I have written before about blood sugar, but its such a huge concept that I wanted to take another shot at it. Sugar is a tough one to crack! Its in a lot of things we consume and the holidays make it even rougher as they kind of go hand in hand! So its on my mind a lot these days. I vividly recall my sugar filled diet days. Sugar was my drug! It was indeed like I was an addict! Cranky when I didn’t have it! Exhausted when I had too much of it and ultimately using more sugar to get that lift! Even years after giving up refined sugars, I catch myself when in the presence of sweets, candies, cookies, cakes or whatever kind of sweet concoction it is to get in a bit of daze for a second remembering my long lost friend, sugar. Although, sugar is not my friend and has never been my friend. If he was, he would have cut me some slack and not wreaked so much havoc on my insides! If he really was a true friend he would have respected my brain! Its no surprise we all have these very same feelings about this white powder! Just watch this Ted video on how sugar impacts the brain.
Okay so sugar impacts the dopamine response in the brain. The interesting thing about sugar as referenced in the video above is that while eventually most foods (void of sugar and fat) will get boring after time, sugar does not. It continues to elicit a dopamine response therefore making us feel good much in the same way that something like cocaine or heroin would. No wonder we have such an issue in this country with sugar “addiction”! AND, the players know the score here. They being those that market their food products with this concept in mind. They know how to sell products by taking advantage of our neural wiring. It’s no mystery that food companies formulate their products to be consumed quickly and repeatedly. This is at the heart of their strategy and at the heart of our health issues in this country unfortunately. The strategy here is not much different than what big tobacco was accused of in the 80’s. They knowingly made a product that was formulated to capture as many people as possible. It’s more public knowledge now and some will make better choices to not do it, but still very addictive and destructive. In fact, we have a long history of products that originally contained some component that is now illegal.
Sugar is everywhere and in every product imaginable. Although now its masked more than it used to be as people are aware of the ordering of ingredient labeling. Sugar and its impact is broken down in detail in this past blog post - https://www.hearttohealthwellness.com/blog/sugar-high-life-lows. For now I wanted to step into how to deal with a sugar addiction.
I recently read a blog post on addiction and the use of the word willpower and its reference to stopping addicting things. Basically the author pointed out that telling someone to muster up willpower is just not going to work, especially when you are dealing with components that impact pleasure in the brain. While I think willpower may get you through the initial phase of anything you are addicted to, I do agree that its not going to work long term. In order for anything beneficial to stick, there needs to be purpose, direction and awareness. I like the Tony Robbins approach of RPM’s or Results, Purpose and Massive Action Plan.
Results Purpose Massive Action Plan
Lets look at some things that can help with awareness:
How about the results:
How do these fit into my purpose?
Then there is the practice portion, the massive action plan:
We all have the need and want to change things in life, but we tend to get stuck in ruts. We do things that feel comfortable to us and we stay in our zones of comfort! We resist change! Be good to yourself is the key thing in all of this. Like I said in the beginning sugar is not your friend. You may feel this sense of fulfillment from eating sugar, but its short lived and you will want/crave more almost as soon as you swallow your last bite. Making these changes isn’t a death sentence. Food doesn’t have to be boring and its only boring if you let it. If you don’t allow yourself to be creative because you are stuck in this mode of loss, then you will fail and fall back to old patterns. Challenge yourself. Find new recipes. Find some things that use honey in the recipes. There are some absolutely fantastic paleo, AIP or specialized kind of recipes that have organic whole food ingredients. If you did a blind taste test between these and other conventional items, you wouldn’t know the difference. Take a look at Kat’s page and the amazing things she does with food and what she puts together is all based on healthy traditions and just out of this world on the flavor scale! Her site is, https://ideatthatfood.com/
You can do this! You deserve it! Best of luck in habit change and as always let me know if you would like to seek out guidance with this!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey