Stop sugar Cravings: 11 Steps to Break Free From Your Sugar Addiction and (The Truth Behind about Sugar that Diets Don’t Talk About )
Years ago, I was standing on a bridge late at night and poured a 5 pound bag of pure sugar into the river below.
I was done.
I was giving up sugar once and for all. If I could stop eating sugar, my life would be perfect: My skin would clear up. I would lose weight. I would have the career I wanted, the boyfriend I wanted and I could finally be… happy.
Wrong. It didn’t work.
There are three things that I didn’t understand about sugar addiction at that time:
1. Sugar is more addictive than hard drugs, so a symbolic dumping of a bunch of sugar into a river isn’t quite going to cut it.
2. It’s not actually about the sugar– there’s usually an emotional void that the sugar is trying to fill that is what really matters.
3. Sugar addiction is a learned neural pathway or habit that can’t be replaced but can be re-routed.
It took a long time of learning through podcasts and reading books, experimentation and trial and error to start to get over my sugar addiction. To the point where people began to notice that I was a ‘health nut’ and would ask my advice, which lead me to become a health coach and eventually develop a program with my business partner Kirtley Freckleton called The Sugar Leash.
Kirtley’s been a registered nurse and a certified health coach for 5 years now and a common complaint she hears from her clients is: “I can’t lose weight because I’m addicted to sugar.”
Here are 11 action steps that can help you overcome your addiction to sugar. Stop sugar cravings now.
1.Why do you want to BREAK AWAY FROM SUGAR
First and foremost, you need to know your WHY. Why do you want to break free from sugar? If you’re WHY isn’t strong enough, or have enough passion behind it, you will most likely fail when the going gets tough.
If you want to lose 10 pounds– that’s great! But, WHY do you want to lose 10 pounds and are you passionate about enjoying the process of losing 10 pounds? Are you ready to enjoy the challenge of losing 10 pounds?
2. Stop, Challenge, Choose
Once you’ve figured out you’re why, the next actionable step that will change your life is called Stop, Challenge, Choose.
Actually, this first step can be broken down into 3 steps– but let’s focus on STOP. Stop sugar cravings by taking a minute to literally stop what you’re doing physically, then stop your thoughts and take a clearing breath. This first step, seems too simple, right? It seems extremely obvious to stop, but most of us are are so busy between our work lives and our family responsibilities that there is. no. time. to. stop.
Also, feeling a craving or realizing your craving is being triggered can be difficult to feel or listen for until you’re wolfing down you’re second donut.
- “Challenge:”: After you stop, take a breath and center yourself– ask yourself some questions. Am I actually hungry? Am I thirsty?
Check to see if you’re just feeling emotional. Use the acronym B.L.A.S.T.E.D.:
- Am I Bored?
- Am I Lonely?
- Am I Angry?
- Am I Stressed?
- Am I Tired?
- Am I Excited?
- Am I Depressed?
Basically– ask yourself, “What am I feeling? And why?”
Why are you feeling angry?
What you discover on the other side of your cravings is EXTREMELY POWERFUL. Geneen Roth spoke to Oprah in her podcast “Super Soul Sunday” about how if you decide NOT to give in to eating ice cream when you’re not hungry you will find the doorway to a world of healing.
Oprah described it as, “Whenever that thing gets triggered that’s a “holy moment” for you to ‘fix the thing.’” Roth explained it as our “ghost stories”– we all have different versions of the same stories of unworthiness or lack of self-love that we tell ourselves.
Whenever we get triggered by food and decide not to indulge, we have a moment to face our ghost story and ultimately have the opportunity to heal it.
This step is probably the most powerful step here– the choice you make between feeling triggered, having a craving and choosing a different action than eating that ice cream, is what will start healing the addiction in your brain. It will literally form a new neural pathway in your brain that can be reinforced over and over and become stronger than the craving itself one day.
