There can be some very powerful physical and emotional hurdles involved in removing sugar from our diets. Eliminating the physical cravings is one thing, but if we don’t look at how we may be using sugar emotionally, we only win half of the battle and we may still be driven toward sugar.
If we have become accustomed to using sugar to numb pain or make us feel better, it can be difficult to move away from. It is not a bad thing that we use sugar to soothe us, or to give us a euphoric boost. The only problem with using sugar to make us feel better is that it doesn’t give us an opportunity to look at the heart of the issue. It prevents us from asking the question, “What am I trying to feed, soothe, or avoid?” or “Why do I feel I can’t do without it?” If you eat sweets because you feel insecure, angry, or afraid, then sugar could be a crutch for pain or fear, and something we use to avoid emotions instead of handling them.
Tip #1 Ask Questions And See The Cravings For What They Are
Whenever you have a craving, observe what may be coming up for you. Are you eating out of boredom because you don’t know what else to do? Or are you genuinely hungry? Are you feeling a powerful emotion that you want to escape from? Is there a little devil or your inner voice telling you to, “Just eat it, you may never have this food again!” Bringing your awareness to a craving and evaluating what is going on inside of you enables you to see it for what it is. Most often, a craving is a coping mechanism to help us avoid or deal with the uncomfortable emotions of not having it, or uncertainty as to what we would do, or who we would be without it.
Sugar tastes delicious, and we love the euphoric endorphins that are released when we eat it. The discomfort that we experience when we decide to eliminate sugar can be intense and the little child within us may kick and scream. Try not to take this inner child too seriously. The more aware you are, the more likely you will be to laugh at your inner child and not be driven to act upon what the child wants. Also, increase your awareness of your self-talk. Observe your inner dialogue and how it may no longer be serving you, and how most of it may not be true. When you increase your awareness of your inner dialogue, you see how you may be using sugar to handle emotions you may want to avoid.
Tip #2 Allow Discomfort To Be Present
When you discover what is at the heart of a craving a really cool thing happens; your awareness of what is going on inside you makes the craving die down. When you see the craving for what it is; it fades away. Smile at your inner voice when it tries to tell you life is not worth living without sugar. Witness the discomfort within you. If feelings of unworthiness, fear, or anxiety come up, gently allow them to be present and acknowledge that while you may be having a very powerful emotion or self talk, doesn’t mean the emotion or self talk is valid, and it does not define you. Sitting in discomfort with awareness increases your consciousness and helps you navigate the fine line between emotions and and truth and knowledge, and is what will eventually set you free.
Tip #3 Be Gentle With Yourself
Be gentle with yourself, you have developed a relationship with sugar for a reason. When you eliminate sugar you may feel at a loss without it. Feelings of loss, emptiness, and loneliness are all normal. If you falter, don’t be yourself up. Allow yourself to be human, allow yourself to be imperfect. Take this time to be gentle with yourself. Get massages; spend time reading, walking, and nurturing yourself in other ways by doing things you enjoy. One person chose to meditate and take deep breaths until the craving died down. She was able to watch the little girl inside her kick and scream and found her to be very interesting. She sent this little girl love, and reassured her that the craving and discomfort would eventually die down.
Physical support is just as important as emotional support, so be gentle with yourself, especially during the first two weeks. Take hot baths, read a good book, get a massage, go for walks, be kind to yourself.
Tip #4 Eat A Little Protein and Quality Fat Every Two Hours
To help you move away from the biological cravings for sugar, eat a little protein and quality fat every couple of hours. Just because you are avoiding sugar doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat. Satisfy cravings with steak and a potato, chicken thighs with skin on served with roasted vegetables, pork chops and asparagus, whole roasted chicken with vegetables, pot roasts, and fish, whatever sounds good in the protein and fat category. Proteins and fats are satiating and will take your mind off the fact you are avoiding sugar. Don’t feel guilty or fearful eating these, enjoy them as a human being is supposed to enjoy food! Discover, explore, and accept your love of food.
Tip #5 Eat Foods Rich In Nutrients That Help With Cravings
Increase your vegetable consumption and consumption of foods high in vitamins and minerals depleted by sugar, such as B vitamins. Chromium is depleted as the body tries to metabolize sugar, and for every molecule of sugar our bodies use 54 molecules of magnesium to process it. When we eat sugar our insulin levels surge and our body uses up zinc. Sugar also depletes potassium and robs your bones of minerals in general. Foods that are rich in these nutrients are: Dark leafy vegetables, animal proteins, bone broths, soaked legumes, and seafood!
Your Relationship With Sugar
Often people experience fear that if they get off sugar, eat better and lose weight they will be alive, energetic, capable and happy, and will all of a sudden be perfect. The expectation of shinning in our own well-nourished skin can be a very frightening thing, but none of us will ever be perfect! Know that just because your physical form may change when you remove sugar from your diet, who you are inside will not.
It will be uncomfortable at first as your friends and family adapt to your new lifestyle, but soon, it will just be the new normal.
Bonus Tip! Don’t Demonize Food
It may be very easy to demonize sugar, but if sugar is deemed bad, when we eat it, that must mean that we are bad. This is the best way to stir up feelings of guilt and shame. Don’t say, “I will never eat sugar again” in fact, do the opposite. Make a date with sugar! Set aside one day a week where you can have any sweet treat you desire. And enjoy it fully!
Don’t Go it Alone
Do you know you want to rocket launch sugar to the moon, but are not sure if you have it in you? You do. And you don’t have to go it alone.
Become a Challenger. We got you. 30 Day No Sugar Challenge.