YOU’RE NOT ADDICTED TO SUGAR
“I think I’m addicted to sugar”
I’m going to annoy you right now and call BS … You are not addicted to sugar.
Seriously. Do you get high off of eating bananas … apples … honey … pineapple? Are you breaking into cars for change for donuts?
“Hey, but Coach Jon … some guy told me that sugar lights up the brain like cocaine!”
Yeah, so does music … and hugs … but trying to compare a hit of sugar, to a hit of cocaine …
It’s like trying to compare getting squirted with a water gun … and getting hit with a tsumani. They’re NOT the same thing.
So why do we say things like “I’m addicted to sugar”?
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Because, the word addiction gets us sympathy
It gives us an out … an excuse to not change our habits or behaviors.
It says “I’m powerless to change this situation … I just can’t help it”.
Now look … we definitely know that the over consumption of sugar is NOT a good thing. When we combine this major increase in calories with a sedentary lifestyle … we have some real health problems on our hands.
Add in high levels of stress which causes blood sugar levels to crash thanks to high cortisol, leading to cravings, eating sugary things and getting stuck in a cycle of miserable blood sugar fluctuations.
Now … would your health outcomes improve if you stopped eating sugar altogether?
Yeah, actually they would. I don’t want you to think that I’m telling you that sugar is totally harmless.
I’m saying “YOU DON’T HAVE A SUGAR ADDICTION”
You have a lifestyle problem. You have high stress levels. You have high levels of overwhelm.
These emotions and circumstances lead to wild fluctuations in blood sugar, leading to cravings and mood swings and just feeling miserable.
And then you eat junk food and poof … magically you feel better … for a few minutes. Things like donuts and chocolate bars … they’re what we call “High-Bliss” foods. You do get a significant boost in mood when you consume these, and it happens pretty quickly because of how rapidly they are digested.
Sugar consumption boosts dopamine in the brain (dopamine is a neurochemical hormone that makes you feel good). Sugar masks feelings of sadness and misery, by giving you surges in dopamine, and when you stop consuming sugar cold turkey?
Yeah, guess what? You’re going to start feeling those miserable emotions that you were covering up with sugary foods
Now … dropping sugar consumption down, is not an easy thing. You see sugar affects your palate, your ability to sense sweetness … but there’s good news. In less than 2 weeks of reducing sugar consumption, your palate can improve. It’s like turning down the dial on your tastebuds.
Ok, so you do have a sweet tooth … what are some things you can do to help with this?
I’m going to give you 5 things you can do, to help you reduce your sugar consumption, while not feeling like a miserable turd.
1 – Eat fruit … because, yes it does contain sugar, but it also contains fibre, nutrients and vitamins
2 – You might want to consider cutting back or ditching artificial sweeteners for a while too. I don’t have a major problem with them … e.g. I don’t think that they’re these major cancer causing toxins, however … because of their powerful effect of sweetness on the palate, they do affect your taste sensitivity, and you might benefit from a little “reset”.
3 – Do a pantry clean-out … I have a simple rule … it goes like this:
If a food is in the house … eventually someone is going to eat it, and that someone is probably going to be you when you’re in a bad mood
Cleaning out your pantry means that it becomes less convenient to get at your hyper palatable, highly processed food products … and those who know me, know I am not a fan of snacking and the snack culture we live in.
4 – Stop trying to be perfect … Just because you want to kick your sugar cravings, doesn’t mean it’s an all or nothing affair here.
Now, I do strongly recommend being pro-active. Plan for the fact that you ARE going to have cravings. Keep some fruit on hand. Have some music that you enjoy listening to (remember that music also gives you dopamine). Reach out to a friend, make a human connection … maybe even talk instead of text.
When you actually stop and think about it, you’re probably not really craving sugar. Sugar is just the easy way of masking uncomfortable feelings.
And the last thing I want to talk about … this one might be controversial for some … but it’s this:
Eat the damn sugar you’re craving
Now, don’t shove it down your throat in 4 seconds like a starving seagull …
Eat it ONE … BITE … AT … A … TIME
Taste the food you’re eating.
Pause … after each bite, check in with yourself … how are you feeling?
The problem with putting foods on a restricted pedestal … is that you’re treating them like they’re the cure for all your problems.
But then putting that cure out of reach by saying “I’m not allowed to eat that except on Friday night or cheat day”.
All that does is intensify your cravings … it’s a natural human impulse to want the thing we can’t have
So … stop making it special!
I want to hear from you. Do you feel like you have a sugar addiction? Do you disagree with what I say here?
Which one of these 5 tips resonated with you?