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I'm so Addicted...To Sugar That Is!

I was majorly addicted to sugar. I had a multiple chocolate bar a day habit. Ice Cream. Chocolate cake and so many other sweet things!

It wasn't just sugar though. I liked to binge on fast food, junk food, processed food, alcohol. Even overdid it with caffeine. I had zero idea about how my body actually worked and how to nourish it.

I also was an emotional eater. Some people stop eating when they're upset. Not me. I liked to eat, alot, to soothe my emotions. 

Let's just say it's been a journey to break up with my addictive eating habits. This journey has gone through variations and has taken years.

I share this because so many people struggle with food addictions. I know what it's like. But I was able to overcome my food addictions. There are a couple of things to be aware of in your journey to healing your relationship with food.

The first thing is that food companies work very hard to get you physically, mentally and emotionally addicted to their bad food. All the food companies spend millions of dollars researching how much fat, sugar, and salt they need to put into processed foods in order to get consumers hooked. It's a bit of a dirty move if you ask me. 

The second thing to remember is that your body, specifically your gut microbiome, will become addicted to certain foods. Processed sugar comes to mind as one of the worst addictions to break. Processed sugar is literally the most addictive thing on the planet, even more addictive than cocaine. Scary!  Detoxing from sugar is about as much fun as walking through a dessert without water. Not fun at all. 

Lastly many people use food as a way to cope with stress, deal with their emotions or use food as a distraction. It's very accepted to use food in these ways. Upset? Have a glass of wine and chocolate. Game night? Order a pizza. Having a get together? Make sure you have wine, cheese and cup cakes on hand. 

We all have to eat in order to live, which is what makes giving up certain foods so challenging. At least with things like alcohol and drugs it's possible to abstain. But everyone has to eat everyday. It can be so easy to fall into old habits, especially when others around you aren't looking to be healthy or aren't ready to confront their own issues with food.  How can you move forward when it's so tempting to stuff your face with donuts and ice cream?

1) Acknowledge where you're at with your relationship with food. Notice what your own patterns are. Are you stress eating on foods that make your body feel like crap? Is your energy in the toilet? Are you sneaking foods that you know aren't helping you?

Full confession I used to drive to Dairy Queen when my partner wasn't home (before I gave up dairy). I'd have a big blizzard and then throw away the evidence in a public garbage can so he never knew what I was doing. Then I'd proceed to complain about my weight to him. I wasn't being honest with myself. When I was ready to get honest I was able to change my relationship with my body and food.

2) What is your WHY? Change is HARD. If it was easy everyone would be able to stick to their New Year's Resolutions. Change is hard but having a big enough WHY will get you through the tough spots. 

3) When you initially get things like sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods out of your diet you're going to feel like crap. But it'll only last a few days. If you can stick it out your taste buds will fall in love with real plant foods again. More importantly your gut microbiome will change. When you're hooked on sugar and processed foods your gut has too many bad bacteria demanding that you make poor food choices. Eating whole foods will change the microbes in your gut.

After a few days even fruit will taste too sweet. You'll start craving healthy foods instead of junky, processed foods. It's possible. I have people tell me 7 days into my 30 day program that they don't crave sugar or caffeine or whatever other foods they may be trying to overcome.  The bonus of better gut health is better mood. Win/win.

4) Find healthy ways to process your feelings and stress. You're not a robot. You won't always be in a good mood. Having tools to help you process stress, anger, sadness, grief will make it possible for you to stick to healthier eating habits.

5) Find a friend or colleague who wants to be your running buddy on the road to health. Birds of a feather....so they say. Having support and accountability is important when you're trying to create a lasting lifestyle change. If you can't find a friend work with a health coach or nutritionist (I do both!).

Many people have found my group 30 day Ultimate Lifestyle Transformation to be a huge help. They love having the group support and enjoy cheering each other on. If you want to join one of my group programs go here

Choosing to focus on creating health in a world that encourages is to make unhealthy, life shortening choices is an act of radical self love. I applaud you for starting on your path. If there's any way I can support please reach out to me. Until next blog, be well. 

Photo by Epicurrence

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