So we’re two weeks into Lent already…and the clock is ticking! The countdown has begun. The crosses are accumulating on the calendar, and the numbers are being proclaimed over the digital air-waves! If you read my first blog then you’ll be aware of my own understanding of sugar addiction…being one helps that. An addict, that is.
I could stand up at chocoholics not-so-anonymous and proclaim my badge-wearing membership to the biggest sorority going in the western world today.
I have the tea-shirt…and it’s become very worn at the seams in the past! Sugar is the most misunderstood of all the addictions in my humble opinion. (and I should say! I’ve worked with more than a few brave souls over the years who have battled with seemingly meaner and more menacing substances that sugar. And I’m more than happy to say that I’ve successfully helped quite a few using hypnotherapy amongst other things. (But on the surface, these drugs would seem, perhaps, like another story?).
The trouble is that sugar addiction is so misunderstood because it just isn’t seen as addiction. It’s seen as a little treat. Or a bit of a weakness. The fact is…we should be able to have just a little bit in moderation and then walk away without wanting to consume half of Cadbury’s World afterwards. But we know we can’t. No more that a heroin addict can just have a little dose of morphine every so often and be strong enough to resist the next fix later. Or an alcoholic can have a little glass of sparkly at the beginning of a friends’ birthday party night without then wanting to ransack the drinks cupboard for everything including the Eggnog. Not happening. Never will. It’s not humanly possible. The result of that behaviour is in the post, a done deal. But for some reason sugar addicts are led to believe that they just need to exercise a little restraint in the matter and stop being so weak willed. So GREEDY.
But we’re not. We’re not any of these things. We are simply humans who have actually just obeyed our very deep and completely impossible-to-ignore, biological programming that makes us hunt out the rocket fuel that is sugar for miles and miles if necessary. To forage for it and sniff it out like truffles. Have you ever watched a documentary that showed indigenous people walking all day through the jungle on a hunt for a beehive? There. That. That is desire, driven by need, driven by a nervous system impulse so blindingly strong that many, many of us are completely at its mercy.
So, of course, we help the junkie by keeping her right away from her old friends when she makes the awesomely heroic decision to come off the drug. By helping her through the hell of rehab and out the other side. With support and understanding. We hand her a vital leg-up to help her back into the community.
The alcoholic who dries out and stays there is given due kudos for their strength and integrity in facing their demons.
The sugar addict however will have a very different reception awaiting her own heroic decision…to kick the sugar.
One based on surprise “Oh, you’re not sharing a pudding with me today? What’s wrong??” Or even disbelief “There’s NO WAY you’ll do without chocolate…you LOVE it too much!” We are sabotaged “Oh go on, just have a little bit…a tiny bite won’t hurt you!” And cajoled and persuaded. We are open season for every comment and opinion from all those around us who, inevitably these days, have their own ‘sugar story’ to tell. We don’t get help, support, kudos or understanding. Because quite plainly and simply, we are NOT recognised as an addict. And it’s no one’s fault, really because we’re just waking up to this now aren’t we?
We’re just starting to realise that something isn’t right here. That the behaviour we exhibit is exactly and by that I mean exactly that of an addict.
Now let’s put Lent into this equation. The giant 40 day Pause Button. The chance.
The quiet bubble of self-reflection. The opportunity to notice what is really going on for us. This is a perfect moment to pause and reflect and OWN it. Own our very own, humble simple black and white non-negotiable sugar addiction. If you do…if you take just one second here with me now to have a little look back over your very own sugar-fuelled past behaviour. Take just a second to examine how you feel a week or so in without the little sweetie non-treat.
- Can you see that?
- Can you hear the whisper of urgency in your nervous system when you even think about sugar?
- Can you feel that little tickle in your gut at the very thought of the smell of it?
- Can you see that the reason you decided to kick the sugar for lent is because you are actually desperate to get it out of your life?
OWN this fact and then breathe a sigh of relief. You just took the biggest leap to turning this 40 day abstinence from the drug-of-your-choice to as long as you want, don’t even want to see it…I love how I feel without it….life!
The reason why Lent is 40 days long is this:
40 days is long enough to break an old habit and create a brand new one.
That’s why. This is how we break habits. By creating brand new positive ones. Your body has changed so much in 40 days that you literally don’t remember what that sugar addiction is really like in your body. At 40 days in, your feelings are completely different. You have actually established a brand new chemical balance in your body. In my own clinic, the time frame for helping the change to better food habits and getting off the sugar is, interestingly, just around 40 days…(and it’s the same for other drugs too). Within that time, you’re lighter, leaner, brighter, happily energetic and incredibly clear-brained. You become full of pride and feeling wonderful in your own skin. You realise, in fact you know… you can do this!
So now. We’re simply going to stretch this moment. This bubble of pause. And this is how. Take a breath and think about that sugar. Now check out this little youtube video for cravings Go through the sequence. Maybe more than once if necessary till the sensation registers less than a 2. Now. How do you feel about your favourite brand of sugar? Differently? That’s because you’ve just scrambled the message from your nervous system insisting that you reach for the sugar. Now do this every day for a week. Or a month. Or as long as you need. Because every time you do, you will be hitting your very own Pause Button. And every single day that nervous system message will get weaker. Until one day it will simply disappear away and won’t be on your radar any more. Now. Heave a sigh of relief. You’re done.
The fact is this…if you can so powerfully hit that Pause Button for 40 days…you can do it for along as you choose. Enjoy!
let me know how this goes for you…I’d love you to leave a comment on how you feel….do you want to eat in a different way now? Do you find yourself being able to easily resist all of a sudden? Or has it just taken the ‘edge’ off for you?