If you absolutely had to give up sugar today, what would be the single most difficult thing about that challenge?
I got a wide range of answers. Of course I got the expected chocolate/cakes/dessert longing, cravings and the problem of giving it up in tea and coffee.
But there were some real surprises. What about hidden sugars? I won’t be able to eat any ready meals anymore. What about carbs? I would miss wine. Managing without the instant gratification that those little white granules offers. Having to plan meals. The very poignant “knowing I’d fail before I started”.
All these answers prove that giving up sugar is both really important and not at all obvious. There are plenty of answers out there. The no sugar celeb cookbook is big business – but if it worked, why are so many people still struggling?
Because liberating yourself from sugar is not just a dietary change. It is a psychological one that requires a 3-pronged strategy.
The Rocking Chair Paradox
A good place to start is with the rocking chair paradox.
Imagine you are 99. You are sitting on your rocking chair on your front porch contemplating your life. What are the main highlights you remember?
A – The fulfilling relationships you had, the closeness you shared with your loved ones and friends, the adventures you had and the difference you made to the world?
B – All the cake, chocolate and desserts you ate?
Unless you are a real gourmet and slowly savour your food, honouring it and loving it like a Michelin chef, then sugar will not be a source of real pleasure for you. Instead it is a source of instant gratification, an addiction and a way to numb yourself. (It was all of these things for me). The pricetag is too high.
There is a way to move through your sugar addiction and use this challenge of giving it up as a tool to reclaim your life.
I know what I am talking about. For 30 years I was a sugar addict. The price I paid for those 10 minute-long chocolate highs was weight gain, mood swings, brain fog, irritability, PMT to rival Attila The Hun, a mouthful of fillings and a deep sense of shame and inadequacy. Even mild stress would send me straight to the nearest supermarket, into the arms of a family sized dessert I would devour in a matter of minutes.
The price was my quality of life.
A price I wasn’t prepared to pay, but like a gambler in debt to a loan shark, I had no idea how to stop paying.
Diets, detoxes, willpower. All failed. Supplements. Failed. Self-help books. The law of attraction. Hypnotherapy. Fail, fail, fail.
So what changed for me? In short, things got so bad that I just HAD to make a change. By trial and error, I found crafty and creative ways to overcome the resistance inside me.
Within 8 weeks I knew I had won.
Because I turned my sugar addiction on its head and used giving up as a tool to reclaim my life. I trained in eating psychology, and now I help others do the same.
The Three-Pronged Strategy
CRAVINGS BUSTERS – These are practical strategies you can use to walk away from any addictive food – however compulsive you feel. Feeling skeptical? I challenge you to ask yourself the $64,000 question which is in the free No More Cravings Toolkit. In it, I also describe my own personal story of the feet with a mind of their own – the day they turned and walked away from the dessert aisle, seemingly of their own accord.
REPLACEMENTS – Your sugar addiction is hijacking a deeply ingrained, hardwired nutritional need that we have all inherited from our cavedwelling ancestors. Using processed sugar to satisfy that need is akin to giving a gambling addict a free night at the casino to help him pay his debts. The pricetag is just too much: not only obesity and diabetes but mood swings, fatigue, brain fog,and for many women raging, unnecessary PMT.
The solution is to satisfy that need with replacements (clue: none of these relies on ‘have a piece of fruit’) that satisfy that nutritional need but not only have no pricetag, but they actually level out mood swings, increase focus, reduce fatigue and can drastically reduce PMT. This is the equivalent of giving the gambler a budget and coach who checks in on him every day to keep him on track.
REFRAMES – Underlying both the use of replacements and the cravings busters are powerful reframes. A reframe is a new way to look at any problem in your life, and turn it into a tool for change. We are very good at reframing our past: it is easy to see – in hindsight – the value of that crappy first job, or selfish boyfriend or cheating girlfriend 10 years later – and the various blessings in disguise they offered. What we all need to do a lot more of is reframing the present, to pivot from passive victim of the evil sugar to imperfect adventurer of our own lives. This is challenging and liberating work that goes beyond your food issues and frees you to reclaim your whole life.
I am creating a short two-week online course in giving up sugar, and I am looking for a small number of roadtesters. It is free to participate, but you must fully commit to this process and be available for two short Skype or Facetime sessions at the beginning and end.
The Roadtesting period starts on Monday 6th March 2017 and participation is by application only.
Want to dive into some more ideas to help you deal with your cravings? Get your free video toolkit right now by clicking on the image: