reclaim your power over sugar, you need to take a look at whats going on inside of your head and your heart. Your mind is looking for a way to feel better when you suddenly crave sugar. Use that as a cue to yourself to get curious. Ask yourself:
Whats going on in my life?
How am I feeling right now?
What am I missing in my life?
Am I using sugar as a replacement for fun?
Consider what might be causing you to turn to sugary foods. You will start to recognize some patterns. Perhaps you eat for comfort, for distraction, or to reward yourself. Instead, look for new ways to support yourself or soothe yourself instead of using sugar. That can be as simple as journaling your feelings and talking them out on paper.
I love journaling because you arent dependent on anyone else to be there for you. If you have someone that you can talk to, thats great. Many of us dont have someone available to us or there when we have the most need for them.
Remember to stay patient and to be kind to yourself. It takes time to change, and change happens more quickly when you take your own side.
The Truth About Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are calorie-free chemical substances, used to sweeten drinks and foods in place of sugar. They are found in many products such as toothpaste, cake, desserts, ready-to-go meals, chewing gum and drinks. Some of the approved sweeteners in the UK include:
Extensive studies in the UK and US reveal that artificial sweeteners do not cause cancer. The European Food Safety Authority sets a recommended daily intake, which is the safe amount to consume. Food manufacturers claim sweeteners reduce calorie intake, lower blood sugar levels and prevent tooth decay. Dietitian, Emma Carder, states that they are safe to drink and eat, as well as being an acceptable substitute for individuals who have diabetes.
However, some individuals are sensitive to sweeteners and might experience side effects such as stomach upset and headache. Individuals with Phenylketonuria are advised not to consume products with aspartame. There is no information to support the claim that aspartame causes brain tumours or any illness.
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How To Break The Sugar Habit
Our sugar-laden diet is literally killing us. That’s the conclusion of a study reported at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in March 2013. The study authors attributed 180,000 annual deaths worldwide25,000 in the United States aloneto sugary beverages. Sodas and fruit drinks aren’t our only sources of sugar. The average American eats between 22 and 30 teaspoons of added sugar each day, according to the AHA.
“The harmful effects of sugar are primarily due to the weight gain from added sugar in the foods we eat and sugar-sweetened beverages,” says Dr. Michelle Hauser, certified chef and nutrition educator and clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Most of the deaths are related to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.”
How much sugar do we actually need? According to AHA guidelines, women shouldn’t get more than 100 of our daily calories from added sugar. In reality, “you don’t need any added sugar,” Dr. Hauser says.
How To Give Up Sugar In 11 Easy Steps
Know your enemy: Its important to know the amount of sugar in products you consume. If you knew this, youd probably eat or drink something else. If you see sugar intake as an addiction that is affecting your health, you need to reduce your daily intake until you quit.
Quitting cold turkey: If you treat sugar cravings as an addiction, its easier to stop consuming it. Quitting cold turkey is one way to stop. However, only follow this step if you know you can sustain it long-term.
Fruits contain sugars: Many people assume fruit is okay, because it contains natural sugar. However, that sugar is mostly fructose. It contains vitamins and fibre, but should be accompanied by nuts and seeds. Do not limit your sugar intake to fruits or eat fruits all the time. Look for fruits with higher water content, such as watermelon and oranges.
Remove all sugar from your environs: Remove all sugar products from your fridge, cupboard, car and workplace. Flavoured yoghurts, cordials, processed food and cookies also have to go. The temptation to eat sugary food reduces when you dont have junk in your fridge.
Stock up on health food: You need lean meat, fish, fresh produce, plain yoghurts, cinnamon and lots of green, leafy vegetables. Cook your meals with coconut oil or olive oil and avoid drowning your food in marinades and sauces.
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Do You Have Concerns About Or Have You Ever Been Treated For Drug Or Alcohol Abuse
People who develop dependencies on one type of drug are more susceptible to developing dependencies on other substancesfor example, those with an alcohol problem are more at risk for becoming addicted to prescription pain medication than the general public. This is known as “cross-sensitization.” And because sugar affects neural pathways in a similar way to drugs, those of us who have experienced immoderation in one thing can easily become overeaters of sweets. Animal studies have shown that sugar can be a gateway to alcohol abuse. It’s also been shown to be cross-addictive with both amphetamines and cocaine.
How Do I Know If Im Addicted To Sugar
How do I know if Im addicted to sugar? What are the signs? What symptoms will I experience if Im addicted to sugar?
