A recent article in a Middle Eastern newspaper detailed the daily strategies a woman went through to make sure she didn’t succumb to her self-acclaimed sugar addiction.
According to the article published recently in the Jordan Times, her need to eat sugar is the first thought that enters her mind upon waking and is the last thought she has at night as she judges how ‘good’ she has managed to be that day.
She goes on to describe how many of her daily routines are there to help her avoid her sugar cravings from making sure she drinks plenty of water in the morning through to avoid the temptation of going to the supermarket in case she can’t resist buying sugary treats.
Parties and celebrations are a mine-field for her. How she feels about herself and her self-esteem is wholly tied up with whether or not she fills her plate with the sweet delicacies on offer.
It sounds exhausting!
The idea of sugar as an addiction is disputed amongst many nutritionists and psychologists. It has been discovered that sugar causes responses in the pleasure centres of the brain and because of this, it has led some experts to consider sugar to be addictive. However, some of the very same pleasure centres in the brain also respond to classical music, but no-one complains they’re addicted to Beethoven!
Russell Brand said in his book ‘Recovery’ about his past addiction to alcohol and heroin, ‘Drugs and alcohol are not my problem. Drugs and alcohol are my solution.’
In a way, I feel the same way about sugar.
Johann Hari in his book ‘Chasing the Scream’ that explores and proposes to debunk the accepted wisdom about addictions said ‘If you are alone, you are vulnerable to addictions.’ It begins to address what I believe is the emotional motivation behind the sugar cravings that some people struggle to overcome.
What if sugar was merely a substitute or a distraction from the real thing you crave?
Could it be it is safer to distract yourself with a foodstuff like sugar instead of focussing on something more challenging you want in your life?
What if sugar was a convenient way of self-medicating to deal with the frustration and even the pain of not achieving what you truly desire?
In my therapy work with clients and their issues around eating we discover time and time again that it’s never about food or a lack of willpower but something a great deal more profound.
I’ve had many clients tell me they deserve their sugar treat and that it’s the only bit of sweetness they have in their day. The explain that their life is really hard and they feel under-appreciated and sometimes unloved.
It’s sad to hear they are living without feeling more fulfilled and happy. Often though they have sought our a therapist like me because there is a part of them, a growing part of them, that wants more from their life and they’re ready to make some changes.
How I work with the therapy process is to gently explore and unfurl those layers of substitution and distraction to find the real drivers for either sugar cravings or any other kind of emotional eating.
it takes some courage to say to oneself that its time let go of emotional eating as a prop and live a different kind of life but it is only once those triggers are resolved that a person feel free to eat for nourishment and take their power back from food.
Once you have taken back the power you invested in food and no longer self-medicating with sugar and carbs you will have the clarity and emotional energy to demand more for yourself from your life.
If that sounds like you then you can book an obligation free call on this page to explore you transforming your relationship with sugar.
I’ve written a more comprehensive blog post about Sugar Cravings that you can link to here.
Sally Baker is Senior Therapist, published Author and Speaker in private practice in London for face to face sessions and the world over via the internet.
With almost twenty years of professional experience, she employs cutting-edge therapeutic approaches to help one person at a time to transform their lives.
She has extensive experience working with people to alleviate their anxiety, depression, anger issues, eating disorders as well as conflicts within relationships and the family.
To find out more about Sally Baker, her books and her work visit her website, www.workingonthebody.com