So now we know we can be sugar addicts…10 years ago it was a very different story, and I don’t think many of us had any idea of what was really wrong. We just thought we were greedy, or under motivated. But we’re starting to twig now aren’t we?
You can actually be addicted to sugar, and yet it seems so harmless!
I still think there’s a lot of confusion and many of us are not sure if we really are sugar addicts, or if we’ve just got a bit of a weakness for the sweet white stuff. Maybe you just enjoy a favourite chocolate bar as a treat every so often, or a cake shared with a friend? If it really does stop at that, then you’re probably fine. However, sometimes addiction to sugar is hidden in phrases like “I’m an emotional eater” or “It’s just habit for me to have a pudding every night” . It’s all-too-easy to just go with that self-definition and not deal with the underlying issue. Which is fine for a while – until you decide to try and stop, that is!
So there are a few different signs that will help you to tell these two things apart, and you can see for yourself whether you fall into the ‘addict’ category or not. There are classic symptoms of addictive behaviours that happen whatever the substance (or addictive urge) might be…how you behave is exactly the same whether it’s an addiction to sugar, or something meaner and nastier.
With that in mind, if you do see yourself in the following list, then why don’t you do yourself a favour and let yourself off the hook? You’re not just greedy or self indulgent! The thing with sugar is that we’re actually biologically programmed to seek it out. It’s supposed to be a rare and occasional source of fuel (which you definitely wouldn’t say that for the other nastier and meaner addictive substances out there!).
And what’s more, you can get help for this. It’s a lot easier to solve than you might imagine, so please don’t get depressed if you see yourself in the list below.
This is a list of the most obvious tell-tale signs…
if you tick more than 1 or 2, then you definitely have an out-of-control addiction cycle with sugar, (although #10 is enough on its own!):
- YOU wake up in the morning (more than once or twice out of a week) and feel full of determination that you’re not going to eat any sugar today, and then at some point you give in and eat it anyway. You may well feel disappointed or ashamed with yourself afterwards (but not necessarily!)
- You decide you’re just going to eat 1 chocolate out the box, or you’re going to just have a couple of biscuits or otherwise limit the amount of sugar, and then find that you can’t stop at that, and you eat far more than you intended
- You buy it for others out shopping and then eat it for yourself instead (especially if you secretly knew you were going to eat it for yourself all along)
- All or nothing thinking with sugar, such as:
i) I’ve eaten a few chocolates/ biscuits etc already so I may as well eat all the rest, or
ii) I’ve gone ‘off plan’ and eaten rubbish, so I may as well carry on for the rest of the day and start again tomorrow, or
iii) I’ll just eat everything that’s in the house, and then it will be all gone and I can start again tomorrow
(There are LOTS of others, but you get the idea!)
- Having a hidden stash of sugar NO MATTER what excuse you give! Whether it’s the classic “I’m hiding it so the kids don’t eat too much” or any other excuse -it’s NOT the real reason you’re hiding it…it’s a STASH, and you’re really concealing sugar from others for different, more personal reasons
- Thinking about sugar when you’re in the middle of something else and you didn’t want to think about it and/or having out-of-control thoughts about sugar that just won’t go away
- Going well out of your way for it (especially if you’ve already decided to not have any that day)
- Cutting calories out of your daily diet to ‘make up’ for the fact that you’ve eaten sugar, or even cutting out meals altogether because you’ve binged on sugar earlier in the day
- Eating other people’s share, with or without their knowledge
- This is the absolute decider and #1 sign that you’re an addict…
You ‘sneaky’ eat when no one else is around for the sole purpose that you don’t want anyone else to see you doing it, no matter what your reasoning may be behind it. You’re hiding your actions from others, and it’s classic addictive behaviour! Even if you have 100 different justifications for it, and indeed, for all of the above on the list, it’s still addiction. The truth is we always tell ourselves little stories to make it sound not-so-bad.
BUT if you know deep down that it’s all they are- just excuses for an out-of-control craving, and you actually do recognise yourself there, then won’t it be a relief for you to acknowledge that?
It means that you don’t have to carry that weight of guilt around any more!
There can often be a lot of shame attached to addiction, and sugar is no different here. ESPECIALLY if it’s made us put a lot of weight on…that just adds to it all, doesn’t it? How visible your crime then becomes to everyone??
It’s time we stopped blaming ourselves, and instead started understanding what’s going on in our own body’s own CRAVE mechanism. It’s hard to know how many of us are actually addicted to sugar, as there is still the myth that we’re just greedy, and therefore should have better control over ourselves. That we should somehow resist that irresistible urge to reach for the sugar…but those of us who feel that urge know…it’s not that easy is it? To just decide to stop, and then STOP? Not at all. Unless we start to own what’s really happening for us, the addictive cycle will just carry on, and what’s more…we’ll pass it on to the next generation. If we don’t begin to recognise this in ourselves, how will they be able to have a clue about what’s really happening in their own bodies?
Let’s take the plunge and get real with ourselves. We can make such a difference to that addictive urge with just a few dietary changes, and some healthy, positive motivational tools. I’m here to tell you it’s entirely possible to kick that sugar demon out. We just have to start at the place that ALL addicts do…with acceptance of our addiction. To just be able to say “Yes, I’m an addict!” IS the first step to recovery, and the rest, believe me, is easy!
Much love from an (ex) sugar addict!