Youve heard about sugar addiction on the evening news, and youve probably read about the evils of eating too much sugar in health magazines. This is an interview with Malia Frey from VeryWell.com that explains how to know if youre addicted to sugar:
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S To Fewer Sugar Cravings
Are you someone who cant stop eating sugar, once you start? Are you plagued with constant food cravings, especially for sweets or refined carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread or potato chips?
I understand! I was a compulsive sugar addict for over 20 years, as well as having 20 years of eating disorders My journey with sugar was a profound wrestling match. Today, it is a wrestling match that I value for how it helped me grow, face the holes in my being, and discover myself.
If youre looking for help with sugar, here are some tips to begin your journey. You may also want to explore this free video course on finding healing with sugar. For more help, please read on for a beginners ten steps:
If You Are Hungry Eat A Healthy And Filling Meal
Its important to realize that a craving is not the same as hunger.
Its not your body calling for energy, its your brain calling for something that releases a lot of dopamine in the reward system.
When you get a craving when youre hungry, the feeling is difficult to resist.
In fact, a craving combined with hunger is a powerful drive that most people have a hard time overcoming.
If you get a craving while hungry, one of the best tricks is to eat a healthy meal immediately. Stock your kitchen with healthy snack foods or pre-made meals.
Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish and eggs are especially good for curbing hunger .
Eating real food may not feel very appetizing when you have a craving for sugary junk food. But if you truly need to lose weight, resilience is worth it in the long run.
When you experience a craving and hunger at the same time, force yourself to have a healthy meal rather than junk food.
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How I Broke My Addiction To Sweets
For most of my adult life, I thought I was one of those people who was legitimately addicted to sweets. I dreamt of towers of cupcakes with frosting that floweth over. A stack of chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast sounded like my version of heaven. Just one cookie was a foreign concept. Simply the thought of foods like that had this magical, almost euphoric feeling attached to them.
But the truth is, thats not because I was addicted to those foods. Its because I was forbidding myself from eating them.
But for me, I found literally the exact opposite to be true. The more I allowed myself to eat sugar and sweets, the LESS I found myself feeling addicted to them.
Before I go on, please note that I am NOT a health/medical/mental expert, and this is just my own experience/opinions. Please seek a professional before making any changes to your health routine.
So, how exactly did I do it? Well for starters, I was heavily inspired by what I learned from the book Intuitive Eating ).
There were some weeks I had a cupcake after lunch every single day. Dessert after dinner when dining out was an obvious yes. I made sure to always have some sort of sugary, gluten-filled treat in my apartment that I allowed myself to have whenever I wanted to.
Id love to learn more of your thoughts on this. If you havent yet, be sure to join my where were building an amazing community of likeminded gals discussing all sorts of topics!
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Are Artificial Sweeteners Better
Artificial sweeteners, which are sugar-free and typically lower in calories than sugar, might seem like healthier options, but that idea is controversial. A 2012 scientific statement from the AHA concluded that using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame , saccharin , and sucralose can reduce the number of calories in your diet, thereby helping you lose weight.
However, there’s also evidence that eating these sweeteners, which are generally hundredsor even thousandsof times sweeter than sugar, can make you crave sweets even more. You undermine the benefit of using artificial sweeteners, for example, if you use a glass of diet soda to justify having a bowl of ice cream.
However, if artificial sweeteners can help you cut back on calories in a meaningful way, then they can be helpful in controlling weight and blood sugar. “For people who are trying to make small changes to their diet, artificial sweeteners are sometimes a good stepping stone, but they’re not a permanent fix,” Dr. Hauser says.
You may wonder which artificial sweetener is best. All of the sweeteners on the market are considered safe. There were reports during the 1970s linking saccharin to bladder cancer in rats that were fed extremely high doses of the sweetener. However, later studies didn’t find any evidence of the same effect in humans. Aspartame was also linked to cancer at one time, but that association has also been disproved.
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What Exactly ‘sugar Addiction’ Means
The American Psychiatric Association lists several key markers for addiction, including intense cravings for the drug, intoxication , failed attempts to cut down on substance use, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms upon termination of substance use. These all fit the bill for dependence on sugar.
Sugar has addictive potential because it releases opioids and dopamine in the brain. Eating sugar also increases the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that gives us a “happy” feeling. Simply put, eating sugar causes chemical changes in the brain that make us feel good, and once that feeling has worn off, we’re left wanting more.