The action that you choose also will have a vital impact on your healing process. When you’re in the heat of the moment of a triggered craving, it’s best to do something quick and easy that can reset your brain– especially if you’re at work or dealing with a screaming baby. Some actions that might be helpful:
- Call a friend
- Go for a walk
- Get outside
- Watch a funny youtube video
- Get physical, move your body
- Deep breathe
- Jam out on an instrument
4. Set the intention to heal
Being aware that your cravings trigger unresolved emotional issues takes a higher level of consciousness than most people bring to their everyday lives. However, many of our issues follow us around and manifest in different ways, unless we consciously choose to heal them.
Healing can be a different process for different people, so it’s important to experiment and find out what works for you. Talk therapy might work for some people but not for others.
That being said, please don’t give too much power or become a victim to your unresolved childhood issues. Kathryn Hansen wrote in her book Brain over Binge that when she realized that her food addiction was literally just a habit that had been consistently reinforced over and over for many years and that she had the power to create a new habit and reinforce a new healthy habit– she was able to develop food freedom.
5. MAKE IT OFFICIAL and get support
Get support. Any goal you want to achieve will have up to a 95% chance higher success rate if you get support to be accountable. That’s huge!
- Find a friend
- Talk to your family
- Join a Facebook group
- Listen to podcasts and audiobooks
- Watch documentaries
- Set a date to really go for it, whether you quit cold turkey or wean yourself off slowly
6. KEEP YOUR BLOOD LEVELS STABLE
Don’t let yourself get hungry!! Getting off sugar is hard enough, that if you let your blood sugars get too low, or you find yourself starving and don’t have a healthy snack on hand, you will most likely break down and bee line it for the nearest sugar rush.
Sugar is the fastest source of energy for our brains and our bodies to break down, so when we are actually physically hungry or “hangry” your biology is programmed to find the fastest source of energy– which will often mean, something packaged and processed.
Um, hello, that’s pretty much the definition and purpose of FAST FOOD.
The best way to keep your blood sugar stable?
Eat every 2-3 hours.
Try to eat a low glycemic snack that has a healthy fat or protein such as almonds and an apple.
7. KEEP YOUR IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT SUGAR FREE
If you really want to be sugar free– you’ve got to get it out of your house. Create a safe-zone. Make it inconvenient to actually access sugar, at least when you are at home and at least for the first couple months while you are adjusting your palate.
This will require reading food labels, there’s sneaky sugar in lots of different forms (for a list of the sneaky sugar forms click here) in random foods like spaghetti sauce, almost all salad dressings, bread and/or …
These sneaky forms of sugar might be one of the reasons why it’s so darn hard to quit, because you might be feeding your brain a lot more sugar than you realize.
Now if you have kids this might sound impossible to you depending on your situation, but considering sugar is more addictive than drugs, not getting rid of it simply isn’t giving yourself a fair fighting chance.
Use the support system you’ve set up for yourself to help you have the crucial conversations you need to have with your spouse and/or kids to create a safe zone. Click here to find out how to do this…
8. Find foods and substitutes that work for you
Substitute sugar with healthier options that work for you.
- Honey (in moderation)
- Herbal Tea or Sparkling water sweetened with Stevia
9. TRULY LOVE YOURSELF
Loving yourself can be easier said than done. For some reason, we tend to be harder on ourselves than we are our best friends. What does it mean to even love yourself? Well, do the things for yourself that you would do for others that you love.
- Spend time with yourself doing something for you
- Speak highly of yourself
- Be kind to yourself
- Journal affirmations or practice mirror talk (more on that here)
10. DON’T BE AFRAID OF SUGAR
Finally, don’t be afraid of sugar. The goal here is to love yourself no matter what, and if you decide to have some cookies or cake or ice cream– go for it. Eat it joyfully and savor every bite.
Enjoy the flavors and know that you can have more wherever and whenever you want. Listen to your body and stop eating when your body tells you to stop, with the assurance that you can have more whenever you want. Try to honor when your body doesn’t want sugar–if you trust it, it will tell you when it’s OK. Ignoring our signals…
We hope those tips help!
We are doing a LIVE WEBINAR this Tuesday, March 27th at 7 pm MST to explain these concepts more thoroughly and give you more tools to help you overcome your sugar addiction.
You can check out our page at www.TheSugarLeash.com, and feel free to join our community on facebook called The Sugar Leash!
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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!