Want to overcome your sugar addiction?
Watch the video or read the script below
Can you believe I’m starting with a headline like this?! I must have some sort of nerve, right?
Well, I believe with all of my heart that sugar should definitely, absolutely be a part of your life. If you stick around, I’ll tell you why!
Hey, I’m Elizabeth and I’m here to help you become a woman of wellness by healing your relationship with food, with fitness, and giving more love to your body. Today’s video might be a little controversial because I’m going to make a bold statement that I don’t think sugar is to blame for your feelings of food addiction and more importantly why I don’t think you should eliminate sugar from your life which we often do when we want to make a lifestyle change.
Now, even though I say sugar, I want you to think of anything in your life that makes you feel addicted or like you can’t be around it because you’ll be out of control with it. For some this is soda, for others it might be salty things, and for many it’s probably some form of sugar and or carbs.
If there is anything that feels like a trigger food for you, instead of eliminating it from your life, I want to help you learn to enjoy it in moderation.
First of all, let’s talk a little about food addiction. I know it’s a sensitive subject and although I am not going to go very deep in this video, there are certain times in life and certain foods that may make you feel like you have a food addiction. Like you can’t get enough. You look for it everywhere you go. You use it to deal with everything and anything. And while there are tendencies for addictive behaviors, it’s very likely you’re not dealing with a true food addiction (although if you feel it is beyond your control, I would highly recommend seeking out assistance from a professional counselor).
Let me tell you why. Yes, eating more sugar makes us feel like we want more sugar. And yes, there is a link to eating more sugar and wanting more sugar, that is true. However, in general, food, all kinds of it, is meant to be pleasurable. Eating food, any kind of food, elicits a dopamine response in our brain which allows us to feel pleasure. The reason we feel as though certain foods trigger a food addiction to us is not always because of biological reasons.
There are 2 reasons we feel “addicted” to food. The first is because we use food to deal with our emotions. And how many emotions do you have each day? If you’re a woman at least 10,000 right? I can say that because I’m a woman too! I know all about those emotions. And then if you have kids, you’re dealing with all of their emotions from infant, to toddlerhood, to teenagerhood (heaven help us all). Maybe we should increase that number to say… 100,000 emotions per day? Haha.
Anyway, when you use food to deal with your emotions it can feel like you’re addicted to that food because you’re constantly feeling emotions. When you’re stressed, tired, sad, or lonely you turn to food. And you probably turn to those “trigger” foods such as sweets, soda, or salt.
The second reason you may feel addicted to certain foods is because when you restrict a food, the desire for it becomes stronger.
Let me say that again. When you restrict a food, the desire for it becomes stronger. When you allow yourself to go hungry, you’re in a deprived state. When you’re deprived, what do you want? Well, I want sugar!
In fact, let me explain this point better by citing a rat study. A good old rat study. I saw a rat in my backyard the other day… I can’t even say the word rat without getting the shivers up and down my spine. Anyway, researchers took a group of rats and divided them based on how much sugar and food they had available to them. Without going terribly deep into the details of the study, the important point for right now is that the rats that ended up wanting and eating the most sugar were not the ones that were actually given the sugar, but the ones that were HUNGRY. The rats that were deprived of food and nutrition were the ones more ravenous for the sugar.
Here’s another very famous study about men during World War 2. 36 men voluntarily signed up to help researchers study starvation and how to help people heal from starvation. They went from eating normal amounts of calories each day to severely restricting calories for a period of time. The men suffered some serious physical, emotional, and psychological effects, but the effect on how they started to view food is truly fascinating and can help us understand why deprivation has more consequences than just physical.
Let me quote from the study here: “Hunger made the men obsessed with food. They would dream and fantasize about food, read and talk about food and savor the two meals a day they were given. They reported fatigue, irritability, depression, and apathy.” And that’s not all. When they went off the starvation diet, one of the group’s calories was increased incrementally and the other group was given free rein to eat whatever they wanted. In the unrestricted rehabilitation group, many of the men engaged in quote “extreme overeating”.
Now, even though I know this is an extreme example, I want to spend a minute thinking about that. Every time you’re on a diet where you feel deprived of either calories in general or a specific food you love, what’s the first thing that breaks your diet? It’s usually first indulging in the food you couldn’t have on the diet and then indulging in anything else you can get your hands on. You’re essentially making up for all of those lost calories, right? And you probably go for the brownies, the cookies, the candy, the soda… it’s like being a kid in a candy store! Except unlike kids, we often experience A LOT of guilt afterward.
The 4 reasons I think you should keep sugar in your life and how you can enjoy it in moderation.
1. All food is meant to be pleasurable
2. Eating sugar will not lead to food addiction
3. Restricting leads to overeating
4. Allowing all food invites balance
Now I have a challenge for you. Take a minute to think about all of the foods you’ve been restricting. What foods are “off limits” for you?
I want to give you permission to do something. In fact, I want you to give yourself permission to do something. Give yourself permission to eat it all. WHAT?! Are you kidding me, there’s no way! I’ll go crazy.
Yeah, you might. But remember what I said about the research? The ones that were deprived ended up eating more than the ones that had everything available to them.
Let that be a hint. When you allow yourself all foods, you allow for moderation.
I want to say that one again too. When you allow yourself all foods, you allow for moderation.
Give yourself permission to eat what you want. Yes, you may feel crazy at first, but over time, you will begin to find balance and all of the sudden realize you don’t need to put any more foods on your “off limits” list. Doesn’t that sound heavenly?
You are beautiful, you are strong, you are powerful and you CAN have a happy relationship with sugar. Now excuse me while I go eat a cookie because all this sugar talk is making me hungry (wink).