Typically, foods you would call “junk food” — cookies, candy, potato chips, cheese puffs, and the like — are very palatable, which gives them their addictive qualities.
One of the main reasons that sugar is so addictive is because we feel like we can never eat enough . This is because sugar is absorbed into the bloodas glucose but that sugar intake also causes the release of insulin, which normalizes the glucose level. Thus, eating sugar can turn into a vicious cycle, in which we’re wanting to eat more once our glucose reaches a low level. This can turn into sugar bingeing — a behavior common to sugar addiction.
You Feel The Need To Eat Or Snack All Day Long
If you find yourself mindlessly snacking throughout the day , you may be secretly addicted to sugar. Frequent snacking can also be a sign that youre riding the blood sugar roller coaster.
The solution: Focus on eating a combination of the three macronutrients at every meal or snack. Never eat carb-rich, sugary foods in isolation.
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The Psychological Cause: Our Habits
Have you ever headed home from work in your car, pulled into the driveway, and then realized that you dont remember any of the trip? Its like you drove on auto-pilot ?
Thats not the only thing you do on auto-pilot. As I was typing this article, I tried to recall where certain letters on the keyboard are located and other than QWERTY, I had no idea. And, yet, I’m somehow able to type pretty darn fast. Chances are, you type on auto-pilot, too. And get ready in the morning and prepare breakfast in the same way.
Doing things on auto-pilot is what happens to many of us over time in many areas of our lives. And, thank goodness. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to think about every single little motion or action?
We create habits habits in the same wayby doing the same things over and over again until they become second nature. And, thats why its so hard to break them.
Too Much Sugar In One Sitting
Eating carbohydrate-rich foods like breads, noodles, chips, candies, pop, fruit, starches, and juices causes our blood sugar levels to spike, followed by a drop. Our bodies perceive this drop as dangerous, causing our adrenal glands to release cortisol, thereby triggering more sugar cravings in a vicious cycle. Feeling light-headed, grumpy, tired, shaky, or ravenously hungry are all indications that youre riding the blood sugar roller coaster a ride that can result in hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
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The Physiological Cause: Blame It On Insulin
When you eat sugar , most of that is broken down by our digestive system into tiny molecules of glucose which get absorbed into your blood stream.
Your pancreas produces a hormone, insulin, to help carry the glucose into the bodys cells. The cells use glucose for fuel to stay alive. The more carbs we eat, the more insulin we need to produce. This is all completely normal.
Sometimes, especially as we get olderand, especially when we get heavierour pancreas just cant respond with adequate amounts of insulin fast enough. Thats called insulin resistance.
And, when the pancreas finally doesit produces too much insulin. That takes too much glucose out of the blood stream leaving us with low blood glucose and thats when the cravings for more sugar or carbs start.
Sugar Liking Is Normal
Its not surprising that you like sugar. You likely did even when you were a baby.
Babies show a natural liking for sweet. They suck harder when the solution is sweet.That’s because babies are born with sweet taste receptors.
Did you know that breast milk has more sugar than cows milk? And, of course, breast milk is great for a growing baby.
In addition, glucose is the almost exclusive fuel preferred by the human brain. And, sugar is a good source of glucose .
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Get Someone To Help You Who Is Trained To Help
Friends and family are great sounding boards and can be helpful, but they may be unequipped to really help you look for real answers to why you cant stop eating sugary foods. Seek out someone who is trained to look at the situation from a different perspective, who knows how to help you gain clarity on your triggers.
Signs Of A Sugar Addiction
Unlike many other substance use disorders or behavioral compulsions, sugar addiction is often easy to spot. The clearest signs of sugar addiction involve consumption of large amounts of food or drinks laden with sugar. The individual may eat constantly, eat to combat boredom, and become hyper and crash. They may even talk about craving sugar after stressful or irritating life experiences.
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Create A Supportive Environment
For the first month after I gave up sugar, I asked my husband to hide the few sweet foods we had in the house so that I wouldnt seek them out and eat them. I avoided certain aisles in the grocery store, movie theaters, and abstained from any baking. Later on, when I was in the habit of not eating sugar, and no longer physically craving it, I felt stronger I didnt have to do these things. I was able to be around sugar without dying for it.
Think of your supportive environment as training wheels. In the beginning, your training wheels give you the safety to try something that feels new and scary. This structure is supportive and helpful. As you get stronger, you take the training wheels off. The same structure may not be necessary anymore. Ive found this to be true with sugar.