Is Sugar Your Drug Of Choice?
Do you feel like you eat more sugar than you should? We all know eating too much sugar is bad for our health, but sometimes it’s hard to stop. Sugar can feel addictive. It can calm, soothe and tranquilize. If there is a lot of stress in your life, sugar can become a destructive coping mechanism. If you are living with chronic exhaustion, sugar can give you a quick burst of energy when you need it.
An addiction can cause you emotional, mental and physical pain. An effective road to healthy recovery is to change your thinking (thoughts) to change your feelings (emotions) to change your behavior.
Your thoughts dictate your feelings (emotions) and your feelings dictate your behavior. You cannot react without first thinking, and then experiencing the feeling. People say they just act instinctively but there must be a thought before they act. Feelings are not facts and you need to decipher what is real and what is perceived to be real – it may be fiction.
Your body needs the nutrients it gets from food in order to keep functioning properly. As a result, the food you eat affects how you feel both emotionally and physically.
High carbohydrate foods can temporarily make you feel pleased and satisfied. But if you eat too much sugar, you might start to feel heavy and sluggish and over time, if you eat an excessive amount of food with high levels of sugar you will also gain weight. This often results in feeling unhappy, irritable, and agitated and often leads to health problems like a fatty liver, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
To ascertain which foods you are eating that may be affecting your emotions, record them in a journal and you will see how your feelings (emotions) can change your moods. Sugar will give you a short term heightened sensation followed by a slump in energy and possibly cravings for another sugar “hit”.
Identify which emotions make you head for the kitchen to engage in the unhealthy behavior of using food for comfort. Anger, resentment, shame, fear, anxiety, stress, depression (sadness) etc. are just some emotions you need to identify. When we are mindful, we live in the present and are aware of our own thoughts and feelings as they occur. To live one day at a time takes the pressure off past and pending problems once you know how to emotionally detach from people, places, things and situations.
Being mindful means having intention in your actions. With intention you purposefully choose your behavior (not to use food for comfort) with the bigger picture in mind. Meditation is another tool that assists the sub-conscious mind to change limited beliefs and change thought patterns that produce negative emotions.
Recovery from sugar addiction is like a jigsaw puzzle – a mental, emotional and physical journey that takes a lifetime of vigilance and we never stop learning.
Strategies to help you quit sugar
- It’s vitally important to try to minimize stress. If you are chronically stressed, it’s almost impossible to look after yourself and eat well. When you are stressed, your adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol. This causes you to lose more magnesium via your urine. Many people are already magnesium deficient because it’s difficult to get enough of this vital mineral through diet. If stress has depleted your body of magnesium, you will be prone to anxiety, may have trouble sleeping and your ability to handle stress will be diminished. This can become a vicious cycle and then sugar is used as a coping mechanism. Taking a magnesium supplement with your evening meal should help you feel more relaxed and sleep more deeply.
- Addiction to sugar and carbohydrate rich foods are often associated with intestinal dysbiosis, where some species of bacteria or yeasts, demand an almost constant supply of these foods. If you have a Candida overgrowth, I recommend you take BactoClear to rid the digestive tract of these organisms and Ultimate Gut Health Powder to restore your gut to its best possible health. These supplements may reduce the carbohydrate reactivity of your hunger signalling.
- Eat simple, home cooked meals. You don’t need to count calories, weigh, or measure your foods. Just eat natural, unprocessed foods and trust your appetite. No animal in the wild has the ability to count calories; they just eat when they are hungry and stop when they’re satisfied, and are able to maintain a healthy weight. Factory foods such as corn chips, pretzels, cookies and candy are specifically engineered to make you eat in an out of control manner, feeling like you can’t stop once you’ve started. If you are prone to binge eating or have a food addiction, it’s critical to stay away from those foods. Whereas if you cook your own meals from healthy basic ingredients, you are far more likely to achieve natural appetite control without the struggle.
- It’s important to be organized. Make a plan and stick to it. People who plan their meals ahead of time are more likely to stick to eating healthy foods. Impulsive decisions often lead to unhealthy meals and snacks that ruin your diet plans. There is an eating plan in my book I Can’t lose weight and I don’t know why that is flexible and full of variety, so you should not get bored with the foods.
- Getting adequate sleep is critical. This is actually the most important strategy in getting hunger and cravings under control. If you don’t sleep well or get adequate sleep, you are far more prone to make emotional rather than rational decisions when it comes to eating. Lack of sleep also raises the hunger hormones in your body, so you will genuinely feel hungrier. So rather than getting out of bed at 5 am to exercise, you are better off staying in bed and getting more sleep. Exercise is important, but not at the expense of good quality sleep. If your sleep quality is not good enough; you may want to try a magnesium supplement. It can help you achieve a deeper sleep. People who have difficulties falling asleep usually improve with a melatonin supplement.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.