Do I have a sugar addiction? Sugar addiction or sugar restriction? It is a controversial subject. I want to talk about it because I know a lot of women who struggle with this. Back in my extreme dieting and over exercising days this was a big issue for me too.
I remember an instance around Easter one year. It was at a time that I was really buckling down and counting every single macro that went into my mouth. It was also Peanut Butter M&M speckled egg season. Those are my absolute favorite candy of all time.
My husband would bring a bag home every time he went to the store. I built up quite a stash in my freezer. I considered myself a super disciplined person when it came to food. In fact, being so disciplined is what caused my body metabolic dysregulation in the long run. But that’s a whole other story you can read about here.
I couldn’t stay away from the freezer!
Even though I was working really hard to get leaner and weighing and measuring all of my food, I could not get those speckled eggs out of my mind. What was my problem? I found myself heading to the freezer to eat just a “few” multiple times a day.
No matter what I was doing they would be on my mind, or I found myself constantly craving them. I would mentally beat myself up for not having any will power. Why was I so weak? Was I a failure? Why couldn’t I just stay away from them? Did I have a sugar addiction? Was that the problem? All of these thoughts would linger in my mind.
The one thing I knew for sure is that I could not stop eating them!
I totally thought I was addicted to sugar and that the only way to rid myself of this addiction was to completely cut sugar out of my diet.
I was SO WRONG!
I soon learned that when I told myself I couldn’t have sugar ever again the cravings got more intense and consistent.
You see, that is how our human brain works. If I told you not to think of an elephant you are probably going to think about an elephant!
Dietary restraint and food restriction are sure-fire ways to “feel like you have a sugar addiction.
Eating disorder experts know restriction leads to food preoccupation. The minute a human being is told we can’t have something, chances are we will want it even more (even if we never wanted the thing in the first place!).
For many, just thinking certain foods are “off limits” is enough to create a “craving”. And while you may think you allow yourself to eat what you want when you want it, chances are you are not giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and enjoy food. (https://benourished.org/rethinking-food-addiction/)
You’ve probably heard the common scare tactic “sugar lights up the same brain pathways as heroin and cocaine.”
Yes, this is true, but you know what else does? Listening to live music, falling in love, receiving a hug, and being recognized for an achievement. Some of these things are socially acceptable and others like food, get demonized.
I can tell you that when I did this all of a sudden all I wanted was sugar! Even if I didn’t have a problem with it beforehand. Sugar thoughts consumed me. I would eat all other types of junk food without sugar just trying to feel satisfied but I never was until I finally ate sugar.
Other times when I wasn’t “off sugar” I had no problems with it. It didn’t call to me, I wasn’t preoccupied by it, and I wasn’t eating all of the peanut butter M&M’s in sight to curb the craving. I would be fine until I had the thought that maybe I would try going “off sugar”, and then all those feelings would come back. I would eat all the sugar I could before my set date of going “off sugar”.
It was a terrible cycle that I am no longer in.
My brain and body know that I will never restrict again so I don’t ever have feelings of scarcity around food or the last supper mentality.
The reason you feel addicted to a certain food is because you continue to restrict the food! You have probably tried to stay away from it for so long that you don’t even trust yourself around it anymore.
The only way to stop overeating certain foods is to ALLOW and continue to allow eating those foods to lessen their allure.
This means that these foods are allowed for the rest of your life.
Think about those leftovers in the fridge. The ones you have been eating on for a few days now. At first they were all you could think about but then they probably lost their appeal and you don’t want them anymore. Am I right? It’s because exposure to food takes away its power.
You will find that when ALL food is allowed, you will be more able to listen to your body on what sounds good to you and what it truly needs.
You’ll no longer feel like you are addicted to sugar or any other food, and you can finally experience the food freedom you’ve been dreaming of!
Need more guidance on how to do this? I go into more detail and give you bite size action steps in my Ebook and Workbook! Buy the book bundle here.